By now, you’ve probably seen an episode or two of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo where she helps homeowners clear out the clutter and encourages them to only keep items that “spark joy”.
I was blown away by the amount of clothes, toys, kitchen items, holiday decor, etc. these people have in their houses. While I’m a huge fan of decluttering and tidying up, I can’t help but wonder why these homeowners have so much stuff in the first place?
Could it be because of the size of their house? Do bigger houses simply equal more storage for junk? Houses keep getting bigger but families are getting smaller. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average family consisted of 3.14 persons in 2018, down from 3.7 in the 1960s.
Just recently, on Instagram, I noticed two fashion bloggers who built McMansions for their small families. Each house appears to be well over 10,000 square feet. Plenty of storage for more unnecessary stuff. Imagine furnishing all that space and all the money they waste on space no one uses. Imagine heating and cooling these hotel sized homes. On top of all, hotel sized homes require hotel sized staff.
The reality is that those homes take a lot of time and money to maintain. Not to mention the cost of keeping up with the doctor/dentist/lawyer neighbors’ cars and fancy vacations. There are only so few times you can really enjoy those trimmings before the extraordinary becomes the ordinary… then you have to pay even more to find excitement.
I look at these houses and wonder why ANYBODY needs that much space. Someone needs to tell these people that quality is more important than quantity.
Our house is small, but it’s not a tiny home. Built in 1970, it measures 1,050 square feet. There is only one bathroom and no good place to add another.
Five years ago, when I bought the house, one child, two teenager, one adult and two dogs resided here. Two of the kids are all grown up now so we are down to one teenager, one adult, and two dogs. I can tell you we have all the space we need.
Each month, when I pay my mortgage, I’m only paying for the space we need and use. We don’t have a formal dining room, second living space, not even a separate entry way.
And remember, we only have one bathroom. When you don’t have the space, you won’t fill it with useless crap. This saves money, but it also means less cleaning and fewer repairs.
Today’s houses are bigger because we need more space to store our junk, and our junk pile grows because there’s room for it in our houses. More stuff doesn’t equal a better life and happiness. It might just be the opposite.
Managing the volume of possessions is a problem in many homes. It leads to empty wallets, arguments, stress, and even divorce.
Last Christmas, the kids and I decided to give each other only one gift for $10 or less. It felt wonderful. Stuff won’t be remembered – the time spent together, the laughter we shared, the songs we sang, the cookies we made – will forever be in our memories. True happiness involves spending time with people you care about doing things you care about.
If you own a home built in the last 30 years, your house is probably too big for your life. Find out how much money, energy, time, and relationships is your house sucking away from you and how much unnecessary stuff are you accumulating? Reevaluate!