I always used to feel like I had to defend my little farmhouse…
… when people would first walk through the door. No one ever seemed to notice all the neat things about my home; the hand-painted signs adorning the walls, the farmhouse antiques I had salvaged from yard sales, or my creative furniture arrangements…
They only seemed to want to talk about the size.
“Wow… this is… small.”
“So, are you going to build an addition soon?”
“How are you going to have more kids?”
Now honestly? Our house isn’t that small. It’s around 1100 square feet. I know of much larger families living in much smaller spaces.
But it is very representative of the houses built 100 years ago out here on the high plains of Wyoming. Resources were scarce, so the rooms are small and choppy and the stairs are so narrow that if you have big feet (like me) you kinda have to turn your foot sideways when you walk down the steps.
Is it functional? Absolutely. But my boxy little farmhouse is a far cry from many modern-day homes with sweeping living rooms and a bathroom attached to each bedroom.
But what started out five years ago as “I guess we’ll just make it work,” has turned into, “Hey… I actually kinda like this!”
My insecurities have melted away and this quirky little 96-year old farm house has grown on me… A lot.
As of right now, I can confidently say that, not only am I content with living in a small space, but I’ve actually come to prefer it. Here’s why:
8 Reasons I Love Life in a Small House
1. Little houses are more budget-friendly.
Small spaces are cheaper to heat and cool, and usually have smaller electric bills as well. And that wood stove we put in? It easily heats the entire main floor, and then some… Plus, during the hottest part of the summer, a small window air-conditioner unit is all we need to get some relief from the blistering temps outside.
2. Small homes generally cost less to purchase, so you can pay off the mortgage faster.
When we purchased our homestead, we were able to afford more land since the house itself was on the smaller side. That might not be a priority to everyone, but for us, land was more important than a sprawling home.
And, because we are big fans of Dave Ramsey (affiliate link), we are laser-focused and crazy-obsessed with paying off our mortgage, which is the only debt we have right now. We still have a ways to go, but it seems less daunting since our mortgage was smaller to begin with.
3. Little houses can be easier to decorate. I have a rather eclectic style of decorating, and much prefer repurposed yard sale treasures and rusty antiques to traditional decor.
Whenever I’ve thought about having to decorate a large home with sweeping walls and vaulted ceilings, my palms get all sweaty… That would take a LOT of shopping, and shopping is NOT something I particularly enjoy… (Unless it’s yard sales. Then it’s a different story.)
My unique little home lends itself well to my quirky sense of decor. And everything you see adorning my end tables and walls are things that I absolutely love–not just items filling up space.
4. Small houses help to encourage family togetherness. Depending on everyone’s mood, this can sometimes be, eh, challenging… But for the most part, I really like this aspect of small house living. In the evenings, we all are in the living room together since there is no where else to hide (other than bedrooms). It’s easier to keep an eye on the kids, and I can easily hear them playing (or yelling), no matter where they are in the house.
And if we really get tired of each other? Well, then we can head to the barn or shop, which brings me to my next point—>
5. Small spaces encourage more time outdoors. I’m absolutely convinced that we weren’t designed to spend our entire lives inside a perfectly climate-controlled box. Fresh air and dirt under the fingernails is good for everyone. And we spent a LOT of time outside. Our large property (67 acres) makes up for the lack of space inside the house. The majority of our summer is spent hanging out in the yard, on the deck, or in the barnyard.
6. It’s easier to stay on top of clutter in a little house. Eliminating clutter is one of my all-consuming passions, and when you are living in every inch of your home, it’s much harder to accumulate those piles… (Not impossible, but harder)
When were were first married and still kidless, we rented a home with several extra bedrooms and an extra family room. And you know what? We filled it up with a whole lotta extra stuff that we didn’t use or even really want…
Our small home keeps me constantly evaluating whether I really need or use each item in my closets or cabinets–and if I haven’t used it in a while? It’s outta here.
7. Small homes are cozy. Large homes can still have a warm atmosphere too, but there’s something I love about the cozy feeling of a small space–especially on a cold winter’s night when we are all tucked into the living room beside the wood stove.
8. Small houses are easier to clean. I have a problem: I love a clean home… I crave a clean home… But, my life is currently so busy that I just can’t devote as much time to cleaning as I would like. On those days when I’m drowning in barn chores, tomato sauce that needs to be canned, and bickering kiddos, I’m really thankful that I have less square footage to clean. If I had three bathrooms to scrub instead of one, I might just lose my mind…
Will we ever live in a larger home?
If God has plans for us to move to a sprawling farmhouse someday, I won’t complain. Or maybe someday (after we pay off the mortgage), we’ll build a little addition onto the back of the house–just to give us a bit more space.
But for now? I live in a 1100-square foot house with one bathroom, tiny stairs, and a shoebox-sized dining room. And you know what? I can finally say that I’m totally cool with that. And it feels good.
Note: Please know that I’m not knocking large homes, and if you do live in a bigger house, it’s still totally possible to be frugal, clean, and clutter-free.