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If you could go bigger, would you?

I spend a lot of time singing the praises of living small. I also have devoted a few posts to discussing the downsides of tiny and small house living. Clearly there are positives and negatives to our chosen lifestyle, but we believe that the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

And yet...

There is a lingering question in my own mind.

If we could have a bigger home without having to change up our economic situation to do so...would we?

Honestly, we might.

When I think about our reasons for living the way we do, I cannot deny that the financial benefits of not having a huge mortgage payment are high on my list. Trying to imagine being able to upsize our square footage without upsizing our debt  (or our current income) is difficult at best because the two are so intricately connected in my experience. If the opportunity to have more space without paying a dime suddenly dropped into our laps, would we go for it?

We were not one of those couples that decided to sell their 2000 square foot house in order to downsize into a much smaller home. Aside from the nine months that we lived with my parents before we bought our house, we have never during our marriage lived in a larger space than we have now. Our studio apartment was even smaller than our house is. I can only imagine what having more square footage would feel like for us.

Oddly enough, my subconscious seems to have a hard time accepting the size of our home. Nearly 100% of the time when I dream about our house while I sleep, I see a house that is somehow still our home, yet it is larger than our actual house. Sometimes I discover a closet I didn't notice before. Sometimes I rearrange the furniture, and suddenly the room is twice the size. Sometimes I realize that there has been a second bedroom here all along that I was oblivious to before. Somehow 400 square feet holds a lot more furniture in my dreams than in my reality.

I don't know the significance of these dreams.

I do know that a second bedroom would be useful. I know that it would be nice to not be always tripping over each other. I know that having a bathtub and a mudroom would make my life easier. I wouldn't mind having a bit more counter space.

I also know that we're like goldfish, though. We grow to fit the space we're inhabiting. Give me an extra closet, and I will fill it with junk. Add another surface, and I will set stuff down on it. Make my closet bigger, and I will buy more clothes. For this reason, I'm not convinced that a bigger home would really be much different. It would just take longer to clean.

I do think there might be a sweet spot that is just a tad bigger than what we have now.

Here's the thing, though. Every option involves positives and negatives.

We couldn't move into a bigger house and still live this close to my parents. I would miss the days when my dad stops by to ask if Sunshine wants to help him pick apples and the times when she goes outside to wait for Grandma to get home from work. That close community can only happen because we live where we do in this little house parked right next door. I grew up less than ten minutes away from my own grandparents, and it's not the same as living close enough that I can watch out the window as Sunshine walks over to visit with these people who add so much to my daughters' lives.

In a bigger house, we would be able to get away from each other a lot easier, and while that sometimes seems like a nice idea, I'm not sure that it really is a good thing. Being so close forces us to work things out together. We can't stomp off and slam doors. (We mostly have pocket doors anyway.) We have to see each other and face each other. It's something that I often take for granted because it's been my own normal for so long, but I can't imagine that the ability to just run away to another part of the house would actually be good for our relationships.

Then there is my own personality to consider. I get easily overwhelmed sometimes, and having a bigger house sounds overwhelming to me. When our tiny house needs a good shake down and tidy up, it seems like a lot of stuff to deal with because it's all right there where you can see it all the time, but in a big house? It's so easy to just keep hiding things you don't want to deal with today in a back room or closet where you don't have to look at it or think about it until it gets to the point where even starting to tackle the chaos is such a monumental task that you can't even figure out where to begin. At least I know that's how it would be for me. I am not naturally a tidy person, and giving myself the ability to let things get out of hand because I can supposedly deal with it later is a recipe for disaster.

When I really think about it, I know that I don't want a big house. A big house feels like a burden to me in so many ways. At the same time, though, I do think that a slightly bigger house would be easier sometimes. Maybe something in the 600-800 square foot range would be ideal. That would at least give us room for a second bedroom. Of course this is with the caveat that this bigger house was right here next door to my children's grandparents because that proximity is one thing I will not easily surrender. More than anything else, it's the relationships that our lifestyle encourages that make it truly worthwhile to me.


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