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Forget Tiny Houses, I Want a Bigger House

Photograph by Twenty20

My husband and I have been looking for our dream home for a long time now—years and years of poring over properties, scouring real estate websites and following "For Sale" signs down dusty roads. Finally, earlier this year, a home and property went up for sale that seemed to be completely out of reach. It sat on an amazing property with woods and farmland and rolling hills and breathtaking views. We were captivated by all it had to offer. It seemed absolutely perfect and had everything we had ever hoped for, right down to the apple trees in the yard.

The only catch? The house that the property came with was massive by our standards.

Our family of six had lived for over eight years in a 1,600-square-foot home with three bedrooms and a nice finished basement that served as our kids' toy room. It was a wonderful home, but things did start to get a little cramped as my kids got a bit older. The kitchen was tiny and there was no mudroom of any kind. With three girls and one boy, bedroom arrangements got a little difficult, and as my husband's business grew, the house just seemed to not work as well as it had for us in the past.

But I loved how easy it was to clean and to find things, and spend time together as a family. It was warm, comfortable and everyone was near each other.

So, as I contemplated putting an offer in on the property, I also had to consider what such a major change in our home would look like for me, the at-home parent (who also happens to work at home), domestic manager and cleaner-of-all-the-things. Would I curl up and cry in a corner in my giant house while trying to clean it, only to be lost for days before someone would find me? Would I suffocate under the weight of 1,000 dust bunnies? Would I turn into an endless cleaning machine, trudging up and down stairs trying to find all of my family in my house?

It was almost as if there was some kind of shame associated with buying a bigger house or having more space, like it's greedy or excessive.

To help me make a decision, I scoured the internet for positive stories of people who had "upsized" and loved it. But instead, I only found stories of people who have done the opposite—downsized and loved the convenience, the money-saving, the reduced cleaning, etc. Nowhere could I find anyone (specifically, a mother) who had purchased a bigger home and absolutely loved it.

It was almost as if there was some kind of shame associated with buying a bigger house or having more space, like it's greedy or excessive.

The more I looked into it, the more I realized that the important thing is to focus on why you're purchasing a bigger home. The "whys" for people who want smaller homes might be significantly different than the "whys" that my husband and I have. Our reasons for purchasing a big-to-us home make sense:

Because creating a home is a priority to us. We aren't world travelers, but are both more natural homebodies.

Because it creates more opportunities for business, with farm land and space for animals.

Because we love our big family and may be open to having more children.

Because we want to build a comfortable home our kids and grandkids will want to come to someday.

Because we want plenty of space for welcoming friends and family as our kids grow.

Because, right now, this house seems to work better for us.

I couldn't find the advice or encouragement that I was looking for when making the decision to upsize our house, so this is my chance to tell you, in case you are in the same position as I was: It is absolutely OK to do what works best for you and your family.

Maybe that's a tiny cabin without electricity in the woods, maybe that's a charming farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, maybe that's a high-rise apartment; whatever it is, know what works for you and own it. It's impossible to compare because we are all different.

As for me, I can honestly tell you that the cleaning is a little daunting, but my kids are already contributing and helping more in our new house because it just seems to flow better. With a mudroom, a pantry and cupboards that we can all actually reach and open together, it seems like we are all able to pitch in more, which surprised me.

In our old house, everything was just so cramped that I would kick everyone out of the kitchen, because it would drive me bonkers to be stepping on small children, and do it all myself. But last night, I cooked dinner while the kids packed their own lunches, set the table and unloaded the dishwasher and it felt like a miracle on earth. There was ample room for all of us in the kitchen and it didn't stress me out.

And, honestly? It was kind of awesome.

So, yes, a smaller house might be right for other people, but for a homebody mom with a bunch of kids like me, I say bring on the extra space.

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