Iím going to ask you to do something. Stop reading for just a moment and take a quick look around your house. How big is it? How many rooms? Now consider this next question carefullyÖDo you use all of the space in your house?
This is not an article about de-cluttering or about maximising the space you have. Itís about determining just how much area you need in order to live comfortably.
I have a neighbour who has lived in the same house for many years. Itís a very big house and when her family all lived at home the amount of space was necessary, but as one-by-one the children left home, she began to Ďclose upí some of the rooms she no longer needed. She and her husband eventually found themselves living alone, but kept the big house so that the grand-children could sleep over and also because of all the happy memories made there.
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The grandchildren are all teens or adults now and her husband passed away last year, but my neighbour still lives in her huge house all alone. She admits that itís difficult for her to look after and that she feels quite lonely and isolated there, but her memories keep her tied there.
My father still lives in his large house because of a belief that his children should inherit it when he's gone. He canít accept that none of us would want to live there and the only option would be for us to sell it. The smart move would be for him to sell it now and move into a smaller, easy-care house that he can enjoy in his senior years.
Image courtesy of flickr.com
These are just two examples of hanging onto more space than you need.
In my own case. I have a very modest (in fact, tiny) house that is just big enough for my needs. I have two bedrooms, one being used as an office, a bathroom/laundry/loo all in one, a little kitchen and a generous lounge/dining room. Itís all the space I need and is easy for me to care for.
Image courtesy of flickr.com
My garden, however, is another story. When I bought the property I fell in love with the large garden and promised myself that I would learn to care for it. Iíd never had a proper garden before. But it didn't take me long to realise that I had made a mistake. My garden is far too large for me to care for and rather than being a pleasure, it has become a burden. Iím unable to keep up with it and have to pay gardeners to help me - so I've decided to sell my property and find a new one Ė a tiny house with a tiny garden.
Image courtesy of geograph.ie
So now letís get back to your house. Is it the right size for your needs? Do you have space that you no longer need or have trouble caring for? Are you hanging on to it out of sentimentality or guilt?
Perhaps you would be doing yourself, your family and your bank account a favour by down-sizing.
Great article, Colleen. Over the years the amount of space we need is likely to change as you have pointed out. The first house I bought had a very big yard and that was one of the things I liked about it. Thirty five years on there is no way I would buy a house with such a big block as I couldn't maintain it. I would be paying higher council rates and insurance. When I look at a big house I am so glad I don't have to do the cleaning, repainting and general maintenance.