8 Reasons I Love Life in a Small House

small house living

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.

small space living

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.

small house small space

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.

small home

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…

little house tiny house

Will we ever live in a larger home?

Maybe.

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. ;)

 

 

Comments

  1. We also live in a “small” house. Your #8 is the best reason of all! Can’t imagine keeping a bigger house clean.

    • I really appreciate all of your reasons. Not that I am as “stuff free” as I would like to be yet, but I think that less truly is a blessing. It is so great when we are finally able to be confident in our “out of the box” (not like the majority) way of living and decision making. Thanks for the post!

  2. It’s much more interesting for me to see all the cleverly innovative ways someone decorates and utilizes their small house than to see waste in a big money trap/pit. We have a nearly sixty year old, smallish house that we have absolutely enjoyed for twenty years and have no intention of going bigger. Large homes are such a hassle to clean… or try to. Methinks/knows some are not.

  3. I agree with living in a small house! We are a family of 5, with 3 teenage kids. We lived in an 1100 sq ft house and moved to a 2200 sq ft house. And you know what? We lived there less than 2 years and now live in a house that is around 1300 sq ft. My kids have all said that it just feels more like home. Your reason # 4 is my favorite. All of them are good points and spot on, but as the kids grow older, they like to be locked up in their rooms and with a smaller house they aren’t that far away. :)

    • I feel the exact same way about teens being locked in their rooms…at least in a small home (960 sq ft here) they are still close by…I can still hear their music playing or their guitars strumming…and they’re just a holler away.

      We also have only one bathroom and it works for us…we’ve learned to MAKE it work. The only thing about having one bathroom is that it gets SO much use that it’s never tidy. Clean? Usually. Tidy? Not always.

      We might move to a larger home one day…but probably not bigger than 1500 sq ft or so…

  4. We are also in 1100 sq ft but it is single level. We had the privilege of gutting and re-doing it from top to bottom. When you pay $1000 for an old derelict you have a lot of options. People see the small exterior and when they walk in I almost always hear, “wow, this is bigger than I thought!” An open floor plan and an angled vaulted living room ceiling makes it seem very spacious. I have to confess that my husband has a shop building 3 times the size of the house!

  5. I grew up as one of 7 children in a suburban 3 bedroom ranch-style home. That’s 9 of us plus a dog in about 1500 square feet. We did have an unfinished basement that we would play in too, but no one NEEDS a McMansion because they have a lot of kids.

  6. Ok… this may seem a little odd but I would love to see a peek inside. (You may have already but I am a fairly new reader.) My family will soon start looking into buying a home. I told my husband that with our children a little older that it might be our best interest to get a smaller home.

  7. David Fisher says:

    You have a lovely home. Cutest animals, too. I really liked the article.

  8. Love this article……i read a book a while ago about an American veterinarian in Scotland…the locals called homes above 1000 sq ft “wife killer houses..” We built our house on a small footprint 7 yrs ago to save money on taxes, too….we built up a second floor…only have plans to add two more rooms and house will then be a whopponh 1200 ft total……..we are all blessed to have a roof over our heads…..like Dave Ramsay too :) Keep up the great attitude !

  9. When I was a kid we lived in 700 sq ft with me, my parents, and six foster kids. On a farm with lots of animals and room to run.
    Best. Childhood. Ever! I like my space in my MUCH bigger house now, but I can totally relate to the great things about your small-ish house!

  10. melissa a. says:

    I live in a moderate size house. When I met my husband he had a three bedroom one bath house. I have five kids (not all at home) and he has two. We had to tear off the back of the house and add a 30 by 36 addition. We now have five bedrooms and one bath and the kitchen and living room are getting ready to be redone. He paid ten thousand for this little farmhouse that use to be a cabinet shop and I am happy to say that it is almost paid off. He took out a home equity loan on it before he met me so…. now we are married and hopefully, fingers crossed, will be paying it off this year. I love knowing that we are gonna have more money in our pockets and our home will be ours. I also love the fact that it’s not a huge house with tons of rooms to clean. I have my hands full with what I have now ;)

  11. We live in an old 1860′s renovated one room schoolhouse that we purchased when we got married. Over the years we have done some renovating to accomodate our family as it grew, but still kept it small. I agree that a small house promotes family togetherness, but our daughters never complained that they needed more space. I agree with you about the shopping/furnishing part, both of my daughters (now adult) have followed my lead and have furnished their homes with second hand items that have function, character, and durability. They spend more time at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets than the mall! You are also right on about getting rid of debt, we are lucky that we are debt free, and while we don’t have a big fancy house we are in a much better ( and happier) position than some of our extended family. Just keep your eye on the prize, debt free and less stress because of it.

    • Terru,
      You are not lucky that you do not have any debt. You are very wise and have obviously worked very hard to put into action your wisdom of being frugal to remain debt free. That is definitely a great accomplishment! ;0)

  12. Great points! I can relate. We moved to our current home of 1257 sq feet with only 3 small children from an 800 sq foot house and it seemed huge! Fast forward almost 7 years and we have added 2 more children and our oldest is a teenager now. It now seems rather small, lol. However, I am content with it. If money (and logistics) were no issue, I’d love to have about 100 sq feet added, a little of that to put a shower in our half-bath, the rest in our living/dining area (they are open to each other.

    We hope to eventually get land, and I’ve often told my husband that I am willing to go with a small and/or older home because I too believe we’ll spend less time indoors anyway. :)

  13. Jill:
    I totally agree with all 8 reasons. My wife and I live in a small dwelling, smaller than your house. It’s only 600 square feet–but it serves us well.

