My family of 5 lives in 1200 sq. ft. and it is much too small.
1200 sq. ft house = simplified life or nightmare? - Page 5
My son, husband, and I live in a 500ish square foot apartment. I love it. We cut our living space in half when we moved three months ago, and I don't regret it one bit. It is so easy to clean this place! I'm kinda a sucky housekeeper, but my small, decluttered space is now CLEAN much of the time! Our apartment, though, makes extremely efficient use of space. It has a (relatively) large kitchen and living room, and the 2 bedrooms and bathroom are SMALL. But that's OK....we are in the living room/kitchen much more. There are no hallways to take up space either, so it's all usable.
However, we do cheat a little bit....we have some storage space in the basement/laundry room that we share with the 4 other apartment in our building. So Christmas tree, bikes, off-season clothes, etc are down there. So.... with a little bit of extra storage, I can love our little apartment!
Regarding saving the 'heirloom' furniture...
If you like it and want to keep it, maybe repurpose it! The dresser doesn't just need to be for clothes. If it is sturdy and has deep drawers, use it in the dining room for dishes, linens, etc. Use it in an 'office' for papers, art supplies, etc, use it in the living room for hiding games, toys, blankets, put it in the bottom of a large closet for storing stuff, there will still be plenty of hanging room above. Extra arm chair? Put it in your 'foyer' for changing shoues, etc or put it in the corner of the kids room for story time. If you have an 'attic' or rafters in your garage, you can keep some things there if they aren't too weather sensative. If there are a couple things you love, but don't want to use them yet (age of the children, or not sure where to put it yet) then by all means, keep them, but put a date on them. Say, reevaluate in 3 years, am I ready to use this? Will I use this? and get rid of it then if you aren't.
I am REALLY good at organizing and getting every square inch out of living space. Considering this seems like a necessary move,and you have a house in mind that you likle, then I think it sounds perfect. Is there room in your budget for say, bookshelves, or anything new? Do you have an IKEA around? I have their Besta system and BILLY system floor to celieng in a few areas. Talk about some storage and multi use.
My dear friend has a house no bigger than 1200 square feet. When they moved in it was terribly closed. She took all the doors off, installed and painted trim around every opening, and did some amazing things with multi purposing furniture.
My house is 3000 feet. It's killing me! It's great being able to have a separate sewing room, play room, art room.....you know what? most the time EVERYONE gathers in the same area anyways LOL! I'm still working on decluttering and I have one more room to go, and a small area outside the laundry room.
You can definately have personal space in a small house. How do you sleep? Do the kids have their own rooms? My kids just started sleeping in theirs at 4 and 6. If you have a family bed room and think it will stay that way for a while, then use a "kid" room as a play room or soemthing else until the shift happens. You can make a cozy reading corner, and small arts and crafts studio area anywhere. I LOVE organizing small spaces.
Strange, I don't consider 1200 sq ft to be living a simplified life - just sounds pretty normal to me. I guess in some parts of the country there are a lot of new McMansions with 5000 sq ft so it must be unusual in some parts. But I consider the McMansions to be the "new, strange" thing rather than normal, and the 1200 sq ft to be on the traditional side.
Other than the US (and maybe Canada) where in the world would 1200 sq ft seem small, except to the wealthy?
My parents lived in a couple of 4000 sq ft houses, and they were nice and one in particular we liked a lot. But even so, I have to say, there was a LOT of unused space, rooms that just sat there as storage, etc. Bathrooms that were never used but still had to be dusted and maintained. (One house had 5 different bathrooms, granted most were just 1/2 baths, but still... it was like we could not possibly be expected to cross to a different room to get to a bathroom). I was a kid then so I have no idea what the heating and cooling bills were, but I can sure say that there was a great deal of money just going out the window there. Also, my parents are NOT minimalists AT ALL, and I still can't figure out what other stuff they would need to acquire to fill up that kind of space.
