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5 Tips for Living in a Small House

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.

There are some definite strategies to making a small home livable. If you don't follow these strategies, you may be frustrated living in a small house.

 

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.

5 ways to make a small house more livable. Use every available corner like this desk area.

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.

Check out these tips for making a small house livable.Use space behind doors for storage.

 

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. 

If you find yourself doing the same thing, check out how I decorate my home by shopping my house! and using what I already have!

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*.

clockwall

 

 

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.

Following a morning routine, evening routine, and weekly chore schedule has helped me maintain a clean home throughout the week so that the small messes don’t pile up into big, out-of-control messes.

 

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!

Other posts you will enjoy:

6 Ways to Decorate with What You Already Have

Create Luxury at Home Without Spending a Dime

Keep Kitchen Counter Clear (even in a small space)

 

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23 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Love this, Emily! Our house is about the same size as yours and I sometimes wonder how we’d make room for anyone other than the two of us. Getting rid of clutter and things that don’t bring me joy have definitely made this house feel bigger than it is.


    1. // Reply

      Those of us who have small homes can relate to the struggle of not having enough room! Getting rid of the excess makes a huge difference. When a space or room in our home starts to overwhelm or frustrate me, I know it is time to declutter!


  2. // Reply

    I live in a small house without much storage space. Hazard of a split level ranch. Almost everything is designed to be living space. We are in the middle of some renovations that will help with that but in the meantime (and even after), your tips are so true! Especially the decluttering. I do a pick up every day and do a major one each week. Without it, the house starts to feel like it is closing in around us. We are having our second child in May and I’m a bit terrified of how much smaller the house will feel then.

    One thing to add: Look for the space saving versions of most things: baby gear, furniture, etc. We have a folding hair chair, we have a Johnny Jump-up that goes in a door frame instead of a jumparoo, etc. #ShineBlogHop


    1. // Reply

      That is a great way to put it! It feels like the house starts to close in around us when we hold on to too much stuff. Congratulations on your second baby! Having space saving items is a great tip! When we had our son, I deliberately didn’t buy a lot of the gear that was recommended because of our limited space. I was also very fortunate to be able to borrow several things from my generous SIL. I hope your renovations help with the new baby coming!


  3. // Reply

    As someone who lives in a small home, I really appreciated reading this post.

    We have to be very clever with our space and I still feel like there’s plenty of room for improvement.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    I pinned this to my Deliberate HOME board.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo


    1. // Reply

      Hi Jennifer! Those of us who have lived in small homes can definitely relate to each other. I think figuring out the best way to use a space is a continual learning process. There will probably always be room for improvement here at our house too! Thank you so much for pinning this to your Home board! That means a lot!


  4. // Reply

    Great post! We lived (comfortably) in 1,400 sq. ft. with 7 children, and then in 29,00 sq. ft. with 13 children. All of your tips are spot on. Personally, I have found smaller spaces easier to keep clean.


    1. // Reply

      That is great, Renee! I am sure there is a lot going on in your home with 13 children. How fun! Yes, I love that I have little to clean and maintain.


  5. // Reply

    I was immediately drawn to your post when I saw the title. I also live in a small home( 748sq. ft!!) with my husband and 5 children! So compared to mine, your house is huge! πŸ˜‰ It really is a matter of perspective isn’t it? All your points were spot on. I could have totally written this! I totally relate. I feel that God has made me a better homemaker because of having to make the best with what I have. I have gotten rid of so much since living here and have learned to declutter regularly. I am sure we have saved a lot of money since I have learned what you have in not bringing things home just because they are cute. Such a great post!


    1. // Reply

      I love hearing how other families live in small homes too! Yes, perspective makes all the difference; my home probably sounds huge to you. πŸ™‚ It is fun to see that God can even use the size of our homes to teach us things!


    1. // Reply

      Thanks, Sarah! Yes, our attitudes make such a difference in how view what we have.