  14. Hi Jill, four years ago we moved from a 1475 sf ranch with attached two-car garage to a 680 sf cabin, which had been our weekend getaway. The good: all the things you mentioned. The bad: the layout lacks adequate storage — for essentials like clothing, linens, and food. We racked our brains about how to reclaim wasted space for storage and have done what we could, but we’ve run out of ideas as well as “places.” Can you share your thoughts on essential storage places and what you’ve done to improve your storage?

    • Hi! Have you ever read “The Not So Big House”? I found some interesting storage things in there.

      A few things that we have – we have built in bookshelves in a lot of spots. Most walls have a shelf or cupboard of some kind. We have these black seating ottomans that are storage for games and puzzles and art projects. We are soon going to need more seating, so I think we are going to build a “Chaise” lounge to sit at the end of our sofabed – build it ourselves so that we can have storage underneath the cushions.

      Even our hallway, which is on the wide size, has cubbies and shelving.

    • Well, we’ve had to get creative with our storage too… Thankfully our shop has a large attic, so a lot of stuff goes out there (with the mice and bugs, but still…) We also have a small unfinished cellar space (again, lots of mice and bugs), but I am able to store larger appliances/books down there as well. We are exploring cutting into walls and seeing what kind of built-in type storage we can figure out too.

  15. I so agree with you! I’ve lived in small places my entire life. I’ve been in my own home apx 900 sf and it is just too big!!

  16. Sharon Netherton says:

    Love this post, and I could not agree more. While we don’t have land (maybe someday), my priority for my family when we moved back from Chicago three years ago was “nice but small”, and we found exactly that. I think we have a bit more space (maybe 1,400 square feet), but it’s all we need. Less is more, in a lot of ways.

  17. Darla Myers says:

    OUR FAMILY OF FOUR, LIVE IN A 600 SQUARE FOOT HOME Two are teenage girls

  18. It feels good knowing other people don’t require a large home. I live in a 1 bedroom 850 square foot house, with yes one bathroom. Most people just look around and sigh. However, I hear more and more “wow if only (fill in the blank)” I would love to have a smaller house. It is on a few acres so I too spend most of my time out of doors and agree it is what was intended. That being said I need to head out and finish up the 6′ X 4″ raised bed that I started building yesterday.

  19. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I have been spending my week off work at home trying to declutter a little bit every day. But then, Christmas makes it harder because family sends too much stuff. Usually it’s both my MIL and my SIL who buy everything on my kid’s wish list. This list is supposed to supply 6 people, so there are usually 6-8 items. This year, SIL bought everything on the lists. Which means it’s very hard to keep clutter under control. (SIL has a house that’s probably around 3600sf).

    We live in an 1146 SF house (2 BR, 1 BA, no garage) built in 1947. It’s so cute and I love it. I have a husband and 2 boys (7 and 17 months).

    Yes, sometimes the togetherness is challenging! Especially when my son has a playdate – there is no way to escape the craziness! Luckily I live in coastal Southern California – weather is usually pretty good. I’ve thought about enclosing the front porch to get a reading nook, but really – weather is usually so good that I can go out there whenever. And it’s only 62sf anyway.

    Will admit though, I’ve thought about reorganizing our laundry room to make space for an RV toilet or something. I can’t tell you how many times the 7YO needs to go to the bathroom when my husband is in there. We have a nice section of grass in the postage stamp back yard that is longer than the rest, even though he hasn’t used it in a year!

  20. Nice article! I love that you are defending your small house. We have a 1500 square foot city house that is *almost* too big. It would be too big if there was any “outside” to speak of!

    People laugh when I talk about — maybe — moving to a smaller house with more land!!! :)

  21. Living in a home (currently, anyway) that is less than 1000 square feet, I sometimes need to be reminded what a blessing it is to live in a small space. Like you I love the closesness of the family but I struggle with the clutter because of very little space to put things. It’s taking me a long while to learn to part with things that are no longer useful, needed, or just dont have room for.in this place. But I’m beginning to learn the mindset of contentment and being able to bless others with things we can’t use or don’t want. Thank you for the reminders of why small is good. :)

  22. I’m starting to appreciate a smaller home…why? Because our home is almost 4,000 sqft…and there is a lot to do ALL the time! LOL…not to mention the mortgage…you’re on the right track!

  23. And don’t forget when you get older, the kids grow up, go to college, start their own families. Who still has to clean the family home when there is only Mum, Dad, Spot and Rover left?

  24. Helen Russo says:

    We’ve lived in small houses all our lives. My dh & I’s first house was 925 sf, just right. It had a huge back yard which was fantastic for gardening. Now we live in a 1145 sf house, in which we raised 3 kids. We homeschooled, and during that time I would have loved an additional room, but cost vs need never worked out. ha. We are pretty close as a family and I remember we wouold all end up in the same room, even though there was the rest of the house… still do when everyone is home. Although I don’t have a ton of room I have a decent veggie garden and flower garden. The reasons listed above for a small house apply-3 bedrooms & 1.5 baths are perfect. We also bought a fixer upper and renovated and updated it through the years. The mortgage principal was paid down with extra and we are now mortgage free, yay! Definitly prefer debt free living, less stress!

  25. We just moved into a small house. I have always loved small houses. This one is a little over 700 square feet. The one we moved from was also a little over 700 square feet. This one is laid out different and has lots of storage, whereas the last one didn’t even have a bedroom closet! We both love this house! We are finding we need to weed out all the non essential things, which is fine with me. Originally we moved from a 1400 square foot house, so we still have some weeding to do… like all those boxes that haven’t been unpacked for 3 years… lol

  26. Thank you for this post :) There are five of us that live in a small house (900 sq ft) and for all these reasons listed above is why I love it so much! People often ask when we will get a bigger home but really it just works for us!

