Friday, October 3, 2008

How much House do you really need?

So Habitat for Humanity is a pretty awesome organization. They build houses and help get deserving familes into homes that really WANT to make their lives better. What I loved was learning about the original founders of Habitat and all they gave up to start it. It blew my mind...

Anyway, I was at the Puyallup Fair for its opening day and they had just started building a Habitat house at the Fair that was going to be moved upon completion and given to a family. I thought it was pretty neat and they intended on completing it in 15 days. 15 days later I came back and it was done and I got to walk thru it. I was shocked when I found out the Sq. footage--just barely 1000 sq ft. It was a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath with washer/dryer in a mud room area, a large kitchen, dining room, large closets in the bedrooms and new appliances. It was actually very spacious for how "tiny" our standards are these days. My first apartment just just a little bit smaller then that and my first house was bigger then that, but this house didn't feel all cramped in. Sure its not huge and the rooms are tiny, but for one family its going to mean the world to them and their kids. The home owners will also get a little shed built on their property for things they might need to store as well.

It got me thinking though, how much space does one family really need?
Have we just been taught that bigger really is better? Or Bigger means we are more well-off? Clearly with all the HUGE homes being built around me its clearly all about show and not about space. If you got 6 kids then yeah, you need the space. But I see families of 2 moving into homes that are 3000 sq ft claiming they need all that space.
Now, don't get me wrong here. I personally wanted a bigger house too and now that I do have a larger home I wish I had a smaller one. Its just such a pain in the butt to clean this place and honestly I think it only spurs my "consumer mind" into thinking I need to FILL this house with things to make it look like I have so much to show for.

If and when we move again (I suspect we will move again ) I will be looking for a home that is smaller, but I still want more then one bathroom. I gotta draw the line somewhere!

I know many articles call homes that are huge "McMansions" because they are sprouting up everywhere and are just bigger then one family really needs. I would have to agree. Now that the housing market is full of homes for sale its pretty easy to find them. But we give up SO much for that 3000 sq ft home.
A yard for one.
Hello?? Some of these new developments you don't even get a yard that is landscaped unless you pay extra!! And even then they are a postage stamp or sometimes just a concrete patio with a fence dividing the homes.

I know I preach a lot about consumerism and its a big thing for me, but when you go house shopping consider how much space you REALLY need. Habitat may not build big houses like they do on Extreme Home Makeover, but I think the people that get those homes appreciate them more. They have to work for their home and wait for their homes. Its not a quick process.
But the result is a nice little home that you just know that family will appreciate and care for.

See the Habitat House at the Puyallup Fair being dedicated. (funny thing there is a composting toilet video on this same page! LOL)


Anonymous said...

thanks for making that clarification about people with 6 kids, LOL! i have 5 sometimes, do i count too?

~ kirsten

jeneflower said...

I completely agree. I used to live in a large condo and I hated cleaning it. I made a rule after that, that we will only have 2 bathrooms from now on and one family room is sufficient. I think our housing/ economic crisis is due to the fact people bought homes that were bigger/fancier than they could afford.