The quest for the not-so-big house

The Not So Big House

Kim and I have spent the past couple of weeks hunting for a new house. While it's true that we love many things about our current place — great neighbors, great neighborhood, great views, great walkability — we've come to realize that it no longer fits our lifestyle and goals.

When I bought this condo in 2013, I was newly divorced and newly dating. It seemed like a sweet bachelor pad. When Kim moved in, things weren't perfect but we made do because the condo still mostly reflected our values. But something happened during our 15-month RV tour of the United States. When we arrived home, we realized that we had changed.

  • After living together so long in a tiny space, our condo seems ginormous.
  • City life, which had once seemed vibrant and exciting, now feels rushed and overwhelming.
  • We both crave the slower country lifestyle in which we were raised. We want space and time to do outdoorsy things.
  • Plus, now we have pets, animals that long to be outside instead of stuck in an apartment all day.

So, we've started shopping for a new place to live. Our ideal home is smaller (which, to us, means less than 1500 square feet) and on about an acre of land close to Portland. Finding a place with land isn't as difficult as we thought it might be, but finding a smaller home is tough.

There are roughly 30 small homes on more than an acre in the Portland area. Of these, 21 are within our budget. There are more than 300 houses over 1500 square feet on large lots. Thirty of these are within our budget. (Overall, there are 604 homes under 1500 square feet available in Portland; there are 2396 homes larger than that for sale.)

The bottom line: Houses are huge nowadays.

Bigger is NOT Always Better

How big have homes become?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median size for a new home built in 1973 was 1525 square feet. By 2015, that number had jumped to 2467 square feet. During those 44 years, kitchen sizes have doubled, ceilings have risen more than a foot, and bedrooms have grown by more than 50 square feet.

But home sizes are ballooning even as households are shrinking! The average household had 2.9 people in 1973. In 2015, the average household had 2.5 people. Forty years ago, we had 526 square feet of living space per person; today, we have 987 square feet of living space per person — and that's increasing every year.

This seems crazy. Why do we need such huge houses? What's the point? And do homeowners truly consider the costs when they choose to buy big? A larger home doesn't just carry a larger purchase price. It costs more to maintain. It costs more to light, to heat, and to furnish. For too many people, big homes are the destroyer of dreams. (I'm not joking. I truly believe this.)

This year, I've been running the numbers for my own life. It's been surprising to find how much it costs for me to live in what is ostensibly a paid-for condo. With a $570/month HOA payment and a $6282.71 property tax obligation, I'm on the hook for nearly $1100 per month! Before utilities! To live in a place I own outright!

That's too much.

So, Kim and I are searching for a not-so-big house.

The Not-So-Big House

In her 1998 book The Not-So-Big House, Sarah Susanka argues that modern homes are large and (worst of all) inefficient.

“It's time for a different kind of house,” Susanka wrote before the tiny house movement had become a movement. “A house that is more than square footage, a house that is Not So big, where each room is used every day.”

In Susanka's view, Not-So-Big is less about numbers and more about use. It's about homes that reflect how people actually live. She doesn't like living rooms and formal dining rooms, for instance. She prefers open floorplans that incorporate the kitchen, living, and dining areas all into one unified location. Quality of space is more important than quantity of space, she says.

“The Not So Big house features adaptable spaces open to one another, designed for everyday use,” she writes. Modern homes, by contrast, have a different room for each possible activity. This is wasteful and isolating, and it doesn't reflect how people actually want to live.

The Not-So-Big House is also comfortable. It's warm and inviting. Its features reflect the values of the owner. The hallmarks of a Not-So-Big house are efficiency, quality, and comfort.

Note: When it comes to size, what is Not-So-Big for me might be too much for you (or vice versa). Susanka, for instance, talks about homes of 3000 square feet — or more! — as if they were “not so big”. These seem huge to me under any circumstance. Ideally, I'd like a place between 1000 and 1200 square feet. But I had dinner with a friend last week who lives in 600 square feet and is looking to downsize. To her, my “not so big” is huge.

Some Not-So-Big Examples

Kim and I have been scouring real-estate listings since the end of March, searching for places that match our criteria. Over the past week, we've toured fifteen different homes and driven by many more. It's fun to see what's out there.

