Author Topic: How much living space do you actually use?  (Read 7569 times)

acorn

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How much living space do you actually use?
« on: January 21, 2015, 08:03:54 PM »
I'll start. 100sqft for one person. ~50% of my current 200sqft apartment with a shared bathroom.

I've lived in relatively small places because of exorbitant housing costs in the cities I've lived in but also because I don't see a need for larger rooms. I grew up in a <1000 sqft apartment with my family of four, undergrad dorms were 100sqft with shared bathroom/kitchen, and now I'm in a 200sqft apartment.

My lifestyle trends towards minimalism, but I'm by far, not a minimalist. I just like to keep my life simple and not have to worry about stuff. Also, I move too much to fall into the trap of accumulating things.

I'm preparing for an international move at the end of this year, and as usual, everything I want/need is going to fit into two suitcases or less. I've started selling things in preparation of the move, and I've realized that
1) the absence of those things doesn't affect my life at all --> I can downsize and declutter even more than I thought
2) as a single person living alone, I really don't need much space. I'll be happy with 100sqft that could fit a kitchen, desk, bed, and closet.

How much living space do Mustachians have/use/want/need?

thedayisbrave

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2015, 08:13:57 PM »
What I have and what I need are two substantially different things, I'm afraid.

But, I've seen the light.  I currently live alone in a 1400 sq foot townhome.  I grew up in the suburbs and at one point my family lived in one of the ritziest areas of my hometown - but when I say family, I mean family.  My maternal side is Chinese so the house included grandma, a few cousins, an aunt, uncle, brother... everyone moved on but it was a bit cray cray there for a bit.

I remember going to a high school summer abroad program in England and crying on the phone to my mom about how small the showers were - I'd lift my arms to shampoo my hair and my elbows would hit the wall.. haha! But I've traveled through Europe quite a bit now so I'm MUCH more used to smaller spaces. 

I'm downsizing with my next move in a month to sharing a 1100 sq foot apartment with 2 other girls.  I do like my space but it gets lonely, and I start feeling guilty about how I'm not "maximizing the utility of my money" (as Joshua Kennon puts it) by living by myself in far too large a space.

caliq

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2015, 08:26:51 PM »
I live with my husband and 2 big dogs (like 100+ lbs big) and a cat in ~1400 sq ft.  We probably really only need 700-800 sq ft of it -- my dogs have their own bedroom (crateroom?) which is a bit shameful, and we don't use our living room at all in favor of the finished basement, which is a bigger space.  Our 3rd bedroom is my office/closet and while I'd like to say we didn't need that and bring our requirement down to like 500 sq ft, the truth is that I absolutely cannot share a space with DH while I'm studying.  Having the extra space is also really helpful for us because DH has a sleep disorder that means we are frequently not awake/asleep at the same time; having everything squished in efficiently would definitely decrease our quality of sleep because of noise (I literally cannot move without being shadowed by giant dogs....).  We bought this house pre-MMM, but I think I'll aim for our next to be 2 bedrooms & around 1000 sq ft as it'll be a temporary situation either before kids or with only 1 kid, and I'll be out of school so no need for a private office.

Pre-hubby and pre-dogs, I did just fine in 100 sq ft dorm rooms :D  I do miss the simplicity sometimes!

choppingwood

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2015, 10:19:39 PM »
I have a 750 sq ft house. It has two bedrooms, but one is set up as a study. I hardly ever use that room. I also make very little use of the half-basement. It is a laundry/storage room, but I don't store much there.

I tend to work in an alcove in the kitchen, which is sunny in the day and cosy at night. When I am at home, I spend the rest of the day or evening in the small, but comfortable living room. Because the alcove is cooler and the living room is warmer, more summer time is spent in the alcove and winter time in the living room. And the back yard is huge, so I spend summers outside.

I am working at more effective storage. I don't have very much "stuff", but this is a somewhat smaller space than I've had in the past, and when I moved here I also inherited some things I want to keep. My life and interests have also changed, so I am gradually redesigning how the space is set up and what I hang on to.

Rosbif

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 01:44:27 AM »
When I first got to Paris, I was in 8m2, which is about 90 sq ft. Shower, bed, mini kitchen, toilet was out on the landing. I don't live in something that small any more (but I'm not on my own). In my experience, I tend to collect more and more stuff, despite my best efforts, and always seem to end up filling the space available.

JLR

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 02:48:13 AM »
Our last house was 1000sq ft and while we did manage, it did feel very restrictive for the five of us.  Part of that was probably because we homeschool our three children, so are home a lot of the time. Another part is that we lived there through a winter and winters are quite cold where we are.
Must measure our current house. It has one extra bedroom, one extra bathroom and one extra living room and the extra space feels very luxurious. Especially as we are paying the same price as our smaller place! (Managed to wrangle a deal with the landlord through a friend of a friend).

pancakes

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 03:13:46 AM »
We are in a 690q ft low-set terrace at the moment for two.

