It was once thought that bigger was better. People were buying up these giant homes providing at least a 1,000 sf per person. The tables have now turned since the housing bubble popped. Tiny homes have become the new McMansion. People are protesting the monstrosities of the 4,000 sf home by living in 244 sf apartments. The smaller the better. It’s all about living in a 78 sf apartment – the size of the small closet in an McMansion.
We live in an almost tiny home – not as small as a closet but smaller than what most people live in and smaller than most 2 bedroom 1 bath apartments. It was a conscious decision. When we started looking to buy a home our specific requirements were “large property, small house.” That’s exactly what we got. At 750 sf it can be tight for two adults and a teenager. I get asked pretty regularly what it’s like to live in such a small home. Is it worth it? What would I change? So here’s the low down on living in a small house.
- Cleaning the entire place, top to bottom only takes about an hour.
- It limits the amount of junk you can accumulate. And keeps the chicken tchotchkes to a minimum (Tom, I’m looking at you).
- It takes no time at all to heat up the house in the winter. The wall heater is more than enough. And a few fans can cool it down pretty quickly.
- Which leads to less money spent on energy.
- You know that the kids can hear you when you call them.
- Maintenance work and remodeling costs a lot less.
- No storage space and no pantry. Well, our garage serves as our primary storage and as our pantry.
- We had to get rid of a bunch of our furniture when we moved from our previous 970 sf home. Amazingly, 220 sf makes a huge difference when you’re living in relatively small homes.
- Our garage is so small neither of our vehicles fit in it. Mine is too tall to get through the garage door (and it’s not a 4 wheel drive) and Tom’s vehicle is too long to fit in the actual garage. This did help with our decision to turn it into our pantry/laundry room/storage.
- No dining room = no entertaining in the winter.
- The small kitchen makes it a challenge to process a lot of food at once so we’ve now set up a spot outside to do some of our processing. It’s a good thing most of it occurs in the summer. Also not having a dishwasher due to lack of space to put it means that a dish rack takes up a good chunk of our precious counter space.
What is the ultimate feeling about living in a small house? I’d like a bit more room if just for a bit larger kitchen and an actual dining room. A pantry would be nice as well. Not too much more room but a bit more would be good. Would I go smaller? I can unequivocally say “no.”
11 thoughts on “Living in an (Almost) Tiny Home”
And our neighbor is building a 10,000 sf home for just he and his wife. STAFF! I would need STAFF.
your neighbor will have staff, I am almost certain of it, at least on a weekly basis.
i really admire your choice for a home! and al fresco dining is wonderful… you might set up your dining room on that massive big patio – chairs, table, shelves, chicken tchotchkes (yes i copied and pasted lol) and all 🙂
We live in the biggest house I’ve ever lived in. It was a sort of splurge since we were in a little place last move. After 9 months I HATE IT. I hate how much there is to clean, that my children really can’t hear me if they’re in their rooms, and that we sacrificed a big yard even if we don’t have big plans for our short time here. And even with as big as it is, we all still run into each other trying to squeeze around the refrigerator!
Hey, I’ve got an outdoor canning stove that i inherited from my nona. it’s pretty cool – on a rolly cart with storage underneath the burners. would love to give it to someone who would really use it. she had a HUGE garden in san lorenzo, but a tiny kitchen so pops made this little portable stove for her so that she could can her tomatoes and beans outside without making a mess inside.
Our home is 1400 sq ft and I’m ok with the size (we have two kids), but i certainly wouldn’t want to go bigger (unless it is to have a basement for more food storage!) That said, our galley kitchen is horrible for food preservation or serious cooking and there is no pantry as well. We have a kitchen remodel plan in mind, but alas, money is tight, so we’re making do. Our previous home was 1100 sq. ft and was designed in a more useful way, and I wish I had that house on my current lot! The kitchen was HUGE, and we had remodeled it with red Ikea cabinets and yellow wall paint. It felt very retro 50s and very welcoming. I loved being in that kitchen and miss it greatly.
When we lived in an older trailer that was just under 600 sf (just the hubby, myself, and two small pets), I invested in a small drain that fit inside the second sink so that I didn’t waste the cabinet space. When I needed the extra sink for something, I just put the drain rack in my under sink cabinet for a while..
You know, I’ll bet processing all of that food in the summer outside in the lovely bay area is a whole lot more comfortable than doing it inside in a hot and steamy kitchen for hours on end. I may set up a table outside myself…
Great post. I’m on the other end of the spectrum. Not McMansion, but definitely a large home. I hate how much crap can accrue and how long it takes to clean. Because we really use the heck out of our home, it does get dirty, and it takes me about 3 days to really clean it if it’s all dirty at the same time, by which time it is dirty again. (Upstairs: 1 day, downstairs and back patio: 1 day, kitchen: 1 day.) But, because we built it, it really is exactly what we wanted (or at least what we wanted 9 years ago) and I do adore having miles of kitchen counter to work with and ample cupboard space. I could have, theoretically, 400 pounds of produce stacked on my kitchen counters and still have plenty of working room. So my ability to process stuff in a reasonable time is the biggest limiter there. I do have a lot of downsizing fantasies at this point in my life though. I would like to spend less time cleaning.
Also, when I need back-up pot drying area, I throw a cookie-cooling rack across the sink. Stuff drip-dries right into the sink. Recommended if you need to expand your drying area after a cooking/canning project.
The small home movement fascinates me. Thanks for writing about it:) I wonder if it’s just like other things in America where we’re becoming more extremely different or a larger movement into take only what you need. I want to know if there are others from McMansions moving into 450 homes…because that would be a real shift in culture.
I grew up in a 750 and a 625ft home with two siblings, one bathroom. My aunt had two kids and a 5,000 mansion. I remember playing all day without seeing much of her while at her house, but also all the work it was to clean (which we inevitably helped out with). So, as a kid I never wanted a big home. The Man, on the other hand, grew up in the standard sized American home with 3 siblings.
We ultimately bought an 1,100sqft home and it fits perfectly for now. I only wish we had a pantry or larger garage for a freezer (now it only houses a station wagon -snuggly).
We are a family of four living in 800 sf. I agree with everything you say. I can’t imagine cleaning a larger house, because ours takes long enough as it is.
Food preservations season is kind of a circus and we can’t have more than 2 families over for dinner at any one time.
But in the winter we have the coziest space that is heated all day via our 4 south-facing windows.
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