Although pickings are slim, we've found a few places that would meet our needs. The homes are small and the lots are large. One is even relatively close to Kim's current work. These are the top contenders, so far:

Country Cottage

  • The first home is a 1948 English cottage — or what would passes for an English cottage here in Portland. It's been remodeled in a piece-meal fashion over the years so that the home is “quirky”, as our real-estate agent puts it. But that's okay. Kim and I like this particular brand of quirky. The home is 1235 square feet on a 1.04-are lot. But the lot is a strange shape. It's not much wider than the home itself, but very very deep, running down the side of a hill. The back yard contains a deck, a landscaped garden, and plenty of mature trees. This $449,000 house is less than twenty minutes from our current location, but while there are plenty of places to walk for pleasure, it's not possible to walk for errands.
  • The second home is a 1977 ranch home that is unremarkable in almost every way — except that the kitchen is tiny and impractical. (It reminded me of our RV kitchen, and that's not a good thing.) Kim doesn't like how plain the house is, but I think that just means it's a blank canvas for us to create what we want. The home is 1512 square feet but the lot is 1.58 acres near Oregon's wine country, about 45 minutes from Portland. The property contains several fenced areas (for goats and chickens, etc.) and a huge shop with a separate office workspace. This spot is priced at $469,000. It's on a dead-end road with plenty of leisure walking, and maybe within walking distance of the nearest grocery store. (Certainly within biking distance.)
  • The third home is crazy unique. It's a two-story, 1230-square foot yurt on twenty acres of timbered hillside about half an hour from Salem (75 minutes from Portland). The views from this round house are stunning. The land is undeveloped, so we could do anything the law allows. The upstairs living area is completely open; the downstairs contains two bedrooms, a bathroom, and some storage. There's a shop outside, and a gazebo for entertaining. There's lots of land for walking (and for the dog to roam), but there's no way to walk for any sort of errands — except picking up wine. (There's a winery next door.) This place would cost $499,000 and require a total change to our lifestyles.

The 20-Acre View

Despite their differences, these properties share some similarities. They're not tiny houses, obviously, but they're roughly the size that we were raised to think of as normal. Plus, each of these properties offers a feeling of seclusion.

The first is close to a major Portland suburb, but feels like it's in a state park. (Although you can hear the freeway when you're outside.) The second is a standard country subdivision, like the ones I grew up around. And the final place is simply in a world of its own. The animals would love living at any of these places, and so would we.

Closing Thoughts

I'm pleased with how this process has forced us to become more introspective. We're asking ourselves what's important in a home, both as individuals and as a couple. We're looking at the cost for living in our neighborhood versus the cost of living elsewhere. (We're not only looking at obvious housing costs, but also secondary costs like our enormous food budget.)

“Sometimes it seems like you and Kim don't know what you want,” Kathleen (my office-mate) said the other day. “You're always looking for something new.” She's not wrong. It's not that Kim and I are necessarily unhappy with what we have — it's great! — but we both value growth and evolution. And our priorities have changed. We don't know what the future holds for us — and we're okay with that.

Basically, we're exploring possibilities. It could be we buy that yurt on twenty acres and adopt a country lifestyle. It could be that we decide to stay in this condo and make do. Or maybe — just maybe — we'll buy my grandparents' not-so-big house, which is currently owned by my mother. This 1166 square foot home sits on 2.32 acres just a quarter mile from where I grew up (the current site of the family box factory). Kim isn't keen on the place, but there are tons of advantages to considering it as an option.

My grandfather's house

Tonight we'll take a second tour through the country cottage I mentioned above. This time, we'll take photos. We'll ask ourselves, “Could we live here with our animal family for the next five or ten years? How does this property match our goals? Would it help us keep our costs down?” If we like the place well enough, we might make an offer.

