Can Smaller Be Better? Why a Downsized Home Might Be Right for You

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Do endless chores have you daydreaming about a smaller home? After years of new homes growing larger and larger, Americans are starting to think smaller while hunting for the perfect home. But how do you know if downsizing is the right choice for your family? Whether you’re 25 or 65, here are some reasons why it might be a smart decision for you.

Single Professionals

Between your burgeoning career and vibrant social life, there isn’t enough time for elaborate housework. So do you really need all that space? While it’s nice to have a little extra space to host visiting friends, too much square footage, and you’ll be sacrificing Sunday brunches for Sunday chores instead. By opting for a smaller home, you can streamline home life to free up time for more important pursuits. Not only that, but smaller homes are easier to come by in the city center. By looking at lower square-footage homes, you can narrow in on the urban pad you’ve been dreaming of.

Young Families

When you’re growing your family, a bigger home makes sense. But go too big, and it becomes difficult to keep an eye on all the kids. Plus, buying a large home could leave you far away from the amenities that are important to your family, like great parks, a good school district, and fun community events. Instead of trying to max out the square footage, target homes with yards located in your preferred neighborhood. Your children will benefit from a great neighborhood more than they’ll suffer from sharing a bedroom. (And according to Maxtrix, sharing a room comes with some important benefits.)

Empty Nesters

You loved raising your kids, but now that they’re grown up and moved out, the world is full of possibility. You have more time and money now that there are fewer mouths to feed, but if you’re still paying for an oversized home, your wallet might not be as full as you’d like. This is a smart time to downsize to a smaller home. Not only can a smaller house free up some funds for your nest egg, but it’s also much easier to maintain.

Retirees and Older Adults

For most people, mobility changes go hand-in-hand with aging. Often, those changes mean things that once came easy, like going up stairs or cleaning your house, become increasingly unsteady. A more compact house keeps home maintenance manageable in old age and limits the distance you must travel for routine home tasks. Most people also require home modifications in order to age in place, since falls can occur in any room if not modified properly. However, remodeling projects can be costly—the average price to remodel a kitchen is $25,047. By selling the family home and purchasing a smaller, more affordable house, aging adults can pay for home modifications without taking on debt.

Downsizing isn’t as simple as making the decision to buy a smaller house. If you’re going to live comfortably in a smaller home, you’ll have to downsize your stuff, too. Resist the urge to put the excess in a storage facility and instead perform a thorough decluttering of your belongings. Get rid of duplicates and things you haven’t used in a year or more, digitize your book, music, movie, and photo collections, and swap out bulky furniture for designs better suited to small spaces. By saying goodbye to excess stuff, you not only make the most of limited square footage, but you also reduce the time you have to spend cleaning and organizing.

Large, sprawling homes may be beautiful, but they’re not practical for every household. Unless you’re making use of the space, owning a home that’s too big adds to chores without bringing much benefit. Instead of always thinking bigger, consider smaller homes with the features that make your day-to-day life better.