Living Small

First, let me ask the question: What is the purpose of a house?

A house is there to shelter you. To bring together families and friends. It offers warmth and good food, prayer and thanksgiving, love and happiness.

Tom and I strive to live simply. We don't need or want many 'things,' and try to spend our time with good intent. In our efforts to live simply and fully, we chose a small house... and will continue to choose smaller homes. Here's why.

1. To outgrow it.

Right now, we have two bedrooms that are not in use. One serves as a guest room, and the other will be inhabited by a little person (eventually). Once we have a few little people around, it'll feel like close quarters rather quickly. The thing is, if we had a home with more space than we could fill in a reasonable amount of time, what would we need in our next house? What would be the incentive to move on to something bigger? Outgrowing a space is an important part of transitioning through life.

2. To use all the space we own.

Along with growing out of a space, what's the real necessity in having room after room that goes unused? Storage should be used for items that move with the seasons (decorations, school year items, outdoor items, etc..), so to have rooms filled with 'things' that no longer hold a purpose is excessive.
For example, we do not have a basement. What would we do with a basement, plus the two unused bedrooms, plus the half-filled garage? We have plenty of storage, and more than enough room to fill as it is! A basement would do nothing more than hold a couch and another TV that we'd never use. Make your home a place of intentional togetherness... not a place of excess.

3. Less time cleaning, more time with loved ones.

When driving through the suburbs of The South, we are always shocked at the shear masses of the majority of the homes. I often lament at how much time would be wasted cleaning such an expanse. When you have less space to clean, you spend less time cleaning. Therefore, you're able to enjoy your home with your loved ones more often in a smaller home. I am a clean/neat freak, so being able to keep up with the daily housework is important to me. I'm also a hard one to help, because I'm particular about how it needs to be done, so the smaller the space, the happier the wife.

4. Cheaper to maintain.

Smaller roof to shingle, smaller square footage to heat/cool, smaller yard to mow, smaller rooms to paint, and everything in between. Our utilities are a fraction of most of the homes around us and I'm so grateful to have that money go towards more exciting things.

5. Affordable (and easy to sell!)

When you're buying in a price range that most anyone can be approved for, the market can be tough. We saw many houses leave the market almost as soon as they hit it. Now that we own one of those gems, though, we have no worries when the time comes to sell it. For reference, our offer (of the list price) was accepted about two days after it went on the market. 

6. Helps maintain a minimalist lifestyle.

With more space comes more decor, more furniture, more... stuff. Tom and I try to live very simplistic, minimal lives. We aren't materialistic, and don't even have great 'wants' for things. We love to see how God has blessed our lives beyond the tangible items. There is no desire to have excessive space, clothes, decor, or excess of any kind. We know that we have enough, and we never want our definition of enough to become excessive. 

7. Money can be spent elsewhere.

This is my favorite. This year, we're challenging ourselves to become mavericks with how and where our money goes. With the money we save on our lower mortgage and utility costs, we have the freedom to spend it on travel and giving - both of which we hope to be more generous with. By choosing to live minimally, we can be "excessive" in more positive, God-pleasing ways!

Back to the purpose of a house: to shelter, bring loved ones close, and encapsulate warmth, good food, and happiness. Does your home offer these things? Whether big or small? Then friend, you're doing "home" right. As for me and my house, though, we'll serve the Lord... but always just a little closer together. 

HouseJoy Johnson