Yesterday we put a rental application in on a house – a whole house – that has easily twice the space of our current home, and I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that we are accepted. It has two living rooms, 4 bedrooms, and more cupboards than I’d know what to do with!
We are currently renting in a reasonably good sized 2 bedroom unit. But it’s still a 2 bedroom unit, for a family of 4, which does make it a little bit on the squeeze sometimes. We have an open plan living, dining and kitchen, which also serves as an office space and a separate study space for our son who’s in school. Our kids share a bedroom and to give the kids a little more space for toys, we store all their clothes in our bedroom.
As eager as I am to move on to a bigger space, I have to say I do have a soft spot for smaller homes. There’s a sweetness about it. As real estate agents say – they’re “cosy”. There is a lot to love about smaller homes.
Smaller Homes Bring Families Closer Together
I mean this literally – and possibly figuratively. We are all in the same space together, even if the kids are in their bedroom, we can still hear them talking (and fighting), we can hear the fridge open if we’re laying in bed. We can practically have conversations standing each at one end of the house. With my youngest this is great because I always know exactly where she is and what she is up to. With my eldest it means even if he’s sometimes a little bit too cool and busy to hang with the rest of us, he still can’t go far. He’s still here in the room with us, even if he’s occupied with other things. It’s a nice feeling.
Smaller homes are Cheaper
Smaller homes are generally cheaper to rent or buy. They’re cheaper to run; heating, cooling, lighting, furnishing – there is simply less of everything. Less space, less light switches, less heating outlets, less rooms. Less is more when it comes to saving money! This is also better for the environment, so there’s a little feel-good factor there too.
It’s Easier To Clean
This is a little bit of a catch 22 because smaller spaces get messier quicker too. There is less floor space, so it fills up faster. But then also because it looks untidy we are more likely to stay on top of it. It’s not like we can just close the door and deal with it tomorrow – there aren’t exactly spaces where we can discreetly dump and run. But it means if I clean for a solid hour I can usually get the house pretty spotless. If I clean for 2 hours I could hand back the keys and call it an end of lease clean.
In contrast, the end of lease clean on our last house nearly killed us. It was just so big it took weeks of preparation and then a solid 11 hours of cleaning to get it to a point where we could leave.
We Have Less Stuff
We have had to reduce the amount of things we keep, and be mindful about what we buy. We don’t have a whole lot of spare storage here, so often any purchases we make involve working out what has to go in it’s place. With the exception of toys, which seem to multiply on their own, we just tend not to accumulate so many things, and everything we have had a purpose or meaning.
They Can Be Interesting
Honestly, sometimes I wonder what it would be like living in an even smaller space. I love the idea of micro-homes. They’re often eco-friendly, modern and cleverly designed. I fantasise about renovating a shipping container, or living in a caravan so we can travel without being tied down to a location. Or maybe moving to the city and living in an apartment right in the middle of all the hussle and bussle. I also love going to Ikea and walking through the little pod type homes thinking:“I could totally live in here.”
A Home Is A Home Not Matter How Small
Every now and then when I feel like the walls might close in on us, or the kids have been particularly agitated with each other and there’s no option to send them to their own rooms, I take a moment to acknowledge how lucky we are to have a home at all. There are so many people in the world who are not so privileged. We have heating, electricity, hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing. We have windows that we can shut keep out the cold and doors that we can freely leave through.
There are some downsides. It can difficult for us to have friends over as there isn’t a whole lot of space to host them. We have family that live interstate that can’t visit because we don’t have a space bed for them to sleep in. As you might know I sew, knit and crochet and not kidding my crafting supplies are all kept in the cupboard under the sink in the laundry (and I have to force the door shut on all the things I have crammed in there.) We don’t have the space for a dining table so we have to eat every meal on the bench (though honestly, that’s not so bad, I would eat standing in the kitchen some nights anyway even if we had a dining table). And I’m looking forward to spreading out and getting a little bit more space for our family to grow in – but I have enjoyed our time in our cosy little home.
How big (or small) is your family home? What do you prefer?