My love/hate relationship with my home has been going on for years. One week I feel so blessed to live in such a safe neighborhood, be so close to our school and have such a great backyard. Other weeks I simply hate my 1650 sq. ft. home. The living room is too small. There is no mudroom off the garage. My two littles have to share a room. And the list of complaints goes on and on.
A moment of clarity came to me when I was driving down a busy street in my city. I was looking at the older homes…. those built around the 1950’s. Shabby, worn and probably about 300 square feet or so smaller than my own, there were rows and rows of these houses one after another. I asked myself this simple question “If I lived in one of these homes would I allow myself to be completely miserable all the time, too.” Each of these homes had people, families and pets that live, worked and played in them. Were they in a constant state of discontent like me? And, if so, is this dissatisfaction serving any purpose or do we choose our happiness no matter our life circumstances?
That day I felt a change of heart. Now, don’t get me wrong… my attitude didn’t do a complete 180 but the road to contentment was starting to take hold. No matter where you live or how much space you have, we have a choice to express gratitude and thankfulness for the walls that surround us.
Since that fateful drive, I have made conscious steps to fall in love with my small home. Rather than focusing on what it lacks, I choose to celebrate the many ways it fulfills my family’s needs.
My Small Home Is Easy to Clean
Our downstairs is fairly tiny. Just a circle of a kitchen, dining room and living room. I love the fact that my cordless sweeper can completely clean the laminate floors without having to recharge. Less kitchen counter space means less clean-up at the end of the night. And my 2 1/2 baths (which is the perfect amount) cuts down on my toilet scrubbing which is always a “win” in my books.
My Small Home Prevents the “Fill Up the Space” Mentality
Many people buy a large home and then realize that they don’t have enough furniture to fill it. What’s their solution? Buy more tables and chairs and armoires so it doesn’t feel “empty”. With less square footage to work with, I often have the opposite problem. Too much furniture in too little of a space. Through the years, I have learned that less is more when it comes to furnishing my home. We have only one sofa and a rocker/recliner in the living room. We bought a loft-type bed with shelving and drawers underneath for my son’s bedroom. We keep only those pieces we use and need to live comfortably. And, no, my home will probably never have a sofa table.
My Small Home Helps Free Up Our Finances
Mortgages can be a huge strain on the family budget and take a big chunk out of the paycheck. Add in property taxes and homeowner’s insurance and you are looking at easily the largest monthly expense we are obligated to. While I know we could afford “more home”, I often remind myself that the finished basement and extra car stall in the garage come with a price tag. My husband and I want breathing room in our finances – a little extra money after each month to travel, save for the future and splurge when we want to. I also want my husband to feel like he has room to take on a new career without worrying about a large financial commitment. This smaller home I used to complain about provides us the peace and flexibility that comes with financial freedom.
My Small Home Brings My Family Closer Together
I often hear people say that they never see their family. They all live under the same roof but seem to be living separate lives. They are like passing ships on a foggy morning. In a small home that is never the case. Closer living quarters means we are forced to interact with each other and often. I am so thankful that the living room and dining room are combined so we can easily clean up dinner while the kids play. Two of our children share a bedroom and I can’t wait to see how their bond continues to grow. Our home’s smaller space keeps our family close both physically and figuratively.
My Small Home Keeps Me Humble
My husband and I were recently discussing what we want in our next home. Yes, we don’t plan on living here forever but we have no immediate plans to move either. He was adamant that he wanted a finished basement; I was not as convinced. As we discussed the positives and negatives of it, he finally blurted out “A finished basement will make me feel like I am successful. Like I’ve made it”. The truth came out. Many of our desires are based on what we think we should have by a certain age or stage in our life. I don’t fault my husband for feeling like he does. It is often based on what society has told us we should have or want for our lives. But I don’t want my family to base our decisions on societal norms either. I want to remain humble enough to recognize that my worth and my husband’s worth doesn’t come from the size of home we live in. I refuse to place my value on what I own or those material possessions quickly starts to own me.
This is the day we moved into our home. We were so proud to call it our own!
I still have days when my small house drives me crazy. But don’t we all have a love/hate relationship with our house? Would 500 square feet make all those bad moments go away? I highly doubt it. My heart is continuing to change and I still need to make a conscious effort to be grateful for my wonderful tiny spaces. But I got nothing but love for my small home!