  27. All of the above, plus, my 1100sf home is less costly to repair. Cleaning? The kids can help, too.

  28. We live in a small house too! I love our little home. I can relate to reason #3 as a smaller home is much easier to decorate because I tend to only accumulate things I love. Speaking of which, where did you find the charming “Welcome to our home” sign? It is awesome.

  29. Greetings from our paid for small home in Nashville, TN! Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. Love this! There are 6 of us in our home. It was 900 square feet with two bedrooms. Then, we finished the basement nearly doubling out space which was such a relief! Now we have much less storage, but that means we can’t accumulate a lot of stuff, yay! If I could change something it would be to have a bigger living room. It’s much too small since we homeschool.

  31. Loved this! My husband and I bought a small home on 40 acres this year. Our initial plan was to start building a second, larger home immediately and converting the first house to a rental property. Our third baby was on the way and we were just “”sure”” there wasn’t enough room in the little house.

    A few months after being, here, though, and we scrapped our plans for building right away. We are happy here for now, and though we will eventually probably build or add on we are going to take our time and do it the way we really wanted to (using eco-friendly materials). Oh, and I LOVE how our small space has motivated our kids to explore outside. We can barely get them to come in now!

  32. miss Jimmie says:

    We have been downsizing since we married three years ago and combined households from previous marriages. He is now 70, and I am 65. You can only imagine hoe much unwanted or unneeded stuff we had. We are actually moving in 2 weeks into a very small (830 sq. Ft.) 1 bedroom, 1 bath house. It’s so cute, with a nice large bedroom,
    and a nice living, dining, and kitchen great room. We just sold two sets of twin beds (that we bought just last year), two beautiful wing back tapestry chairs (that we never sat in), and three nice bar chairs (that two of them were never sat in). NEEDLESS TO SAY…I am so very thrilled because the huge housecleaning jobs will be over, less, but very nice furniture will still be used, but not hard to take care of so much!!! My daughters have several pieces of heirlooms now that they can clean and care for, and I can still enjoy, when visiting them. Life’s great now…we can enjoy retirement with less, and live better.

  33. We have a small house too. The kids had enough room to sleep and lots of room to hang out. Out side. We have 5 arces. They always had chores to keep busy and learned how to do things for themselves. From helping to work with their hands and fix stuff that needed repair. They all have family of their own now. Very rarely do they need to call a repair man to fix things. So a family of 5 lived here with how many friends the kids brought home. And now we have 18 grandkids 2 that are great-grand kids .And, guest what we all still fit in this small house. Having the best time of our lives, talking and playing and stilling learning. Family get together and Holidays are Great!!!!!!! I do have to say, it’s nice when they go home. But not to many days go by that we are all back with another gathering!!!!!

  34. Karen Haynes says:

    We first moved into our 900 SQ.FT ‘starter home’ when our first born was a year old. We had an additional child later and now STILL live in the starter – or as my hubby calls it, “our BOX house because we’ll leave in a box”! With only one bathroom, we soon worked out a schedule for four people trying to get going in the morning – 1 in the shower and the other three sharing the mirror and sink. There was NO such thing as privacy or shyness!. It helped as we went camping and hunting ALL in one very tiny tent for many years! Both boys are married now and live in large houses. I think the Grandchildren are missing out on a life experience that a tiny house gives!

  35. Amen, and amen! Our family of 9 moved from 1800 sq feet to 4,000 this summer. We are currently in the process of moving back! Big houses are not all they’re cracked up to be. From someone who has been able to sample the “other side,” trust me– everything on this list is true! :-)

  36. We are a family of 5 (hubby, myself and our 3 boys ages 13, 8 and 6) living in a 150 sq ft class C motor home! Yes 150 that’s not a typo! We have been traveling the country full-time for 17 months and it looks like we have found a place we want to settle down and begin our small homestead. We have started looking for a home but everything seems huge compared to what we live in now. Cleaning is so easy in the RV it literally takes me 1 minutes to sweep and vacuum. I LOVE your post because I can relate to every single one of your reasons why we love to live in a small house!

  37. Couldn’t agree more, Jill! We love our little home, but I never stopped to think about all the reasons why until I read your post! Thanks for sharing your wisdom on the joys of a small home. It’s not the size of the home that matters, it’s what’s happening within it’s walls. Lots of love is what makes a house a home. Love to you, sweet friend!, and blessing for a Happy New Year! :)

  38. Miki Wagner says:

    For the last 10 years we lived in a travel trailer. Two of us and two mini schnauzers. Learned to live with very little and still water bathed and pressure canned. Totes for storage. But the experiences we had during that time are irreplaceable! Now we are in a mobile in the middle of nowhere and still canning but more clutter and stay home. Trade off? Actually love both lifestyles! Don’t mind the bit of clutter now. Have a Happy New Year!

  39. We were able to purchase a home just under 900 sq ft on two and a half private acres for $45k 3 years ago this January. At the time it was 3 of us but now that my daughter has moved back home and had a baby and we have acquired 2 dogs we have decided to expand. We were initially thinking of an addition but it would cost about $70k for what we want to do. If we do a “modular” (Amish made) 2 story garage/ barn it’s twice the space for about $32k. Just waiting on the permits now. The space will be so versatile and it’ll add value to the property so we can maybe one day make our “retire to the mountais debt free” dream come true. We moved from a house that was 1600 sq ft and I am unfortunately the only family member who is NOT a pack rat so it’s been a challenge but thanks for articulating all the reasons I’m so happy we did this!

