Top Ten Reasons to Live in a Small House

When I’m being interviewed by the media about living in Our Little House, the reporter will always ask me what are the advantages of living in a small home.

I thought I would put together a Top 10 Reasons for Living in a Small Home for our community and you all are so great, I bet you will add to it!

1. Smaller Footprint on the environment: There are two people and an always-changing number of dogs, but we still don’t need multiple bedrooms, baths and space.

2. Less Room for Clutter: Our house in the city was packed with stuff. We didn’t even know what we were doing with all of that crap! At Our Little House, we have room for the necessities and only the things we love. This, of course, helps us save money on buying more stuff!

3. Lower Utility Bills: Who likes dumping their money into the utility companies. We would like to be completely off the grid, maybe someday. In the meantime, we pay a 12-month average of approximately $50 a month for utilities.

4. Less Time Cleaning, More Time for us: I can clean my house and studio top to bottom in about 2 hours. What more is there to say about that?

5. Less Maintenance: Doing yard work, landscaping, painting and cleaning gutters in our 20s was fun for maybe the first 5 minutes as homeowners. We spend a lot less time doing all of those things here, giving us more leisure time.

6. Cheaper to Build and to Mortgage:  Let’s face it. I don’t want to be in my 70s and still paying for our home. While we still had to mortgage to build this house and purchase the 10 acres of land (some small house lovers go debt free and that’s great!) we will still have a decent retirement without mortgage payments.

7. Savings on Groceries: This is a hidden benefit some people don’t realize until they get into their small homes. Limited storage space means we aren’t making even monthly trips to the giant warehouse super savings store where we typically purchased stuff we didn’t even need anyway. We buy what we need and if we don’t use it rapidly, we run out of space, forcing us to use it. We have the added benefit of breaking our 3-4 night eating out habit here, as we’re just too far out to take the “easy” dine out option often.

8. More Time Together: Well, usually! In the city, we had a downstairs family room where Dale practically lived. He worked nights, so he usually slept on the floor down there during the day (he said the hard floor actually was better for his back than the mattress we had, plus it was dark and less noisy since I work from home) and on the weekends, he would watch television down there while I would end up gravitating to the upstairs living room to read. We’re together all of the time here, forcing us to find things we both enjoy doing together.

9. Better Organized: In our larger house, mail ended up on the stairs or table, unfolded clothes thrown into the “catch all” unused bedroom and junk went into the “junk” drawer in the kitchen. We have no room – or tolerance – for clutter in Our Little House. Every piece of mail brought in has to have a place and purpose and we practice the “1 in, 1 out” policy. If something new comes in, something old has to go.

10. It’s Made me More Environmentally Aware: I’ve always been pretty conscious, being an early recycler and cloth bag user, but moving here really heightened my awareness of our environment. Part of it comes from small house living (there isn’t a lot of room to store bags of trash) and part of it comes from being closer to nature. From the amount of trash we produce to the way we cook our meals (we’ve chucked the Teflon coated pans and microwave), to what we put on the land and into the septic that may end up in our well water, there’s hardly a thing we do here that doesn’t have some environmental thought affixed.


Ok, Living Large community, can you think of more reasons to live in a small home?

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41 Responses

  1. Kelley says:

    I just found your blog and I love it! We’re a family of 3 and can’t wait to live in a small house. Right now we’re in a 1000 sq ft condo, and it’s great, but we can go much smaller and want to go much smaller (like 600 sq ft). We have a young daughter, and one of the benefits to a small house would be that she’ll grow up with the mindset of having only what’s important, and not constantly wanting to indulge in more and more stuff. Contentment is very important to me and I want her to be content and understand that more stuff does not equal more happiness.

  2. Christine says:

    Kudos, and big thumbs up to both of you! Living in the city has definitely made me rethink “necessary” items.

  3. For me, I think the less time cleaning and easier to heat well would top my list.

  4. I need to go back through your posts and read about organization tips! I know in my small house I’ve struggled with staying organized because I keep having to put things away to stay tidy then I can’t find anything again.

  5. Alisia says:

    I love this article! But I wonder what advice you have for people who frequently host out-of-town guests?

    We bought a house recently, and had numerous family members requesting a guest bedroom when we were house hunting. I looked at the idea of a Murphy bed as an option, but it was pretty much vetoed by every other family member!

    • Kerri says:

      I think we came up with the perfect solution, Alisia with my studio. Our guests eat and watch movies and visit with us in the house, but when it’s time for showers and bed, they have their own detached cabin that affords them all of the privacy they need. I have a coffee maker and small fridge over there for when I’m working and guests like to make their coffee and sit on the covered front porch of the studio in the morning and have their “quiet” time before we begin whatever activities we have planned for the day. I use it as an office, but if we ever sold the property, it could be listed as a guest house or mother in law quarters. For people who have tiny and small houses without this option, I’ve seen really cute lofts that serve the same purpose for guests.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Not so sure about #8, but little houses certainly do make sense. I simply don’t understand the McMansions. I guess they are merely modern status symbols. I wish people would invest that same money instead in the environment.

  7. Jane Boursaw says:

    Love all of these, though I’m sure I’d buck the less-clutter item with all my crap.

  8. Merr says:

    Fun list. It sounds like the move has been a good one for you.