We have a second bedroom for guests since we live so far away from family. I'm of the opinion that we don't have guests often enough to justify it.

Astatine

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 03:57:57 AM »
Our 2 bedroom townhouse is about 70 sq metres or approx 850-ish sq feet. So 35 square metres per person, if you do it as a literal half. However, spare bedroom is rarely used (mostly for storage of DH's stuff plus a spare single bed plus our one and only actual table).

Our townhouse is plenty big for the two of us (despite DH's pack rat tendencies), but only just big enough for our 2 indoor cats.

frugaliknowit

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 06:51:14 AM »
One person in 15 X 40 rectangle/600 Square foot mid rise condo.

Open concept living/dining/kitchen.

Not great for entertaining, but does the job.
I would say I use all of it and would love about 400 more square feet.

ZiziPB

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 10:30:08 AM »
I currently live in a townhouse of ~1600 sq ft and am planning to downsize when I retire to about 650 sq ft with a small storage room in the basement.  Single person with a cat, so most of the townhouse is wasted space (except when my college age DD is home from school).  I grew up in an apartment that is just over 500 sq ft plus small storage room and a garage (4 person family) and we managed fine but it was a bit tight.  I'd say 200 sq ft of living space per person would be ideal.  The most wasteful living situation I was in was ~3800 sq ft house for a family of 3....

sol

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 10:42:08 AM »
450 sqft per person for a family of five, plus a bunch of animals.  It's a 4/3 house with an ample yard, and feels comfortably spacious.

We were previously in about 300 sqft per person and that worked out just fine because it was laid out well.  I think I would start to feel crowded with much less than that as long as I still had energetic children running around.  For two adults with no big dogs, less than that would be fine.

cazaubon

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 10:52:57 AM »
110 sq meter condo, 2 BR, for two adults and two small dogs.  We use it all.  I have lived in a studio with 2 people and it is not fun.  I would not want to go much smaller than what we have now.

stlbrah

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 10:56:56 AM »
1400sq foot is what I have, i could get by with 1/ 2 that. In my area, anything smaller than what I have is going to be section 8 or very low income people, and I would have to hear domestic abuse in spanish every night, smell marijuana or have college parties next door, etc. Exaggerating, but only by a very little amount

In NYC or any major city 500sq ft would be fine w/ me since they are all concrete high rises
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 10:59:19 AM by stlbrah »

Zikoris

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 11:17:35 AM »
We have a 400 square foot studio suite for two people. It's spacious enough for me to practice ballet if I fold the bed up into the wall, which is plenty for me. We could go smaller if the layout was good - our first apartment together was much smaller, maybe 300 square feet and no folding bed.

We just got back from Hong Kong a couple weeks ago where we rented a very small apartment for our winter vacation - 80 square feet would be a generous estimate, plus maybe 10 square feet for the bathroom. It was the kind of bathroom where everything's built into one spot - shower head above the toilet, etc. The room was basically the size and shape of the bed, with a little open spot by the door, and another little open spot at the foot of the bed. You had to climb over the bed to get to the bathroom. No closet or anything, but there were hooks on the wall and door so we were able to hang clothes, and there was space under the bed for our backpacks. It was fine for traveling since we were out most of the time, but that would be a little too small for us to live in I think.

epipenguin

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 05:04:39 PM »
I would love to find out a way to know how much space I actually use. I expect it's not very much - while I say I use the living room all the time, really, I sit on one end of the sofa and that's it. The boyfriend and I are half-heartedly looking for a place to move into together, but a) we tend to disagree on how much space we need, and b) it's actually hard to find something that has everything we want and isn't 2000+ sq. ft. Everything that was built in the last 20 years seems to be huge.

I have a 1000 sq. ft 3 BR/1 BA, plus a storage/laundry room not counted in that as it's in a separate small structure. The guest bedroom is not used unless there are guests (so, maybe once a year), and I really only use half of the smallest bedroom/office, which is where I keep the ironing board set up. That could easily be set up in the guest bedroom or living room though, and the office-y part could be cleaned out. But I do use the kitchen, dining area, living area, bedroom, bathroom and half the office.

The boyfriend also has a 1000 sq. ft. place, but his is a 2/2 plus a garage. Again, the guest bedroom tends not to be used unless there are guests but we do use the second bathroom fairly often. His place has a breakfast nook in the kitchen that we don't use - it's too small to be comfortable and there's also a place for a dining table in the living area. We definitely don't need two places to eat that are so close to one another!

Based on our current space usage, I think we'd be very happy in a 750-800 sq. ft. 2/2 place. He thinks we need more room as we'll need separate areas to be away from each other (we are old and set in our ways, so moving in together could be a bit of a shock, plus I have 3 cats). I actually think a one bedroom place would be perfect, as hosting guests is a bit of a bore. But anyway, it all depends on what we can find.

