The upside to small living and tips to make it happen

two women on balcony

The concept of small living isn’t something only empty-nesters enjoy anymore. A growing number of people want to own a home, but it may not be feasible in their bigger financial picture. One solution? Small-space living.

Research shows that 68% of homeowners who live in tiny homes don’t have a mortgage, compared to 29% of all homeowners in the nation who don’t have mortgages.[1]

That doesn’t mean you need to move into a tiny or portable home, however. Aside from eliminating or lowering your mortgage, simply moving into a smaller home can have additional benefits. These scaled-down spaces require much less upkeep. Utilities typically cost less in smaller homes, and there are fewer daily chores.

Is living in a downsized home for you? If so, here are some tips to get you started in living this lifestyle:

Live with purpose and pleasure

Whittling down your belongings to fit them in a smaller home can bring more meaning to your day-to-day life. When you downsize, you’re surrounded by things you love in your new home — in part because you have to be. Before you move, look at your current furniture and determine what you absolutely can’t live without. Be sure to measure the pieces you choose to keep, and ask your real estate agent for the dimensions of each room in your new, smaller home.

Envision or draw out how much space your current furniture will take up in your new home. This helps you learn what to expect in terms of which current possessions you can fit easily into the smaller place. By doing so, you’ll know if the sofa is too large for the living room or if you need to pare down your bedroom set and take only the bed and dresser. The goal is to move comfortably through your home.

Downsizing mantra: Only keep what serves you

Go through your current home room by room and discard items you haven’t used in the last year. If it hasn’t been used by now, it’s likely remain unused in the future. Small houses are appealing because you have to be more selective about what fits in them — as a result, every item has a purpose. There are no exercise bikes you plan to ride eventually or books you’ll get to someday. Truthfully, it can be a relief not to be reminded of all the “stuff” you’ve yet to do. Small living works because it can keep you in the present and committed to the essentials.

Streamlining small home living

Once you’ve moved into your new home, you’ll start adjusting to your new “big lifestyle”. Staying organized and maximizing your space will become important parts of living harmoniously in a smaller space.

It’s important to organize your small home from the start. Because your space is limited, your organizing decisions matter. If you plan to organize things later, you may be tempted to keep putting it off. Living in small space can be challenging if it’s not organized. Make organization a priority when you move in.

Designate specific storage spaces for everything you own and use accessories like drawer organizers, shoe caddies and vacuum bags to keep your home tidy. When you use something, put it back immediately when you’re done. This cuts down on visual clutter and ensures you have a system that keeps you organized for the long haul.

Living in a smaller home has some unexpected lifestyle bonuses, and it encourages creativity, especially when it comes to space-saving solutions. For example, your house’s layout may not feature distinct areas with designated purposes, such as a pantry or linen closet, but you can make them with curtains and moveable walls. If you have a loft, transform the area under the stairs into a closet or food-storage area. A small house is the ideal place for you to bring your innovative ideas to life.

The benefits of a downsized lifestyle are plentiful. If you’re considering moving to a small space, learn more about how to protect it with insurance from Nationwide.

[1] “Tiny Houses and People Who Live in Them,” The Tiny Life.