  40. Miki Wagner says:

    Guess I should have mentioned that we are from FL and traveled out West for the 10 years. Cheyenne in the Summers and T or C, NM or Quartzsite, AZ in the winters. Spent two Summers in Silver City, NM also. We did work (I waitressed) as we went but what a hoot!

    Now DH is sick and we are so glad we took a chance and traveled when we did.

  41. Amen Sister!! Our family of 4 lives in a 960 sq ft house… and have done so for 13 years now. My favorite quirk— I can plug in the vacuum in the hallway and vacuum the entire house without changing plugs!

  42. Dunja Marcum says:

    We live in a 970 sq ft plus renovated garage into work space house. When I moved in here 10 ys ago, still single, with 2 babies- everyone around me kept saying- what a great starter home! I’ve always been troubled by the quest for a larger home, a nicer home- I am so satisfied with mine, it’s manageable, we have a yard, chickens, we’re safe, we can clean it in one day- sometimes I feel like I need to defend my choice to love my house and never wish to leave. Which seems utterly insane.

    • “sometimes I feel like I need to defend my choice to love my house and never wish to leave. Which seems utterly insane.”

      I can relate! I sometimes have to fight the idea that people think we’re too poor to have a bigger house. But, maybe that is what they think…the older I get, the less I care what people think. :o)

  43. Dear Jill,
    I really liked your entry about loving your small house. My husband Jake and I are Dave Ramsey freaks and have done his plan to become debt free. It took us three very intense years with 5 little kids in tow…but after becoming debt free we saved for another 8 years to by land and build our house. Our house is almost built…and we have lived small for so long…i really feel self conscious and weird moving to a very big home! Our friends and family are so happy for us but I am sincerely embarrassed and wish we had made it TONS smaller. Maybe God will fill it with more kiddos…who knows. ;) Thank you for your sweet blog and for sharing the barn hop with us…I feel so much more connected to my homsteading brothers and sisters. Thank you! May Jesus bless you and yours today.

  44. Diane Gilbert says:

    We also have a small 100 year old farmhouse style home in Alabama. I love it for all the reasons you mentioned above! We had the best family Christmas here 6 adults and 1 child, it was cozy not cramped at all.

  45. I live in a small house and have to disagree with #6. The clutter is everywhere and it doesn’t take much being out of place for the living area to be in chaos! I’m glad you like your small space, but I can’t wait to have a place to put everything!

  46. I enjoy our small house too! The only thing that I look forward to in having a larger home is more room for having people over. My children are young now but when they are teenagers I would like room for them to have their friends over like my parents did. Basically I would just need a bigger family room.

  47. Life of O'Reilly says:

    We are a family of three living in a 1500-square-foot home. I love living in what society considers a small home. Although I love less space to dust, vacuum, heat, and cool, what’s more important to me than size, is the floor plan. We chose to build a new home to get the exact layout we desired. Our common area is an open “great room” with kitchen, dining, living room, and den all together on one side of the house with only one wall of separation into the den with french doors that remain open. It keeps our family closer, as it’s where we spend at least 90% of our waking hours at home. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are on the other side of the house and set up for sleeping only. The bedrooms are clustered together and behind a two-car garage so they are very private. They’re all in the back corner of the house, and much quieter than being on the street. We also chose a smaller home and new construction for efficiency. Our utility costs and homeowner’s insurance are dramatically lower because our home is new. We moved from an older home that was the same size, and our insurance rates dropped 70% and our gas, electric, and water dropped 50%.

  48. I enjoy living in our small home for all the reasons you listed. My question for you and others who have posted comments is how you handle hospitality in a small space. My husband is a pastor and it’s important to us to have people in our home on a regular basis, but I feel very limited by the size of our house. Outdoor entertaining is only possible at certain times of year, and while I enjoy having individual families over and getting to know them better, it would be nice to be able to host large gatherings on occasion. Any thoughts/tips regarding this? Is it possible to have large numbers of people over when you have small eating/sitting areas? How do you handle overnight guests when sleeping space is limited? Any advice would be appreciated!

    • I hear ya Sarah! That is definitely a challenging aspect of having a small house. We have hosted several large gatherings in the summertime, but also actually had a large family Thanksgiving supper here too–I borrowed a long table from our church and set it up in the living room. Sort of unorthodox, but it worked!

      As far as overnight guests, sometimes we have them stay in the kids’ room (and the kids move downstairs for the night). We also have a small travel camper that we are turning into a small “bunkhouse” for guests.

      • We have campstyle loft beds for the little boys, trundles in the other bedrooms as well as a sleep sofa in our main room. When our large family comes to visit all my tables fold out and we have lots of saddle stools tucked under tables as well as benches. We always do buffets because a sit down dinner is just not possible in my almost- a -galley kitchen..I have become an expert at finger foods and such. It’s still hectic but noone complains and its so much cozier to be smooshed up together to hang out.

  49. For 9 years now we’ve lived in our walk-out basement with 2 floors above that are under construction. I am learning to cope with insulation backing as my wallpaper, concrete walls and quilts for room separators. It’s been a challenge, but the 6 of us have enjoyed being together under these conditions. By the time we finish the upper floors we may have had all 4 sons married off!

  50. Lynn Loehr says:

    I live in a 964 square foot house with a hubby and 4 dogs, two of which are big. When our son and his wife visit we have their 4 dogs and my grandduaghter. Talk about togetherness, but the rest of the time it’s all the things you said! I love my tiny house and that it’s so cozy!

