Small is the New Big

Once considered only acceptable for cities like New York, more and more residents of major US cities are embracing the small space movement.  The McMansion is being replaced with backyard cottages.  Ramblers on big lots are no longer as popular as compact homes in walkable neighborhoods.

I have long been a fan of the small space living.  My first house was a whopping 762 square feet of living space.  My husband and I now live on houseboat with 355 square feet of living space.  I’ve been living the small space lifestyle since 1996.  Let me tell you why I think it’s great:

  • Saving Money:

Lower utility bills: You are no longer paying to heat and cool those bedrooms you never use or the basement you rarely go down to.  By reducing the size of your home, you are reducing your utility costs as well.

Lower property taxes: Property taxes are based off of square footage and improvements.  The less you have to asses, the less you have to pay.

Lower maintenance costs:  Smaller roof.  Less windows.  Smaller yards and garages.  Smaller expenses 🙂

Less space to furnish (or store unnecessary stuff): I love furniture.  If I had a big house, it would be full of amazing chairs and pieces of art and wall-to-wall bookshelves.  In a small space, you don’t have room for furniture, or hundreds of books.  Less stuff purchased equals less money spent.

Reduced commuting costs:  When you choose small, it is often because it is located in a more dense and accessible neighborhood.  Commuting costs impact both finances and quality of life.  The closer you live to work, the less time and money you spend getting there and back.

Once in a blue moon, I start to feel claustrophobic in my little house.  I view it as a great incentive to take the dog for a long walk, go meet a friend for coffee, or take a little road trip and splurge on a night or two at a hotel.  Since I spend less money on maintaining a big house, I can easily afford these little getaways.