"I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified." ~ Susannah Wesley
My husband and I bought our cute, little 748 sq. ft. dream house at the peak of the housing market, only to find ourselves underwater a couple of years later. We would have gladly gone house hunting as our family multiplied, but there was nothing we could do. So along with learning valuable lessons from living in a 2 bedroom house with 5 small children ; I have also started to see the benefits of small house living.
Of course there are definite cons to living in a small house and I look forward to the day when God provides us with a bigger one for our expanding family. More space would be warmly welcomed! But I can truly say that God has brought me to such a place of contentment with the sweet little abode he has given us. It has not been an easy adjustment for me but each day God is giving me eyes to see all the benefits.
1. Everyone is in ear or eyeshot
If I am in our living room I can see into almost every room in the house and I can definitely hear everyone. I wouldn't say hearing everyone is a benefit but I have invested in ear plugs;)
When you have little ones, keeping your eyes on them is a priority. Silence and not being able to see what they are up to is never good. Mine still find a way to get into things but it helps that I can get to them pretty quickly.
I love being able with the simple turn of my head see the boys hard at work in the school room, Simeon dumping out all the blocks in the kids room, Luke climbing up on the kitchen table and Ellie reading in the living room.
2. You have to keep only what you love and what it essential
I have always had an emotional attachment to things that I have owned forever. I basically keep things because...I have always had them. As I have had to downsize, I have found myself detaching myself from the things that are taking up space and that I really don't use. I am always amazed when I periodically clean out our closets how much I am able to get rid of every time.
I am a sucker for a bargain. If it's cheap I'll buy it for the main reason...that it is cheap. You know what? Most all the things I have gotten rid of are those purchases that I have gotten on clearance. Less space has made me become a more cautious and realistic consumer. Don't get me wrong; I still love me a good garage sale and some thrift store shopping, but I am very careful not to buy something just because it's cheap but because I need it and I love it.
3. It doesn't take as long to clean
Now before I say anything else, I just want to clarify that some days I feel like all. I. do. is. clean. But I can safely blame this on my 2, 3, and 5 year old mostly; who have a habit of dumping e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and anything on the floor and not moving a finger to help clean up. (We are working on it) I will always have messes to clean up but general cleaning i.e. sweeping, mopping, dusting, and regular daily cleaning of kitchen and bathroom can be done fairly quickly.
My family is very good at messing up our house with world record speeds but the clean up generally does not take that long... comparatively; depending on what level of messiness it is in.
Not all, but most evenings after the kids have gone to bed I will do a quick clean up. I can get so much more done when they are not running around and it just feels SO good to have the house stay clean for a whole 8 hours; even if everyone is sleeping.
Granted we could definitely use another bathroom, but It doesn't take me longer than 10 minutes tops to give it a good cleaning. I can sweep and mop the whole house under 20 minutes. Dusting the whole house from top to bottom takes quite a bit longer but I try to focus on the living room and save the deep cleaning for a couple for times a year.
One thing I have noticed is that I tend to tidy up more, since a few things scattered around the living room can make it feel like it's a huge mess. So I tend to keep what is in the living room to a minimal. More things just make it look cluttered and chaotic. Again, smaller living quarters have made me reevaluate what I really need in our living space.
4.Your family unit becomes closely knit
There are many days I wish I could escape and have place to hide from the somewhat chaos of my wild bunch. But most days that means I literally need to get out of the house. Quiet and calm is not to be commonly found in our home. Since I need time to myself, I have prioritized getting out to exercise, spend time with the Lord and fellowship with friends. Every time I get out, I am ready to get back to my brood welcoming me back with shouts of, "Mommy's home!!"
When you are in such close quarters with your loved ones, they can easily get on your nerves and dare I say...drive you crazy. I have come to terms with facing the fact that no amount of spacious living can alter my family and I's sinful genes...though it might help a little.
We have been stretched and challenged to fight through the difficulties for peace and learn to humble ourselves and work through what the real heart matter is...only making us a stronger a closer family.
Not only has living in a small house caused us to come together closer in our relationships but it has literally brought us physically closer. When we all huddle up for a family movie night. We all take up the couch and loveseat. We have to squeeze together to each get a space. I have to say my favorite time of the day is when we are all snuggled up on the couch just relaxing and spending time together. Josh and I usually have at least one kid in our laps. It's the best. And of course when they all fall asleep is even better.
Living in a small house is not always easy but when we are focused on what is really important...we can easily see all the benefits.
Whether you live in a small house or a house that is not your dream house, I want to encourage you today to look at all the benefits of living where you are. As you have heard, the grass is always greener on the other side. I look forward to the day when my family and I will be able to either add on to our home or move to a bigger house. But right now this is our home. It's more than just walls and space... it's where we do life.
I truly love our little home, not because of how big or how small it is, but because of who I share it with.
Do you live in a small or imperfect house?
What are the challenges you face in your living space?
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