Lessons learned living in 490 square feet

We live in 490 square feet with a 5x8 storage space within our building. We have lived like this for ~18 months.

  1. You will miss things, but realize the temporary nature of those things.
  2. You don't need as much space as you have.
  3. You can probably go bigger or smaller, and it won't really make a difference.
  4. Smaller space = more time
1) You will miss things, but everything is temporary.

In our lives, we have lived in large houses with family, friends, but as a couple, we stayed at around 1200 square feet. Our townhouse in Littleton felt a little larger than necessary with 2bed 2bath + a loft/office area. Transitioning from that 700, then to 490sq feet, we gave up several things. To list a few, we have given up in-unit washer and dryer, a microwave, a garage, separate work spaces, couches, and dedicated dining area. Each person is different, but Randi and I look at these changes as adventures. Of course, you occasionally long for what you had and chose to give up, but more often you are too wrapped up in your life to realize that you ever had those things, to begin with.

2) You don't need as much space as you have.

When we downsized to 1/3 of where we were two years ago we expected to feel tight but thought we could do it. After a short adjustment period, we realized we could go smaller. Once you adjust your mindset from keeping everything, to reducing your possessions to only the things you need and actually want, you realize there just isn't enough time in the day to USE all the things you have. We still have piles of books we probably won't re-read, games we rarely/never play, and clothes that never get worn.

3) Bigger or smaller won't really affect your life.

Most people who chose to live in small places (see tiny house movement) claim to be in a state of constant epiphanies. This wasn't really the case for Randi and I. Sure there are some pros and cons... but more or less, normal day to day stresses exist. The few things that have given us real comfort is being walking distance to work, not having to clean more than necessary, and taking up a smaller environmental impact.

4) Smaller space = more time

Smaller spaces for us has lead to more free time. Instead of spending our time cleaning our space, or even walking from one end of our space to the other we are able to engage in the activities we want to.

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