6 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home
For over a year I’ve been asking God for the same thing — a bigger home.
I’ve thought of fifteen different ways to rephrase that statement so I don’t sound greedy or discontent, but it’s the truth: I want a bigger home.
I’ve struggled with our small space and all the juggling that comes with four kids sharing one room and only one common living space for cooped up little ones with an abundance of energy.
Summer is our saving grace, a season when we explode from our home, taking advantage of good weather and a yard in which to run. Nice weather equals more space to host friends and families and the community we’ve missed. The amount of time we spend outside makes me wonder how we ever make it through the winter!
But for as many reasons as I desire a bigger home — and ministry potential is at the top of the list — God has reminded me of the many blessings He has given in the gift of a smaller home.
On the days when I’m itching for more space and struggling to be content, I think of the many benefits that come with living in a small home.
6 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home
Easier to simplify —
Living in a small home forces us to purge junk and live with less stuff (toy rotation, clothes rotation, less laundry). My natural inclination is to save (hoard?) everything.
I think I’ll need that sweater that fit five years ago but never regained its shape after I accidentally threw it in the dryer, but the reality is, I’ll never wear it again. Since I don’t have the space to store it, I’m not as tempted to keep it.
The same is true of toys, furniture, linens, and books — okay, maybe not books. Books are my weakness! Having a small home and few closets forces me to get rid of junk, hold on to less stuff, and clear clutter.
Easier to clean —
Fewer rooms and less stuff means I have less to clean — fewer toilets to scrub and floors to wash and mirrors to shine. Less time cleaning = more time to spend with my family!
Easier to maintain —
With fewer light bulbs to change and walls to patch, a smaller home has less space to keep up with and less space for all of the appliances and electronics I might want to own. The result? Fewer items to maintain, fix, or replace, saving time, energy, and money!
Easier to keep an eye on the kids —
I definitely don’t need to worry about what’s happening two floors up while I’m sorting bins in the basement. In my small home, everything and everyone is within ear shot. Not only does our small space make it easier for me to keep an eye and ear on little ones, it cuts down on how much chasing I have to do!
Easier to live within our means —
Because our space is limited, I am not constantly looking for new furniture, appliances or other things to purchase. We simply don’t have the space to put any extras! We also save on heating, cooling, and electricity costs.
Easier to stick together —
This one might be last on the list, but it’s the one with the biggest benefit. Many times I complain that our small space hurts our relationships because we often feel crowded or in the way. The truth, though, is that our small space brings us together.
With few places to escape, we are forced to not only work through our feelings and deal with our issues but we also do more activities and everyday chores together. Of course for this to work, we have to be intentional and work through our issues rather than avoid them, but as uncomfortable as conflict can sometimes be, when we face it with grace and God’s guidance, our relationships grow. Our small space forces us to face one another rather than run away.
As much as I would love to have a little bit more space for our family, God has reminded me of the many blessings of living in a small home. Through Him, I can be content whatever my circumstances, knowing He provides what we need when we need it.
What about you — have you ever struggled with your living space?
Choosing contentment with you,
Yes! I am often struggling with my living space because we still rent and we do not own. Yet, often times where we have lived we have responsibilities as if we own the property. However, like you, I am learning that with God’s grace, I can manage. I have some other issues but I have learned that God isn’t going to bless me with anything extra until I can manage what he has already given me. Great article!
This is really helpful for me since I have been struggling with the possibility of having to move into a smaller house than what we have now. I will definitely keeps these tips in mind. Thanks so much.
I needed to read this today! With a fourth child on the way, I’ve been struggling with feeling ungrateful for the lack of space that we have. Choosing to be thankful!!!!
Oh girl, I hear ya! Praying for you as you welcome baby #4 and feel more acutely the pinch of tight space!
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for writing this article.God is asking us to downgrade our lifestyle and home for all the reasons you stated, especially the more available money to put towards kingdoms work. I’ve come a long way but I still struggle in many of the areas you speak of. This article really encourages me when I most need to be reminded of the benefits of obeying God rather than following the “American Suburban Dream”!
