Thoughts On Living Smaller


Today the snow is finally gone. I can see the carpet of leaves again. Oddly enough, there are still leaves on the trees. An occasional gust of wind will send a slew of them blowing to the ground. 
I've found myself spending hours on the internet lately looking at tiny homes, tiny mobile homes, tiny house living. I even ventured as far as Googling decoration ideas; so far Homeclick has given me the best ideas. My heart still yearns to travel that path. 

I've found myself spending hours on the internet lately looking at tiny homes, tiny mobile homes, tiny house living. My heart still yearns to travel that path. 

I would have thought going from my house in Texas, which was about 2200 square feet, to this current rental, which is just over 1000 square feet, would have made me feel that I was greatly downsizing. But I want to do more.

I do believe this concept of living is more a movement than a choice of square footage. It is living with less, with a feeling of greater happiness. And of course, less debt.

I look about me, and I know I could easily give up many things to live in a smaller home. I don't want to go the micro mini of 100-200 square feet. I would bump into myself turning around!

No, I would like to have perhaps 500-600 square feet. Maybe smaller if it was laid out in an open fashion. I think of the money I would save to heat and cool my home. To have less to tend with, to clean. I would like a much smaller yard, so that I could more easily handle it alone. 

I have looked into container home living (think shipping containers). The house above is built from shipping containers.

And then "shed" living is becoming popular as well. Add some solar panels and you could live very economically.

I doubt the desire for large homes will dim anytime in the near future. And if you have the money to live in that size home, why not I suppose. 

But I would feel so much lighter if I had a place that was close to being paid for and cost very little every month to heat, cool, etc. 

More and more people seem to be going the route of buying a house they can actually pay for, and living a less hectic lifestyle. 

Just as I did as a young girl, I still see a white picket fence. Or who knows, I might get a wild hair and paint it red.

If this dream ever comes to fruition for me, I suppose it's just as well that I already have a skinny-minny Christmas tree.

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  1. I lived for years in 700 sq ft apartments and it was fine. The house I have now is twice that, and I do feel I could live without a third bedroom. It becomes a place to store "stuff". Yard work is a real pain to me also. The older I get, the more too many things feel like clutter to me and it sort of gives me hives! I have given a lot of my decorating things to charity this year and plan to keep going with that. Living smaller to me, right now at least, means getting rid of things I haven't used in ages.

  2. love the yellow one with the front porch, they used to be called "shotgun" houses down south. I imagine we'll be downsizing within the next year or two, but I tend to get antsy when I'm in too small a house, but that's because I've always had too much stuff.

  3. I LOVE my little house - at least little by many standards. We're about 1200 sq. feet with one main living space, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms & a little mud/laundry room. It's the 1st house my husband & I bought as newlyweds in 1989. We paid it off in 1999 & hope to never leave.

    I think our choice to be content in our little house with many things that could be updated has lifted a burden for us that many carry. I always wanted my house to feel like you've come home to grandma's house so when I began to feel discontented, I stopped comparing my house to those around me & started comparing it to what my grandparents & my husband's grandparents had - it's a mansion! I'd remember what I loved about their homes & decided I could have all of that for free & a little work on my part.

    Now I DO need to work on the problem of too much stuff. I'm better than I used to be but stuff has to be cared for & I'd rather enjoy life than take care of so many things.

  4. The tiny house movement is fascinating...

    What I have seen in MY area ( western PA, south of pittsburgh ) is the opposite. It used to be beautiful around here...long stretches of farmland ...there was a break for the eye and view...

    Now? No. One after another farm or stretch of land has been bought up for one after another housing plan of McMansions or Stepword Wife Villas.. all the same / ugly and horrible.. and local shopping malls closed and wasted for strip malls down the road.

    1. Yes..the developers and all the people who buy into that lifestyle have ruined beautiful Eastern PA..and you have the frackers, times my small house still feels too big...but I will never manage a loft bedroom with a ladder and always want to have a woodstove for cozy winter fires!

  5. I live in a one bedroom apartment that is just under 600 square feet. I have lived in apartments all of my adult life. I always caution people about storage. Living long term in an apartment with limited storage is a problem. One has to learn the difference between need and want.

  6. I am really enjoying my smaller space now. Downsizing feels so good. I know I can get rid of more then I have and will work on it. I'm good with about 900 sq ft

  7. Have you seen this blog?
    she recently moved into an RV with her 2 school age children and has some very helpful advice.

    I am interested in living smaller too, but it won't happen right now- maybe a few years down the road though.

  8. Well the good thing is it is just a home for you, so you can call all the shots and not have to compromise with a partner. One person needs less space than 2 or more too. My husband and I will probably buy one more house in our lifetime and it will be a modest size with a master on the main. Currently, it's upstairs and we know that won't work when we get older. We have discussed what we want and agree on most things. We look forward to that time when we can find or build our final home together.

  9. I would love to live smaller but husband won't even entertain the idea. Less to clean, less to collect, less less less..............starting with less crap in my basement, which I cannot seem to handle.

