Last week there was a segment on the news about the buying patterns of new home buyers that suggested people are going back to the pattern prominent prior to the recession. That is, the report said people are buying homes that are quite large. When I looked at the information available on the Census website Characteristics of New Housing - 2014, I found that the average size of new single-family homes has been increasing without any apparent impact from the recession. The site gives the average square footage of homes from 1978 through 2014. Over that time, they increased from 1650 to 2506 square feet.
As someone who grew up in a house that was approximately 2500 - 2900 square feet with ten people around the dining room table every night, I can attest to the fact that one can live comfortably in 250 to 300 square feet per person. I never felt I could not find a place to be alone if I wanted it nor did I feel lonely if I wanted to be with people.
Part of the reason I have been thinking so much about this has to do with my intention of downsizing in the next few years. Another is my sense that we, as a country, need to think about our use of energy and materials. Someone pointed out to me recently that "Mother Earth" will be fine no matter what we humans do about climate change, but we humans won't be so lucky. Along the way, we are also taking other species with us.
There is another movement in the country, and apparently, around the world, towards building homes that are minimal. According to many of the people in the Small_house_movement, tiny-house-nation: the-tiny-house-movement, Tiny House Talk and Tiny House Community, tiny houses are 400 square feet or smaller. The majority of these appear to be movable, since many communities have restrictions on house size. Many of the articles I have seen on these homes indicate that the exterior views play a large part in making the homes feel comfortable, while the inhabitants have also scaled down the majority of their possessions to fit the space.
While I cannot see myself moving into a "tiny house," in part because I anticipate moving as a couple and also because I do entertain my family several times a year, I can see the logic in downsizing to a space that is significantly smaller than the 1760 square feet we now occupy. It will require rethinking what I actually need to have available to me and how much space to allow for every activity.
How much space do you feel you need? Why?
Until next time, I wish you peace.