So thankful this was an encouragement to you!! “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” though often our obedience demands sacrifice. Praying for you, Kendra, as you obey in faith!
This reminds me of my time living in a 2 bedroom apartment at seminary. I only had 1 child at the time, but my neighbors had 3 children in their 2 bedroom apartment, and not only that, they also had a small 2-door sedan with 3 carseats in the back. I know they would have *loved* to had a van, and even a bigger apartment. But honestly, I was truly encouraged by their example. I’ve always wanted a large family, and I know a big house just isn’t always a reality when your husband is in ministry. Now, my only reason for wanting that extra bedroom is so that we can have a room for a foster child, or foster children, to meet requirements. Who would have thought! That is accredited to God’s grace in my life. I could have easily wanted a bigger house just to be like everyone else, but by witnessing other people living well in small homes (and small cars!), I was encouraged that I too, could do the same.
Yes this is my biggest struggle I am dealing with right now, my family of 5 moved from Texas to Missouri to help my brother who was struggling himself and moved into his 3 bedroom duplex, then just 3 months ago my mother in law also moved in, as you can figure there are more of us then there are rooms, so yes we are very cramped together , and I pray that God will give me the patience to wait until something else better comes.
Praying with you, Rochelle!
Thank you so much for this. We too have four kids in a very small space. I once figured out that we each get about 200 sq ft a person . I have longed for a larger house but had never prayed for it before just the other night. I had always felt “wrong” about praying for that when I know others would give anything for a warm place to live with a roof over their heads. Anyways, after I prayed about a larger house, I felt so selfish and just not right about it and I repented and prayed to Him thanking Him for the blessings He has given us. This article reminds me that I need to just find the positives to having a small house. So, thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for your honesty, Robyn! I could be wrong, but honestly, I think it’s okay to pray for a bigger home. Discontentment isn’t always wrong. In fact, sometimes God stirs up that discontentment in us when He’s moving us into a new “place.” My encouragement is to keep being honest with God. Ask Him to search your heart and your motives and lead you, even as you pray. Keep praying WITH thankfulness and keep surrendering your desires to God in prayer. Then keep trusting HIM as you wait to see how He works in the situation. Praying with you!
One thing I appreciate is that we use less electricity. My in laws home is more than twice the size of ours and their electric bill is 4x what ours is.
Funny thing though, we get notices from our provider informing us that we use more electricity than other homes of the same size. I always laugh because I know that our home most likely contains more occupants than other homes of the same size. 🙂
Yes! A lower electric bill (and gas bill, too!) is definitely a perk of a smaller home!
Wow! This certainly is confirmation! We’ve been searching for a new place to rent, since we do not own, yet. Now, last year God had placed something in me, and the family, about moving out of state. Throughout this time we were looking to move in order to save money for this big move. We had 4 of the 5 kids living with us, plus my daughter and granddaughter moved in (3bd apt) for a little while. We began searching for a bigger place, but were unsuccessful. We tried for months. Just yesterday I felt that unless He said it, don’t do it. I searched and felt/heard nothing. One place, that was just TAD bigger, but only $60 more with a utility included that would normally run is $200 easily certain months, was asking for us to visit. After hearing from God, we did. There’s something He wants for us to do, without us getting in a bind along the way, and He’s faithful to make it happen. Bigger isn’t always better, but spending on things you can save on isn’t wise either.
Thanks so much for sharing your situation, Brady. You’re right. There are lots of variables to consider. As I’ve been praying for our family’s situation, a verse the Lord brought to my heart is from Proverbs — “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and He adds no sorrow to it.” We justify so many things as God’s “blessing” when sometimes it is our manipulation or forcing our own way. For some, waiting on God is the hardest. For others, the hardest is acting on what God says to do. Either way, if the blessing is from the Lord, He will add no sorrow to it. Praying that for you family as well.
I live in a small space as well. We do have 3 bedrooms for our family has f five. However as I homeschooling the kids decided to all move into one room and we made the other room a play/school room. I think my biggest challenge is managing the kids stuff from.being to much. Thanks for a great blog post!
