We love it.
We didn't have to move, it was a collective decision to close one chapter and start another. I recognized years ago that we were, what I call, a "drop-and-go family". Home from school, drop your books, get your equipment and go to the activity. The big house was nothing but a big burden as it didn't reflect our lifestyle. Ever. At all.
I've lived in many homes in my lifetime - from an 8x8 foot dorm room to a substantial home in a posh neighbourhood and everything in between. This 2,640 square foot, 3-storey, 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom townhouse is perfect for us, right now, for a lot of reasons:
1. Easier to maintain. A smaller home requires less time, energy, and effort to accomplish any given task - from cleaning the kitchen to vacuuming the stairs to dusting the shelves. Way less time is spent cleaning!
2. Less chore burdens. My kids still do chores, but their entire weekend is not dedicated to maintaining lawns, cleaning decks, or the endless arguments over why some things did not get done. I have found that the fun of the big yard is always sabotaged by the burden of maintaining one.
3. Less expensive. This home was less expensive to purchase, less expensive to keep (insurance, taxes, heating/cooling, etc.), less expensive to decorate with limited floor and wall space. Though there have been some expenses moving into a 10-year old townhouse (new air conditioner, new appliances, exterior work) it would have been the same moving into any 10-year old structure. Another benefit would be the reduced debt/risk. At this age and stage, why maximize my debt:risk ratio? After dealing with huge risk, this is comfortable and just what I need right now.
4. Encourages family bonding. Many of my friends and family buy bigger homes to encourage more opportunities for entertainment and interaction with each other. I did the same, many times. I've found that this, a smaller open-concept home has resulted in more social interaction among us and less distraction with toys and games - real or virtual. Certainly there is more talk and inclusion in an increasingly more silent and private (computer and iPhone) world. This, I have to say, is the primary benefit of this new home.
5. Embrace minimalism. Moving into a smaller home has forced us all to intentionally pare down our belongings and only surround ourselves with the things we love. It also forces us to accumulate less. If there's no room to put it there's little opportunity to give in to temptation. It has been a slow purge, but I can say that those things the kids and I have kept we love.
6. Increased mindfulness. Not only of our neighbours - only a wall away, but of each other. Noise is kept to a minimum and tidy is kept to a maximum with everyone is more considerate of clearing the way of shoes and belongings. My kids now have a more finely tuned sense of community with all of us sharing space with each other. With the closer quarters, I love how my kids interact with the elder members of our community as well as the baby next door.
7. Less environmental impact. A smaller home requires fewer resources to build and less resources to maintain. And that benefits all of us.
8. Less social competition. We live in a very competitive, upwardly-mobile community where the old addage "bigger is better" is a way of life. "Everyone" drives around in flashy SUVs, wearing designer duds on their way to and from the trendiest of restaurants or stores. This move has eliminated that niggling urge to engage with Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Though I do have the big SUV, it was a pragmatic purchase, not a flashy one.
9. Fewer arguments. Though we now live in a far more central central area we live in a "no party house". Perfect. The kids meet their friends at Harvey's or Starbucks or Town Square and though I love it when the house is full of my kids and their friends, they have deemed it not party worthy.
Less is less. As in less to worry about! Fewer possessions and fewer worries.
Now, I know a 5 bedroom home is HUGE by most standards, but compared to what we were moving from, this is less than half the size size and it is double the joy.
Regrets? None. Though, I do, on occasion, miss my view of the lake. On those days, I tie up my sneakers and walk the 1Km to the lakeshore. See? Another benefit - I move more! We live in walking distance to almost everything - school, park, library, pool, downtown, grocery store, rink ... extra bonus, I save on the wear and tear on my truck and the cost of gas!