For three years, from 2011 to 2013, I chose to live in a small house; actually, it was a 270 sq. ft. apartment, smaller than a hotel room, in the Caribbean. Now before you get lulled into thinking that was paradise because of where that little house was located, let me tell you that there is definitely a difference between living the Caribbean life and living in the Caribbean.
Many times, people can hear “Caribbean” and think of a Sandals resort or sprawling vacation villa on the beach. Our experience was very different from that. Not bad; just different.
After that experience, we moved to an 850 sq. ft. apartment just outside of New York City where we lived for two years. Compared to 270 sq. ft. that place felt spacious (until our twins showed up! :-).
Then, we purchased our first home in Michigan last summer, and it’s just over 1,000 sq. ft.
By many people’s standards, our current home is small, especially for four people. So, why do I choose to keep living in small houses even with kids and a crazy dog? Here’s why.
1. When I Live in a Small House, It Forces Me to Stay Minimalist
I’m not going to lie; I definitely have boxes I need to sort through in my basement and a garage I need to organize. However, I regularly go through the house and collect things to donate.
I’m always adding toys, reminding myself to toss the things my twins break, and in general, challenging myself to limit the amount of things I bring into my house.
I love a good dumpster dive or free things on the side of the road as much as my other frugal buddies; however, my house has all the furniture it can handle.
I have to stop myself from getting things because they are on sale or a good deal. We have enough sheets and towels and clothes to go around, that’s for sure.
2. It Doesn’t Take Me Long to Clean
I would rather work than clean all day long. There’s nothing I hate more than scrubbing dirty dishes or the dirty bathroom floor. However, because I only have one bathroom, I get the task done quickly.
*Related: Need to furnish your home for less? Read our guide on ways to find great deals on furniture to help you score awesome deals.*
Because I don’t have a formal living room or a formal dining room, I have far less rooms to vacuum and mop. Honestly, the thing that keeps my house feeling messy is the fact that we have black wood floors throughout, which show every speck of dirt. Still, a quick Swiffer swish throughout the house in the evenings gets it back in shape pretty quickly.
3. It Keeps My Family Close
I like to keep tabs on my kids. After all, they are three-year-old toddlers who love to get together and destroy things. If my house was big or if I had several different rooms, it would be easy for them to sneak off and carry out their latest covert mission.
As it is, they already get too quiet in the 1,000 sq. ft. house. I might be helping one go to the bathroom while the other one goes into the fridge and opens up all the yogurt containers.
Some things you just can’t help, but at night if one of them is scared and needs us, I like that my room is right next to theirs.
Sure, it’d be nice to have a beautiful master bedroom and attached bath. But, it’s also nice to all be on the same floor just a few steps away from the kids if something goes wrong.
4. It’s Less Expensive
We live in a great city that is growing year after year. Home prices are steadily rising and there was a lot of competition among buyers when we purchased our house. Still, we were able to secure our house at a good price that doesn’t stretch our budget.
In fact, our mortgage payment is almost half of the rent we paid just outside of New York City!
By keeping our mortgage payments low, we can focus on other things, like paying off debt and saving for retirement. Because our house payment makes up a small part of our budget, we don’t stress about it too much.
If small house living isn’t for you, but you’d like to lower your mortgage payment check rates at LendingTree to see if you might be able to lower your rate, save money and pay off your mortgage quicker.
5. We’re Not Worried about the Joneses
We like our cozy house. We’re proud that it’s the first house we were able to buy. We’re enjoying fixing it up, and we take pride in it. Sure, we have friends who have bigger houses, nicer back yards and more expensive finishes.
However, because we’re content with what we have and actually prefer a smaller house, we’re not really worried about keeping up with the Joneses.
We’re in agreement about our goals for the future, and our small house is all part of the equation that will help us reach financial independence that much sooner.
Do you prefer to live in a small or larger house? What are some benefits you look for when looking for a house? Would you rather have a large house with a large payment or a small house with a more manageable payment?