  51. I keep seeing everyone talk about Dave Ramsey. Maybe part of my resolution will be to check his advice out for ourselves this week for New Year’s.

  52. We, too, live in a small home that is nearly 80 years old. When people come inside, they are shocked to learn that we have an upstairs, a semi-finished basement (a recent upgrade to add a little square footage) and five bedrooms. It is amazing what early builders were able to pack into small square footage. The best part, the mortgage! We feel so lucky that we aren’t strapped by a big mortgage payment each month!

  53. Jill,
    Love this post. It’s about time that we cozy cottagers started bragging on our benefits. We love our little 800 square foot cottage. As a matter of fact we are about to buy our first home & we are (like you) looking for small homes with land.

  54. I live in an above average size suburban tract home. My dream is to live in a 1200-1500 square foot cottage in the woods. Since I still need to work for another 15 years, that will only be a dream for now. You are absolutely right, there is way too much to clean when your home is big. Three bathrooms, eight sinks, many fans, many windows, stairs, hallway, etc, etc.

    At least I find cleaning relaxing.

    And we paid it off, free and clear. It really does feel good.

    I love what you write here. You are living my dream.

  55. The Ellioit Homestead put this on her Wall. I love this post. I have a small house and agree with your reasons. We are living in our “fixer-upper” for 19 yrs (our length of our marriage so far) and don’t plan on moving. We almost have our house paid for and it’s less for me to clean. I don’t like having a house that there are rooms never used and I think our house is cozy, ranch home. :) We added new insulation in the attic and new windows and siding and a new kitchen (but we need another new kitchen as it’s not working for us but it is), etc. Thanks for the post. :)

  56. Great article! I envy your small home.

  57. I once lived in a LARGE house, my wife and I that is.

    We bought it with an eye toward buying the lots on either side, which would give us juuuuust short of 4 acres, with 300 feet of creek ON our property, cutting through the back third of the entire place. Lots of hard wood, plenty of open ground for critters or crops…

    …then…suddenly…a year ago…the house SUDDENLY got quite small, when our son moved in.

    With his wife.

    And their kids, thankfully JUST two of our 5 grandsons!

    …SISTER Mary Francis this place is SO small now!

    …I’ve considered sleeping in a camping hammock in the goat shed…but they wouldn’t leave me alone…

    Either!

    • KC Myers says:

      You are cracking me up. I’m chuckling. Thanks for the lift!

      • …I’m glad somebody is getting a chuckle outta my life!!!

        [...I'd laugh at me too, if I wasn't me!! Hmmm, kinda went all ZEN there for a second didn't I...? Or did I..... ]

  58. We sold our big suburban home and built a smaller home closer in the city. It was actually more expensive because of the location…but we knew that going in. I’m also a big fan of Dave Ramsey. Doing the 100% down plan on the new house was an experience I’ll never forget.

  59. Thank you for this article! Our house is not quite 1,000 sq ft. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I don’t know how you live in this house”, we could add on! :o)
    We have a small house payment and small utility bills. A second bathroom would come in handy sometimes, but we’ve always made it work. I’m glad to know there are other HAPPY small house owners out there. Thanks again for the article and encouragement.

  60. I have to admit, I am super jealous!!!! Our homestead came with a 120 year old farmhouse that had been added on to and is 2,700 sq feet. We came from 1,064 and I want it back (minus the fact that it was on a tiny lot in a neighborhood)!!!!!
    Don’t get me wrong, I love the old farm house, but we have a 5 bedroom house and my 3 boys all share a bedroom (BY CHOICE). The biggest consequence in our house is to have to sleep in a different room!!!!! We have an entire bedroom that is wall to wall with STUFF being stored… I work fiercely trying to declutter, and then someone comes over and we stuff more… I feel you on the storage space. I don’t have any closets for vacuum cleaners and brooms nor do I have a pantry, but hubby has plans for that kind of stuff.
    We love so many aspects of our house, but if we could cut it in half, we would be so much more in love with it!!!!!

  61. Love this post. I can’t believe how many people think 1,000 + sqft is so small though! I love my 450 sq ft cabin :)

  62. I loved this article! We too live in 1000 sq. ft. home with 2 bedrooms and one bath, with 3 children and one on the way. But we love it and totally agree that its much easier to keep clean and de-cluttered. I would love to see pictures of your home!

  63. As many others I also live in a small house. It is about 1,000 sf with and attached garage. The bedrooms are small and we have only 1 bathroom but having a family room also gives us 3 rooms to entertain with. We have living room, kitchen and family room all next to one another, so you don’t have far to see others or hear them. It is a cozy home and with huge fields in the back reminds me of living in the country. It doesn’t take forever to clean and we are still trying to downsize a bit more. I tend to keep sentimental items longer. Never regretted buying the smaller house and love it completely.

  64. Katherine says:

    I really like that you like your home. And I sooooo like that you are happy there. It seems to me that so many people spend so much time trying to keep up to the Jones’ anymore and their lives are a poor reflection of what they imagine the neighbors down the streets life to be. Got to keep up ‘appearances’ and all that. My home is maybe a little bigger than yours but it is not the biggest house I have ever lived in either. What matters the most to me is that I’m happy here. And I also think if you are happy in your home it reflects everywhere else. And clutter can take over anywhere if we are not watchful, but maybe clutter tells a few of it’s own stories, like how our personalities have changed as we have changed and grown, and changed. God bless you. :)

  65. All I can see about small ,homes is there’s no privacy and nowhere to store food long term. Not even space for off season clothes and extra blankets or even vcuum cleaners. Glad you enjoy it but no way i would’ve put all my kids in one room. My sanity is so worth a larger home. Nowhere for sewing machine, crafts, etc. Herbal storage. couldn’t imagine in a million years. Food storage being the most important. What do you do about that?

