The value and appeal of building a small house will always be popular. Small house building isn’t a wave of the future, the current hot trend, or a fad of the past. It is a time-honoured approach to building a dwelling that’s both easier of the pocketbook AND the environment. What’s not to like about that?
So what motivates you in considering building or living in a small house? For folks in general it can run anywhere from concerns about the environment (wanting to use less resources in building and running a dwelling), economic reasons (they’re just not comfortable taking out a big loan that will have to be paid back over the next 30 years), and desire for a simpler life.
Your best initial resource for small house building is the Small House Society founded by Jay Shafer, Shay Salomon, Nigel Valdez, and Gregory Johnson. They have a wealth of resources to get you started.
If you have kids trying to live in a smaller house can be a real challenge. Kids and toys just go together (this could be a whole ‘another essay!). And their play time takes up a lot of space. If you’re stuck in the cold northern climate indoors all winter, it can be pretty tough.
But maybe your parenting objective is to impress on your kids that you CAN live in a limited space with limited stuff. It could make it easier to enforce a “one toy in, one toy out” policy if your abode is smaller. This could conceivably encourage them to really think about justifying what they’re acquiring. If you have a bigger house what’s the excuse to refuse your kids filling it with stuff?
The truly tiny houses of 400 square feet or less really aren’t a consideration for a family with kids, I admit. Although they might make a really nice retreat or hermitage away from your screaming clan. A family of 4 can definitely get along with 1,500 to 2,000 s.f. And if there’s a usable basement space you can go toward the low end of that.
Ultimately, a small house will cost less, thus giving you (and your family) more time and money to do other stuff: travel, afford private music lessons, time to play games together, travel, go camping for an entire summer, afford membership and classes at the local YMCA… did I mention world travel?
To small house enthusiasts everywhere!