Can a house be too big? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-17-2006, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are moving this week from a tiny apartment to a huge, wonderful house. I am happy with it all (or at least I will be when this moving trauma is over!) But I am afraid we will feel a need to "fill 'er up". We will have a basement with more cupboards than I have ever seen, a huge barn/garage, cupboards galore in the kitchen, and built-in shelves and cabinets everywhere. It is a fantastic house, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful. Really, we don't need to own enough stuff to fill all these shelves! But they don't look right empty. How can I keep from cluttering it?

PS I never imagined I would consider this a problem!

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Old 05-17-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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Oh yes a house can be too big!!! There is nothing wrong with living in a large house but you need to purpose BEFORE you move to NOT fill it up. Be honest with yourself about what you need nd don't feel like every square inch has to be filled up!!

4 years ago we moved from a 2 bedroom duplex to a 3 bedroom house with a HUGE playroom. I think we felt the need to fille every squre inch just b/c we had the room. We bought a loveseat, futon, treadmill, weightbench and I let the toys run unchecked b/c we had the space. I was ALWAYS stressed out and tired from cleaning. We're getting ready to move to a smaller house. Still 3 bedrooms but no extra playroom and we're getting rid of a lot. I can't stand tripping over toys all day!!!

Just purpose before you move in not to buy a lot!!!

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Old 05-17-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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Or you could be like us... We moved from a 2 br duplex into a 4 bedroom house with an attic & basement. We only bought a washer & dryer plus living room furniture (ours didn't survive the move so it was not an addition, but a replacement). We were literally shocked at how the house was full when we almost tripled our space. We just spread it all out.

But - yes - just make sure you convince yourselves that you won't "fill it up." You will enjoy more space when it's not so cluttered anyway. Trust me - it's a huge struggle for us.

Congrats on the move. It sounds wonderful!
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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I'm so glad you posted this ... I am worried about the same thing. We are about to remodel our house and it will end up bigger than I'd like. As I pack up everything in the house (and purge a lot of stuff) I'm really stressed about the prospect of filling up the new house. I think it will just take discipline. Decide how much of each thing is "enough" for your family, then be strict about the "one in one out" rule- if you buy something new you have to get rid of something. And, I think I will schedule a major declutter a couple times a year- pull everything out of an area and get rid of what we don't need.

I'm trying to focus on the reasons we want more space, which don't have to do with wanting more stuff: room to entertain family and friends, room for a piano, room for the kids to develop a hobby down the road, room for a pet. I also envy friends who have larger houses and more open space- I think it takes real skill and discipline not to get into the bigger house/more stuff trap.

Good luck!
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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About a year and a half ago we moved from a 2 bdrm/1 bth duplex that was about 700 sq. ft. to a 3 bdrm/2 bth house that is 1200 sq. ft. Somehow we have managed to fill the space without acquiring much new stuff (certainly not 500 sq. ft. of stuff!).

I agree with the pp that you will be able to spread things out to fill the space. I also like the "one in, one out" rule. I think if you just commit to not cluttering your new house before you even move in, you'll be able to stick with it. Take pictures of your uncluttered house so when you feel like you need to buy something that might be unnecessary you can look at them and remember your committment.

Good luck moving!
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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Yes! Our house is way too big, IMO. I have no idea on sq. footage, but it is a huge old farmhouse, with a kitchen, dining, living, family rooms, as well as 2 bedrooms downstairs and five upstairs. Plus 2 bathrooms and a large empty space/hallway area. Way too frickin big, and we only live in the downstairs to save money on heat. The more space you have, the easier it is to accumulate crap, IME. I would love to build a smaller house someday.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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We live in a 5 bedroom 2 bath house amd we have no kids yet. In the past it was nice,we rented out rooms to our friends. Its just the right size for us,but we wish we had a rec room type area. Plus guess who cleans it 90% of the time So any bigger and I just don't know.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:59 PM
 
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We live in a 5 bedroom 2 bath house and we have no kids yet. In the past it was nice,we rented out rooms to our friends. Its just the right size for us,but we wish we had a rec room type area. Plus guess who cleans it 90% of the time So any bigger and I just don't know.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:21 PM
 
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Nope never too big

Ok I'm half serious, we moved from about 600/700 square feet to 2300, it's heaven, really. The space is wonderful, the kids can have a play space and I can still walk through the living room (most of the time ). We have room to breath. I don't have a tiny table in the corner that we have to pull out into the room to eat, we have a "real" size table and chairs. We have a "real" couch, not just a loveseat..... Yes we have more "stuff" but it hasn't filled the space and we don't intend it too (not to say I can't declutter). We have an "office" that has a spare bed and a table that I can *gasp* leave my sewing stuff set up on

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Old 05-17-2006, 07:35 PM
 
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My DH just brought the kids home, usually I don't see the kids until 9:30p.m. on Wednesday, I am ssssssooo pissed.
To answer the question, ia a house eveeer to big.
NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to have a house that is so big that my kids would be in another wing
Of course I would love it if I had a nanny to watch my kids, I am so not looking forward to summer
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Old 05-18-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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Our house is about 1500 sq. feet and I think it's way too big. We have one child who co-sleeps and 3+ bedrooms. We rarely have guests in our guest room and the other room is her playroom.

