Author Topic: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?  (Read 5182 times)

Tyler Newleaf

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Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« on: January 17, 2014, 09:34:27 AM »
I am moving to New England in a few months, most likely into a condo that I am currently renting out.  Once the lease is up for my tenant, I am going to start moving things in.  This move is going to cut our living expense from 1,200 a month to 600 a month.  I'm extremely excited about this because this is one of the big steps towards financial freedom.  I've already made quite a few big changes and this will set my savings on overdrive.

But eventually I DO want to live in a house, for many of the benefits of owning my own little plot of land, etc.  I have a 6 figure job, and a lot of my friends are moving into 4-6 thousand dollar homes. I am trying to keep myself grounded and want to think about efficiency and the great things that FI and a good location can offer. 

Not that I am moving from a large living space to a small one necessarily...but has anyone made that sort of transition?  I've read multiple articles on these tiny houses and I think they are absolutely fascinating.  I want a yard so that I can build and do active things in, but I can picture myself living in a very frugal and efficient living space.  So I am just curious what sort of experiences others have had.  This is an idea that I am successfully selling to my fiancée...

Exflyboy

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2014, 09:51:57 AM »
Well I did this back in 97, moved from an 1800sqft house to a 650 sqft. Its doable but you might have to get brutal about getting rid of stuff. Fortunately for me the property  (on 5.5 acres) had a sizable shop that I could store excess in.

I thin met my wife two years later but we lived in the 650 house for 18 months or so before we built the addition (our own bare hands incidently).

I would say providing your both celebrating the $600 your putting towards savings is great.. But if the tiny space means your going to be getting on each others nerves.. well not so great..:)

Good luck and I really appreciate the desire to remain grounded!

Frank

Spork

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2014, 10:58:33 AM »

In 2006 we moved from a 2500 (ish) sqft house into a 600 sqft metal shop.  It was tight.  There are only 2 of us (not sure how big a family we're talking about here.)  Our plan was to live there for a while... get established, find work, get stable, then build a house.

It worked out fine.  It was close quarters and there were adjustments.  We pretty much sold every bit of furniture we had.  Wifey drew a scale model of the place and had to do endless moving around of things to shoe horn basic furniture in there.

I've seen others to the tiny house and really love it.  And I've known a few sailboat/motor folks.  It is do-able.

desrever

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 12:23:45 PM »
Not quite the same (because it was temporary) but during a remodel my wife and I moved from our 2400 sqft house into a furnished 350sqft apartment for five months. We did not have access to any of our things. We were deeply happy through the whole experience, and basically couldn't shut up about how surprised to be happy we were. It is really nice to let go and realize you are not defined by the objects you've accumulated. We went outside for walks a lot. I think, if you play it right, this could be your experience too.

What we did miss: access to various sports equipment, and a table big enough to host friends for dinner or board games.

Now that we're back in the big house, I find myself dreaming of the simplicity of the little walkable apartment. Our house is the default gathering spot for our friends, so that's nice. But I look at the rooms we rarely use, and it feels at the same time wasteful (we have an office and guest roooms that are rarely touched) and burdening (many walls are empty, I feel a pull to acquire objects to make the space complete, but refuse to do that just for that sake).


MandyM

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2014, 12:58:50 PM »
Last summer I moved from a 2100 sqft house to a 975 sqft house. Its me, a roommate, and multiple animals (only a few are "mine" but I foster too). If I didn't run a small zoo, it would be more than ample room. With the zoo, we are pretty much at capacity and have to make choices about certain things.

I love my small house. However, part of what makes it work is that I still have a 2 car garage. I don't store house items out there in general, but my tools and work bench are there.



olivia

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 07:51:43 PM »
My husband and I moved from a 1550 sq foot house with a basement full of crap to a similarly sized apartment (so transported roughly the same amount of crap) and then to a 700 sq foot house.  Before we moved into the small house I went through all of the extra boxes of crap I'd been transporting from place to place and got rid of about 18 large boxes.  Then once we moved into the smaller house we got rid of even more stuff because there was just nowhere to put it. 

I love having less stuff-I bet we could pack up and move in no time at all because we really have so much less.  The one issue I have is that it doesn't really feel like I have that much less stuff because the house we're renting doesn't have an open feel.  (Plus given the layout we don't have room for a dining table and can't really host friends easily.) If we owned instead of rented we would make some changes that would help a ton.  And really, if your condo is more modern and has more of an open floor plan I bet it will be fine.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 08:37:15 PM »
My kid and I moved from about 1200 sq feet to about 450 sq feet (if that). I adore it! The bigger place was very sparsely furnished, so we didn't even have to get rid of much. My only dream that is not yet accommodated here is a room with a couch and a projector wall for movies. I could do it here, but I'm too lazy to move/transform stuff for a single activity.

What I know about me and the tiny home thing is that I am very comfortable in about 400 square feet in the shape of a square, and very uncomfortable in spaces smaller or more rectangular than that. I learned this by trying on different shapes and sizes. I'm currently in my ideal. And gosh it's cheap!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 06:36:43 PM »
Can't comment on moving from large to small, since this is the biggest house our family's ever had, but my wife and I have 3 kids in a 700 sqft house. It has a basement, but we really don't use it for "living space".

