Friday, September 16, 2011

The REALITY of Small Space Living...making comparisons!

Small space living really does appeal to a lot of people.  I was watching a show on HGTV yesterday about a couple that had moved from NYC to the suburbs.  They bought a lovely old house built in the 1930's with lots of room.  The home filled with all that space had them hiding in the bedroom and one small corner of the family room.  They simply did not feel comfortable with the space and didn't even have an idea of how to use it.  I know others that can relate to that feeling.

My daughter, for example, lived in a dorm room with no problem.  When she moved into an apartment, she lived in her bedroom.  Even now, she loves the nest she and her husband call the bedroom and is most at home in that small space.

In an article posted on Retire in Style earlier this week we talked about a woman featured on Apartment Therapy.  She lived in a small space but actually had a bath me, when you give up the space even a tub takes up in a 250 square foot co-op apartment, you are sacrificing precious storage or living area.

I found it very interesting when Bob Lowery of Satisfying Retirement posted a comment on this post:
We very much need to figure out a way to expand our tiny, galley-style kitchen. But, the $30-$40,000 for the type of renovation required to expand and rebuild it isn't going to happen. We will make do and continue to bump into each other.

The woman you cited has a 250 sq ft co-op? I'm surprised there is room for a bathroom, let alone a tub!
250 square foot apt...Apartment Therapy
When you retire and decide to go full time in an RV or buy a second "home" in a place where the sun shines all winter, you will need to come to grips with living in a small space without all the amenities you are accustomed to.  It is the only choice for most of us.  Monetary concerns will not allow anything else.   And 250 sq. ft. co-op or RV probably does not have a separate bedroom or a washer and dryer.  Every corner needs to serve at least 2 functions.  That is the reality of small space living.

We lived for months in a Winnebago...25 feet long...when we first retired.  Honestly, I loved that little baby.  I did not allow my husband to buy one with carpet on the ceiling and we only had a small piece of carpet in the kitchen/dining/living area.  My one big hang up is keeping things clean.  Even though the space was very small, we did not fill every corner of the storage.  It was a lot of fun to live such a simple life!

My dessert Park Model!
Now we have just a little over 300 sq. ft. of living space in our park model in Tucson.  If we were to remove china storage, a credenza in the bedroom and a huge wall to wall closet and a pantry from the square footage of the park model, we may be actually living in less than that.  And then there is that bath tub...who needs that?  We really don't need all that storage at all.  I have places that still stand empty or are filled with things I should throw away. We do not live in a mess and we keep the space very clean.  We even have a small faux fireplace.

Living/Dining/Kitchen/Office...our Oregon Home!
I have learned a lot about what I do and do not need.  The house we just purchased this summer is about the same size as our condo...1400 sq. feet. (photo above)  It seems absolutely luxurious to me.  The pleasure of a separate bathroom for my husband and I is something I enjoy a lot.  I have a  laundry room for the first time in my married life.  In fact, I am almost filled with guilt over the space.

So, it has occurred to me that I am probably a small space person.  There is, for me, something comforting about simple living.  Is that good?  Who knows. 

How about much space do you need?



  1. I've loved living in small places for almost two decades. What would I do with all the extra space?

  2. While 250 Sq. Ft. is much too extreme for my wife and me for full time living, we had no problerm going from 3300 to 1700 square feet 10 years ago. I'm ready for another step down to something around 1200 sq ft.

    I'd also like to live in an RV for a period of time, but not more than a month or so. A 26 foot RV has about 100-125 sq feet of living space, I would guess. That is tight!

  3. Like you Gaylean, we are great "outdoor" people. In the dessert we have an outdoor eating area (carport) and we eat at least two meals a day at a table with a clothe and candles int the evening. The small space does not seem small when the stars are shining and the air is warm.

    Bob, you would find that when you are traveling in a RV you are not about the space but about the place. I loved having my own coffee pot, dishes, bed and bath. We could do this for an extended period of time while we could not have done that in motels. The food or the cost would have killed us. I am not sure which would come first.

    Thank you guys for the comments.


  4. I just downsized my mom from a little ove 5000 sq ft to 980! We put in classy closets for both living room and bedroom. We still have empty space! The biggest problem is that all of her art is huge. The house is cozy and warm. She only used about 1500 of the house she was in and the extra space made too much rambling room.


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