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Nathan
Nathan
3 years ago

I don’t know J.D. I’ve been following your blog/stories for some time now. This potential move seems awfully rushed. It’s like something switched a few weeks ago and now you are full steam ahead. Again, this only from my perspective of what you share on the blog… perhaps it’s been an issue for a while and only now you are sharing it. My sense is that this move is really all about Kim. I don’t think you really want to move at all. But, I think you really really like Kim and you are probably always up for a new… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Multnomah Village is a great walkable neighorhood but is peaceful and quiet

Jana
Jana
3 years ago

Your grandparents home is adorable! I’ll take it if you don’t want it 😉

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

I love the idea of the Not So Big house. When we bought our 926-sq-ft house two years ago, we thought it was a little on the small side but worth it for the walking, biking, dog parking and general urban living opportunities it offered at an affordable price. Since moving in though, I can’t imagine having to take care of a bigger place. Like you mention, we really do use each room every day, but we don’t feel cramped or claustrophobic because the spaces are well-suited to what we need. Now we’re realizing that the big yard that came… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I was going to bring this up because I know you hated yardwork. But maybe you can design it to be more low maintenance. More native plants, rustic looking. Add a gazebo, dog run.

Eileen
Eileen
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I think this is a very big question to continue to evaluate. We live in the ‘burbs and have a .61 acre lot. It’s very treed, which means much of the lot is “natural area”. But in order for the “natural area” to look tidy enough, we get pine straw bales each spring (the boy scouts sell it and deliver) and then we spread it. We also have to pull or kill weeds that show up in those areas. We still have a decent amount of lawn, so that needs mowing each week in the growing season. We re-seed in… Read more »

Jeff A.
Jeff A.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

We bought a 930sq ft home last year, and agree 100% with you on the prospect of having to take care of a bigger home and yard. A small(er) home and (for us) a smaller yard fit perfectly with our budget and lifestyle. As JD points out, a smaller home is less expensive to maintain/heat/furnish/etc. It also tends to promote things like outdoor activities, under-accumulation of Stuff (or at least more intentional and mindful accumulation), more interaction with family, and a host of others. Our weekends and free time have been filled with adventure and leisure – time that many… Read more »

Shara G.
Shara G.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Have you made sure your property is zoned for a second dwelling? Most areas I am aware of frown on that except in the most libertarian of locations.

Eliza
Eliza
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Our situation is almost identical down to the square metre! I love our small house, but our yard is another story. Your analogy is spot on. Although it’s a relaxing, green space to look at, we’re always behind on the maintenance and feel overwhelmed because there is so much of it. Ironically as the planning laws have changed since we bought it, the block is now subdividable but we’d have to sell to gain the benefit which we aren’t ready to do. I guess it’s a great investment, but if anyone asks, I always recomend buying a townhouse. Unless your… Read more »

Fervent Finance
Fervent Finance
3 years ago

This is a problem my fiancee and I run into when we’re perusing Zillow. It feels like 90% of houses out here in the Midwest are 2,000 square feet plus. We currently rent a pretty big two story condo (probably just shy of 2,000 square feet) and only use one floor. So we know when we look for a home to potentially purchase down the road, we’d want well short of 2,000 square feet. But inventory feels non-existent, or the homes are really old and would need a ton of work. Interested to hear more about the family cottage.

Josh
Josh
3 years ago

I live in 2100 sq. feet on 20 acres in Texas with a family of 5 and I have found out that more land is better. You actually live outside and only sleep inside. So, we could live in a home that is 1000 sq. feet with 5 people. Go with more land and you can live in a shipping container home. You won’t regret living outdoors. Also, a pond is nice too. We love looking out on our pond in the evenings watching the sun set.

Pat Tramma
Pat Tramma
3 years ago

You might do well considering a modular home builder. My in-laws are seriously looking at one for their retirement home. They build the homes mostly off-site, and in a precision factory setting. Here is an example company I found in Portland: http://methodhomes.net/ . Looking to their pricing page, it seems like you can get a 1000 sq ft. house built including permits and site fees in the neighborhood of $300,000. If you can find a lot in the $200,000 range, this might work out nicely. Two big pluses of new construction are 1) that you can pick a design, floorplan,… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

After my brother’s house burned down, he had a modular home put on the property. You CANNOT TELL it is a modular, and the low initial cost allowed him to do a fair number of improvements (finished basement, backyard deck, landscaping et al.) for cash. My partner and I live in a 1,100-square-foot home on a 7,000-square-foot lot. The house is all on one level (which may become important as we grow older) and has a full basement (a rarity in Anchorage). It has only one bathroom, which some realtors would have you believe is a non-starter, but really: How… Read more »

dh
dh
3 years ago

I don’t know JD, what you call evolution and growth could just simply be the “thinker” inside your brain playing tricks on you. As Eckhart Tolle mentioned in The Power of Now, the brain loves to get its teeth into problems and will even generate problems so that the mind constantly has something to busy itself with. Just something to consider, especially since you are considering taking a step *backwards* and going with a huge yard again, which is directly opposed to the minimalist path you’ve been striving to walk down for so many years now. If you are going… Read more »

Laura
Laura
3 years ago

It seems you are trading walkable/bikeable for outdoor space and that seems almost the opposite of the lifestyle you’ve been posting as enjoyable. Can you rent a place in the outer burbs or areas you are looking at for a month just to see if that type of location really suits you?

