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Benefits of Small Homes

Posted by jasonmi7 (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 7, 07 at 21:25

Just curious what everyone thinks the 'greatest' benefit is to a small home. No agenda, just thinking out loud. Off the top of my head, my biggest benefits are:

*Reduced environmental impact (given the same construction, a smaller home should use less energy)
*Greater cost savings (size again)
*Lower taxes
*Less maintenance


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

The necessity of learning discipline - being able to decide what matters (to keep) and keeping it neat.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I agree with lucy! When we first purchased our house ten years ago, I spent money like I had it trying to fill the house up. And I was all over the place in terms of style. Now I find that I buy very little, because in order to bring it into the house I'd have to first get rid of something else that I've grown to love, and I'm usually not willing to do that. So, a big savings for me.

The other benefit for me is that I always know what my kids are up to.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I agree with the others -- the forced editing is really a benefit. I'd expand that to say that a smaller home allows you to splurge more on quality. There isn't as much flooring, kitchen, roof, trim, area to decorate . . . you get the picture. It's much easier to attain the quality one wants when quantity isn't a factor.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

The OP pretty much summed it up. That, and you don't have to walk as far from one end to the other lol! I'm hoping that when we build, some of the money we save on size can go into better quality and detail. There's also a certain coziness that large homes lack. I've been in some great rooms that are as homey as an office building. Give me a small cozy cottage with style any time.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

fgargoyle--

you're right on about the coziness factor. My sister-in-law bought a large, subdivision "colonial". It's almost 3,000 square feet. Because all the money went into the square footage, the house was devoid of any attractive woodwork, finishes, etc. Their familyroom is large enough to land a small plane in. Their large screen TV looks like a postage stamp in there.

Over the last three years, they have poured a fortune into adding detail to this house: beadboard, window seats, built-in bookcases, etc. You would think this would make the house less sterile, but, strangely, nothing seems to help. After each visit my husband remarks to me that their entire house feels like a hospital room.

Now, our house is small. I wouldn't mind having another room. But it's a charming house (built for the builder's mother with a lot of care) and it's a friendly sort of house, if you know what I mean. There's a ton of wood and a big fireplace, and beamed ceilings, and best of all, you can hear the rain and wind and see trees out every window. I would take it any day over the type of home my sister-in-law lives in, regardless of her extra space.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Families are forced to be closer together- no more having the kids upstairs in some room where you don't know what they are doing. You have more money left over for something you want to do, because you are not having to buy more furniture, pay higher utility bills- essentially you are not spending more money filling up the house with 'nothings'. I must say, I have been lurking over here at the small house for awhile now- I have been over 'next door' at the big houses, but I will be building a smaller house than I have now. From 2,000ft2 to about 900ft2. I enjoy your posts.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I own a 700-some-odd sq foot house that myself and two other people live in. I have two large dogs (a rot mix and a pit/lab mix) one of whom spends days outside in the yard, the other whom lives entirely indoors, and one cat. Honestly, there is perfectly enough space for living comfortably.
Our garage being the size of the house at 2.5 cars wide and extra long with a 3rd car port helps a bit with storage making the house much more free and clear.
However, from a conservationist standpoint, the house as stated above is MUCH cheaper to live in, taxes, bills, etc are next to nothing compared to city apartments I have lived in. There is much less maintenance as listed above. But also, I find the house much more comfortable than larger ones, there is much less fluctuation in temperature between rooms since the house is so close-knit, the floor furnace in the center of the house heats the entire thing in a minute. A larger house depending on the size takes much more energy to create the same uniformity in heat/cold.
You can always tell whats going on in the whole house, if someone were to break in, you would hear it no matter where you were in the house.
The size also as listed above makes for a closer relationship between the inhabitants, wether it be friends, family, etc. In older city apartments I have lived in, some being as large as 6 bedrooms, there could be all 6 tenants home and no one would see anyone for a day or more as everyone would be locked in their separate rooms or spread throughout the enormous apartment.
While I would like a slightly larger house, 1,000 sq ft or so (enough to accomodate a dining room and slightly larger living room), I am more than happy and content with the small size of my current house and the benefits derived from such small living space.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

No one has mentioned this yet, but the obvious best benifit is LESS TO CLEAN! Less housework, means more fun time :)


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

The other thing I've noticed is that in remodeling/construction, we have a tendency to focus a lot more on making the most use of both the physical, and asethic space. Looking at our upcoming kitchen remodel, I think again and again of the items we need to include, and how to get there. Because it isn't large, a lot more planning is involved.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Time. Smaller house = less time spent cleaning. Smaller yard = less time raking, mowing, planting, pruning. Smaller costs = less time working to pay the mortgage.

