Trading a Big House for a Tiny House

This story about a company in Missouri that builds tiny houses has an interesting lede: a family is selling their big house and moving into a tiny house even though they can afford the big house. The reason? The big house eats up so much money that they haven’t been able to go on a vacation in seven years. They’ve decided to live debt-free and be able make memories instead of spending all their cash on a big, impressive home.

I get it. I used to live in a big house. It was a great place to raise our large family, but it cost a lot in upkeep, utilities and (especially) property taxes. So I understand where the woman in the article is coming from. I imagine that no matter how much you love your house, when it begins to keep you from doing other things you want to do, you start to fall out of love with it.

I suspect this woman may find her new digs to be a little constrained. She might be better off buying something a bit larger than a tiny house, but more affordable than her current large home. In any case, we’re seeing more and more of this sort of thing as people try to stay afloat financially and enjoy life at the same time.


Too Much House

A dear friend in her early 60s complains that it takes her all day to clean her house, and afterwards she is exhausted. I feel sorry for her, but the truth is that her house is way too big for her. She raised five kids in it, and is emotionally attached to it, but the kids are grown and gone and she doesn’t need all that space anymore.

Maybe it’s just as well that I was forced to give up my big house. It held many memories and I miss it, but I love having a small house now. I remember after we made the offer on it, and I drove by it with my daughter, who hadn’t seen it yet. She exclaimed, “It’s so small!” and I responded, “That’s what I’ll say about my electric bill each month when I open it,” and that’s exactly what I do say every month.

As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes in the Bible, there is a time for everything: the time to have a big house is when you have lots of people to live in it. Once they’ve grown, the small house becomes a great idea for so many reasons:

  • It takes me about two hours to clean my little house (except for the basement, which I clean once in a while), leaving me more time to do things I enjoy.
  • Our utility and property tax bills are small, which helps us stay debt-free. We had to sell our big house because we couldn’t afford the $7000 property tax bill anymore and didn’t want to risk losing a paid-off house to unpaid taxes.
  • I always wanted to live on acreage, but now that we’re pushing 60, I can see that our modest yard is more than enough work for us at this stage of life.
  • Whenever we have to make an improvement to the house, it costs less time and money than it would on a big house. We replaced eight of the ten windows in this house a few years ago, and that was expensive enough. The rental house we used to live in had 56 windows. Can you imagine what those would cost to replace? Yikes!

I feel sorry for my friend, but I think at some point she’ll be ready to give up her big house. Or I guess she could just hire a cleaning crew. Personally, I’ve found that downsizing is the way to go.