Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

Small is relative

on February 2, 2012

I live in a small house. It’s 648 square feet, no basement. We’ve been living in it for 4.5 years, right before my first child was born. We now have two children and are expecting a third one this summer.

By most North Americans’ standards, we can’t fit in that house.

We’ve always made the restricted space work, but with 5 people soon to be living in it, I let myself start to believe that we couldn’t possibly stay here any longer.

We put our house up for sale. It’s not the first time it’s been for sale and all the potential buyers we’ve ever had tell us that it’s too small – even for a couple or a single person. “Our furniture is too big to fit in here!”

I started to look at my house with contempt. I was uncomfortable and becoming unhappy.

Then someone posted about the Innermost House on Facebook: Pictures http://tinyhouseblog.com/timber-frame/dianas-innermost-house/ and video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDbrUk2xYBo

This house is 144 square feet and two people live in it! I’ve seen many tiny houses before, but this one charmed me by its warmth and simplicity.

My small house suddenly felt BIG.

I decided that I would make our small house work until it sold, no matter how long it takes. I decluttered and put up pretty things in every room.

I actually like making my house efficient, it’s like solving a puzzle for me. How can I fit everything we need and store it in a convenient manner?

I also like that we can’t accumulate stuff. There’s just no space to put it!

And it’s also cheap to live here. How many people have a home worth what a decent car costs?

My small house led me to ask a few questions:

Are North Americans living in excessively large houses? Is all the space truly needed?

Are large houses leading to more consumerism, more stuff needed to fill every room?

The average home size in the United States has grown by 655 square feet (the size of my house!) in the last 35 years, while family size has decreased from 3.1 to 2.6.

Larger homes require more upkeep, more expenses. They consume more energy and materials.

Are large homes socially and environmentally responsible?

While I wait for a slightly larger home, I’m glad I have an Ikea worthy home.

Are you satisfied with your living space? 


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