Minimalist Living – Loving Small Family Spaces

July 23, 2012 in My Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott

Minimalist Living -- Families in small spacesSuper amazing pic by my hubby

Our minimalist living has taken us as a family farther than we originally anticipated but we are really enjoying it.   It is thinking outside the box a bit for most people but it is really worth it.

I wanted to write out some of the reasons we have chosen an even smaller space even though we are a family of four.  Not only is it possible but there are perks :)

Family Perks to Minimalist Living In a Smaller Space

Less to clean and maintain

Starting with the obvious I love that I have less area to clean and maintain.  It is true that 4 bodies will bring in the same amount of mud and create the same amount of mess but only to a certain point.  With less space I can maintain the ‘clean level’ much easier and nothing gets too messy, there are also no corners or closets that can be left alone for months to get messier and messier.  We use all our space all the time so all of it is kept clean and in order.

If the kids play they can get all their toys out and spread them all over the floor and it still only takes a few minutes to clean up.

I love that it saves me time but the huge benefit is that I don’t feel overwhelmed and behind with the house all the time.  

Cheaper

The second huge and obvious perk is that it is cheaper.  With our most recent move we have cut our living expenses (almost) in half (rent and utilities) from where we were before we downsized about 14 months ago.  With living expenses being a large part of our monthly budget it has made a huge difference.  Ideally we wanted to save that money to vacation more, but as it worked out, it let us adapt much easier to a drop in work and pay.

Greener

It bugs me that our society in first world countries takes the environment seriously with their mouths only.   I don’t want to sound harsh but — Does putting a recycle box outside a huge home (next to several gas guzzling vehicles) with the cardboard from processed food items help the environment?  Does bringing fabric bags to stores while buying new things to constantly keep a big house updated help?   Does using hundreds of energy efficient light bulbs and appliances help?  Um, no… you can disagree with me but it is like stealing $1000 from someone and thinking they should be happy if you give them $.01 back.

Even with minimalist living in this country we still use way more of our share of the worlds resources than we should.  However, small living, not purchasing in the first place, and purchasing used when needed, makes a much bigger difference.

Reminder to Limit Material Stuff

I am starting to think and shop more and more like the minimalist I want to be but everyone struggles.  Having a small space helps me remember not to take in extra things (even bulk or free stuff) I don’t really need.  Having a small space also makes it important to go through stuff more often and pass it on if it isn’t needed anymore.

Closeness of Family

I never thought of this much before moving to an apartment but I love how are family is closer.  Sure location doesn’t always mean an emotional closeness but it does help.  Right now I am working on writing while my son is resting and reading behind me.  Even though we aren’t interacting right now we are enjoying each others presence.

My kids love sleeping in the same room.  Sometimes they will say they want their own room to play in if they aren’t getting along but when it comes to sleeping they like the company.  I understand, I was like that when I was a kid.  Even now, I like how I can leave the bedroom door open and hear the kids if they wake up in the night or get up for any reason.  I just like being close.

It is practice to learn to live with each other but I think it is good for all of us.  We learn how to put our things away, to make space for projects or activities others want to do, and are able to participate together much more than we did before when we had more space.  No matter where we are in the apartment we can talk to everyone else, no one is ever far away.

This has been one of the things I didn’t think of before hand but have really enjoyed.  I know the kids have too.  At the same time it seems like the hardest thing to explain.  People seem to think that families need their own space to ‘get away’ from each other to get along.  We aren’t a perfect family and don’t always get along, but we are learning to get along while being and working together instead of separating.  And, at least for the time being, we are enjoying each others company :)

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