We love the size. The only real problem it has is that it's difficult to entertain more than 2 extra people in, but that will be solved once I can tear down a non-structural wall between kitchen and living room. (Right now we only do parties and family gatherings in the summer when we can grill out.)

The key is not having much furniture, especially (mostly) useless stuff like coffee tables. Be open to rearranging. We've had something like 10 different living room arrangements in 7 years. Each one gets better than the last.

Mazzinator

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 10:56:23 AM »
About 6 months ago we moved (2adults, 2 kids) from a 2400sq ft house with a2car garage, and an acre of land, to a 1000 sqft second fl apt with no yard (there is a common grassy area) and a very small 1 car garage that our one vehicle can't fit in.

My biggest issue is not being able to just open the door and let the kids run outside for a bit. We do however, live in a warm climate (near the beach) so there is plenty to do all year long...but it is very very very exhausting!!!

The best part is less to clean!!!

I do want to contiue the small house tradition, my hubby is military so we move every 2 yrs...but next time i'm getting a small grassy area, maybe a townhouse.

Spork

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 12:46:30 PM »

6. Electricity and heating bills seem tiny now. A nice bonus.
7. Cleaning is much faster/easier.


Things vary.  Our small space was cooled by window units.  The result was that our temporary 600sqft home used more electricity than our now permanent 2300 sqft house.   In addition, the filtration on those things is pretty pitiful.  (The filter was "blow this air through something akin to panty hose.)  The result was that the house was REALLY DUSTY.   

Villanelle

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 01:07:38 PM »
We moved from ~2000 to about 1400, IIRC.  It was a military move and they paid to put much of our stuff in storage.  But in retrospect, I realize that when are finally back in the States and reunited with that stuff, I will get rid of probably 75% of it, if not more.  It has been a great lesson for me. 

I did get rid of a not-unsubstantial amount of stuff, but I was worried about missing things, and since it was free to store, I kept it.  Lesson definitely learned.  I do miss having a garage that can be used for storage (no garage in Japan and our German garage *barely* fits a compact car, and nothing else).  Keeping outdoor items, tools, etc. in the house makes it hard for me to feel organized.  (I'm challenged in that department under the best of circumstances.)  Other than that, I don't miss the space.  And it forces me to keep the Stuff under control because there is less space to spread out in, so I notice if things start to accumulate. 

galliver

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 02:19:03 PM »
I think it's great that you've identified one feature that is important to you: a yard! You could also think and talk to your SO about what is important *inside* the house. A room large enough to host parties/gatherings and/or do exercises/yoga? A large enough kitchen (whatever that means)? Those mini-houses look cute, but it would be hard to have even one friend over, and don't typically have a full-size oven (for cookies, cakes, turkey, whatever). These things might not matter to you; then again, they might and I think it would be unfair to judge you for it. After all, house parties and home cooking are pretty mustachian pursuits!

Alternately, your personal inclinations and financial situation might make it a worthwhile tradeoff to go with the tiny house and entertain at a friend's house or *gasp* a restaurant or get a *gasp* gym membership.

My family of 5 was in 1000SF, 2BR most of my life, never more than about 1500SF (at a guess). I would guess right now it's 1500SF, 2BR+den (no door) and that's enough for all 5 of us+2 visiting boyfriends on the holidays (and probably luxuriously roomy for the 3 people typically staying there). Books and camping/climbing/sports gear probably account for most of the clutter that has accumulated. Also, stuffed animals...but every time we go to toss some of them, they are just too cute and/or full of memories as well as dust. Myself, I'm currently with a roommate in what I think is 800SF house, 2BR+ tiny cold room (office+storage), roomy kitchen, and a giant yard. It's very spacious.

begood

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Re: Moving to a smaller house, what is your experience?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 06:37:42 AM »
Five years ago, we (me, DH, and daughter) moved from 4200 sf to 1300 sf. We were rattling around in the big house, obviously, and it did not take me long to come to love my "little house". Of course, now I know that is all relative, and some people would not consider my house little at all!

We sold about 2/3 of all our stuff (wedding china and crystal, several rooms full of furniture, linens, knickknacks) and the sale funded our cross-country move.

One thing I hadn't really considered was that crap would continue to come into the house, and twice already  in those five years we have taken a (borrowed) minivan load to GreenDrop.

I think to move again now, I would have no trouble at all living in a house the same size or smaller (depending on the layout). But we do have a semi-finished small attic and a dry basement, so we have boxes and Christmas decorations, and a futon nobody uses unless we get inundated with company, and if I had to move into a 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment, where would all that stuff go? I refuse to pay for storage, so I guess we would get rid of anything we couldn't use and then buy it again if we needed it in the future?

I have too much bedbug paranoia to buy furniture off Craigslist, so I would probably buying new...

Anyway... +1 to the idea of using vertical space. We drew up plans on graph paper and a friend built a "skybed" for our daughter in her 11' x 11' bedroom, so now she has a sleeping space, a lounging space (built on top of her clothes dresser), and underneath the skybed is a comfy chair and reading lamp, bins for her linens and blankets, and a laundry hamper. It totally opened up the room.