When we purchased our home in early 2011, we were a family of 3 and the 1343 square feet was more than enough house for our small family.
There were a few things about the house that we weren’t crazy about. It is a 1.5 bathroom (we preferred 2), the kitchen is small and the laundry is in the carport. We compromised on those factors because the house is a charming 70s brick ranch on an acre in the area where we wanted to be. Plus, the price was well below the budget we had set when we began searching for a home.
We knew we were going to be able to comfortably grow our family in this home.
With the announcement of our third pregnancy, we started to get questions and comments like “where will you put the baby?” and “you’re going to need a bigger house.”
Our answers were “we’ll put the baby in the room with his/her brothers” and “we have plenty of room.”
As the months passed, we started thinking that maybe our house wasn’t big enough.
Simple math says it’s small. Our 1343 square foot house divided by 5 people is 268.6 square feet per person. (We realized that per person, our house was smaller than our 576 square foot first apartment! We had 288 square feet per person there.)
A few weeks after Cecilia was born, John David was browsing real estate listings and an 1,800 square foot home on 7 acres with a barn and shop caught his attention. We went and looked at it and fell in love with the farm. Within a few days, we decided we were going to sell our home so we could buy a farm.
Throughout the month of May, we had several inquiries and a few showings and were hopeful that our home would sell quickly so we could buy the larger home and farm.
Towards the end of May, we started really questioning whether this was the right move for our family and began praying for direction. Sure, the 1,800 square foot house (with a bonus room, attached garage and fireplace) on 7 acres was exactly what we wanted. But, was it what was right for our family now?
We started evaluating the work of keeping up a farm. John David’s job is not only a job, it’s his calling. With his job he’s not home every single night of the week at the same time. With 3 small children, I don’t want the responsibility of having to care for a farm on his long nights. Plus, the honest truth is we have a hard time caring for our acre (and nearly half of it is wooded). The care of 7 acres seems quite daunting.
We also looked long and hard at finances. Yes, we can afford the larger home. The asking price was a figure we can afford, at least on paper. Figuring the mortgage payment on the larger home into our budget worked but it left very little money and our budget would be very tight. To us, it’s not really worth having a larger home if we can’t live life because all of our money is going to the house!
But, we need more space, right? Well, 500 more square feet would definitely be nice but isn’t a necessity, at least at this point in our life. We’re comfortable in our current home. Our boys share a large bedroom, Cecilia now has her own room and there’s plenty of space for the things we own, especially since we choose to live minimally.
We’ve decided that living small in this house means we can really live large.
An affordable mortgage means our finances are not super tight.
Since our finances are not super tight, we can spend more on healthy food, eating out and experiences. Plus, we’re able to be more generous since we’re not simply scraping by every month.
Living in 1343 square feet means we have to be intentional about our possessions as a family of 5. We evaluate purchases not only based on whether we can afford the item but also based on if we have space for it and if it is a necessity. We choose to live minimally but our home also forces us to live minimally since we don’t want to be overrun with stuff!
We’re content living small. But, we really think we’re living large.
(And, the lovely pictures in this post were taken for our house listing. My house is never, ever this tidy!!)