Friday, 21 June 2013

the benefits of small spaces

I love small houses. I honestly never thought that I'd feel that way. Growing up in an 1,100 square foot home, with a bathroom that I had to share with my mom, was horrible (thought fifteen-year-old me). I fantasized about living in a big home, with a double or queen bed. I wanted lots of rooms that I could explore, and a finished basement, and my own bathroom all to myself.

But here I am, having to pay for my own house (or should I say, rent). Having to clean these rooms. Decorate them. Live in them. And I can honestly say, for our family and our lifestyle, less is more.

Our first apartment was easily under 400-square-feet. We had a tiny bathroom, tiny bedroom, teeny-tiny kitchen, and a decent sized living room. We had two windows in our entire apartment. It was everything we needed and I think back on that apartment with fondness.

our first house

Once Penelope arrived we moved into our current basement apartment. It's probably 900-square-feet, but a large chunk of that is storage space. We have a small bedroom with two huge walk-in closets (don't ask), adjoining that room is a large storage space that is Penelope's room. We have a small bathroom, kitchen and eating area, and again, a nice-sized living room. Like our first home, this house has an open concept, which allows the space to feel open and livable.

Penelope's bedroom.

Again, we love this place. It's easy to clean and keep tidy. It's easy to keep track of where my child is and to have her near me (as I type this in our impromptu office in the living room, Penelope is playing with my yoga mat next to me).

In case I haven't convinced you how awesome small spaces are, here are my top five reasons for living in a small home:

1. It's more affordable.
Duh. I feel convinced that just like we should use our money and our time wisely, so should we use our space. Small homes force you to do that.

2. It keeps the family together.
Small spaces force a family to be together. Maybe force isn't the most positive term, let's go with encourage. In my marriage, I have never really had my own personal space. I don't have a spare bedroom where I can blog. My husband doesn't have an office where he can work. We're always together, doing life, and we like it that way.

3. It's easy to clean
I can do a pretty deep clean of my house in an hour. Enough said.

4. It forces you to be creative
We have this really random little hallway in our apartment that used to have a dresser for Penelope and nothing else. It was a total waste of space. Finally I decided to get rid of the dresser (never buy a dresser from Wal Mart, it was falling apart from day one!) I turned the space into a little hideaway for Pen. It has those cheesy wall stickers and lots of books and toys. She goes in there and plays and has fun, and now our random hallway has a purpose!

5. It keeps you from being a hoarder
A massive house with lots of stuff isn't so bad. You can spread your junk out. In a small house, clutter accumulates fast, and starts to look bad...fast. I am constantly going through my things and donating/selling them. If I don't need it or use it, it's gone. If I didn't do that my house would look even smaller, and way messier!

And finally, not all small spaces are created equal! Our house right now is a MASSIVE step up from our first home. And I'm hoping that even if the square footage doesn't improve drastically, our next house will also be another "step up". In case you don't believe me, here's some pictorial proof.

exhibit A - our first house
exhibit B - our current house


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