    I love your thoughts on this, truly - thing is we entertain often and I would HATE to do that in a tiny home.....but if I didn't, I could easily see less - in the woods though, so solar is out. I would give anything to live deep in the woods in a quiet world with a nice wood burning stove......

  10. I find that concept just intriguing, Brenda. I don't know if I could ever go that small but I appreciate that some people can. I love that this movement is sweeping the country and it will be interesting to see where it goes. SO glad you have your skinny minny tree already! xo Diana

  11. A few years ago the smaller houses were a rage, even on wheels so you could pull them behind your car/truck and relocate if you wanted. They are darling, but I think I would have a problem with climbing a ladder to a loft to sleep and anyways, would I really want such a small space that you couldn't even whip a cat in, lol. It would definitely be something worth pondering and something where a PRO and CON list would be needed.
    Susanne :)

  12. I am trying to simplify all aspects of our lives. Cleaning things out, getting rid of old junk and trying to be content with what life is for me right now. I love those cottages you have featured. All I want is tall ceilings and lots of windows - not a ton of square footage.

  13. I think you would enjoy living in a smaller house that was ALL yours.. But, I would worry about tornados, especially in OK.
    I know that you have the necessities to fill a little home. I hope someday you'll have what would fulfill your dreams. I could see you living in the first one with the white picket fence..
    Have a happy, cozy day.
    Charlotte in Virginia

  14. Still dreaming of my small cottage. For me simple has become a goal. I am happy with smaller living. xo Laura

  15. Don't give up on your dream! For many years I longed to move to a small cottage. I would even design floor plans in my head. After raising five children I longed to downsize everything. This is the year it actually happened! While we didn't end up building the cottage in my head, we did find a cottage development that suited us perfectly. Instead of a 3000 sq. ft. home we now live in one that is 1500 sq. ft.

    I hope your cottage dream comes true for you too!

  16. I enjoy going to IKEA when I am in Texas and I love looking at how you can decorate small spaces.

  17. :) Dream and pla, Brenda, but one suggestion -- no lofts for you!

  18. Our last two homes have been much smaller and I love it. The only thing I miss is having a second bathroom when we have guests. And we still have lots of guests ... they don't mind sleeping in the office or dining room. :)


  19. I love little houses, though they can be frustrating at times when rearranging all that "stuff" that can accumulate. I am constantly cleaning out to keep it from feeling to cluttered. I can't ever see myself living in a big home, even though I grew up in a great big victorian home. I see how much work it takes for my parents to keep that big old house up! I can whip through this little house in a few hours and have the whole thing cleaned up. Which leaves me more time to pursue the things I enjoy. Working in my yard, sewing, quilting and playing with my granddaughters!

  20. Small houses can be a wonderful thing especially if you can pay off your house and have less debt! We bought our place late last Summer and we looked at lot of more expensive places, but then elected to buy this one which we could pay off and still have a little money in the bank. So far, I've been very happy with that choice!

  21. Anyone can live in a big space, but it takes a creative person to be able to live comfortably in a small space. Last year we went from 2500 sq ft to 1250. I do miss my beautiful master bed/bath, but other than that I'm just fine. In March, we will have to move again. I'm not sure where we will end up or how big of a place it will be, but my guess is it will be even smaller because it will be temporary until we can sell the business. The cabin is just over 1700 sq feet, and for us that's just about perfect, I'm happy as long as I have a craft space to call my own.

    Hopefully, in a year or two we will be rv'ing across the country and get a true feel of what it's like to live in REALLY small spaces. After that we hope to find or build our forever home wherever we feel like and make the dream a reality...but you know what they say Brenda...if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans. ;)

  22. This is beginning to sound better and better to me. I could easily live in a much smaller house...but I'm married to a "big" man who is claustraphobic, so that's out of the question for us.
    I think of getting older and not having all the work inside and out when living with more room. I love the open concept...I hope that you can fulfull your dream someday. It would be wonderful for you...I can just see how you would decorate it.
    Keep dreaming...they do come true.

  23. My house is just over 900 sq feet and it is perfect for my family of 4. We can afford it and it is so cozy! Wouldn't trade it for anything!

  24. We've had to move and downsize due to my husband's job layoff and then finding a job in another state. It's been a difficult year, but the result is we've gotten rid of a lot of stuff that used to seem like a security blanket, but then turned into dead weight as we dealt with the chores of moving. We are in the process of selling a house of 1100 square feet, and have moved into a rental of 900 square feet. Neither is that large, but the rental actually seems more spacious due to a better floorplan, and due to us having less stuff in it. We have family members who have much bigger homes, and if they can afford it, fine for them. But for us, smaller is better and is what we can afford.

  25. I have to admit that as much as I love flea markets, garage sales and antique malls, I don't stop anymore as there is nothing I need or want....
    I hate to watch the house hunter shows where the people are walking around looking at houses and want 4 bathrooms and more bedrooms...and the international ones where the Americans complain about the small European houses, especially the ones with NO dishwasher!!.....have met lots of Americans who have moved to Europe and have said if they move back to the US they will move into a small house...

