I love living small, don’t get me wrong, but I want this blog to be a place where we discuss downsizing from ALL angles.
Plus, right now I’m in the thick of a major drawback of small house living (which we’ll get to soon), so the theme is something I’ve been ruminating on for a while now.
Let’s get into it.
1. Proximity to neighbors
Small homes like condos, duplexes or apartments often share common walls with neighbors.
Sometimes these common walls are not soundproofed and the neighbors like to watch their TV loud.
Or leave their dog home alone for 6 days straight so the poor thing barks all day long.
Our current neighbor is a complete pain in the neck. Ever since the day he moved in and he and his girlfriend had a huge argument in front of our bedroom window at 11.30pm, he’s been nothing but trouble to us.
When I thought his dog might die and decided to ring the SPCA to report this, he decided to attack me personally with a vicious note pinned to his door.
He knew I would come knocking as he left his TV on maximum volume for 6 days straight and it’s approximate 3 feet from where I sleep (through a non-soundproofed brick wall).
This might not always be the case, we hope he’ll move out soon. The lady who lived there before him was quiet, if a bit shady, so there’s hope.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a say in who your neighbor is. In a single-family home, it’s manageable. When someone awful lives just a few feet away, it has the potential to affect your day-to-day happiness quite drastically.
2. Lack of privacy
If you’re a highly private person, you might find living in close quarters with neighbors challenging.
They might have a view into your window, or depending on how your letterboxes are arranged your post might get put in the wrong box.
After our tax documents were sent to the horrible neighbor by mistake, I switched our mailing address to my parents’ home.
3. The cost of renovating
To remedy the above issues you may need to undertake expensive renovations. Right now we are soundproofing our shared wall.
This means ripping down the lath and plaster walls, installing a special (read expensive) soundproofing system consisting of insulation, double drywall and some special pins that stop the sound vibrations in their tracks.
We then need to plaster the entire room and repaint. All up we’re looking at about $7,000.
Other expenses you might incur to improve privacy include soundproof curtains, noise-reducing carpets, window tints, raised fencing, fast-growing trees etc.
If your small home is a cabin in the woods, you needn’t worry about this. But if you’re moving into high-density living, definitely keep these expenses in mind.
4. Judgement of others
I’m not immune to what other people think. I feel the need to justify our small home to almost everyone who enters it.
I think this is a long-held perception that only poor people live in a small house because they can’t afford anything else (I’m ashamed to admit I used to think this way, too).
With time this has got easier, especially as we renovate and add our own touch to the place.
As time goes on I’m probably going to add more to this list, but for now, I’ll say this – the benefits of small house living far outweigh the downsides.
We love the life our small home has allowed us to create, and we can live with the few negatives if the flipside is financial freedom.