Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to a mortgage payment. If your financial situation is a major cause of stress in your life, downsizing to a smaller home can help you manage your monthly bills. Your mortgage payment will be less expensive, and you will pay less to heat and cool your home. Looking around your house, you may think it’s impossible to cram all of your things into a smaller space, but it can be done with a little planning and organization. You may find that it was just the solution for your family.
If you currently live in a large home or a house with more than one story, you may find it nearly impossible to keep everything in its place. Whatever needs to make it upstairs ends up waiting next to the banister for a week, until it all piles up enough to block the staircase. You run out of glasses in the kitchen because they are all resting on various nightstands, half-filled with water. When running to the bedroom for something quick involves going up and down a flight of stairs, you’re less likely to do it. You may have a place for everything, but if that place is at the top of twelve stairs, it may sit empty and the clutter may build up downstairs.
Moving from a two-story house to one with a level floor plan can help you control clutter. It’s easy to jet around the house picking up things that don’t belong and moving them quickly to their rightful places. Collecting stray glasses only takes a few moments. When the laundry room is right next to the kitchen instead of across the house, dirty dish towels can be deposited directly in the washing machine, saving you time and allowing you to enjoy more quality time with the family. And if your dog drags your child’s socks out to the kitchen, they can be quickly stashed where they belong.
If downsizing means putting the kids in a bedroom together, don’t despair. Losing the freedom of their own rooms has its benefits. Children will learn to claim their own space while respecting one another’s things. Instead of buying separate desks, dressers, and beds, you can save money and buy one of each. Kids learn to be flexible when they have to maximize their space. Bunk beds are easily transformed into play forts, and a desk for studying makes an ideal project space on the weekends.
For small pets, downsizing is just fine—they tend to like small spaces to begin with. Try to give them their own little corner though; especially male pups like to command their own territory. A smaller space may mean you need to take your dogs for walks more frequently. A small dog run or balcony isn’t going to give them the exercise they need and want. Check out the nearest dog parks for a place to really let them run loose in the outdoors; it’s a good break for you and the kids as well!
It may be hard to give up the basement, bonus room, or the extra bedroom where you could quickly hide the mountains of toys and close the door when you have guests. In a smaller home, the living room often becomes a true living space: a playroom for the kids and a place to relax for the adults. This means that families can spend more time together. Parents can help their kids build intricate castles with blocks, and kids see that their parents spend their free time doing constructive activities, like playing board games, reading or knitting.
But toys can turn tidiness into chaos quickly. To keep the living space as organized as possible, keep kids’ toys on low bookshelves, drawers, or bins where the kids can reach them. This makes it possible for kids to put away their own toys when they are finished playing with them. Consider constructing a play space in the corner with a removable curtain. Kids will enjoy having a place to hide, and you’ll still be able to conceal some clutter.
Moving to a smaller space may seem like it could be a nightmare. But at the end of the day, it may make your family closer and teach the children valuable lessons. Children will learn to share their space with others, and parents can keep a closer eye on the kids. Clutter is easily managed if everything is organized and has its place. There is less space to clean, which means less stress and more time for the family to be together. Ultimately, are the kids going to remember whether the house they grew up in was big or small, or are they going to remember the time you spent together as a family?
A mother of four, guest writer Tricia Stevens contributes to several mom sites.