Friday, February 10, 2012

The Blessings of a Small Home

Many times I have bemoaned the fact that we have a family of five living in a small house. Just about the time I'm carrying a child and stepping on a toy, or I go to put some towels away only to find that there are more towels than shelf space, or when I'd just like to find a quiet space for a moment but every single square inch seems to be infiltrated by noise, I lament the choice to live in a small home.

Our house is about 300 square feet smaller than the national average, and we have half a child (yes, you read that right) more than the national average. When you start counting chickens, cats and dogs I suppose we have lots more little bodies on this parcel of land that most of our countrymen! That's OK, though.

In most ways, I like this very much.

Living in a small space requires certain life adjustments, however, and many of these I have come to regard as blessings.

I spend a tremendous amount of time cleaning and picking up... *but*... imagine how many more toys my children could own if we had more space to store them! As it is, we donate frequently and without reservation to others, and are very blessed with happy hearts and less clutter in our home when we do. 

I am forever repairing things that have been broken. I spent the morning today trying to remove stains from our living room carpet- you know, from the time when someone spilled juice but didn't tell me, from when we stepped on a science project in the making and it got ground in, and yes, even a few stains which I don't know the origin. I can't imagine having more than one carpet like this to care for.

The small nature of our home promotes closeness. Yes, it also promotes arguments on occasion, but that's OK too. It's all part of learning to live as a family. Because we share our spaces so frequently we have all become used to the simple human task of negotiating for our wants and needs. We certainly have plenty of opportunities to practice!

I rest easy knowing that my family isn't draining our planet's resources unnecessarily. If we had a large home, with countless belongings and expansive rooms to heat, I think it would be more of a burden than a blessing. It would weigh heavily on my conscience to think that our family is taking more than we deserve. After all, we are among the richest 1% of the world by virtue of the fact that we live in this country- shouldn't that be enough?

Living the lifestyle we do promotes creativity and the desire to learn new skills. Because we have a small house we are forever searching for ways to maximize and best utilize our space. I find myself to be quite challenged by this pursuit and I attribute my veracity in this matter to our humble abode. I have re-purposed, refinished, and recycled just about everything we own at least once- and I am quite proud of that!

We use our outdoor living space to its fullest potential. We garden, have clubhouses, swing sets and a huge sandbox. We have a great sledding hill and plenty of untamed woods for exploring and fort-building. We are often outside first thing in the morning and stay out all day, watching the sun disappear behind the treeline. If we had more indoor space we may not feel compelled to be outside as much as we are, and wouldn't then benefit from the physical and emotional health the outside world has to offer.

While our house may seem really tiny different to those who visit it, we find that it really embodies the concept of home for us. Through living in our house we have learned that home is more than the physical size of the place: it's about what it means to live there with family, content and grateful.

5 comments:

  1. good reminder to all of us- even homes with only 4 feet and 4 paws...

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  2. also, this is a crazy-gorgeous house photo.

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  3. I love this post! We only have a small home but we wouldn't have it any other way.

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  4. Isn't it just better to live life from a perspective of gratitude... even in close home quarters? :)

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