It's completely insane to me now that we bought this big of a house. How much more is our mortgage a month just because we thought we needed 3 bedrooms?
Right now, I could be soooo happy in a 1 BR apt. with a garage. Ahhhh bliss. But that's another thread

So yes, a house can be too big. But our culture is a supersized culture, so you won't hear that from many people. In my opinion, bigger is most definitely not better! Whenever you have more stuff, you have more to clean, more to stress over, more to move, just more everything. However, you can have a large house and still keep everything simple and clean.

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Old 05-18-2006, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, all, for responding. Yes, it will take an awareness to keep from cluttering even a huge space.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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Old 05-18-2006, 05:11 PM
 
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Enjoy the space! I have a 1700 sq foot home, most of it is a greatroom. We bought this floor plan on purpose so our kids will have lots of room to run around, ride their scooters and trikes, throw balls, etc. I don't want to to fill it up with *stuff*. I declutter and organize some area of the house about once a month. My dad calls me a "minimalist" but I know I have more stuff than a lot of people here on this forum. We just try to make do with what we need and not much extra. My 5yo only has a very small toy collection and does just fine with that. My 2yo's is bigger but as she grows we are donating the baby toys and not replacing them with as many big toys. They do just fine making their own toys. They like to pretend their shoes are airplanes or cars.

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Old 05-18-2006, 05:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAmma
Enjoy the space! I have a 1700 sq foot home, most of it is a greatroom.
In our next home, my goal is this same thing...to have most of it be open living space. I want the kitchen, living, dining areas to be open and have the bedrooms be super small (because you just SLEEP, not live in there). Right now we live in an adorable 1920's tutor style home, but it's so cut up. I want to see my family/guests when I cook and prepare food. I want that energy to flow

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Old 05-18-2006, 11:45 PM
 
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Whether or not a house is too big really depends on your priorities, energy, and stage of life. We bought a huge two-story house four years ago (3,000+ sq. ft. with a full, finished basement, giganitic corner lot, two car garage, and a storage building) when we were co-sleeping with one baby. It was entirely too much house. Dh and I didn't have enough furniture to make it comfortable, and very little money left over after the big mortgage to decorate, furnish, and do much needed remodelling. I hated cleaning so many bathrooms and dh was not fond of losing four hours most Saturdays to mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. So we cut our losses (which ended up being very small) and ditched the house. Moved into a modest (1,200 sq. ft.) co-op with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, where we have been living in bliss ever since.

Now we are moving cross-country into a market where a house is once again an option, and we've been pondering the same thing. This time our answer is different, though. Now we have two dds sharing their own room, and hope to have more babies. We are likely to live in the next house for a long, long time. All of a sudden a bigger house doesn't seem so big anymore. We're probably going to buy a home with 3 or 4 bedrooms, 2,500ish sq. ft. (but no basement, yea!), a moderate yard, and perhaps even a garage apartment. We are also homeschoolers, so having a bit of room to spread out projects and have time away from each other during our afternoon quiet hour is important to us.

You are the best person to candidly assess what you need your house to do for you. There are some great books on the topic to help you. Check out The Not-So-Big House and House Thinking. There is also a great little article on floor plans today at http://homeliving.blogspot.com/.
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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Absolutely! My mom always dreams about having a humongous house. I'd have to stop her in her tracks to protect herself from the sheer amount of crapola she'd fill it with

Namaste, Tara
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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Absolutely it can be too big. The bigger the house the more there is to clean. The more spots were "stuff" can acculumate. Our house is too big, we've been talking about downsizing for awhile now. We don't use half the house, except for storage or for rooms that are hardly used.

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Old 05-19-2006, 03:53 PM
 
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I enjoyed reading that blog klondikesky, thanks for the link.

Back to the op's question, I agree that it depends on what you want to use the house for, and how much work you want to put into it. We just sold our 1200 sq ft home and moved into a 3800 sq ft home. We've been here a week and I did not feel at home in it the first few days. This is supposed to be my "dream house", and we plan to stay in this house until all of our kids are grown and decide to leave. So I was bothered by it not feeling homey to me. After some thought, I realized that I have never lived in a two story house, or in a house of this size, so it was just going to take some time to adjust to it. (I grew up in very small homes and they always felt very cozy to me, and the 1200 sq ft house we just sold, we lived in for 6 years and it had felt homey to me from the time we moved in).

