I’m super excited to be joining the Small House Blog Hop organized by Stacy from Not Just A Housewife! Of course, the term “small house” is completely subjective and what is one person’s small house could be practically a mansion for another. We (me, my husband, 2 boys, and three dogs) live on an acre of land in a 1600 sq. ft. house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Sure, there are other larger families living in smaller houses but, nonetheless, here are my tips and tricks for small home living!
Home Sweet Little Home
Did you know that the average size of a U.S. home is 2,600 sq. ft., which ranks us second behind Australia for largest homes in the world? (source) Here in Texas, where we often live up to the “bigger is better” stereotype, I’d dare argue we are well above the average! So, in my house, we’re about 1,000 sq. ft. behind the average home which sometimes makes me wonder just why we decided to buy this house.
Eight years ago, my husband and I wanted to move from one side of town to another, closer to his job to cut back on commute times. We fell in love with an area that fit all our qualifications (walking distance to work, good schools, strong personality) but the houses were all made in the 1930’s so they were significantly smaller than the house we were moving from. We probably should have thought about what we were going to do when we had kids (which came only a year later!) but the old-fashion charm of the house and the gorgeous (if massive!) yard called to us!
The Rest Is History
So, that’s how I came to be living in our “casita” where the kitchen is pretty much a row of appliances and the bathroom is constantly occupied. We recently converted a 150 sq. ft. in-laws quarters into a craft room for me so now we get our pantry back which is a good thing. (Read more about that here!) Over all, we’re quite happy with our little house and while we may add on a master suite at some point (what mother wants to share a bathroom with two teenage boys?!!!), we’ve figured out how to make it work for us.
Here are a few tips & tricks we’ve learned:
Tip 1. Utilize Every. Space. Possible!
I realize that’s pretty much a given when living in a small space but I highly suggest thinking even more outside of the box when it comes to getting the most out of your space.
With two kids sharing a small bedroom (turns out people in the 30’s loved small houses, small bedrooms, and small closets!), there was little room for a stand alone bookcase so we installed these forward facing bookshelves in that awkward space behind the door. We have an entire wall of books in another part of the house so we just switch these out every so often to keep the kids interested.
When I began blogging seriously and working with companies to create tutorials for their products, I needed a dedicated space to work from. The only unused space available was above a bench in the pantry and it totally did the job for 3 good years! (Check out my Teeny Tiny Craft Room)
My next project? I need a meditation nook somewhere in this crowded house where unused corners are hard to come by. I have some ideas but would love to hear any suggestions!
Tip 2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when it feels like the walls are sliding in and the house gets so small that we’re constantly stepping on and over each other. Having two little
monkeys boys running around like crazy can make any house feel small so we do what most parents do…go outside!
One of the things we gained when we sacrificed square footage in our house was an amazing outdoor space that is perfectly suited for kids wanting to explore the world around them. My boys are finally old enough that I can trust them being outside on their own (which is AH-mazing) but most of the time we go out with them to clear our heads and renew our hearts.
So, don’t forget to consider any outdoor space you have in your small home! We’ve started adding small details like stereos and an Outdoor Folding Bar Shelf to our backyard to make it even more of a living space. Definitely need some comfy outdoor sofas now (and someone to bring me a cold beer!)
Tip 3. Add Whimsy
I know I said in the first tip to use all space wisely but let’s not forget that this is a home where my kids will create memories to last a lifetime. Standard thought tells us not to cover an entire wall in a small home because it’ll make the room feel smaller but you know what? Our Television Gallery Wall brings us endless amounts of joy as we often talk about how little (and chubby) the boys were in their hanging pictures. And who couldn’t smile at an entire wall of colorful Pez, right? I’ll sacrifice any amount of wall space if it makes us that happy!
One of the pros to living in small old houses is that you’ve got all these interesting (if somewhat wasteful) details. We turned an unused heater grate into a miniature Gnome Home that changes out with the seasons. I guess we could have utilized that space some how or just close it up to prevent a draft but we absolutely LOVE our house guests!
Love the One You’re With
So, that’s where we live! We’re still figuring out how to make this space work for us but, regardless of house size, isn’t that what everyone does? I’d love to hear about your houses and what you consider to be “Small House Living!”