Shara G.
Shara G.
3 years ago

I know you said you guys were looking for potential areas to relocate and decided to stay in Portland, but after looking at those options I would challenge you on that. Honestly, for someone who is FIRE I have a hard time with any of those houses. There are a lot, I would say most, areas of the country that you could find those houses for a third to half the price. You said yourself in the analysis that services aren’t particularly close, and walking one country road is honestly much like the next. Why not Nashville, Reno, Santa Fe,… Read more »

Shara G.
Shara G.
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I like renting, but then there’s what inflation could do to housing. The option I like isn’t advocated by most financial experts: find a middle ground, a good rental somewhere you could tolerate living and hand it over to a manager. If you never live there it’s still a sound investment (especially if it’s prudently mortgaged). But in 30 years if rent has left you behind you have that dwelling in your back pocket either to live in or to pay your inflated rent.

jlcollinsnh
jlcollinsnh
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

It was great talking with you today, JD…

…always a pleasure catching up. As we agreed, we should do it more often.

When we let too much time pass, the next thing I know, yer lookin’ at houses!! 😉

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I donno about a home not being considered an investment if you have an investment home (not your primary), because that’s exactly what it is.

I’m selling my home I bought in 2005 for about 82% more than I bought it for. But it’s like a 600% return on my 20% downpayment!

If it closes, it was a pretty darn good investment b/c I also lived in it for free for 9.5 years.

Sam

Lake Livin'
Lake Livin'
3 years ago

Man, I agree with so many of these comments. It really seems like going back to a situation you were dying to escape just a few years ago. You didn’t like HAVING to deal with yard work. You’re a social person and seem to do better near an urban environment. I think living near the box factory would bring back bad memories of the life you left behind. Have you considered just renting? And don’t get me wrong, I love PDX and used to live there myself, but I think you could find other, more affordable cities with similar sensibilities.

Anders
Anders
3 years ago

Hey J.D.! It seems like each of the locations you have been looking at have some benefit or advantage of their own. House shopping is fun and somehow a bit stressful with all the big decisions to make. It’s funny with the statistics you share in the article. I’ve reacted on this lately too (I haven’t checked statistics though) that people want to live in bigger houses and they pay heaps of money each month. Most often it’s done in the “a house is an investment”-thinking, to which I just marginally agree. We bought a not-so-big-house. About 730-ish square feet.… Read more »

grbkeb
grbkeb
3 years ago

So I have this little theory…and maybe it only applies to me, but it sounds like it might apply a little bit to you as well. About every 6 years people (me) are ready for a change of scenery. This could be small house to big house, big to small, neighborhood to the country, land locked to the ocean, or just this side of town to the other side of town. Basically for me at about year 3-4 you get the bug that you something different would suit you better, and it probably would because most of us are constantly… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
3 years ago
Reply to  grbkeb

Or just stay in place. I bought my 650sqft apartment in July 2004, and only recently have begun to feel that I have put down roots in the neighbourhood and do not want to move.

Apropos of J.D.’s situation, a move to the country is probably advisable if only for the welfare of the animals.

Claudia
Claudia
3 years ago

When we decided to become money bosses, our big house was the first thing to go — waste of space, time, and money. Our profit margin increased dramatically when we downsized (as did our time margin, which we desperately wanted).

For the next move, we’ll look for land that has a manufactured home in good condition that we can sell. We’ll just build our tiny house or tiny shop on the same pad. So many manufactured homes out there sit on 10+ acres in rural settings…we just have to decide where we’re going!

Joe
Joe
3 years ago

Good luck! I’d love to see how it turn out. We are thinking about moving to a more rural area too. However, I’ve lived in cities my whole life. I don’t really know if I can handle the change. As long as we have internet, I think we’ll be okay.
All those houses sound really interesting.

