Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sometimes smaller is better

I've been in a documentary-watching phase recently (mostly because I've watched all of the good TV shows and then some, so I'm running out of material. In the process I am learning a lot and my brain loves the exercise.

ANYWAYS, we just watched the Netflix documentary "Tiny: A Story of Living Small." It focuses on one young man as he builds his 124 square foot home, with the help of his girlfriend. The movie is peppered with interview clips of other couples and individuals who live in extreme tiny houses: about 100-150 square feet.

We originally thought it would only be a bunch of hippies who are hyper-earth-conscious, but we were pleasantly surprised that we heard a lot of great points about living small. The one that stuck with us the most can be summed up in one simple question: is bigger always better?

Yeah, I'm not cleaning that. 
We both have memories of growing up and retreating to our rooms for some alone time, with our siblings doing the same. While some alone time is good, we found that when we all had our own rooms, it was much easier to, in a way, live separately. We relaxed and became more comfortable in solitude than spending time together as a family. Time spent together became less frequent and more forced.

There is also the question of "stuff." Konmari, decluttering, and downsizing is all of the rage right now and there is something to that. More people are learning to narrow down what they have to the things that serve a realistic purpose, hold the dearest memories, or bring them joy.

The documentary made another interesting point: living small is not necessarily about the square footage itself, but also about the mentality. Living with less and making the most of the space that you have.

We love our home and we are working hard to make this house a home and pay off debt. We are more than happy in the house that we have. However, it is so hard not to compare to the Joneses. There will always be someone with a bigger, newer, nicer home. Even major celebrities compete for the best episode of "Cribs." It is true that there is nothing wrong with going big, upgrading, or spending some hard-earned money on your dream home. We are just realizing that our dream home isn't a big Pinterest-worthy dream home anymore... our dream home is our space to be a family, no matter what size that is.

Our house is 910 square feet. We have two bedrooms and one bathroom. And we don't need any more right now. We are open to growing our family, and the question has come up multiple times of whether or not we would move as our numbers grew. But as we see it now, we can make it work. We have plenty of closet and cabinet space we can utilize better and there are plenty of boxes in the basement that can be cleared out to make more room for the kiddos to play or for us to entertain.

We may not live in a tiny house, but we live in a small house that is just right for us. We've grown out of the mindset that a big house is a sign of success. When we sit back and really take to heart what success is to us, we don't need any more house space to express that. We have resolved to make a more conscious effort to live intentionally in our use of space, the stuff we acquire to fill our home, and fostering an environment where love can grow.

Maybe someday we'll end up needing to expand, but for now, smaller is better.


  1. Justine, I love this-especially when you point out the mentality of living with less. I think that sometimes, we as a society feel the need to have bigger homes just for the sake of having a place to keep stuff. But while there is a value to having special physical keepsakes, keeping tons of stuff can definitely get ridiculous at times.

    On the whole retreating for alone time thing...I also think that it's possible to find that alone time in a smaller space. Yes, if there's a big family in a house with only a few bedrooms, you may not be able to retreat to a totally private room. But, escaping to the bathroom, corner of the living room, outside, or to another physical location like the library, are definite options, I think! Right now my husband and I live in a one-bedroom apartment, but after I give birth this summer, we'd love to get into a house at some point (it would be more cost-effective for us)-so I really love hearing about smaller home living! Thanks for this post!

    1. Thank you AnneMarie! We are still dealing with massive boxes of just stuff we have accumulated over the years, and having a small house definitely keeps us accountable for getting rid of what we don't use (or boxes we haven't even opened in a year!).

      Those are great ideas for getting some quiet time, especially to the library ;) Good luck on your house hunt and starting fresh with new baby!

  2. Love this Justine! We feel the same way that you do about all this stuff:) We just closed (yesterday!) on a house similar in size to yours, and we're so thrilled!

    1. Thank you Kristin! I'm so glad we're not alone in our small home mindset ;) And congratulations on closing! Yay!