Our reasons for choosing this house are **** valid, but I admit I'll always find smaller homes to be cozier and homier, due to all the great childhood memories I have.

We wanted this house we're living in now because we have 4 kids(11, 5, 3, and 2). We homeschool and the layout of our old house was not working for us. Our kitchen table barely fit in the eat in kitchen, and we were squished trying to gather around the table to do our "school" stuff. The bedrooms were all too small for many of us to fit into at once. The living room was big but had too many distractions.

We had a tiny galley style kitchen and I couldn't see the kids when they were in other rooms, and there was no window except in the eating area so it felt dark and closed off.

There was very little storage area, only 4 cabinets and 2 drawers in the kitchen, limited counter space making it hard to cook and bake (which I actually like to do). We had no coat closet, no entry way, no linen closets. One of the biggest problems was that the backyard was hard to get to. The bedrooms were at the back of the house, living and kitchen at the front. So there was a door in the living going out to the side of the house, and then you'd have to walk around to the backyard. I couldn't see the kids, except from the back bedroom windows, and it wasn't convenient to carry food all the way from the front kitchen around to the backyard, so we never had picnics out there or used the backyard much.

Our new house has an open, sunny kitchen. Our dining table can actually fit in there with both leaves in so we can fit around it comfortably now. (6 people). We spend a lot of time in there already. There is a lot of storage space(big walk in pantry, lots of cabinets), and counter space so I'm looking forward to baking and cooking a lot from scratch again. The backyard is right off the kitchen so the kids can go play out there whenever they like and I can see them. We're looking forward to eating outside on pleasant summer evenings.

We also have a huge playroom upstairs, and one wall is all huge windows. It's really sunny up there, and we're looking forward to doing our school stuff up there. Plus, we are all big readers and there is room in there to have shelves and shelves of their books and a reading corner. It's big enough to ride a bike through or rollerskate through, and it gets too hot here in TX in the summer to spend much time outdoors.

We wanted a space that would fit all of our kids, even as teens. We wanted our house to be the hub for our kids and their friends, I'd really rather have them hanging out here, especially as they grow to be teens. So as they grow the playroom will become more of a game room and we'll have a pool table, popcorn machine, a place to play board games, a dart board, etc, so they'll be motivated to come hang here.

If you go into a bigger house knowing you have a use for each room than I don't think it's so bad. I wouldn't buy furniture that won't be used or doesn't serve a purpose, just to fill up a room, but we have plans for rooms that will involve purchasing some stuff. I had always wanted a treadmill but had no room, so now I'll get one and we'll turn one of the rooms into an exercise room. This is so exciting for me because after so many pregnancies the last several years, I am really out of shape, and I feel much better when I exercise. It's hard for me to get to a gym because my husband works long hours and I'm afraid to leave my littles at a gym daycare. So now I can work out at home.

Our piano was always squished into our living room and kind of in the way of traffic, now we have a space for it and it is being used a lot already.

And we have a foyer and coat closet, which I love. In our old house, the front door opened right into the living room.

So we carefully planned what we wanted extra space for, and didn't buy more than we thought we needed. We also accounted for the treadmill and things we wanted to buy in our budget before we bought this house, so that we would still have money for those things even with the bigger mortgage.

Having said all of that( ), I could have lived with a smaller space, with a better floor plan. But this was the only house we found with the floor plan we had in mind. It's more about how you use the space, or plan to use the space, than how much space.
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Old 05-19-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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we are looking for a smaller more well organized space.

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Old 05-22-2006, 05:44 AM
 
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yes.... in some cases a house CAN be too big. The double wide trailer dh and I lived in last was WAY too big. We couldn't take care of it. It just took too long. Much too big for the two of us (soon to be three at that point).

Now we're moving from a 750 square foot apartment to an 800 sf downstairs of a house with a huge fenced in yard and I think that'll be just about right (our dog will LOVE the yard!) and we'll be able to have a garden too. It's also a much more efficiently designed space except for the lack of closets which means we'll be having a HUGE yard sale when we move in

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Old 05-23-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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We moved from a 900 sq ft house in Seattle to a 4000 sq ft house in TX with out spending much more money. I think we went into sticker shock because of how much more house we could buy down here. Now that I've lived in a big house for a while I say there is such a thing as too much house! While we are not going to sell without having to relocate again when/if we do we really want something in the 2500 sq ft range. It is just too much house and since we are really trying not to be "stuff" people anymore we don't have any desire to fill it.

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