I agree whole heartedly! We raised our 6 kids in a 3-bedroom ranch, with one bathroom. Although we did put some makeshift bedroom areas in the basement with a bathroom later, we were always rather cozy. But, our kids got used to sharing their space. Now, as we soon face an empty nest, our house is more than adequate. Our family is close and loves getting together. We don’t have any clutter and are now looking forward to making a small bedroom into an office!
Just moved out of a large 3500 sq ft house because we wanted to simplify and travel. Just hubby and I, and 2 kids. 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, two dining rooms, and huge living spaces, including a heated-tile basement floor. We realized that we never moved into that house – temporary furniture, never decorated, never felt right. We thought it was what we wanted.
Turns out, we just bought a 2100 sq ft house, and kept the kids in the same schools. Saving $900 /mo in mortgage alone, not to mention lower bills!! Moved in 6 weeks ago, and have already unpacked completely, painted, hung art, gotten rid of half of our furniture and belongings, and have simplified our lives. My marriage is better, my family is happier, I spend so much less time cleaning, and we have a lot more money to spend on travel!
Wow! What great encouragement to me, Annina. Thanks for sharing! Simplifying can be so challenging – I grip so tightly to my “stuff” – but it’s SO freeing!!
We had a small home and 3 years ago moved into a bigger home. I find myself craving for the benefits you mentioned. The simplification, less cleaning, the closeness that we had with our first home. I think you are 100% correct- bigger is not better! And kudos to you for fitting 4 kids into one room. WOW!!
I have to admit – it is not always pretty, Lucretia! 😉 But we make do and are learning to be content whatever our circumstances!! 🙂
We have a small-ish home (about 1100 sq. ft.) which we’ve grown to love. There’s still one thing about it that I struggle with – the basement. Because it’s not in a main traffic pattern and we have to go out of our way to go into it – it has become a collection point of many things obsolete. When things go through the basement door to be stored ‘temporarily’ in the basement I often think we should be just opening up an incinerator door and tossing whatever it is in to be burned to a crisp (with a few exceptions). Because, really – we’re storing it down there because we don’t want to look at it – how valuable could it be to us?! SO, I’m not dreaming of a bigger house. I’m dreaming of a dumpster! 🙂
This has happened to me a few times recently. Even though we moved from a small cape to what we thought was a larger home (an added bedroom and an extra bathroom), it’s nothing compared to the large colonials our friends are moving into as their second, or ‘forever’ homes. I never felt the need to brag about my home on facebook, because, even though I love it, it simply is just normal, nothing grandiose. I’ve witnessed quite a few friends actually looked shocked when they pulled up to my ‘new home’ (built in 1988) becuase they are so accustomed to a newly build mcmansion! Not to say I don’t think those homes are beautiful, but they aren’t for me, espeicially when we are living on one salary. It is sometimes hard to stay content, though!
As a child I lived in a shotgun apartment in a common wall 4 family house in the heart of the city. By today’s standards not what one would consider to be the best situation. That apartment was about 500 square feet in total size. If you don’t know what a shotgun apartment is like all 4 rooms were in a row and you had to walk through each room to get to the next one…no hallways. Everything on our house had its place and had to be put away in the right place for everything to fit. My mom packed away winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter and stored them in the cellar (not a fancy basement) so things would fit in the tiny closet. In the other three apartments lived all my relatives…grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I am a grandma now with a married son and 2 little grandchildren and I live in a very lovely house with plenty of room. I am very grateful for all that I have, but if there was one thing I could change it would be to go back and be able to give my own son the opportunity to live like I did as a child. With family only a few feet away and memories that have lasted a life time. It makes me sad that though we have a loving family he was never able to experience that life style. That little tiny apartment helped to provide the most wonderful childhood….
We have a little home too and I know exactly what you mean. BUT I love our little home and wouldn’t want a bigger one (yet). No thank you to bigger payments, more to clean, more places to accumulate junk… yuck!
I loved your article! We have a small house and love it for all the reasons you said. We planned for 2 children but God blessed (and surprised!) us with twin girls 3 years after we welcomed our first daughter. It takes 1.5 hours to clean the house and I can always find everyone! Thank you for the great read!
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