The average American house shrunk slightly in 2017. Regardless, it’s still almost twice as big as it was in 1980.
Families nowadays have some 2,422 square feet at their disposal, whereas their eighties counterparts enjoyed only 1,645 square feet.
The thing is, having that much space and actually using it, are two different things.
Families spend the majority of their time in the dining, kitchen and family rooms. Together, the three rooms total 1000 square feet, but it’s estimated that we only use 400 of that 1000 square feet with any regularity.
What’s the point of having all that space if you’re not going to use it?
Rather than buy a bigger house —which comes with a range of hidden costs on top of the purchase price— a better idea is to design a smaller home you know will make you happy.
The Many Benefits of a Smaller Home
If we’re clearly not inclined to make full use of the extra square footage, it really doesn’t make any sense to pay for it. Just think of how much you could potentially save by opting for something a little cozier.
The savings with a smaller home don’t end with the purchase price. By avoiding that swanky big dream house, you’re also side-stepping a large money pit. One that will quickly dispose of your spare cash, not to mention your leisure time.
Think about it, decluttering your home won’t be on your list of weekend chores anymore. I mean, that’s reason enough to downsize in my opinion.
Tiny houses can save the earth, but you don’t have to become a Hobbit to do your bit for the environment. Simply choosing a smaller home can make all the difference. Among other things, you’ll consume less energy and use fewer materials in the building process.
Own Less, Share More
Living in a small home has numerous benefits. The downside, however, is that you no longer have space to store all those things you only use occasionally.
I mean, for folks like Sporty and I, this isn’t an issue. We own so little we could live in a Wendy house and still have room left over. But I get that that’s not the case for everyone.
Some people enjoy having the option to, say, go roller blading or mountain biking once in a while. But, what if there was a better alternative?
Instead of hanging onto things you only use every now and then, you could sell them and use the money to pay off debt, fluff up your nest egg or go on that dream vacation.
That’s great Ang, but what am I supposed to do when I feel like hitting the trails and I no longer have a bicycle? Easy peasy, you rent one from your neighbour.
I know what you’re thinking. My next-door neighbour is an old lady, she won’t have a bicycle to lend me. True, but what about your neighbour two blocks down? They may very well have one for you.
Right now, you don’t even know them and let’s face it, they won’t take kindly to you just pitching up on their doorstep.
They way to find the person you’re looking for is by joining Stuff4Hire, a community-focused service that helps neighbours rent things to one another at a reasonable cost.
Stuff4Hire is way more than just a lending platform, though. It’s a way for people to get to know one another and create a sense of community in their neighbourhood.
When we shift our mindset from owning to sharing, the leap from consumerism to community is an easy one. Suddenly, relationships take precedence over stuff. We come to see that experiences matter more than having.
With their beta test phase complete, Stuff4Hire is
very nearly almost ready to go live. According to their backend elves, it’s now a matter of ironing out the final kinks in the system before launching in November has resulted in a vastly improved user experience.
If you’re lucky enough to live Stateside, be sure to join their mailing list
so you’ll know when they go live to be the first to hear about specials and other interesting stuff. While you’re at it, follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find out what else they’re up to.
Designing a Home That Makes You Happy
Whether it’s preparing meals, entertaining friends, building forts with the kids or lounging on the couch with a juicy book, most of us spend a lot of time at home.
It makes sense that you’d want to be happy there. After all, there’s no point having a house if you don’t relish the thought of actually living in it.
We’ve already ascertained that you’ll be happier in a smaller house. But what else can you do to ensure your abode will improve your overall mood, rather than bring it down?
Helpfully, the guys at SavingSpot have compiled the best tips and techniques to help design a home that will make you happier and keep you rested, inspired and healthy. From the right use of color to furniture placement and smart design ideas, they’ve got you covered.
Choose Natural Light
They suggest installing skylights as a way to boost natural light. Along with reducing your utilities bill, daylit environments provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary to regulate human circadian rhythms.
Cozy Up Together
One Harvard University study found that happiness comes from strong bonds with friends and family. Encourage everyone to come together by adding a breakfast bar or island in the kitchen.
Bring on the Plants
Ivy is a versatile plant with numerous uses. It detoxifies the body, relieves congestion and has antibacterial properties, to mention a few. It’s also known as nature’s air filter, making it perfect for the bathroom, where, let’s face, air needs filtering.
In the bedroom, opt for heavy curtains to keep it dark at night. According to Brian Colbert, author of The Happiness Habit, creating a peaceful place to sleep is essential if you want your boudoir to be a happy place.
Make Your Bed
While we’re on the subject of beds, get into the habit of making yours every morning. Research has shown that an organized environment makes us happier.
When it comes to creating a happy home, bigger isn’t better. Think about what pleases you, rather than what will impress the neighbors. After all, it’s you who has to live there, not them.
Moving into Your Smaller Home
Okay, so your smaller home is ready and waiting. All that’s left to do is move in. This is the fun part. The not so fun part is preparing for the move.
It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience, though. Moving house is a great opportunity to declutter. Whether we intend it to or not, stuff has an annoying habit of accumulating.
Think of it as your chance to wipe the stuff slate clean. Go through everything you own and consider carefully whether or not you really want to take it with you.
Moving into a smaller home is similar to moving abroad, there’s not a lot of room for excess baggage. The other thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to need help getting from A to B.
The more you have, the more it’s going to cost you. Hiring a moving company makes sense, but it obviously comes at a cost. Still, it’s worth calling in professionals to help you.
It’ll save your back and your stuff will arrive unscathed.
Bekins Moving Solutions is a great option If you happen to live in L.A. Otherwise, ask Google or your friends for a recommendation. Whatever route you opt for, make sure you check the company out beforehand to ensure that they’re reputable.
And that they have strong backs.
Getting Your Small Space Style On
A lot of people assume that a small space leaves no room for style. In fact, the opposite is true. Being confined by your square footage actually inspires creativity. It forces you to think of new and innovative ways to achieve the same outcome.
Of course, not everyone is blessed with an architect’s vision for what a space can potentially become. That’s fine, there’s plenty of help in the form of books and blogs.
And if the DIY route doesn’t appeal you can always hire someone to get creative on your behalf. Check out the books below anyway, though. That way, you’ll be better equipped to explain what you like and what you don’t.