Tired of Living in a Small Space? Ten Reasons to be Thankful for (and laugh about) Your Little House

Last year NPR reported that the average square footage in American homes has more than doubled since 1950.  In fact, http://shrinkthatfootprint.com notes that new homes built in 2009 in the US are on average 2,164 square feet in size.  That’s almost double the size of my house in south Austin.  With two adults, two kids and a dog up in here, do I wish I had more square footage? A lot of times, yes!

But lately I’ve been pooling my reasons to be thankful for our cozy postage stamp.  If moving on up isn’t in the cards for you right now (as it’s not for me), then here are 10 reasons to be thankful for and laugh about your tiny dwelling space.

  1.  The big holidays are approaching. Chances are, if you live in a wee house or flat, you won’t be asked to host Thanksgiving or Christmas for the entire extended family. And that freedom can do wonders for your sanity! (But watch out. With less square footage, you might get cousin Eddy and crew parked outside your house in his RV.)  Eddy's RV

2. I almost never have to wonder where the family’s gone.  They are all RIGHT HERE. From my vantage point at the kitchen stove I have a view of the dog licking a half empty beer bottle on the deck, the toddler ripping a book in the living room and my four year old on the can in the bathroom. What’s not to love about that panoramic?

3.  For the environmentally conscious part of you, be encouraged about your small dwelling space: you are probably living right within your means.  Small homes tend to mean smaller mortgage/rent payments, less heating and cooling needs, fewer furnishings, and less time to maintain.  “In terms of carbon emissions, small is beautiful,” says energy analyst Lindsay Wilson.

4.  Your kids want to be near you. Ever notice that even in cavernous spaces, your children will cling and rub their bodies on you like stray cats? There’s a fallacy that if you live in a bigger home your kids will play better by themselves. In truth, they’ll gather toys from out of their distant, cold bedrooms and pile them up wherever YOU are. They want to be in your company. Your kids don’t feel the need to spread out.

5. It doesn’t require a leap in logic to figure out that if I can’t afford a large home, then I also can’t afford a cleaning service. No matter! (I say with a glass of wine in one hand and Swiffer in the other.)  In 9 minutes my tiny floors are spotless.

6.  Have you seen the footage of homeless Syrian refugees?  I highly doubt they’d turn up their noses at my modest 1, 300 square foot home.  I can choose gratitude.

7.  Try adjusting the way you describe your space or lack-there-of.  For instance, when asked at parties where we live, my husband and I like to answer, “In a charming, south Austin step saver.” Got yourself a beach bungalow? English Cottage? Shabby chic cubbyhole?  Get creative about your real estate! I promise at least you’ll laugh.

small space

8.   There’s that old truism that one never leaves an IKEA store with just one item in hand. Yes, true no matter how big or small your dwelling space. But we rarely leave IKEA with large unnecessary furnishings. And that’s good for the budget. Modest square footage quickly helps me ward off impulse buying.

9.  If the weather is decent, we are outside!  A small house means we explore what our city has to offer.

10.  My most treasured reason to be thankful for my pint sized home has to do with my kids.  I’ve never needed a baby monitor; my kids’ bedrooms are a light hop away from mine.  If I lay very still in my bed at night, I can sometimes hear my son sigh contentedly in his sleep. And I wouldn’t trade the peace of that closeness for a mansion on a hill.


Know someone who lives in a little home?  Encourage them today. Share this post on your wall!