Parties. Entertaining is easier and more enjoyable in a small home (our main floor is 800 ft2). Getting ready for a party is quick -- b/c house is already clean. Also the atmopshere is more relaxed. I really believe guests enjoy being packed into smaller rooms -- we frequently pack 12 adults into our 12x14 living room. I think this is because you can hear well enough to carry on a single conversation in the room, and people get to sit close to one another without feeling awkward -- smaller rooms create guests with smaller "space cushions" around them.

Kris


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

As a single person living alone, I don't feel like I rattle around in my 1535 sq. ft. brick bungalow built in 1910. In fact, I could be perfectly happy in a home smaller than the one I'm in now - especially if it were laid out differently. So, yes...there is the cozy factor and my home has seen lots of hurricanes, ice storms, and snow storms and feels very safe and solid to me.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I have a small house. It has one and a half baths. My in laws and my siblings all have three or more bathrooms. I don't think I'd like to clean three bathrooms every week!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Benefits...less costly to purchase, heat, cool, and furnish. The 'cozy factor' rrreally comes through in my 1100sf cottage. Cleaning is easy and being a neat-nik helps. When talking to friends in their McMansions, all I hear over the phone is echoing off cavernous surfaces... not for me!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

teresa - 1500 sq ft for one person. That's a mansion lol. We have about 1100 sq ft for 2 adults, 3 kids, a dog and a cat. It's small but doable ;-)

As far as affordable, not here so much. 900 sq ft cottages are close to 1 million. California ranch styles like mine $800K-$1+ million.

Upkeep and yard maintenance is cheaper as are utilities. Taxes aren't so much if a factor since it's based on the home's cost.

I would love about 400 more sq ft but acn make do with what I have. I know (mostly) where everything is and have to be pretty well organized to manage it ;-)


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

okay the biggest benefit for me is something that no one has mentioned (am I the only one with this problem???).

No relatives or friends asking if they can stay at my place

no kids with their kids returning home

People always ask me if they can come stay for a week, or so while they relocate or get themselves together or SOMETHING and me being a softy used to always say suuuuuure.

well now I say I have one bedroom (the other bedroom is an office with no guest bed) and I only have 875 sq ft.

That says it all for me.

GOTTA LOVE IT!!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Less to clean
Lower mortgage, taxes, utility bills
Less maintenence
Overnite guests aren't likely to overstay their welcome like they did when I had a big house
Now others can entertain for the holidays because I was tired of doing it for 30 people!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

We downsized to a house half the size. I love the following benefits:
1. less to clean
2. less clutter and extras
3. guests (or lack thereof...)
4. lower heating bills, etc
5. more free time to do family stuff and hobbies
6. character- our other house was so blahhhhhhh

I love our 'new/ old house- 1930s Tudor' and don't miss our miny sized McMansion (3000 sq ft)at all. Once it is updated, I cannot wait to show off to the VERY MANY who questioned our sanity. =)


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I is so weird to come at this from my angle. I have moved UP from 1300sq ft to 1675sq ft. I have a foyer and a family room now, and can't touch 3 of 4 bedroom walls while sitting on the bed!

I am finally getting to a place where I have places to put things. It is much easier to be neat when things have a PLACE where they belong and I am no longer shifting piles. We still are quite cluttered on our home, though. I think it is because we have so many hobbies. DH is a musician in his spare time, and he has also taken over paying the bills. Since he is not an organized person, this makes his office/music room a wreck and there is not a lot I can do about it.

My "craft room" ended up also being the home of the tool chest and household repair supplies - as well as a full-sized upright freezer. I can't stand to enter the room because it is so cluttered with things I have no place to put. It is overwhelming to me when I cannot easily organize things. I had envisioned a room where I could walk in, open my sewing machine, and just work for a while and walk away, then maybe pull out some jewelry-making supplies and do that for a few days before returning to the sewing. Nope. It has become the junk pile room and I am forced to straighten and put things away before I can DO anything I am feeling inspired to do. My banquet-sized table has become the place to stack things I don't know what else to do with! Clutter is maddening to me. I just avoid the room and watch TV or play with the dogs. I need a day's help from DH to get the room in shape for me to use. But if I send this stuff down to the basement, I will never see it again. It will be lost in the mess down there.

Instead, I go build garden beds and buy plants that need to be planted.

I thought that having three good-sized bedrooms for three adults (DH's dad lives here, too) would be a relief compared to our old home. It IS better somewhat - the kitchen and family room areas can stay neat. But our individual areas are as messy as ever.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I grew up in a small home. There were 7 kids and my parents in a 3 bedroom 1 bath home around 1200 sq. ft. It was a bit cramped, but we did fine. I now live in 1263 sq. ft. I pay a $420 mortgage, and small utility bills. This allows me to spend my money on other things like my retirement fund and travel. My home will be compltely paid for five years before I retire, so I feel relatively secure that I will be able to live a decent life after retirement.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Hi Jumping in here. We moved from a 1853 SQ FT to a 1290 SQ ft which I consider a smallish house. It is a three and two. At first I was fit to be tied adjusting and finding room for my things here. Not realy willing to get rid of my favorite furniture.