    • My husband, 4 children and I live in an 880 square foot 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house with an unfinished basement. We preserve and keep food in a pantry area in the basement. I also carved out a sewing area that is quite cute down there. There is a section of totes for out of season stuff, a room for hubby’s hobby, a laundry area and a play area. It can be tight and storage tricky, but it is quite possible.

  66. I could not agree more. We moved from a 3,000 square foot house with a basement into a 1,400 square foot house with a basement about four years ago. I loved the 3,000 square foot house (it was really old and I LOVE old houses), but I do not miss it. It was so much to keep up with, clean, heat, cool, etc. I love my small house!

  67. Elizabeth Miller says:

    Love the article and all the great responses. Simple storage for small homes: If you have a coffee table, make it a trunk you can store things in. Decorate with things you also use. Use an old discarded piano bench, kept under the kitchen table, for extra seating (and a little storage, too!). Use “decorator”-type boxes that fit beside (or under) furniture in living area for things you want to get to easily, eg needlework, magazine/books, etc. Drop-leaf table. Make “occasional” tables small dressers instead. You don’t have to put things in the drawers that go in that room, eg bedding can be stored outside bedrooms, wherever. Decorative coat racks (in living room, or hallway) vs living room closet space. Get rid of something/s every time you clean. Keep blankets/afghans in zippered bags stashed behind the couch. Love this place!

  68. Jill, you are so funny! We lived in small boxy house in Iowa (5 children in 900 sq feet, oiy) until we moved to our current place, a BIG sprangly sprawling train depot-turned-into-a-house, about 12 years ago. I’d definitely go with a smaller house, but this is where we landed so we’re making the best of it. One thing about a big house–you never run out of projects! We’re doing a slooooow remodel of the basement right now (Here’s a post I wrote about it if you’re interested) http://vomitingchicken.com/bravery-enigmatic-messages-mummified-mice-basement-remodel/
    and believe me when I say there are times when I wish it was MUCH smaller. But oh well. Blessings on you, my friend, and your darling little house. I’d love to see pics of what you’ve done on the inside!! Stay warm!

  69. I am glad I found you :) I search a lot of people with the same size house as me. I feel like looking at massive houses all day can make for a messed up perspective. I have to say though that I feel like my house is huge(1000sqft)! I started looking into tiny houses a little over a year ago and my whole perspective changed! Now I want a tiny house in the woods :) Thanks for sharing!

  70. Reading this post was like reading about my home, haha. Our home is about 1200 s/f and we just purchased a small wood stove. We had the same concerns as you, will this sucker heat us out of the house! And yes, owning homes this small, creative storage and living is a must, not a want. We’ve been here 15 years and not wanted for a thing, so I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job.

  71. i don’t want to sound like a jerk but why only pictures of you shingles and not the interior?

  72. Great post and I feel the same! We bought a little house 6 months ago and I lovingly call it the Blue Cottage. I love it and am decorating it with thrifty finds.

    You might enjoy this post: http://www.dagmarbleasdale.com/2014/01/nesting-in-our-little-cottage/

  73. We too live in a relatively small house. It’s actually 1900 sq feet, but there are 2 adults and 6 teenagers living here. They’ve lived here all their lives and sometimes compare their space to their friends but overall the smaller house has greater benefits!

  74. My husband and I bought a 592 sq ft. home. I’m a bit nervous about making the space work for us but it will be neat to shop all the creative storage solutions available through places like Ikea.

  75. I used to live in a small apartment and it was fine. We just had to learn to be creative. Then we moved to a little bit bigger apartment. Which was OK. Now I am in a double wide trailer and it is fine but to big. I say this as there is three of us and it has three bedrooms and two baths. Sometimes I seem to not even find my son or husband. Plus all the cleaning is not fun.So I am also ready for smaller.

  76. We currently live in a 100+ year old farmhouse too. 3 bedrooms, 1000sq ft…and there’s 7 of us. It is mighty tight, but I also have a passion of decluttering…so we don’t own a lot. Often my kids ask when they will get their own rooms…and I laugh, never. But the truth is, that me and my siblings all had our own rooms growing up…yet we completely lacked what my kids have…close friendships. Someday I know they’ll thank me…at least I hope they will.

    :)Lisa

  77. Oh my gosh! My house is 923 sq ft and I couldn’t agree more! I never want a big house. Every reason you listed was spot on. I kept thinking.. is she going to mention.. family togetherness? and then.. easy to clean? but you hit every great point!

  78. Wow! I’m from Spain, and here 1100 square foot houses are considered medium-to-big sized houses! Maybe it’s because it’s more common living in a flat… I was raised in a 600 square foot flat in a family of 4, and that’s absolutely usual here. It’s surprising when we watch american or canadian tv shows about home makeovers how big your houses are in comparison, haha :D

  79. Laurie Martin says:

    Yup….6 of us (so far), in a 900 square foot trailer. One income but no debt!

  80. Sarah Kroeger says:

    My family lives in a small house to. Around 1100 square feet or a little smaller. We are expecting our 5th child in about 3 months and although sometimes I dream of a bigger house right now we are where God wants us to be and I am doing everything I can to make our strange, 100 year old, small rooms, one bathroom, tiny (almost microscopic LOL) kitchen home work. I would love to have a home that was a little bigger but I would still have my children share bedrooms. I think it would be wonderful to have a craft room and a school room though. We also live in the country so we also get outside a lot. We may feel squished at times but I’d rather be a little squished with all my family around me then in a huge house and never spend time together.

