Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How big is your house?

What is the right size house for a family of five? I bought the Have More Plan book from Baker Creek Heirloom seed company. It was written in 1943. The book had plans for the idea house. 705 square feet was the smallest house and the largest recommended house was a whopping 753 square feet! Really, how much space do we need? That size seems extremely tiny to me.

Surrounding my house are houses of 3,000 square feet to much larger, the largest being over 10,000 square feet. My in laws, just the two of them live in a 5,000 square foot house. Large houses have become a status symbol. My house is 1,680 square feet and is the smallest in our immediate area. My in-laws have suggested that maybe we would like to swap houses, since there are 2 of them and 5 of us.

The benefits of a small house are:

  • Less cleaning

  • Smaller Utility Bills (My electric bill this December was $40.00, it is usually around $20.00 but the state is allowing the energy company to gouge us to make up for their loses in Hurricane Katrina. Since the storm the cost of living in this area has increased significantly)

  • Less room to collect useless clutter

  • Smaller Insurance bill (Insurance in the New Orleans area is already outrageous. My house is $1,950 a year with a huge hurricane deductible and $380.o0 for state sponsored flood insurance)I'm hoping that we will be able to self insure our home for hurricanes eventually because of my smaller home and my husbands increasing carpentry skills.

  • Less maintenance

  • Lower Taxes

  • Larger Yard (kids tend to play outside more and not sit in front of the computer, we do not have a television) More room to garden!

  • You don't have to move when the kids leave.

  • Easier to become debt free and have a paid off home. We owe very little on our home and will pay it off soon. This frees up money for saving and living! (Debt Free Vacation Yea!)

  • Have a sense of satisfaction that you are not being wasteful of the limited resources of our planet.

  • Much cozier and satisfying. Is easier to personalize.

Some drawbacks of a small house are:

  • You have to be really creative for storage and every square foot must be used wisely

  • A little tight for Garden Club Meetings (I am the President of our local Federated Garden Club and I host a meeting once a year)

  • Sometimes your peers make incorrect judgements about you. I call them peers, because if they do this they do not qualify as friends.

Some benefits of Large House are:

  • Lots of storage (for mostly useless clutter)

  • Plenty of room for gatherings

  • Impresses some people (I'm not sure if this is a benefit---!)

Some drawbacks of a Large House are:

  • Huge utility bills and unfair use of resources (my in-laws electric bill in December was $240.00, it can go over $500.00 in the summer, our summers are sweltering)

  • Large insurance bill (Their insurance is $8,000.00 a year, the flood is $380.00 the same as mine because it is for a flat amount and is state sponsored)

  • Much higher taxes

  • Much more cleaning to do (my mother in law hires someone to help out occasionally)

  • Clutter collector (everyone I know with large houses still complains they do not have enough storage, they have the clutter habit)

  • Maintenance costs are much higher (after the storm it cost my in-laws $26,000.00 to re roof their home and garage. Their garage is an additional 1,800 sq ft. My home and shed cost around $5,000)

  • Large house note if financed

  • In some cases restricts savings because all money is spent on home.

  • Sometimes you must deal with the jealousy of small minded family and people.

After considering all I will keep my house. Unless a hurricane blows us away or my husband must relocate (small chance) we will be here til til!

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Here I am complaining about my 800sq ft home. Well I guess we just have too much.