I don’t recall meeting anyone who is thrilled with cleaning their house, paying huge utility bills, or the cost of furnishing their homes. The high mortgages (or rent payments) are a bummer, and the tax man always has his hand out. Whether you own or rent your home we’re all in the same boat. We have to pay for the roofs over heads and all the costs and work involved are often not a thought when we’re searching for our dream home. The cruel reality is the bigger the home the bigger the expenses. So I’m happy today to share with you Five Benefits of Small Home Living.
When I look back at all the houses I’ve lived in they’ve all been on the small side. Even when I lived in a big(ger) house when I was little, 11 people running around inside made it feel small. The house my husband and I rented just before we bought our Small Home Soul was only 725 sq. ft. so moving into our now 1100 sq. ft. home felt enormous. Even though I say I would love to have a bit more space the benefits of small home living far outweigh those few times I feel like the walls are closing in on me. We’re only two people but once upon a time this house was probably home to 5 or 6 people.
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Five Benefits of Small Home Living
Can I get an Amen!?! Regardless of how many people live in a home you still have to clean it. And who wouldn’t agree that less cleaning is a good thing? I’ll never pretend to be an excellent house keeper and I don’t really enjoy it. My house isn’t dirty by any means but I always figure I have better things to do than clean. Except for when I’m mad, apparently. That’s when I can clean up a storm until every surface is tidy and spotless. Sometimes my husband likes to joke and threaten to make me mad just so I’ll clean the house 😀 I do clean, reluctantly and thankfully he tolerates my cluttery ways and he’s always helped out around here. He pretty much takes care of all the outside so I can’t complain at all.
Right after we installed hardwood floors he insisted on buying a Roomba. I resisted because I’d just spent some money on a canister vacuum that had a soft bristle brush that wouldn’t hurt the floor. Still he insisted and I’m so glad that I didn’t resist. He did a lot of research and finally ordered the iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum. This thing is amazing! They have many different price points and one to fit most every budget.
I give it a little help by putting the dining chairs upside down on the table. You know, old school-desk style so it does less pinball action. And I pick up baskets here or there so it’s got a clear shot under the sofa. But that’s about it. I press the button and off it goes returning to its home base when the batter gets low. All you have to do is empty the dust cup when it’s done. It really is great when you have dogs, they’re like little dirt magnets.
Lower Utility Bills
This one is a biggie. The bigger the space and the taller the ceilings the more you’re going to spend to heat or cool your home. When some of my old co-workers were talking about their huge winter electric bills I was almost embarrassed to tell them that ours were about 1/3 of what they were paying. Back then before we got our Pellet Stove we were heating with our wood stove but we still ran our heater occasionally.
We took advantage of some government tax credits and had our home insulated which helped a ton. I think we paid $900 for the blown in insulation (and then got a tax rebate to boot) which has made our home more comfy and reduced our utility bills. We also replaced our old windows (DIY of course) with double-pane windows which added to the efficiency of our home.
In the summer use ceiling fans (or table top fans) which estimates say cool your rooms by 2 or 3 degrees. That doesn’t sound like a lot but every bit helps if you don’t have to turn on the expensive A/C. We installed Hunter Ceiling fans in most of the rooms. Thankfully I registered them and saved the receipt because we had continual issues with one of them. On a fluke many years later I called their customer service for another replacement part. The company rep said if I still had the receipt we could get them all replaced for free. Score!! We got three brand new Hunter Fans because I had a receipt from 7 years earlier. So register your products and save those receipts, you never know when it will save your hard earned $$.
There are many affordable ceiling fans out there today and lots of YouTube videos with instructions on how to install them. If you can’t afford ceiling fans, or it’s not an option in a rental, you could buy one of the many affordable and beautiful table top fans. There are so many beautiful styles to choose from.
This is a bigger biggie than the lower utility bills. We bought our house in 1998 just when the markets in Northern California were starting to creep up. I was about to hyperventilate because our mortgage was twice what we were paying in rent. We’d gotten a sweet deal on a tiny old rental house so we knew we’d be paying much more on a mortgage. We were able to make our mortgage payment every month and we soon realized how much money we’d been
wasting spending on unnecessary stuff.
Having a smaller, more manageable, mortgage than if we’d bought a much larger house was important to us. We had the goal of one day owning our home, outright, deed and all. That seems contrary to the trends of today where people move from a starter home to larger and more expensive homes with mortgages that won’t be paid off until their well pasts retirement age. We didn’t start out with the plan that this would be our forever home but once we started seeing these five benefits of small home living (and so many more) we knew we’d made the right decision.
This might sound silly but it’s true, when you have space you have to fill it or it looks empty. You need twice as much furniture to fill a 2000 sq. ft. home as you do one half the size. Unless you are a super handy DIYer who can build dressers and such, that can get costly. Of course, if you are crafty with a paintbrush you can fill your home with lovely thrifted pieces like I did with our TV Console, Thrifted End Table or the Mid-Century Modern night stand. But even thrifted stuff adds up if you live in a home that’s too big. Thankfully there are many discount options available today. Stores like Target, Cost Plus, Wayfair, Home Goods, and yes even Amazon have quality furniture at reasonable prices.
Less Property Tax
With a smaller mortgage comes less property tax. I only know about the tax structure in California so this might not apply to everyone. I know because of prop 13 that was passed when I was a teenager our property taxes start out at 1.25% of the sale price and can only be increased by 2% per year. Before this tax cap was put in place many older residents were having to sell their lifelong homes because they couldn’t afford to pay the tax bills. We didn’t want to buy a big expensive house because we wanted to make sure we could at least afford to pay the taxes in our retirement years from our retirement savings.
Fewer House Guests
Hahaha I had to throw this one in there because I know for some of you this would be a true benefit. And I’m sure the rest of you love having guests. I’m always happy to have friends come stay for a few days. Before we built our Murphy Bed I used to refer to the queen size air mattress as our “deluxe accommodations in a box.” If you wanted to save a few bucks and crash on our air mattress you were welcome to all the privacy the dining room floor could offer 🙂
Since we built our Murphy Bed from this kit it’s the perfect solution to having guests over without having a dedicated guest room. Having only 2 bedrooms our spare room is a guest room, sewing room, office, and sometimes dumping ground. Oh ya, and it’s where the dog crates are (yes, we move them when we have guests). It’s a tight squeeze at the foot of the bed when the bed’s down but it’s a comfy spot to rest your head. And it’s free so that’s good for everyone’s budget!
So there you have it, my list of Five Benefits of Small Home Living. Do you live in a small home? I’d love to hear some of the benefits you enjoy from small home living so please leave me a comment or send me an email.
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