Sue
Sue
3 years ago

Here in England rural is not quite the same as there is always a village literally down the road. I did find you a small home with a view (!) for about the sane price http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-65006399.html

But I would suggest you buy back you RV and live in it in a rural location for a while as you may change your mind. Plus looking after a rural home (big or small) takes time, time and mire time, plus money.

I like the other person’s suggestion of Miami. Go somewhere warm.

Anyway the world is your oyster, so be adventurous.

JoDi
JoDi
3 years ago

We faced this dilemma when we moved 3 years ago. We had a townhouse and wanted something with a bigger lot, but we really didn’t need more space than the ~1800 sq ft we had. We ended up buying a 2200 sq ft house on a little under 1/2 acre. The setting was just too good to pass up. It’s a nice neighborhood with great neighbors, and our property backs to county-owned wooded property so it’s like having a park with nature trails behind us. The things I would change if I could: 1. I wish it was a ranch… Read more »

M
M
3 years ago

J.D. I also grew up in the suburbs outside of Portland. Three years ago I moved out to wine country on 5 acres in a manufactured home. I had never lived in the country. And now i will NEVER go back. It’s so quiet, I have a big orchard and garden. I still work downtown, so I am a “commuter” the dirtiest word in the FIRE dictionary! But my mortgage is tiny and I have complete freedom. Take the leap, you’ll never regret it. Quiet, clothing optional life…

Amy @ Life Zemplified
Amy @ Life Zemplified
3 years ago

Tough decision. Perhaps, as someone else suggested, you should try renting for a while to see if you enjoy the more rural setting. And yeah yardwork? Not too mention all the other outside maintenance. Also, with you just recently getting the office space what would a move mean for that?

Kristen W
Kristen W
3 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

My first thought on the yard work issue… I’m guessing that with the savings from not paying the HOA fee every month you could hire somebody to help with some of that yard work and still have some left over. Then gradually shift the landscaping to low maintenance plantings. I’m across the river from you in Vancouver, on a .4 acre lot. I don’t so much mind mowing the lawn and weeding once in a while, but at some point I will hire someone to come in quarterly for the larger pruning and maintenance jobs. There are two of us… Read more »

Eliza
Eliza
3 years ago

So cool to see a discussion of Not-So-Big-Homes – very goldilocks! I’ve also personally seen a too-big-house be a destroyer of dreams that this particular family never recovered from and is still affecting them in retirement. So I’m determined to keep it small even as the family grows. Interestingly, there’s quite a bit of social pressure from family and friends to move up to a bigger house that I never expected.

Olga King
Olga King
3 years ago

We’ll be moving from 1275 sq ft home in outskirts of Austin (still city limits, but nothing walk-able, and still too big for us in terms of bedrooms – 3 plus office – timed for kids growing up) to a 900 sq ft old craftsman home in downtown Colorado Springs – everything in terms of fun and errands can be walked to, and trails can be run to. Can not wait! Having grown up in city apartment (in Russia), all this “need for space” is weird even after 24 years in US. Feels like people don’t like each other, hiding… Read more »

John
John
3 years ago

Like many other readers, I really don’t get it, JD. Here’s a quote from your post dated 4/10/17: “In the olden days, I picked my homes based on emotion. When my ex-wife and I bought our old farmhouse in 2004, that decision was rushed and irrational. I liked the idea of the place. I liked the large yard (two-thirds of an acre close in to Portland), the hundred-year-old house, and the cute hobbit-hole window in the living room. I didn’t consider the massive amount of lawnmowing and yardwork. And I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I’d have to… Read more »

Jacq
Jacq
3 years ago

I want smaller some day too, and have realized “tiny” or small might mean custom or customizable modular. I am in my current place for commuting to work, but when I get FI, I can be less location dependent. That will hopefully open up option. There are some design things in my current house, and previous apartments that just don’t make sense to me, which is why being able to design a living space for what I like and find most functional would be ideal. I’ve got lots of downsizing to do before I can go tiny, and more work… Read more »

The RCG
The RCG
3 years ago

Went big 5 years ago, and I sometimes regret it. Looking after 2000+ sq ft can be an all consuming task. I find myself daydreaming about having a really nice townhouse or condo instead. I really can’t complain.