  26. I raised 2 daughters in my 940 sq. ft. house. But, it's too big now. I enjoy looking at smaller options!

    I have faith in you. Your dream will come true...

  27. Hi Brenda. I hear you, I really do! I would love to downsize, but right now I'm "stuck", and that's the true word for it. But you made me think a few years ahead. What would I take if I were moving into an 800 square foot post WWII bungalow? Small rooms, no upstairs unless I wanted to convert and remodel (which I do not!). I started looking around here, and I decided on a relatively few pieces, but they are not small! The desk and chair I'm working at right now; my curio cabinet; my very large hutch and china cabinet which is stuffed full of books, my egg collection, and lots of tax records and personal storage, and my 35" square chow style coffee table, which is probably 38" square when the bowed legs are taken into consideration :) I would also take my recliner, and one wing chair, if they fit. Built-in bookcases would be a must. A Murphy Bed and/or sleeper sofa. And a fireplace. I must have a fireplace. Would LOVE a small yard at this point in my life. I don't mind doing yard work, I actually enjoy it, but my body and energy levels these days don't always cooperate :) There are lots of small houses on small lots in the Milwaukee, WI area here I live. Building custom made, though, would be a problem, due to zoning regulations. Land is expensive here, except in the inner city where burned out houses are slowly being demolished, leaving vacant lots behind. Nobody wants to live there (including me). There are minimum square footage requirements in every municipality with the greater Milwaukee County area. I expect it is much the same elsewhere, too. I'm thinking that a house built out of shipping containers would not pass inspection in this neck of the woods, LOL! But there is much to be said for smaller and more efficient. One of my friends lives in a house that is about 830 square feet (being generous). I could do a lot with a house like hers, while she yearns for a house like I have right now (about 1650 square feet). Oh the irony.

  28. I am not ready to live small yet, but the photos of the little cottages are adorable!

  29. Some of these teeny tiny house are sooo cute. I couldn't live in one so small but they are so charming and precious to look at.

  30. This is such an interesting post. Having gone from a large home to a small home, I find it liberating, but I have to be careful about accumulating too much. We have just under 1100 square feet with a three season porch that has the laundry area, and that has 300 square feet.

    The hard part is one bathroom.

    I wouldn't want to have too small a lot though, because I plan to grow my some of my own food.

    I love the samples. I don't think I could go the size of a trailer, but 800 would be interesting.

  31. These places are precious. I could do it, but I have to swear off being a magpie. ;-)

  32. I have not forgotten about the little house option but in a wheelchair as I am now would not be a good idea but I still like the thought of it for so many reasons as you described. I sure dont see a white picket fence in my future. But tk about all the savings Brenda! Right now I want my car to start and out of this wheelchair. I believe God has a reason. Thanks Brenda. Sometimes less is More! Love it!

  33. I love the yellow shed living house! Super cute!! ~ Jamie

  34. I could so live in the yellow shed/house lol! but y heart also yerns for enough space for 8 grands & big family gatherings, as far as homes go they'll also be either too big or too small lol!

  35. Just thinking. Remember your ankle won't let you do a lot of stairs or a ladder. I know because I have trouble with my ankle and my legs being stiff. Keep your home big enough to enjoy because you like to decorate and it is a safe place for you. Like you said a small yard is good because taking care of it is costly if you can't do very much. I love the way you fill spaces with hometown goodness. Have enough room in your home to keep an exercise bike or some kind of exercise equipment you can use. So you can stay mobile. Since you love your home you want it big enough to enjoy and yet small enough to be frugal. I have all electric right now and I do know with a new gas furnace gas costs much less. Just want to help and tell you what little I know. Thank you for sharing this post with us. Now on to read all the comments. Thanks again!

  36. I agree with you that smaller can be better for so many reasons. If it weren't for doing without our kitchen, I liked living in only half our home during its recent remodel. It really made me rethink how we live...

  37. If my house wasn't equipped with a revolving door for my kids right now, I would definitely love living in a smaller place. I actually went from a place that was about 950 square feet to an 1800 sf. house with vaulted ceilings, 4 bedrooms, a second story and a full finished basement. It's a town home and I don't have to worry about anything outside my own walls, but I feel like when the kids finally get on their feet for good, it may be just too much house for me.

  38. I follow TINY HOUSES too on FB. Our first condo was 500 sf. It was awesome and open - I would love to go back to that ... My grandparents raised a huge family in about 800 sf .... I would love that house if it ever went for sale just for the memories (and they kept it so cute even w-all us grandkids). Less is MORE!

  39. Great information. Thanks for providing us such a useful information. Keep up the good work and continue providing us more quality information from time to time. Pittsburgh Carpet fitting


I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!


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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She majored in professional writing/journalism in college, where she won awards for her feature writing. She loves to decorate, garden, enjoy nature, read and spend time with her Yorkies.


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