  9. Sheryl says:

    We are getting ready to downsize now that our children are out of the house, and it’s so hard. Yet, I yearn to simplify. I love that you are able to do it so well and I can learn from you!

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Sheryl. Good luck with your move!

    • Mary Brown says:

      I know how you feel Sheryl, we sold our house last year and are now experimenting in a much small rental property. We figure that while we are figuring out where exactly we would like to live we can work on the size of the place.


    • Mary Brown says:

      I know how you feel Sheryl, we sold our house last year and are now experimenting in a much small rental property. We figure that while we are figuring out where exactly we would like to live we can work on the size of the place.


  10. We moved from a smaller house in the city to a larger house in the country, about a year ago. We had several reasons for choosing to “upsize” rather than “downsize” though it wasn’t a huge jump in square footage, just a modest increase.

    I wanted a larger kitchen and a pantry because I like to cook and our tiny kitchen in our previous home just wasn’t adequate. Our larger house has a bigger kitchen with an eat in breakfast area. It allows me to have much more space to move about freely, and if we have company, they can sit in the eat-in area and chat with me while I cook.

    We also have two daughters living in Los Angeles. Both are in serious relationships and we wanted a house big enough to be comfortable for them to come home and visit, with boyfriends in tow if they choose, and hopefully someday also with grandkids. (fingers crossed)

    The house is earth contact and has energy efficient features which reduce excessive use of fossil fuel. It’s actually much more energy efficient and less costly in utility expenses than our smaller, less efficient home in the city, so we’re in fact saving on our utilities despite the larger size of the house. And it has zoned heating and cooling, so we can shut off areas that we aren’t using, for additional energy savings.

    As far as cleaning, what I’ve discovered in moving from a smaller house to a larger one is this: it is easier to keep things tidy in the larger house. There is a place for everything and I don’t mean the wanton accumulation of junk, but just the regular amount of clothing and linens and towels, keepsakes and etc., within reasonable limits.

    But- there is more of vacuuming, dusting and mopping than in a smaller home. I find it to be kind of an even exchange of chores, just getting greater organizational ability for an increase in dusting and sweeping and washing.

    I guess everybody has to find that comfort level in the size of their home, that fits with their needs. I admire people like Kerri, who have the discipline and motivation to keep living space small, efficient and streamlined. Of course, I foresee the day when my husband and I will of necessity have to move to a smaller place, but for now, this suits us.

  11. Penny says:

    LOVE IT!! Can we pleeeez see some inside pics??

  12. Lucie says:

    I love the idea! right now I live in one room. Wonderful. Could I see more pics?? hidingout2 on twitter

  13. Alex Pino says:

    Great article, Kerri, loved it!

  14. NoPotCooking says:

    Your utility bills are amazing!

  15. Jennifer says:

    The economy is horrible. It may get better but it may get worse. My hubby was laid of a year ago but has a new job now but what if he gets laid off again? We would have our house withour mortgage and our garden and chickens. I eventually even want a dairy cow! We want to be self sustaining and we want our son to grow up to see what’s really important!

  16. Jessica says:

    Nice points but #4 is a complete lie. We live in a 600 sq ft home and even living modestly, I clean constantly. It is so much harder to stay organized in a small house. The bigger the house, the more room to organize and store your stuff. Sorry, but it’s true.

    • Kerri says:

      It’s not a lie for me, Jessica, but obviously, we’ve had different experiences. I’ve always tried to pick up a little every day and when there is no clutter to clear, I can clean my 480-sq. ft. home in 2 hours flat. It used to take at least a half a day on Saturday (6 hours or more) to clean an 1,100 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in the city.

    • Al says:

      I think you must have too many things and/or not enough storage options in your small house.

      We went from a 1300 to 800 sq ft home and I have much less cleaning to do. But we had to downsize a lot of things. I still find we have too much. I’d like to downsize by another 300 sq ft.

    • Sue says:

      I live in a 464 sq ft cabin and if I really get to cleaning without distractions I can clean in about an hour. This includes sweeping, mopping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms. We don’t leave stuff laying around as there is no room, so it’s a put-it-up as-you-go process all the time. And I try to keep the kitchen clean always too for the same reason. I make my bed almost as soon as we are out of it, especially since it shares space with my living room/kitchen! Now I do get distracted looking out the windows sometimes and it can take me all day if I get sidetracked too much! And I have been know to just jump ship on cleaning to go outside and then I have to finish the next day. ha!

      • Kerri says:

        I was thinking the same thing when I was folding clothes today, Al. If you downsize the amount of stuff to compliment the size of home you’re downsizing to, then it shouldn’t take one long at all to clean.

        Sue, you cracked me up. If I take too many “breaks” I can take much longer as well!

  17. Lynn says:

    So many people want big fat homes I dont need all that!! I like small easy to heat ,clean ,and it is so cozy…i could live in a very small house …put it on wheels even

  18. laura m. says:

    I’m in a 1600 sq ft house now (two of us) and I could live in a 1000 sf house as we used to. I’d have to get rid of some furniture (bulky) and use vertical space with metal shelving bought at Sam’s or Lowes. I declutter often and donate to local charities. Power bills are going up and this is the main reason. Also, less time cleaning. Being retired, we’d have a one story house. I now use a clothes line outside and hang dry also in the garage. Larger houses will drop in value as peak oil causes power bills rise.