We are a family of 3 living in 1170 sq ft. I won't claim it feels like a mansion to us, but it's perfectly fine. We never feel like "wow, this is small." It's just a home, a reasonably sized home. If we had another child, I don't see why we'd need to move either. I do agree that layout does make a difference, and I fully understand that not every 1170 sq ft house would feel big enough. But the issue then would be layout, and not square footage. Living in 1200 sq ft just isn't a minimalist life, unless you're from Beverly Hills I guess. It's a normal life.
I don't know about the kitchen, the kitchen is important to me and a "tiny" kitchen could be difficult. But again, that's layout and not square footage. Our 1170 square foot house has a HUGE kitchen. It's not one of those Martha Stewart kitchens with islands and all (it's a 1905 house that's not completely updated), but it has plenty of counter space and cabinets. Former owners even added a laundry closet to it, and there's enough space for a small table. And we have a big table in our dining room. Three reasonably sized bedrooms. The bathroom has room to move around in, we store a laundry hamper in there and such. (But granted, there is only one, which is fine with us but considered medieval living by many). We are not ultra-organized. DH has tons of computer junk. DD has tons of toys all over the place (and believe me, it's not a factor of the size of the house.. she has TONS of toys!! Some of them very large, as well, like ride-on toys and play kitchen and so on). We have a weight bench and an elliptical trainer. Our basement is not finished, and while we do have some junk stored down there, it's not used as living space in any way. There's nothing in the attic.
I don't know how well the house you're looking at is laid out, but there's just nothing inherent about 1200 sq ft that will be hard for a family of 4 to live with. Only if you are used to one-use rooms (like a home theater, or an exercise room) - and those are very new things, and will likely not be valued in the future when it's just too expensive to heat rooms that are only used a few hours a week or month or year.
We live in about 1600 or 1700 square feet, but our saving grace is the playroom. It's a converted garage, and houses the kids TV, a second TV with a Playstation, the big toys like Hotwheels tracks and stuff, my sewing stuff and yarn, a big closet, the family files, and kids bookshelves.
I keep sifting through the layers of stuff we've accumulated over the years. We haven't always been as good at getting rid of stuff as we have at keeping and accumulating. It's very freeing to see it go out the door!
We have 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths for a family of 5. It's just perfect, and at times it's too much to clean (hard to keep up with every room). But, as with anything else, I look at it as a journey. Our house isn't small by any means, I consider it middle sized, but someday I want a tiny little cottage surrounded by an English Garden! :)
We live in a 1400 sq ft home for five of us and we have PLENTY of room.
We downsized from a 2400 sq ft home that was a waste of money -- we had rooms that we never went into except once a week to clean and dust them.
We spend a lot of time outside and we have minimal furniture -- which I like because less stuff = less stuff to clean.
So for us this has been a very welcome move. We've been here five years and we've decided this is our forever home (at least until the kids move out)
But as the other posters pointed out, this is a very personal decision based on how much space you think you need.
Can you do it? Most definitely.
Will you be happy there? It depends on you and your lifestyle.
We live in just under 1300 and I love it. I always want to live in a smaller home. I'm into simplified living for many reasons. I have also lived as a family of three in 1000 and thought it was great too. We are a family of four now and what we have is more than sufficient. I agree with Pepp. leaf- it's all about the layout too. We have a very open split floor plan and 10 ft ceilings in the living room and it makes it feel much bigger then it really is.
I would go for it.You can make any home work for you,and you said you will be moving soon anyway.Congrats on selling the other home!
I get a kick out of looking at small homes. I recently found one that was 440 sq ft.It was just a one bed,but I have come across 800 sq ft homes that were 3 bed. My dh wants a big space.As the house cleaner I think smaller is better.Besides it costs less to heat/cool a smaller home!
My dd has the smallest bedroom in our current home,but heck it fits her bed,desk,dresser,and bookshelf.My ds has a bigger room and it is such a mess with toys.The only thing dh wants is a room for a pool table.I bet he never plays if we ever get it.