Many Americans grow up with the goal of one day owning the house of their dreams.  In the normal course of events, we get our first big job, we settle into a romantic relationship, and sooner or later, we end up with a house and a mortgage.  Our first place is likely to be small, but with hard work and dedication, we finally upgrade to a big, multistory house that can hold all our kids and all our stuff.

But then a funny thing happens.  The kids grow up.  Marie Kondo tells us to declutter.  Our knees start to give out.  And we begin to wonder:  Is it time to move out of our dream house?

Now, a lot of people find it hard to contemplate moving into a smaller place. For years my mom talked about moving out of her two-story, four-bedroom, 2-1/2 bathroom house.  She was willing to give up one bedroom but pretty much wanted to keep everything else, albeit on one floor.  And my dad didn’t want to give up mowing the lawn and they both loved having the garden space to grow their own vegetables.  So the years went by and suddenly they were nearly 80 and still living in this big house with its giant yard.

I’ve never felt the draw of a large house like that.  My husband and I lived for about 25 years in a 1600 square foot flat near downtown Milwaukee, and now we are living in an even smaller apartment in South America. What I love about our small digs is that there is less to clean and maintain, therefore more time for other activities, and most articles on the subject list these as the top benefits of small homes.

Another big benefit mentioned everywhere is that smaller houses cost less.  Financial experts generally advise that you buy the smallest space you can comfortably live in.  Note this is the space YOU can live in, not your STUFF!  Don’t go out and get a storage unit for the things you can’t fit in your house. Paying to store things you aren’t using is a colossal waste of your hard-earned dollars.  For more on this, check out Big Home: American Dream or Disease? The article is aimed at twentysomethings but there’s plenty of wisdom for us fiftysomethings, too.

There are less obvious benefits, too, as pointed out by some Seniortopia Show followers:

  1. Less likely to accumulate unnecessary possessions.  “Purge your life of stuff and feel the freedom!”  – Lissa
  2. Less furniture means more reasons to seek socialization outside your home.  This can be particularly beneficial if you find hosting large gatherings to be too physically draining.  If you only have enough space for more intimate, quality gatherings, those will be less taxing. – Carol
  3. A smaller house means less stuff for your family to manage if it becomes necessary for you to move due to health reasons– you’ve already purged all but the essential and most important items so others don’t have the burden of going through your stuff. – Sara
  4. Less stairs and shorter trips to the bathroom!  – Ted (maybe it’s time for that prostate exam?)
  5. Every dollar you save means you have more money to do other things you really want to do! – Janne

Have you downsized to a smaller house?  We’d love to interview you on the podcast!  Use the “contact us” form to let us know!