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Minimalist Living – Loving Small Family Spaces

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.  


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.


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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  1. The irony of the big homes and cars with the recycling box… they just don’t get it. I definitely think less space equals more intimacy you can’t hide physically or emotionally in a smaller house. I know you are a reader you might like the book: Germinal by Emile Zola one of the themes of the book is intimacy and physical space. It’s the first book that got me really thinking about physical space and its effects on people.

    • thanks, I will look up that book 🙂

  2. Raye Cage Raye Cage

    I watch HGTV channel (way more than I should) one of the shows is called House Hunters – people looking for a house to buy. 90% of the time buyers on the show say they need a bigger house for their stuff and/or they have more kids & each child must have their own room. I always wonder to myself – what if they got rid of some of the stuff (not the kids!). I don’t know their circumstances but the situations on that show always challenge me to ask myself, Do I have things I can get rid of now? When I move, whether the space is bigger or smaller, what habits/mindset/routines do I need to develop now to keep my environment simple, comfortable, elegant, beautiful, & inviting?

    • Thanks for your comment. Isn’t it funny that people need a bigger house to hold all their things and when they move in they need to buy more things to fill (or properly furnish) the new house… and they cycle continues over and over? Just thinking about the amount of money I was spending to own the stuff I have now gotten rid of (in the difference between what I paid for my house monthly and now this apartment) is amazing. …my stuff wasn’t worth that amount of money a month…most of it wasn’t even that nice.

      Kids are super valuable but upgrading a house by hundreds (or thousands) a month in extra costs only to hold more stuff just doesn’t make sense to me anymore 🙂

  3. Pascale Pascale

    Love your blog. My husband and I have a question regarding your new space. How do you manage at bedtime since you only have one bedroom? Do you all have to go to bed at the same time not to disturb each other or do you send the children in the closed bedroom and sleep in the living area?
    Look forward to your answer.

    • Pascale, the living room converts to a bedroom for the kids around 8pm. My husband and I work on writting (me) and photography (him) after the kids go to bed and the office is in our room. Or we read etc. Hope that answers your question 🙂

  4. How long do you think sharing a room will last for your kiddos? My son and daughter will occasionally decide it would be great to share a room, but once they hit their teens it seems a bit more unlikely…do you see your plan as a “for now” situation, or a “for good” situation? (This reads like a critical comment….I don’t mean it as such; I’m truly curious.)

    • Jennifer, I am really not sure. I think this is definitely a for now situation, but how much space we will need later is hard to know. I have wondered it myself a bunch. I think kids need their own privacy, personal space and control of ownership over their things. How much space they need for that, based on different kids personalities and age, is hard to know. Now, my kids have control over their things and have the ability to have personal space or privacy when they need or want it. The sharing a room things is really not that big of a deal when you think of how people have lived through most of time and still live in a lot of areas of the world. …it is a cultural thing that we think each kid needs their own room more than a ‘real’ need… or even a want.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  5. jamie jamie

    I have 3 kiddos and have said that we could easily live in a one room apartment, although we have a 3 bedroom 2 bath split level home. We spend almost all of our time in the living room together. Sure like you, we may be doing separate things but we are all together. It’s easy to tell your family to come over and look at what you are reading, etc. We didn’t intentionally do this, but it has always been intentional to do things together and have fun together…and we do! I have worked hard to get things paid for so that some day I would hopefully have more flexibility with how I live. We live in the country and I work full time during the time that my kids are at school. I am still envisioning a much simpler life, less clutter, time commitments, etc. I’m a little scared especially since I am pretty sure most people I know in my small town would not get it and will certainly talk about it!!! That’s something else I need to be rid of, the concern with what others will say. It has been really exciting to read about your life style change and don’t know many people like you so this has been great!!!

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