Small space living: not for everyone or forever?

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Photo credit: The Shopping Sherpa 

We talk a lot about small space living and loving our Shoebox. That’s because we really dig our little digs. But what if you happen to live in a larger home? Or what if you truly need more than 450 square feet? Tiny homes aren’t for everyone, and they might not be a great permanent option either. Today, I’m sharing candid thoughts on why small living spaces aren’t for everyone or forever.

Living in the Shoebox has it advantages. It’s so quick to clean. And I can hear the boys from every corner of the place, so I never have to worry about where they’ve gone off to. (Well, Red at least since he’s the only mobile one). It’s cozy. It keeps life simple. It makes us ever-aware of what we buy and where we’ll store it. It gives me a great excuse to not do Pilates because I easily touch the ceiling fan when stretching. I’ve almost had a few fingers taken off during a little workout session. Those ceiling fans really can be dangerous at full-force!

Of course, 450 square feet has its disadvantages too. We can’t have guests stay with us because we truly don’t have a room for them. Actually, we have had a couple overnight guests. A few brave and easy-going souls (my leetle sister and one darling friend) have actually camped out on the Shoebox floor in sleeping bags for a night, at the foot of our bed. They were gracious, but I wouldn’t call floor-camping an ideal situation for any guests. Larger homes are nice because you can actually offer family and friends a place to stay with a door. And a bed. And, if they’re lucky, a bathroom that actually locks. If you have a home large enough for a guest bedroom, enjoy it!

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s difficult to entertain even for meals in the Shoebox. Our eating nook is really tiny—it fits three easily, but four chairs around the 2.5’x2.5′ table is pushing it. Even if we can all fit around the table, there’s barely room for plates and glasses. I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin’ it’s a tight fit. I miss being able to have friends over for dinner and games. Larger homes with spacious kitchens and dining areas are perfect for blessing guests with a home cooked meal and fabulous fellowship.

Also, living in a small space can be a short-term thing, like our little adventure. Caveman and I have talked about what would happen if Number Three was to come along while we’re still living in the Shoebox. We could figure out a way to physically squeeze five of us in this tiny apartment, but it would be difficult. We are pretty sure that three kids will be the cutoff; we’ll have to move if another one comes along. I can guess that we won’t move to a monster mansion, but we truly might need a little more elbow room.

If we do move to a larger home, we will continue to strive to live small in the areas we have marked out for our own convictions—with moderation in our budget, in how we treat the earth, and with the new space in which we choose to live. Regardless of your home’s square footage, you can still cultivate small living habits (if that floats your boat) such as staying out of debt, such as cooking your own food to reduce costs and environmental impact.

An article like this seems out of place on Smallish, I know. So here’s the point. Our “tiny living” is working for us, for now. We love living in the Shoebox; it’s a great season. But we might not always live here. In fact, we hope we won’t always live here. It’s our journey; it’s our lesson; it’s our thing. It might not be yours, and that’s the beauty of diversity.  If you live in a spacious home, if you have the room to bless guests with a meal or your children with a playroom, enjoy it, embrace it. You won’t find us judging you for not living like us. After all, our differences are what make life interesting.

Thoughts? Reactions? Start or join the conversation below!


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  • Valerie
    September 7, 2012

    We have 6.67 times the square footage you do, but I am still so very convicted about our need to live with a smaller-ish mentality. Your life and your story inspire me to take a serious look at what we have and why we have it.

    • Evelyn
      September 7, 2012

      Glad to hear it, Val! You USE that large space. 🙂

  • Beverly Liston
    September 9, 2012

    We have journeyed through several small rentals while raising the first three of our six children. Our small duplex, apartment, and house were a “non-issue” during the times I was content and grateful with what I had. This blog encourages contentment. But still. I was so very excited when we bought the wonderful home that we are living in–just us two now.. Like you are saying, there is a lot to learn about loving your home when it is seemingly inadequate. Those lessons are wonderful, and I can apply them now to the snags that come up in our dream house. I like the way you use good ideas to keep making the home better.

    • Evelyn
      September 10, 2012

      Thank you so much for this wonderful insight. You are my inspiration! I also believe that contentment is worth fighting for– sadly, it’s not one of those “one time” lessons. I feel like it’s a constant battle to keep my heart content and focused on what really matters in life, but that seems like it could be a whole separate blog post! 🙂 Love your thoughts.

    • Britt
      April 16, 2013

      how funny…I was just explaining this concept to my friend the other day. It’s not about what you don’t have, but appreciating and being content with what God has blessed you with. I then explained that it’s nothing more than living like our grandmothers did….raising 9 children in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house is one of my grandma’s success stories.

      • Evelyn
        April 18, 2013

        That’s amazing. I know, I often think about the norm in many other places in the world–several people crammed into tiny huts. 450 sq. ft. is a mansion! We’re so grateful. Thanks for your perspective, Britt.

  • Parmelee Welsh
    September 9, 2012

    Although living small isn’t in our season right now, we still try to embrace the concepts of “smallish” by recycling, minimizing cleaning chemicals, baking from scratch and appreciating everyday that we have enough space, food and water to share.
    I love remembering these minimalist lessons that came during our season of living in a small town-center flat in England–we had such fun learning that “less is really more”!

    • Evelyn
      September 10, 2012

      Thanks for this thought, Mom. I love the way you intentionally live small by prioritizing what is important in day to day living. You’ve always placed an emphasis on us living naturally and healthily, appreciating the outdoors and caring for others who aren’t as fortunate as we. I am so grateful for the “smallish” yet oh-so-strong foundation you laid in my life!

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