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small home grey wood deck front yard

Living small and/or downsizing has plenty of benefits. Here are 5 great things about it.

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I was born and raised in the suburbs. My house had a main floor and a basement, four bedrooms, a family room and a workshop downstairs and a large kitchen and living room upstairs. On our yard, we had a large deck connected to a swimming pool, enough space for a large garden, TWO sheds, a volleyball court, a fire pit and plenty of trees.

And that’s just your typical suburban bungalow; I had friends who lived in homes much larger than that.

Ever since I left the nest, I have lived in much smaller quarters, either alone or with roommates. And although I don’t hate the whole suburban white picket fence dream, there are some great things about living in a small space that, I think, fit my lifestyle much better. Here are some awesome benefits of living small that I learned along the way.

1. Your life fits in suitcase

Okay, maybe not a suitcase, but maybe two suitcases and a couple of boxes. Before I settled in Victoria, I moved across the country three times by mail. Yup. I put my stuff in boxes and sent them to myself by mail. Took my clothes in two suitcases on the plane. The boxes cost maybe $150 to send. Cheap move, don’t you think?

The benefit of not owning much stuff (especially not owning furniture) is how easily you can move around and go where the opportunities are. From Montréal to Victoria to Edmonton to Vancouver, my life fit in two suitcases and about 10-15 boxes.

This also makes it quick and easy to pack and unpack everything!

2. You spend more on experiences than things

One thing I discovered living small is that I focused a lot more on having experiences and doing things rather than buying objects.

I used to spend a lot more time and money seeing friends, tasting great foods, going to markets and museums, seeing plays and shows, taking walks in parks and discovering new things. My home was more a place to sleep and relax than the centre of my existence.

Of course, not everyone thinks that experiences are better than things. It’s your choice and your preference, of course. But now that I live in a larger space, I tend to stay home a lot more and seem to have quite fewer experiences.

3. Decorating is easy

When you have just a room or two, decorating is easy. A single color scheme can fit your entire space; just play with the main colors to highlight different shades.

It’s easy to stick to what you like and pick up things that you know will fit the rest of your decor. Before I moved to Edmonton, I remember choosing a red and green scheme that I applied to my entire space–it pulled everything together. Red was prominent in the sleeping area and the living area, and green in the kitchen and eating area. That way it was easy to choose new accessories to add to my apartment!

4. Cleaning is a breeze

Now that I live in a 1250 sq.ft. townhouse, there’s a TON more cleaning to do. Vacuuming and washing floors, two bathrooms to keep clean, five closets, too many windows to count… So to reduce tension with my partner about household tasks, I’ve hired a cleaner. It’s made my life easier, sure, but I can’t help but remember how easier it is to clean up a small space.

Vacuuming takes a minute. There aren’t miles of flooring to wash. A few counters to wipe, a single toilet to scrub, and only two or three closets to keep organized. Less time for cleaning, more time for experiences!

5. You buy just what you really need

We fill up our homes with clutter: baubles and gizmos that take space, waste money, become eyesores. But we are loath to throw away anything, because, what if we need it some day?

Take the example of a power drill. Unless you do a lot of hanging and woodwork, do you really need one? How many times do you really ever use one in a year? Me, once or twice. So instead of buying a new drill for hundreds of dollars, I can do and borrow one at a tool library or from a friend.

Hundreds of dollars saved and more space for stuff that I actually need.

What do you like about downsizing?

If you had to downsize today, how do you think you would handle it? What are other benefits of living small that I haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.