When Downsizing Your Family Home Makes Sense
The average American family home was more than twice as big in 2006 as it was in the 1950’s. In 2006, the average house was about 2,349 square feet and families expected to have multiple bathrooms and most likely, a bedroom for every child. In 2010, the average size of a newly built home in America has shrunk. Homes are now about 100 square feet smaller.
Today’s economy has caused many families to simplify their lives to some extent, which often means choosing a smaller home over a huge “McMansion.” Families may be forced to get back to the basics and live within their means. Maybe instead of having a separate room for every family member with private bathrooms and personal televisions, more American families are going back to the times when family space, televisions, and bathrooms were all shared – and that may be a good thing!
Does it make sense for your family to downsize? Here are some situations where it might:
You’re Moving, Anyway
If you’re already getting ready to move because of a job relocation or for some other reason, consider checking out smaller homes, especially if you’re moving to a more expensive area. Families who can afford sprawling homes in the Midwest may find that they are financially forced to downsize if they move to the east or west coast where housing is significantly more expensive.
If you’re already in the process of moving, why not assess your situation to see if downsizing would be a good plan for you?
You’re Trying to Live on One Income
If you want either mom or dad to be able to stay home with the kids and work on raising your family, moving into a smaller home can help. MSN’s Real Estate section points out that smaller homes not only come with smaller mortgages but are also cheaper to heat, cheaper to decorate, and even cheaper to maintain because replacing big-ticket items like roofs and floors doesn’t cost as much.
If you’re trying to live on one income and can sell your current home to downsize, run the numbers to see how much you could save every month by living in a smaller house.
You Want to Live More Simply
Maybe you’re trying to get back to the core of life and want to put family values more into play. Of course, it’s entirely possible to live simply and with family values in a large place, but it may be easier in a small space. The extra space to store junk you don’t really need won’t be available and family members will be forced by space constrictions to interact on a more regular basis.
Downsizing to a smaller home when you have an active family isn’t easy, but it can certainly be done. Here are some tips to help you do it:
- Go through the least-used rooms first. If you have a family room and a living room, start sorting out stuff from the one that you use least often. It will be easier to get rid of things from these rooms first.
- Help your kids sort through their toys. Toys can be a big part of the big-house sprawl for a young family, but kids can have trouble sorting through them on their own. If you have very young children, you might just ship them off to grandma’s for a day to get rid of the toys you know they don’t use regularly any more.
- Look for quality over space. When you’re looking for a new home to move into as you’re downsizing, make sure you look for quality where you’re giving up space. Look for homes that have lots of built-in storage and excellent layouts, as this can help you make the most of the space you do have.
- Invest in helpful furniture for small spaces. Furnishing a small space is totally different from furnishing a large one. With a small space, you need furniture that has built-in storage and that serves multiple purposes. You can put the cost on a credit card with the best credit card rewards — paying it off in full with the money you created selling your stuff. Putting big-ticket items on a low interest credit card can help you net some good rewards and help you get your new home furnished the way you you’d like it to be.
Daniela Baker is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey, a credit deals website for families. She is also a mother of two and frequent blogger, helping other parents achieve financial stability for their families. In the recent past, most people who downsized were empty-nesters and retirees moving out of the family home once and for all, but for more and more families these days, downsizing to a smaller family home just makes sense. If downsizing makes sense for your family don’t be afraid to take the plunge, as many American families are doing these days.