  6. // Reply

    Great tips! We’ve lived in homes from 900-1300 sq feet and it seems we would always fill up the space we had. I loved your ideas of making every area work for you, decluttering regularly and shopping with a purpose. All smart ideas regardless of your home size, but especially helpful when you’re working with a cozy space.


    1. // Reply

      You are right, Whitney! All of these tips are great no matter what size your house is. Even big houses can start feeling small when they become overrun with clutter. It is so easy to fill up our spaces. When we moved, it seemed like our new house was just as full even with 300 sq feet more!


  7. // Reply

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  8. // Reply

    Enjoyed this post.. It is so true. We just downsized into a smaller home. [2 bedroom verus 3 bedroom].It is about 1200 sq ft too. When we decided on this move, I was very skeptical if our
    stuff -aka /junk, would EVER fit. Well, it is fantastic, We donated /gave away/threw away tons of junk. [and I have not missed a thing]. smile . It is just hubby and me, our kids are grown and gone. My concern is holidays , and all of us being crowed into this space.. But, we will make it work.

    I enjoy reading your blog.. thanks for the great tips. Judy


    1. // Reply

      Thank you so much, Judy! When going through all of our belongings, it is amazing to realize just how much we really don’t need. I’m so glad downsizing has been a positive experience for you. We love our small house too! Although, I will admit, having people over is a bit of a challenge. But like you said, we make it work!


  9. // Reply

    I agree totally with every word in your article. I used to think my 2 bedroom and den apt was too small then I became very ill with Lupus and Fibromylagia. It’s so difficult to clean and keep my home organized. I have given away a lot of stuff and I continue to do so.
    Thank you fir sharing.
    I agree with what you say comparing with the Jones. I have some family member that look and thinks of me very differently simple because they compete with the Joneses. They have huge home. Fancy cars ets and I dont. I love simplicity. I’m very happy with my home.
    So because I don’t have huge homes and Lexus SUVS etc. I’m not a good person. But I’m not materialistic. Many of my family are.

    I went to spend a week with a relative much lie your son I couldn’t wait to return home c and enjoy my own home. Many if the people thst came to visit me family or friends often says to me that my home feels so homely so comfortable.
    Thank you again.


    1. // Reply

      Bibi, thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear of your illnesses. I think it is great that you do what you can in your home.

      It is so easy to compare ourselves to others whether it be their homes or other material possessions. But the key is to be thankful and happy with what we have. What you shared is the message that I want my readers to know: It doesn’t matter what size home you have. You can still have a home that you love and are comfortable in.


  10. // Reply

    I agree totally with every word in your article. I used to think my 2 bedroom and den apt was too small then I became very ill with Lupus and Fibromylagia. It’s so difficult to clean and keep my home organized. I have given away a lot of stuff and I continue to do so.
    Thank you fir sharing.
    I agree with what you say comparing with the Jones. I have some family member that look and thinks of me very differently simple because they compete with the Joneses. They have huge home. Fancy cars ets and I dont. I love simplicity. I’m very happy with my home.
    So because I don’t have huge homes and Lexus SUVS etc. I’m not a good person. But I’m not materialistic. Many of my family are.

    I went to spend a week with a relative much lie your son I couldn’t wait to return home c and enjoy my own home. Many if the people thst came to visit me family or friends often says to me that my home feels so homely so comfortable.
    Sometimes I wonder how I can accommodate any guest since I don’t have an extra bedroom. But it always works out. Another bedroom would be too expensive of which I cannot afford since I’m disabled at home. My income is not that much.
    Thank you again.


  11. // Reply

    We live in a 875 square foot home and have for 25 years. We have a blended family of four that all have grown now. My motto is if you don’t use it loose it! I am trying to declutter by category not by room. Feel I am accomplishing much more this way. Also we will NOT have to down size as many people do when they get older. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your ideas!


    1. // Reply

      I love your motto! There is no reason to store something you aren’t using. What a blessing that you won’t have to downsize!

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