Here is a radical truth that minimalists realize sooner than most: We don’t need more space, we need less stuff! When pressed for space the default move for most people is to shop for a bigger home or lease a storage unit instead of getting rid of excess stuff. But the better option is to lessen our possessions and limit our purchases moving forward.
Statistics reveal that the average residential floor space PER person in America is 832 square feet. However, our living space for the TWO of us is about that. The average size of a new apartment in America is now 934 square feet, about one-third the size of the average new house, but it is still a couple hundred square feet larger than our present place.
Unlike many Americans, we have never paid for storage space, have not used a U-Haul to move since becoming minimalists eight years ago, and moved here to Maine with everything we owned in our Nissan Rogue. Our approximately 800 square feet of space is not only adequate but ample for us. Utilizing two smallish storage closets and a walk-in clothes closet, we don’t need to store any extra stuff in the available attic or cellar spaces.
Not only is less space more affordable but it is also easier to clean and maintain. We have lived in spaces ranging from about 400 square feet to 1400 square feet, and our current home represents a sweet spot in between. Contrary to popular opinion, living large with less is doable! And until lately, it is how most Americans lived. For example, I will never forget meeting the former owner of a 900-square-foot house we leased and learning that his family of FIVE once lived there.
For us, minimalism has never been about organizing our sock drawers (though they are neat and tidy). We are very organized and love it, but in our book, owning less trumps organizing more. Being neat is no substitute for not owning unnecessary stuff in the first place. I cannot stress how much minimizing our possessions frees us from “stuffocation.” If you ever feel like your stuff is overwhelming the space you call home, do yourself a favor and experience “the upside of downsizing!”