  81. I love this post! We made the mistake of buying a big house and haven’t enjoyed it because it’s so daunting to care for it. A house shouldn’t take such a priority in our lives, our time, our money, our energy, etc. Also, we don’t use all these rooms – we like to be together! We live in 1/3 of this house. I am already looking for something smaller and cozier. Your post is spot-on. It’s smarter to buy only what you need, make it beautiful, and pay it off! :)

  82. We just downsized to a 1250 sq ft house. It had been a vacation home, and we’ve slept 12 people here before. When we decided to move here full time, we had a contractor friend make a lot of changes for more storage. We use every inch, but I love it! So much easier to clean, and when our last child isn’t home, we don’t use the 2nd floor at all, saving on heat/ac. We do have 2 bathrooms – we’d struggle mightily with 1! – but downstairs is just a living room, kitchen, and master bed/bath. I do have an old 1937 bridge tenders cottage on the property as my office, which is why we can live in the 750 sq ft of the first floor with no problem. :) I’ll give up a bigger house for a small house on the water and with land any day!

  83. We are currently finishing the work on our 529 sq ft retirement home. We sold our sprawling house in Phoenix and moved home to Colorado to the ranch. We are building what we can afford without a mortgage. I have maximized every square inch of this house and will be happy to live in my small house for pretty much every reason you listed.

  84. I also love our small home. The closer you are together as a family the closer you become.

  85. We agree- small houses are great. Well-built and energy efficient, that’s even better. Built to your specifications and delivered to you fully assembled and ready for same day use, that’s the best! Please see http://www.amishcabincompany.com for our 5 models of cabins, each built by the Amish on an off-grid Kentucky farm, and then delivered to you! Solar power options available. Thanks.

  86. I loved this post. THANK YOU. Our home is approx. 1300 sq. feet. with 3 bedrooms and 11/2 baths. We have lived here for almost 27 years and have no plans on moving. We love this house and have put our heart, soul, sweat and tears into this place. I, too, have had people make comments like….oh you are still in your starter home….are you still in your small home….how can you live with only 1.5 bathrooms….oh you don’t have a fireplace. I used to be REALLY sensitive about the comments and felt like I had to defend our lifestyle. I am about to turn 50 and getting to the point where I care less and less about what people say or think! People are floored when they visit and see how big this little house lives. My husband is a genius when it comes to remodeling and the use of space. To me there is no better compliment than when I am told how comfortable my house feels. Small homes rock! Thank you again for this post!

  87. I love small houses! And I have the perfect song for your small house that has a few reasons that you list! :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS3GXsDoDYY

  88. As renters who cannot buy at this time ( we used up all our savings helping our abused daughter and 3 grand-kids get away from a monster) I would love to own a house like yours! Its a precious little house! I think houses have feelings, and im sure yours is very proud! Its so cute! People should learn to appreciate your home when they visit you. Its doing everything a large home can do.. keeping you warm and dry and filled with love :)

  89. We moved to our current rental from a 1600+ sq. ft. home, and our current rental is around 900 sq. ft. It was a big adjustment! However, I am so glad we did because we have found that we love it! The only thing is that I wish our house made it easier to host, but we can still do outside things. And our little living room feels so much more “homey”

    PS–as I was reading this I was wishing we had pictures of your home :) Photo tour! Photo Tour! lol

  90. We will soon be a family of 9 in a 1000sqft house in the city. I’d love to see pics of inside of your house!

  91. I was born and raised in a little 70 year old farm house. My grandmother grew up in it too! We have 300 acres surrounding us and that has been my favorite about growing up here! When I leave the nest I plan on having more land then house also!
    I can’t manage a big house. How bout a big barn? That’s what I need!

  92. Just found your blog. Love it!! Now I’m gonna have to spend all afternoon browsing. :)
    I love this post. We also live in a small, old farmhouse. Seven of us living in 1300 square feet! But, you know what? I love living in a small house, too. For all the reasons you mentioned. Especially the cleaning part! I am a litte obsessed with having a clean house, and even though we had more storage and living space in our last house we lived in, (it had three bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a large laundry facility, and 4 bedrooms), I HATED having to clean that place. The little third bathroom in the laundry room was usually neglected. And I can keep track of the kids better in our small house. Definitely a perk.
    Now, off to browse your blog! :)
    Beth.

  93. I love your little house and all the blessings and benefits of it that you shared! My husband and I also live in a great little house, but on a river, and it’s exactly 1100 sq ft. :) We are cozy and have to let material things go and that keeps life flowing through. We live more outside, enjoying nature and others. Sending blessings to you Jill, love who you are and what you are up to!
    Warmly,
    Angela
    A Ranch Girl from Utah originally

    • Thank you for your kind comment Miss Angela! And I’m just a wee bit jealous of your river-side home, I must confess. :)

      • Angela Feist says:

        You’re cute! I’m a little jealous of your many acres vs. my two and your gorgeous rooster and beautiful cow, her eyes reveal her deep love for you… She’s a happy cow. I grew up on a dairy farm, so I know that look.:) Have a wonderful weekend!

  94. Delores hoilday says:

    I too have a small house and at first I felt that I had to explain the size but it was all me who had some isues at first, I love my home I call it my mini mansion I find new ways to make changes love being creative I am about to add a deck to it it will be high up so I can look down in my yard, that to me looks like a small park with great landsape thanks for your imput

  95. I couldn’t agree more with you.

  96. Hi Jill, I’m late to the party here, but just want to say KUDOS to you for this post! I live in a very big (5 BR) home in the Chicago suburbs. It’s always been too big for my family (2 kids, 1 large dog, hubby and me), but we opened it up often for ministry, church gatherings of 80-110 people), travellers, etc., so that made me feel less self-conscious about the size of it.

