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Our homes tell our stories. They tell us who we are, what we value, what we care about, who we love, and what we dream about. Our homes expose who we are.
About a month or so ago, I finally admitted to myself that our one-bedroom condo is a perfect place for me. It probably comes as a surprised to some of you because you know me as a spender and a shopaholic. Most people think that those who like to spend money, like to live in grandeur houses. Some of my friends definitely thought so. I’ve been asked a numerous times why we bought a one bedroom condominium.
Social pressure of our consumerist society has never been a determining factor in my life. I never thought that bigger is better (well… unless it is my handbag.) I never tried to maintain a status quo, a social position by getting myself into a big house and thus into a big mortgage. Do I want a bigger closet? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, I am happy to have a small closet because it prevents me from overstuffing it and overspending.
I grew up in a two room apartment (back home we did not count bedrooms.) There was a period of time when we had five people living together. Years passed, and our family got smaller: we went from five family members to four, and then just to three.
My relationship with small spaces was defined back then, when we were all confined in a small apartment, and thought it was the way to live.
During that time I learned that:
- Family togetherness has a different meaning in a small space.
- A notion of privacy is a joke.
- Over time anyone is capable of developing a maximum tolerance for intimacy.
- You become very selective who you invite for a visit.
- You have to be content with minimal belongings.
- Nothing you own was yours to actually own. You learn to share and you learn to accept sharing.
Years and years later, in the United States, I never felt that I needed to compensate myself for what I never had. A big, spacious house was a nice idea but it was never my goal.
We can reap some big benefits by simply living in a small place.
- We have a much smaller mortgage than some of our friends who decided that bigger is always better.
- Our utility bills are low. The place is simply more energy efficient.
- Over time we developed more conscious spending. We deliberately consider to buy less furniture, create less clutter and preserve light and open space.
- When we need to upgrade, we can spend more money on better quality upgrades.
- We try to have a clutter free home. Clutter is more visible in a small place, and it makes any place to look even smaller. We want to de-clutter and organize as much as we can.
- If you are like us and don’t like to entertain a lot of people, your small home gives you a great excuse.
- We have more free time on our hands because we don’t have to spend endless hours on cleaning, lawn mowing and weeding.
- We can live large in a small space. It all depends on your definition of large. My definition involves a lot of travel.
- Our carbon footprint is small. It makes us feel environmentally responsible.
Have you ever considered downsizing?
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