One of my guilty pleasures is the show House Hunters on HGTV. I watch it because I love to see the inside of houses and hear how buyers think about making such a major purchase.
Each show opens with an explanation of why the person (or couple) is looking for a new home. Many times, it is a young family that is expecting another child. Sometimes it is a couple that is getting married.
They all want “more space” and there’s usually plenty of it to find. Since the 1950s, the average home size has more than doubled to 2,700 square feet. And some of these homes are gigantic – 5,000+ square-foot mammoths . These homes have double sinks and separate showers and tubs and man caves and enormous walk-in closets. And they come with sizable mortgages.
But is bigger really better when it comes to houses?
It’s nice to have a lot of space. But you’ll pay more for the luxury. You’ll pay more for the house. You’ll pay more to insure it. You’ll pay more in property taxes.
You’ll pay more to furnish it, more to heat and cool it, more to electrify it. You’ll spend more time maintaining it and more time cleaning it.
And you’ll fill it full of stuff you don’t really need so that it doesn’t feel so empty.
Living large in a small house
A more modest house, on the other hand, will be more affordable in nearly every way. You’ll pay less for the house, which means you may even be able to pay it off early. Taxes and insurance won’t break the bank. Smaller houses are often more energy efficient, and they don’t take long to clean.
And you will be selective about the the things you bring into your home. Instead of bringing home every knickknack or new pair of shoes home with you from the mall, you’ll have to consider whether your home has the space for those extraneous purchases. When space is at a premium it becomes much easier to keep your money in your wallet.
The solution is rarely more space
Before you start shopping for a new home or shelling out money for a storage facility, take a good hard look at the reasons why you feel you need more space. Are you holding on to things you don’t really need? Are you making the best use of the space you currently have?
Chances are good that if you took the time to do a serious purge of your stuff and re-evaluated how everything is organized, you would find you have ample space in your current home. You would find that keeping your home’s furnishings and your belongings to a minimum will simplify your life and help you save money, too.