Rural

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2015, 06:51:32 PM »
We're at 2048 sqft for two people (plus three cats and two giant breed dogs). We use all but 170sqft which is still unfinished. But we designed the place ourselves and refined the layout based on our actual habits over a couple of years of discussions, so it works exactly as we would have it work.


The least use is actually the living room, and it is used 2-3 times a week. It's in place primarily so we have an area for guests that doesn't also have large scary dogs in, but I find I use it for reading, and he and I watch Netflix on a laptop there some evenings. Everything else is used daily - one bedroom, kitchen, two offices, and a bedroom/ playroom for the dogs. Oh, and a 576 sqft front porch, south facing so it gets warm in winter, shaded in summer. You bet we use that.

galliver

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2015, 07:36:02 PM »
BF and I have 744 sf, 1BR. It's quite fancy (in terms of both size and decoration) although for us deciding factor was cheap price and good location (and grounded electrical!) We still have a pile of semi-unpacked boxen in one corner of the bedroom, which makes me think it's a touch too big for us, but other than that I feel like we use the whole space. We do love to have company (whether for dinner and games or overnight) so that's part of it. We also cook together so we like our non-galley kitchen where we can pass each other! Although of course there isn't enough counter-space and we are always in each other's way, anyway, haha! I think we could have rented anything 500SF and up as long as it was well laid-out and a 1BR. Our personalities probably wouldn't let us handle a studio regardless of size; that door is important!

I grew up in 1000SF with parents and 2 sisters. I really wanted my own room for a while, but looking back I realize it was fine and no one was unduly traumatized by sleeping in a twin bed (also, going to college and living in a dorm was SO LUXURIOUS). I think storage eventually became a bigger problem than living space; being able to tuck away all the rarely used or unsightly stuff to create a nice clean appearance. They/we aren't particularly clutter-prone, but camping gear, climbing gear, cooking gadgets, sewing/craft supplies, foreign-language books (not digitizeable or available at a library), Christmas decorations and such take up space. Only thing is I think we could have gotten rid of more toys...they purged the dolls but kept blocks, trains, and Legos for kids who come over. And no one could bring themselves toss the plushies. Now they're in a box in the garage. :/

mskyle

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2015, 11:51:41 AM »
BF and I have a one-bedroom, 1100-ish sqft apartment. We use all of it - big living room, dining room, small bedroom, smallish kitchen, but you could definitely fit all that functionality in a smaller space. The living room and dining room (which doubles as the office/hobby room) are joined by double pocket doors, so it's almost like one large room. It would be nice if they were *really* open to each other, and I wouldn't mind having the kitchen be all right up in the main area too.

With this apartment I've realized I love having a small bedroom! Ours is just about big enough for queen size bed (could fit in a king if we were so motivated) and a couple of dressers. It's hard to really mess it up.

Cassie

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2015, 02:30:56 PM »
1400 sq ft for 2 adults, one 80lb dog & 3 tiny dogs. It is 3bed/2bath.  We use it all everyday.  We both work p.t. from home so have 2 offices & one also doubles as a guest room.  WE downsized from 2000 sq ft where we never used the LR because we also had family room.  We have lived smaller (869) without pets.

mozar

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2015, 10:55:57 AM »
Have 920 square feet. The roommate and I use most of it. I keep the third bedroom for my office but I rarely go in there. I bought it when I was still with my ex who thought that bigger was better, and was kind of horrified by only 920 sq ft. I live in a co-op community and the average town house is 750. I bought at the bottom of the recession and I thought since it's so cheap I may as well go bigger and I was ready to have kids. My ex had other plans.
I still love my house though. I would love to rearrange the storage so I have more wide open space, but you know, that takes money. I figure I would feel better if my stache was bigger before I start renovating. There is just one bathroom and I would like to add another.

Kris

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2015, 10:58:21 AM »
Husband and I and two cats live in 1400 sq. ft. Two bedrooms, one of which is an office.  When we FIRE we will have one cat and will likely spend the rest of our lives in 500 sq. ft. or less.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2015, 01:12:39 PM »
All 375 square feet? ;-)

This is a great post for those thinking about buying bigger homes. My parents have always lived in big homes. However, they always seem to have rooms that 1) have no furniture or 2) are never used. SMH.

mm1970

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2015, 04:58:41 PM »
1146 sq ft for family of 4.
287 sq ft per person.
we use it

Ozstache

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Re: How much living space do you actually use?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2015, 06:50:31 PM »
We have 2000 sq ft of living space, currently for 4 adults (ie 500 sq ft per person) but about to be 3 when my eldest son moves out next month.

Of that 2000 sq ft, we make daily use of about 1350 sq ft (3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, laundry, 2 bathrooms), every two or three day use of about 550 sq ft (lounge and dining room) and monthly use of the remaining 100 sq ft (spare bedroom).