I noticed several refered to their smaller houses as cottages. That seemed to be the turning point for me. Once I viewed this house as a cottage it started to work for me. Not that it changed the size at all. Just the way I looked at the house.

Now we are moving. Sold this place and putting in a manufactured home. Still I consider it smaller. It is 1403 SQ ft so a little bigger than the house we just sold.

We talked lots about size before deciding on the size of house we were going to get. Since you can just about do whatever you want to a manufactured home we had options. I looked at the room here that bothered me the most being small and it is my office sewing arts room. At 10 by 10 it was a bit cramped and I really messed it up when I was working on anything. So in the hew house I will have a 10 by 13 foot room to work in. Everything else is just about the same as the house we just sold but have not moved from yet.

Advantages to us are mostly the same as every one else. Costs cleaning low company days. I did go through this house several times purging. Sort of like peeling layers off of an onion. I have it down to the things I just love and use and a few semental things. The rest I gave away. This is another advantage for me because now I do NOT have to remember where so many things are all of the time.Getting harder and harder to remember anything.:(

The new house is not done yet. This week we hope if all goes well. Then a couple of weeks before we can move in. I hope everything fits and worry and yet it has to fit because we almost bought the same house we just sold.

We would never go back to a larger house. The 1850 SQ FT house for me was just so much to clean. I felt it took me all day to clean it and that is IF I got it all done in a day.

I am really enjoying reading the ideas on this forum. Wish I had known of it sooner.

Chris


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

We have four kids under 10 live in a 1800 sq ft home. When our youngest was born 5 years ago, we converted our basement studio into two large bedrooms.One is the master bedroom and the other is for the three girls to share.My son has the spare bedroom next to us. The upstairs master bedroom is converted to a playroom while the other bedroom works an an office/music room. It works for us for now. I would love to have at least 2500 square but unless we want to go further in debt and not get any ahead this is what we have to deal with for now. I do feel cramped at time and it can clutter very easily since I have a home based business and my husband is a musican while working full time. We are working on building a huge shed in our back yard to accomodate his music equipment as well as a storage area.
Benefits?
The laundry room (well a closet,ha ha!) downstairs is right across the hallway from the girls closet so I only take a few steps to put their clean clothes away.(big bonus!)
I know what the kids are up to at all times.
Less time to clean, more time with family.
Easy to renovate over and over!
Cheaper bills.
Most of all, we're very close tight knit family! Nothing like listening to hubby blaring music on his guitar and kids playing noisily throughout the house while I'm making supper in my tiny kitchen.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

We have a 1000 square foot home, with a partially finished basement and a very large backyard.

Benefits: (as many of you have stated)
1. Cleaning. I hate cleaning. I can not fathom having to clean more space.
2. Bills. We are debt free besides our mortgage because we are not over extended house-wise.
3. I know what the kids are doing at all times.
4. We use our yard a lot more, because the house is small, it's fun to go outside with the kids and enjoy our yard to the fullest.
5. Less clutter. This also helps with #1, cleaning.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

2 adults, 3 kids (13, 11, 8) in 1,340 sq ft. I consider that small because I grew up in a 2,600 sq ft house with only 1 brother & 2 parents. What's funny is most houses in my neighborhood are 800-1000 sq ft so my kids think our house is big!!!

I love my small house. I know what the kids are doing at all times. Plus since we are crowded, I don't encourage them to have friends over all the time like I did growing up. It forces my kids to play together and get along. They also read A LOT. When they do have a friend over, it's a treat for them. The tiny house also gives me an excuse to say "no" when they ask for a dog - there is just no space for a dog (and I'd end up doing all the work!!!). Cats are perfect for small houses (we have 2). Cats don't take up much room or make much mess - if you're lucky enough to get a good cat!

We are also debt free except for the mortgage. We have very well funded 401(k)s and all 3 kids have prepaid college funds. Instead of being slaves to our house, we actually LIVE!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

"We are all searching for home, but we are trying to find it by building more rooms and more space. Instead of thinking of the quality of spaces we live in, we tend to focus on quantity. But a home is much more than its size and volume, neither of which has anything to do with comfort." Sarah Susanka, "The Not So Big House."

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.amazon.com/Not-So-Big-House-Blueprint/dp/1561583766/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I find it funny that, although our current house is 1600 sq ft, everybody winds up in the smallest room, a BR we have re-named the 'TV room'. Mom, Dad, son, both cats, and the dog all insist on being in there at the same time! It's only 10X12, but we all fit in there. What's the rest of the house for?


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Flgargoyle..yes to all being clustered in the same place, definitely a pleasure and benefit living in a small home.

