You’d have to live under a rock if you haven’t heard of the tiny home movement. But tiny homes might not be for everyone. Even if you have a family with kids, you might consider moving to a smaller home to lower your carbon footprint and I think you’d find some other amazing side effects from being in a smaller space!
My family downsized to a smaller home about 5 years ago. The main floor is about 900 square feet and really just one big room. Here are the changes that we’ve enjoyed:
- Lower heating and cooling costs: It’s easier to change the temperature in a smaller space! In the winter we can keep our home set between 67-70 degrees F and we don’t have an air conditioner for the summer. If you have good airflow, windows and a fan or two can keep your house fairly cool. We also made the decision this year to upgrade our insulation to spray foam which makes it even easier to keep our heating costs down.
- Less stuff: This can be a blessing and a curse. You’ll need less furniture because there’s less space to fill, but there’s also less space to put things so a minimalist attitude can be very helpful. In keeping with everything else we’ve talked about, less stuff can help you live a more eco-friendly existence, so I’ll count this as a huge plus.
- Time together: my office is next to the dining room which is across from the family room and the TV. Which actually means we all live in one big room! Our family of four plus one dog spend pretty much all our time together in the same space (although sometimes with headphones on). This really helps us stay really well connected as a family and doesn’t let us ignore our problems and challenges.
- Time outside: when we need more space to move, we head outside. Cabin fever definitely exists in small spaces but the easiest cure is to open the door and head outside! Local green space, day trips, and play dates are all ways to make sure that we spend time outside everyday.
- Easy to clean: When you live in a small space, everything has to a have a home or things can get cluttered pretty quickly. The benefit of this means that messes are easy to tidy and chores like vacuuming and dusting take no time at all. We even spend less time on dishes because we have less than most people!
- Cheaper housing: Probably the biggest impact in today’s economy is that smaller houses are cheaper. If you want to go tiny, often you can do so without a mortgage (although you might pay rent for land for somewhere to park your tiny home). Whether you are renting or buying though, less square footage means less money. A huge part of our decision to downsize was so that we could afford to work less. It’s been a large part of how we’ve been able to simplify our lives as both my partner and I are self employed.
I think my favourite two perks of living in a smaller space are saving money and spending time together with my family. I’m also happy teaching my kids that living simply is not only an alternative to living in a more conventional suburban home, but it’s actually preferable!