living in a small house

Living small


What are the pros and cons of living in a small home?

My wife and I recently returned from a short holiday in Taiwan and Hong Kong. We were there visiting old friends and touring around. When we travel, we like to pretend to be locals. We like to slow down, chill out and relax. We like to say in Airbnbs. Besides the benefits of living like “real people” (as opposed to tourists), we get to see how real people live —> Real people in Taiwan and especially Hong Kong have very little space in their homes.

I like it.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages to living in a small space. For starters, smaller spaces motivate home owners to live with less stuff. Small homes additionally take much less time to clean and maintain. But probably with the price of real estate being what it is, the most relevant reason for living in a smaller home is that they have a tendency to be a lot more economical to buy.

A recent study asked 200 homeowners residing in dwellings 1,000 square feet or smaller sized – basically the size of an average Waterloo Region area bungalow – about the pros and cons of residing in tiny spaces. Here is what they said:

The advantages and disadvantages of living in a small home

There are many things people like about living in a house that’s 1,000 square feet or less.

  • 58% of owners stated it was easy to kick back and chill out in their small houses.
  • 42% claimed their homes were easy to keep clean.
  • 55% of respondents reported that is was tough to host visitors
  • 60% said that storage was an issue
  • 47% of respondents reported difficulty finding room for craft or cooking projects

Becoming a minimalist?

Where do you put all your stuff? Since interior area is restricted, people living in smaller residences have to get rid of stuff or find the space to store their things:

  • 44% of respondents use the garage as storage
  • 34% said they found extra storage space in the basement
  • 31% percent stated they stored things in the yard or somewhere outside (shed)

Why they buy. Why they stay.

Of the homeowners that reside in a home 1,000 square feet or smaller, 47% claimed they purchased a small home due to the fact that they could not afford something larger.

Money was also behind the decision to stay. 38% of respondents reported staying because they can not afford a bigger home.

A substantial number (26%) reported staying in their smaller sized residences since they wanted a low-maintenance home, while 34% reported staying because they simply don’t need a larger home.

Location, location, location

In Kitchener Waterloo we have lots and lots of little bungalows and other homes that are less than 1,000 square feet. Where are they? The majority of them are in the core areas. This is a great advantage for many people who want to live in a walkable neighbourhood, near shopping, the LRT and other amenities.