A Bigger home is not the only solution to your space problem

© Andrea Reynolds 2009-2014; From the archives, July 27, 2010

Do we really need 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3-car garage homes to house our families and our stuff? Put another way, do we really need bigger mortgages if we’re already in debt? Let me tell you about the Paulsons. (Not their real name.) After forty years they still live in their first and only house.


When they first married they rented a second floor apartment while saving for a down payment. When they did buy, it was a small bungalow on a quiet street. To have enough room for their three kids they spaced them so only two kids were living at home at the same time. They didn’t have pets. When their things took up too much room in the house, they reorganized their basement storage, held yard sales, gave things to the church for its rummage sales, and donated outgrown clothes to charity.

Soon after their 25th wedding anniversary their mortgage was paid off. They lived within their means despite several job layoffs, earned two college degrees in the family, and have lived debt-free for the past 15 years. Their children never felt cramped.

Only in their early 60’s the Paulsons’ retirement years will be a cakewalk because they weren’t bitten by the bigger-is-better bug. Did you know that many self-made millionaires live comfortably in modest homes? (Warren Buffet, for example.) You probably know that the trend now is to live in tiny homes. Tiny, as in less than 144 square feet. Do a search on “tiny homes” and you’ll find custom home manufacturers are building homes 10 feet by 10 feet.

If you think you can’t live without your stuff, try this. Rent a storage unit, fill it with anything you don’t need for cooking, sleeping, eating, or working, and don’t use what’s inside for a month. You may be surprised at what you don’t need, and happier with fewer possessions around you.

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Money blogger Andrea Reynolds has lived in a space of only 45 square feet but currently lives in 1300 square feet. She is the author of No Surprises: 365 Critical Questions You Need to Ask Each Other Before You Marry… and how to ask them. Readers should order two copies each: www.AndreaReynolds.com/365ques.html

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