Friday, 4 December 2015

How Much Space Do You Need?

I am very much about living with less - small space living, clutter-free surfaces, minimalist decorating, storage and organization solutions and purging purging purging. I've lived in larger homes and smaller spaces in almost every configuration imaginable. And though we are a family of five with three active growing boys (and all of their stuff) we have all the space we want and need in our tiny little fifteen hundred square foot townhome.

People are often surprised when they hear how small our home is for the size of our family. Part of the reason we are able to live so comfortably in a space this size, of course, is because I am so obsessive about organization and so diligent about purging and keeping our space clutter-free. But we are completely comfortable here. We have never felt like we need more room, like we are on top of one another or like we don't have enough storage space.

Which leads to my question: how much space do you need?

It's not a rhetorical question. It's not a commentary on conspicuous consumption. It's not a discussion on understanding wants versus needs. I'm genuinely curious.

Thanks to my increased income now that all three kids are in school we will be able to fit quite a few more extras into our budget over the next few years, including a kitchen renovation that's been on our wish list since moving in. I was standing in the kitchen the other day planning and plotting, visualizing our new counters and cupboards and shelving, mentally moving this here and that there. I opened up all the cupboards and drawers, fantasizing about Ikea-esque storage solutions. I can't wait to kit my kitchen out with the latest space-saving solutions.

But although our kitchen is tiny by most standards, we don't actually need any more space. We have enough counter space, we have enough cupboard space. We don't have dishes or glassware or small appliances crammed into backs of cupboards or piled up on top of one another. We don't have to pull anything out to get at anything else. While much of that might be due to my obsession with organization we actually don't need any more space. 

I've been watching those home improvement and real estate shows lately. Without exception, everyone is looking for more - more space, more rooms, more cupboards, more storage. Why? I have a big, active family and my kids have a lot of stuff - but we have more than enough space in our tiny little townhome.

What do people need all that extra space for?

Originally published as "How Much Space Do You Need?" on my weekly column at

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