I’m interrupting the telling of the Our Journey to Now saga to fill you all in on a particular, pervasive myth that I myself have believed in the past about small spaces: namely, that a small space is easier to clean and keep clean.
For years I totally swallowed that line and fought Noah tooth and nail on plans to build a big house. Smaller is better, I said. Smaller is less expensive to heat and cool and the family is closer together and there won’t be wasted space and I don’t want to have to clean a big house!
It has been two and a half months now since we’ve moved into the bus, so I feel like I have some authority on the subject now and I will say without a doubt that between the 900 square foot house we were living in before and the 400 square foot bus – the house was easier to maintain.
Now, our situation is slightly different in that we do have three young children, more than most people in the US, and are living in a space that is much smaller than most US homes. Also, I’m pregnant, so cleaning/moving around in general is pretty onerous and could be (read: definitely is) exacerbating my perception of the situation.
NONETHLESS, here is my line of thought as to why small homes are harder to keep clean:
1. There is less open space.
Open spaces tend to be treats for the eye and small homes tend to lack them. In general, open spaces are pretty easy to keep clean and looking clean. You pick up whatever is on the floor (and toss it in a laundry basket if you have to), and then vacuum/sweep/mop/whatever. Done. Smaller spaces generally have furniture taking up the open space, which is not as easy on the eye AND requires more work to clean around.
2. The major chores don’t change.
In the house we lived in before, the two areas that required the most time and made the biggest difference in how clean my house felt were the kitchen and the bathroom. Sinks, toilets, dishes, floors, counters – all of those same fixtures exist in the bus and require the same amount of time and effort. Although, I guess this would make a difference if you were reducing the number of bathrooms in your home.
3. A little bit of clutter makes a much bigger difference.
Something left out on the counter of a large kitchen is not as noticeable as something left out on the counter of a kitchen that is only fifty square feet. ‘Nough said.
I won’t go into our upstairs situation, because it really doesn’t apply to anyone but us. I don’t think that very many people hate making their bed because they keep smacking their head on the ceiling or have to deal with carrying all their laundry up and down a ladder, so I’ll leave that be.
Now, I still have to say that aside from those distinct disadvantages I’ve noticed, overall as far as quality of life and useability and familial happiness is concerned: we don’t really miss the extra space. We have room to do the things we need and want to do: eat, sleep, sit, play, watch a movie in the evenings (we just finished Walking with Dinosaurs, which was fantastic) and as long as you have that, what else do you need?
What do you think about smaller spaces vs. bigger? Does it actually take more effort or am I missing some vital information that would make everything a million times easier on myself? If so, please fill me in.