My kitchen is fairly large for an 1100 sq ft house. But when the kids visit they all end up there to help. And it is always at the corner area between sink and stove. There is plenty of counter space on the other sides, but can't get anyone to use it or the table. Even the animals are in there watching our hip bumping getting stuff done. Love ongoing family interaction.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I love the fact that our house has less enviornmental impact than a larger home would.

However, in addition, the small cottage we bought was a fixer upper. We've found that we can afford better quality remodeling materials because we need less of them.

I also love that it takes me less time to do my house cleaning on weekends.

I've always been adverse to clutter. I have more of a minimalist personality. So I like that our smaller home prevents us from keeping (or buying) too much superflous "stuff." Instead of shopping for things I don't absolutely NEED or cleaning all the live long day, I spend most of my time out in the yard enjoying life w/ my husband and our two dogs!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

We have a small house at our farm--and a much larger house in the city. I MUCH prefer the smaller house (1900 sq. ft). Some of the benefits---fewer steps to get everything done---laundry, cooking, etc. Since the house is small, everything in it has to be an essential item. There just isn't that much space for extra items. That's a good thing! I like to live very simply. We are in the process of going through our larger home to clean out closets and get rid of extra "stuff." We don't need all that "stuff". Living more simply will be more relaxing. If you have a big house, it automatically "fills up" with things---not a healthy situation.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Purging is a great way to make a small home seem larger. It feels good, you feel lighter and freer.

Have enjoyed reading all of your posts.

FlowerLady


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I think one of the greatest benefits of a small cozy home, is that you don't stand out from the norm. These huge water front homes are big targets for thieves. I don't care if you have a gate, guard, alarm, cameras, Thieves don't care! I see it happen all the time down here. Two days ago a 300 000 dollar boat was taken right in front of someones home. It was up on a lift, Must of hot wired the lift and boat. Very sad


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Gary,

That must be a first for this thread. Never actually thought about this as an extra benefit to my small home. I know I feel safer in my neighborhood due to the mix of mansions and tiny homes. They also have security units that drive throughout. Just knowing they pass my house twice a day and that the bad guys know there are wandering security guys out make me a bit more comfortable.

Most pay for the security so their homes are specifically watched and can notify them when out of town, ect. It isn't required and I don't. But have always felt my little house would be passed by for the mansion across the street should someone want to rob a place.

The area isn't an HOA or gated community, it has become the best in town to live...schools, ammenities, environment. Properties are bought up to build the mansions and a special board was created for keeping the area "elite". Believe me I do not feel elite, nor is my home and have no clue who the people are living in the huge houses.

I remember when we moved to a small town, the owners of the house we bought couldn't find any keys. They told us no one ever locked their houses. We decided our locked house was the safest around, thieves could go next door.


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

emagineer
I thought our close to town neighbor hood was a little rough, but from what i've seen in the best neighbor hoods, I'am happy with what i have. Water front homes have to much axcess, from street or water. Go fast offshore boats are being ripped off at a alarming rate. They are used in international crimes. My home has alley axcess and street. But is fenced in from the alley. And i feel pretty good here. When i go home dad never locks the doors during the day. Said if someone comes over and he is gone, they can come in and leave a note on the kitchen table. I Just shake my head! God bless


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emagineer when we bought the house two houses ago it was the same way. No keys. We do lock the house when we go to town because of the dogs and kitties left inside and I would be afraid some one might let them out accidentally thinking we were in the back or something. There is a pet door so they can get out if needed. Emergency or otherwise.

This is a very good point about the larger houses being more attractive to thieves.Not something I had thought of either. Course in this town the biggest problem right now for some one getting inside happens to be the little tree frogs. LOL They are hell bent to sit on the door window edges just waiting for the door to open and hitch a ride inside. HATE that. They do not live well in the house even with as many plants as we have.

Ok Time to get back to raking rocks. UGH So hot out there.

Chris


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

I always thought the safest place to live would be right next door to a prison. Most crooks try to stay away from prisons, and if anyone did get out, they'd probably keep on running, rather than stay in the neighborhood lol!


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RE: Benefits of Small Homes

Our house is about 1640 sq ft. It's just me, my husband and a pekingese. It's a ranch style over a 1240 sq ft basement with a 3 car garage on over an acre. We spend most of the time in the 13x15 family room. The living room is like a large unused foyer with a loveseat and 2 other pieces of furniture in there. 3 bedrooms, ours, an office room with a twin bed and a guest room for when our daughter, son in law and grandson visit several times a year. The 3 car garage holds NO cars, it is a mess, I think my husband is getting a hoarding problem. The acre is mostly just prairie (Colorado) with a small patio and fenced in grassy area for the dog.
I thought I wanted a bigger house so we rented out ourlast house, 1265 sq ft plus full basement, and had this one built 3 years ago on land we already owned. Now in our 60's I should have thought about downsizing instead.


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