Jules the First
Jules the First
3 years ago

I shopped for an apartment quite literally for years. About six months after I gave up and reconciled myself to renting for all eternity, I got the opportunity to buy about 700 sqft in the neighbourhood where I was renting. My HOA is an astonishing $800/month, but my mortgage is tiny so the monthly total is not far off what I was paying to rent; my neighbourhood is walkable with good schools (if that becomes an issue) and lots of good commuting options. I have a huge balcony that I garden on but no outdoor space and honestly it doesn’t… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
3 years ago

I seriously recommend you give DECISIVE by Chip & Dan Heath an earnest read before you proceed any further along this path.

Try their WRAP process on this and see what you come up with– it might give you a lot more and better options.

Quest
Quest
3 years ago

The argument for renting vs. buying is NOT one-size-fits-all. Renting works fine for some people while others (like me) want to own. No one can foresee the future but I’d rather ride it out in a house that belongs to me! I have a problem giving a large sum of money to a landlord each month. I like to be the captain of my own ship which means no one gets to tell me they’re selling the house I’m living in and that I have to be out in 30 days! Plus I have dependents and animals. Flexibility is a… Read more »

Aime Lopez
Aime Lopez
3 years ago

I was going to suggest you the Module Homes, but someone already did it, something like this one: https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Austin-TX/2095775836_zpid/10221_rid/globalrelevanceex_sort/30.600093,-97.49611,29.984081,-98.074952_rect/10_zm/? I just love them, but I live in Mexico and we have a pretty medium big concrete house, so I just admire from the far… Hope you find something that makes you happy, I would suggest you first to rent for a couple of months a small house in a rural area of Portland so you can see if you adapt or if you don’t, you can just get back to the city without a mortgage on your shoulders… and back… Read more »

Caitlin
Caitlin
3 years ago

I live in a just big enough house in the South PDX ‘burbs, which wasn’t even a term when I was growing up here. Portland is blowing up – the gorgeous house in the city is only going to increase in value as more people move here. Blessing or a curse depending on what you focus on.

Is this going to be your forever house or your for now house?

Annie
Annie
3 years ago

As always JD, I love your view point. I didn’t read every comment, but a few that I did questioned your decision – like, do you really want to do this?? I will say, the reason I still find you so engaging after all these years is because you’re so real! Your wants change, your goals move, you follow impulses and STILL are able to keep your financial life together. Some other blogs make me dispare, because how will I ever become the stoney aesthetic that MMM is or the POPs are? They seem like they’ve never had an ungoverned… Read more »

Juan
Juan
3 years ago

Great post. I completely agree how ridiculous homes have become in size. This my favorite part ” For too many people, big homes are the destroyer of dreams.”. Amen. My wife and I need recently bought a townhome. It has about 1,400 sq ft of heated space + a one car garage and small “backyard”. We have a kid, no pets, and the space we have is a bit more than large enough. I guess it helps that we grew up in a city with 8 million people where most homes are not big at all. It’s all a matter… Read more »

PatientWealth
PatientWealth
3 years ago

totally agree – houses are too big and it only makes for more work and is more expensive to maintain. a smaller house is more reasonable!

wishicouldsurf
wishicouldsurf
3 years ago

Ok, I’ve got no opinion on Portland, but my family of 3 people live in San Diego, in a 1,280 square foot house on a postage stamp sized lot, bikeable and walkable to everything we need. Even with the small lot, it’s 100% adequate for a couple of dogs. Dogs like to walk and if you have access to parks, you can let them loose in a bigger space that you don’t have to maintain. Maintaining our smallish yard is so darn easy and painless. A couple of hours of work a month… Finally, even with our very small yard,… Read more »

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
3 years ago

“But home sizes are ballooning even as households are shrinking! The average household had 2.9 people in 1973. In 2015, the average household had 2.5 people. Forty years ago, we had 526 square feet of living space per person; today, we have 987 square feet of living space per person — and that’s increasing every year.” I love this quote. So true and so interesting! When we downgraded from a 2,300 sqft home to a 1,720 sqft home in 2014, we felt more right-sized. I think 1,720 sqft for a family of 3 or 4 is perfect. Waste feels so… Read more »

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