Living in a small house can be frustrating when it feels like you don’t have enough space.
Our home is 1,200 square feet which is small compared to many people’s homes. There are days when I think we need a bigger home, but then I’m reminded that our house really is big enough for our family of three. The previous owners lived in our house over forty years and raised five children in our home! If they could make it work, I know we can too.
We have lived in our home almost two years now and before that we lived in a 900 square foot mobile home for five years. Through the years I have learned that there are some definite strategies to making a small home livable and more enjoyable.
1. Keep a Positive Perspective
Last year when we returned home after visiting family, my one year old was so excited to be in his house! He ran around from room to room squealing for about 20 minutes.
As I watched him, I thought “He loves his home! It doesn’t have to be huge, brand new, or magazine worthy. It just has to be his.”
Even though living in a small home does have a few drawbacks, there are some pretty awesome perks too. For starters, I have little to clean and maintain which allows me more free time.
Another great perk is that we save a good amount of money on our mortgage and utilities. If you would like to read about other great reasons to love a small home, check out this post at Living Well Spending Less.
It can be easy to compare our small homes to other people’s bigger homes and wish that we had all of that space, but it is so important to focus on all that you do have rather than on what you don’t have!
Think about your home from a positive perspective. Instead of listing all of the negative things about your home, make a list of all the great things about your home.
2. Declutter Regularly
In a small space, clutter becomes much more noticeable and can get in the way. When I start to complain that we are running out of space, it usually means that we have too much clutter.
The problem isn’t necessarily that we are running out of space but rather we are cluttering up our home with too many things.
I love the quote from Melissa Micheals in her book Love the Home You Have*,”When we let the clutter multiply around us…we become managers of things, shufflers of papers, searchers of lost keys.”
Go room by room and take an honest look at your belongings. If you have items that you are holding on to but serve no purpose, it may be time to get rid of them.
You can also read my “2 Tips for Dealing with Daily Clutter” here.
3. Assign a Purpose to Every Area of Your Home
As the seasons of life change, areas of your home may serve different purposes. If there is a room or space in your house that frustrates you, it may be time to change the purpose of that space.
Look around your home. Is there an area of your home that is not being used to its full potential?
You may not have an entire room to designate as an office, but how about a corner or closet?
Maybe you feel like you do not have enough storage because your house is short on closets or cabinets. Find a wall that you could hang a shelf or hooks on for storage.
We set up a small folding table in a corner of one of our bedrooms to use as my office. It is a small space, but I used all the space I could by hanging a cork board and shelf. I also use a hardware cabinet* to hold small items like paperclips, whiteout, rubber bands, highlighters, ect.
We have a pretty small master closet that has no room for hanging my scarves. One day I realized that I wasn’t using the wall space in the corner of our bedroom. It was the perfect size to hang a simple coat rack from Dollar Tree that now holds my scarves.
4. Own Less Stuff
I used to love pursuing the clearance sections of home decor stores, and I would often find little trinkets to bring home.
I was sure that the little bird or wreath would be just the right touch to add to my home. But after using it for a little while, I often got tired of the trinket and put it in storage or donated it to the thrift store.
It took me some time to stop spending my money on cute little knick-knacks. Now when I shop, I always have a list of items in mind, and I don’t buy something just because it is cute at the store.
When you live in a small home, you have less room for collecting more items. So after you have decluttered your home, it is important to keep it that way. Make it a priority to bring less things into your home by shopping with a purpose.
If there is anything living in a small home has taught me, it is that we don’t need as much stuff as we think to live and be happy. We are constantly fed the lie that we need more to be happy.
A better vehicle, an innovative kitchen gadget, the latest fashion trend …. But I truly believe that when we clear our lives of excess, there is more peace in our lives.
We don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s by chasing after the latest fashion trend or home decor piece that “everyone” has. A great book for more insight on this is Make Room for What You Love*.
5. Keep It Clean
It is much easier to love a space no matter what size it is if it is clean and clutter free.
For instance, if my kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes, the counter hasn’t been wiped down from lunch, and there are papers and empty containers scattered across my kitchen counter, I am likely to dread getting supper ready. I may even think to myself that our kitchen is just too small to prepare a meal in.
But when I make sure the dirty dishes are put directly into the dishwasher and the counter gets cleaned off on a daily basis, I realize that there is enough space in my kitchen to make supper for my family.
Do you have a small home? Try implementing some of these tips. You may find that your small house really is just the right size!
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