Sylvia Leong, a published writer and former healthcare professional, encourages a happy life through thrift, health and environmentalism.
The Freedom of Living in a Small Home
Sometime after the extinction of dinosaurs, yet long before the invention of vacuum cleaners, man first appeared on earth. The indisputable truth, humans need shelter. But, for the majority of our existence, humans managed nicely with a one room dwelling whether cave, teepee or stick house, needing only to store and prepare food, eat, sleep, and chill out.
Today, the detached house (preferably big and new) is the ideal lifetime dream of those influenced by consumerism. It requires working unspeakable hours and often long commutes to/from suburbia, or rural areas outside the city. Not only does this put unmanageable stress on the whole family, it leaves little time for life, leisure, and creative pursuits.
You can always live for the weekend, right? Nope. The barely-affordable, large investment needs maintenance. Even unused rooms collect dust. And the yard needs manicuring.
Repeat slave-like lifestyle, the same each year, until retirement. No wonder people think life starts when they retire.
Let’s visit the tremendous lifestyle benefits of living in a small home.
Rousseau, an ardent advocate of the state of nature, maintained, “Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains.”
1. A Small Home Means Less Chores
If there’s only one bathroom, then there’s only one bathroom to clean. Smaller floor space means less vacuuming, or mopping. With an absence of lawn, hedges, or eavestroughs there’s no mowing, clipping, or scooping autumn leaves. No need to buy a lawnmower, hedge clippers, or even a ladder.
Lots of money saved. More time for life, leisure, to create, and to do as you please!
2. A Small Home Means Working Less
Do you dream of ditching your soul-sucking job? Or maybe you love your job, but want to work less so you have more time to create. Needing less money makes this possible. Here’s how a smaller home helps …
- Smaller mortgage. Less interest on that smaller mortgage. Less time paying for that smaller mortgage.
- Less space to heat or cool. Only a few lights needed to brighten the space. Less energy costs.
- Mansion or condo, shelter requires maintenance. Less maintenance costs.
- Of course there’s so little storage space, a consumer lifestyle is out of the question. That saves money!
3. A Small Home is Healthier
Smack that canned soup back on the grocery store shelf. Pop that frozen dinner back in the grocery store freezer. Back away from that fast food chain.
All that time off of work and chores allows the time to cook healthy meals from scratch using whole food ingredients (which saves money). 80% of fat loss comes from proper nutrition.
Small homes are usually located in urban areas where driving a car is more of a hassle than a help. Walking from errand to errand not only becomes possible, but preferable. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Feel the blood pumping through your veins? No one gets hurt increasing their daily steps.
Nutrition + Exercise = Fabulous, Healthy Body + Sharp, Creative Mind
4. A Small Home is Like Living on Vacation
Ever considered why so many people escape to the cottage year after year? Whether RV, hotel room or cabin on the lake: the freedom of a vacation comes from living small.
Have you ever considered living like you’re on vacation?
- Semi-retired with only a few chores to complete, leaving time for writing or art.
- Lounging in your super-cool urban neighbourhood, taking advantage of the hip social scene while sporting your hot body!
- Alternate that with regular bouts of cycling/walking/hiking, exploring the city or partaking in the latest novels and movies.
Your life’s become a living vacation!
5. A Small Home is Happier
Smaller homes are cozy and warm. Family relationships have to become cozy and warm as well … or they’ll end. Either way, dysfunctional relationships will be difficult to maintain, and you’ll be happier in the long run.
You no longer have to maintain an image. No one is going to consider you a high status individual. Not only is your home not big enough, you have no room to store the toys that scream, “Look at me! I’m wealthy!” Nope. You’ll have to let go of that basic human desire for approval. Presenting the real you feels better anyway.
People go on about, “house goals, furniture goals, wardrobe goals, vehicle goals.” Corporations force us to buy, buy, buy, shoving their advertising down our throats—like brainwashing. It’s a huge part of our culture. People live it—I see it every single day.
But it seems to me, inanimate objects never really make anyone happy for longer than five minutes. But creating something from nothing? That’s where the real joy lies.
Focus on creating, not purchasing.
6. A Small Home is Environmental
Obviously, living in a smaller footprint is considered more environmental.
- Whether your small home uses electricity or gas, your utility bill will be lower.
- Renovations, appliances, furnishings, art, dishware … With less space you can afford a higher quality of everything (which lasts longer). For example, when dealing with only 30 square feet of countertop, sexy granite becomes an option.
- Because you purchase less stuff, you contribute—to a lesser degree—to the raping and pillaging of the Earth’s resources. This also means you send less to the landfill
- All are a kindness to the environment.
7. A Small Home Undermines the One Percent
Who are the one percent? They are the dudes at the top. The folks who own the corporations, that own the corporations, that in turn, own the corporations. The shareholders. The catalysts. The change makers.
It never ceases to amaze me how people complain about the one percent, and then turn around and support them through buying from their corporations.
Everything we buy comes from a corporation (including bank loans). The profits float up to the one percent. That’s how they thrive.
Your power lies in voting with your dollar. Before you spend, think very carefully of who and what you’re supporting. There are no absolutes—each of us will vote somewhat differently.
Just know that corporations enslave us, profiting from our addiction to:
- Immediate gratification
Corporations only survive if we buy. Stop buying! Live within your means. The power for change lies within each of us!
8. Small Homes are Easier to Buy
In many countries, real estate unaffordability is at crisis levels and steadily climbing. Rent’s not far behind. To make matters worse, the world population is growing exponentially.
Since 1970, the world population has roughly doubled. Scary!
Should you buy? Yes, definitely! Rent always increases. When you buy real estate, the price is fixed. Eventually, the price is paid and then … breathtaking freedom.
But size is important! Buying space you rarely use (unless you rent it out) is environmentally wasteful and financially unwise. A large home requiring time and energy to maintain can severely impose constraints on our time for life, leisure, and to create. Purchase only the square footage you really need, embrace it, organize it, and make it your own.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Sylvia Leong
Sylvia Leong (author) from North Vancouver, Canada on May 09, 2015:
I appreciate your comment MarloByDesign! Good luck with saving some money.
MarloByDesign from United States on May 06, 2015:
Rated 'Interesting' and 'Voted Up'. I like your ideas about saving money by paying less interest on a smaller mortgage and pay less energy costs!
Sylvia Leong (author) from North Vancouver, Canada on November 06, 2014:
Thanks for reading & for the kind words Billybuc. Congratulations on your downsizing! We currently live in 670 square feet - so pretty much the same size as the space you'll eventually have.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2014:
You are a funny lady, Sylvia. Although you were speaking the truth throughout, you did it with great humor.
We currently live in a 1,300 sq ft home...we plan on living in 700 sq ft in two years. Everything you said is true and then some. :)
Sylvia Leong (author) from North Vancouver, Canada on November 03, 2014:
Thank you for your comments Iris Draak & Sheilamyers!
sheilamyers on November 02, 2014:
If you had an option in your poll saying "all the above", I would have chosen it. As it is, I chose the one about less cleaning and maintenance because that's what I like the most about my small house. I won't complain about my larger lot because I love the extra outdoor space, but that's where the most work is - cutting grass. Thank goodness for riding lawnmowers.
Cristen Iris from Boise, Idaho on November 02, 2014:
Amen to all that. :) I loved your opener too- somewhere between dinosaurs and vacuum cleaners. Haha!