5 Years in 450 Square Feet: What I’ve Learned From Living in A Small Space

In a few short months, Chris and I will be moving out of our little rental home of almost five years. When I say "little," I mean 450 square feet. Living in such a small space hasn't always been easy and, to be honest, we’re both looking forwarding to having some breathing room in the future. Still, as we've been making preparations to move, I've been reflecting on what I've learned from my time in our little casita and can truthfully say that it has been an overall positive experience in my life.

Here are the top five lessons I'll be taking away from my time living in 450 square feet.

  1. The value of living with less
    When we first moved into the house, my instinct was to try and fill up every nook and cranny, but over the years I’ve realized that half the things that end up in those spaces aren’t even necessary. Society tells us we need more, more, more, and then dazzles us with the convenience of this-or-that new hot item—I won’t lie, I get tempted all the time! But living in a small house helps us focus on the practicality of items that we own and get rid of or avoid purchasing things that we just don’t need or even use. Living simply has been so eye-opening and is something that I have grown to value and want to continue pursuing in my life.

  2. Organization is key
    When you live in a small house, fully utilizing your space is critical. Every area needs to be functional and that means staying organized. Keeping our house organized has helped eliminate the feeling of being cramped as well as helped us from over accumulating. As someone who gets a lot of satisfaction from organizing things, this lesson was one that I've been more than happy to learn.

  3. The benefits of the outdoors
    Finding activities to do outside of the house has been a key part of staying sane while living in such a small space. Chris and I have always enjoyed the outdoors, but being “forced” to get out more has driven that love to new heights—literally. Hiking and ridgeline camping have become two of our favorite things to do together. Spending time outside has been beneficial for our physical and mental health, and has even helped strengthen our relationship.

  4. The importance of spending time together
    Speaking of relationships—one of my favorite lessons I've learned from living small is togetherness. When Chris and I are home, no matter where we are in the house, we are together. Even if I’m in the bedroom and the husband is working on the computer, we can easily engage in a conversation. We spend every evening together, and this has brought us a lot closer as a couple.

  5. Appreciation of what you have
    Lastly, learning how to appreciate what I have has been really important. Living in a small space has meant a lot of sacrifices, but instead of dwelling on those things, I’ve learned to look at the positive—the fact that it only takes 15 minutes to clean our house, our convenient location, the cozy environment, and so on. Doing this has not only helped me be thankful for what I have, but has also given me a new appreciation for the small things in life. I hope this is something I can hold onto in the future.