According to PropertyShark, over the past 100 years, homes in the United States are now 74% larger and personal living space went up 211%. On average, today, the typical U.S. home boasts around 2,430 square feet as opposed to that of our grandparents’ generation at around 957 square feet.
Whether your current home falls above that national average, below it, or hovers right around it there are some fascinating insights to compare between what draws homeowners to either a larger than average home, or as has become popular over the last decade, the tiny house movement.
While a more spacious home has lots of intangibles to offer, it is important to understand that In addition to soaring home prices for larger homes, there are also higher costs for property taxes, energy costs, as well as general home maintenance and repair. Additional space for living areas, more bedrooms and bathrooms, extra garage and storage spaces comes with an additional cost.
For those considering significantly downsizing, Business Insider reports, “Affordability, efficiency, eco-friendliness, and minimalism were cited, in that order, as the four most attractive factors that the tiny home lifestyle has to offer.”
Beyond lower costs, higher efficiency, being more environmentally friendly, and general minimalism, what are other benefits of small house living and is less really more?
Less Space, Less Stuff, Less Clutter
Owning a small house is a forcing function for most people to deal with their household items. When there’s less overall space to fill, homeowners have to identify what is most essential when it comes to furnishings, home decor items, and even functional items around the space. When there is less space, there must be less clutter.
Owners of tiny homes often reveal that many of their home items have to pull double and even triple duty with functionality trumping form. For those families who relocate often, particularly military-affiliated families, less clutter can also lead to less stress with frequent moves.
More Time, More Freedom, More Fun
If the thought of owning less sounds appealing then the idea of replacing loads of space and home items with more time, more freedom, and more fun will be an even bigger win. Imagine spending less time managing your home with cleaning and repairs and upkeep and instead using that time to enjoy the great outdoors, have less financial burden to work so much, and more margin to simply explore all that life has to offer.
There’s More Than One Way to Do Small
For most people, it isn’t realistic or practical to just jump right into extremely small home living. It is a big undertaking to completely rearrange your lifestyle and go from say a four-bedroom, three bath standalone house to living inside a shipping container on wheels with barely 400 square feet like you may have seen on television.
Instead, one way to do small is to simply start small. As you have the opportunity to relocate and reconsider your housing needs, can you do without one less bedroom, or less square footage? Could you begin downsizing your belongings first and then look to downsize space incrementally?
If owning less stuff, taking up less space, and being more economical with your finances or environmental footprint sounds appealing to you, research your alternatives and seek out inspiration. There’s likely a place out there that’s just right for you.