    That said, I am currently living up in SW Wisconsin with my 22 y.o. son, helping him to start up his farm. Like you, he lives in a little 96 y.o. farmhouse now! The previous owner had added on a new (and stunning) kitchen plus mudroom off the back of the house, and because of the topography with the back side of the house heading down a hill, it also allowed for an addition to the farmhouse basement, so now there’s a lovely extra space down there with a walkout entrance with patio…well, it WILL BE a patio, right now it’s a mud pit, LOL!

    Anyway, all that to say that if you somehow get the “sprawling farmhouse,” you will enjoy it FOR A TIME, but the headaches of a large place, IMO and having experienced it these last 14 years, the headaches of it outweigh lots of the benefits. If I had to do it again, I honestly don’t know if I would. We desperately want to sell now and downsize, but there is so much house to “fix up” and re-paint and re-carpet and re-finish now, and it’s my and my hubby (kids are in WI and away at school), and we feel old, LOL!

    Unless you want LOTS of kids who will help you with that big house, or you plan to “open it up” as we did for the blessing of strangers and friends, I’d say steer clear, and stay cozy and debt-free in your beautiful “little” farmhouse. My son’s is just perfect, and I’d have loved it just as much as my big one to raise a family in, maybe more.

    Blessings,
    Lori
    PS: the website in the form is the biz website (and THANK YOU for teaching us how to peel fresh hardboiled eggs today!), but you can see his 96 y.o. little farmhouse at my blog: http://farmbeginnings.blogspot.com

  97. 1100 is NOT small! the average house in Amsterdam (Netherlands) is around 400/500 if you’re lucky… 100 for us is huge

  98. I live in a 1500 sf townhouse in Northern Virginia. My whole family and most everyone here thinks you must live in a big house, live near the metro, etc…so my house is very small in comparison. Well I was able to be a stay at home mom AND single mom by having a very low mortgage and getting roommates. I would say out of the 1500 sf, I live in 800 sf. I have a small living room, which is one of two rooms on a whole level (the other is the kitchen). Anyway, I’m glad I came across this article and found that there are others like me. I love knowing that, if I really wanted to, I could pay off my house in 7-10 years, or I can continue to pay it off monthly and have that much more time with my child. I’m glad I know what is most important in life-for me its not the best paying job or the big house-its being with my child, and having a small house has made this happen for me. Oh, and there is less to clean : )

  99. Bronwyn Burkett says:

    I totally hear where you are coming from!! Our long term dream/plan was to buy land, it was a 10-15 year plan, which we have achieved in 8 years! We have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot, our boys have only ever known us to buy houses, renovate or build and of course moving! We are set where we’re going to stay now, but don’t even have a house! Our original house started as a 266m2 house in town which we hated because it was like a show home. Enormous bills and unless you bought everyone together for a purpose they could quite simply go their own ways! We sold and moved and moved into a house half the size, so re-evaluated the “stuff” we had, sold heaps and downsized everything. We spent 3 years living in a mess renovating, finally got it lovely for the 3 weeks it was being sold and then moved again. This time to our 11 acres of “PARADISE” into our camper (hard roof, canvas sides) with the two boys, three dogs, cat & us. 6 months we did that. I must say, this was taking living in a small space to the extreme. It was ridiculously small – but it was only for 6 months. We built an open four-bay implement shed and promptly pushed the camper in under cover for a couple of months while we enclosed a couple of the bays and then moved in. We now live in our shed (all sharing one room – getting over that as it’s now been nearly a year!!), which is 63m2 and couldn’t be happier. We too only have our mortgage to pay and are loving the simplicity of life. The boys have friends over and they put up their tents in the paddock and spend most of their time in the creek looking for fresh water crayfish or eels (as I listen to them (crayfish/eels) trying to escape their container on the kitchen table!). We want/have to build a house as we can’t live in the shed forever, but it will be smaller. Small is great if the spaces are well organized, uncluttered and functional.

  100. Hi there. Your title caught my eye as we live in a four bedroom house , 2 bathrooms and a few living areas. This was good when our children were home and friends and family travelling to visit and stay with us. Now we are empty nesters-for the last five years. I thought I’d be ok with staying here but about a month ago it hit me that it was really silly staying here, looking after house and garden, even though I love gardening. Would like to concentrate more on a small veggie or herb patch maybe a bit bigger than the tiny patch I have now? So our plan in the next year is to down size. We have a few ideas but nothing concrete. A couple of things need to be finished and then on to the next stage of life. Hubby retires in two months. I blog and enjoy so doing. Blogging is a new adventure for me too….interestingly today I had an amazing lot of visitors to my blog from USA…it must be that it’s spring and people are researching for their gardens or getting out with families, all which I blog about:)
    Alexa from Sydney, Australia
    Blogging at http://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

  101. I agree. Living in a small house has its benefits. Especially if there are only few members in your family and you really don’t need a lot of extra rooms.

  102. I also love our small house. We are getting ready to move and I hope that we move into a house no bigger than the one we’re in now. I am so thankful for the home we are in and as the homemaker, I feel it’s my job to make it as full of love as possible. I want my house to be big in love within, not in square footage. I also like clean homes with no clutter, so in a small house you are forced not to buy too much. I just want a simple life where I can focus more on heaven and less on this earth. I thank God for a beautiful small home where our visitors feel welcomed!