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Old 01-27-2013, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,070 posts, read 2,377,751 times
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I'd argue that people can easily live with less.

I shared an apartment with some friends a few years ago. Specifically, a 300 sq ft, 1 bedroom apartment between 4 people. There wasn't much privacy, but it worked well. Every weekend, we'd have a group of friends over -- easily 8-12 people total -- and it never really felt crowded. We were able to cook for everyone in our tiny kitchen, and had plenty of seating. Probably one of my best apartment experiences!

I think people have a problem with "stuff". They fill their lives with so much "stuff" that they think they need, that they have to pay for more and more space for their "stuff". But once you get rid of the "stuff" you don't need, it's a lot easier to live in a small place.

My parents are a pretty good example of that. My brothers and I are all grown up, and moved out. It was down to the two of them, two dogs (well, they just got a 3rd), and a 6,000 sq ft house. They sold 6 bedrooms worth of furniture, living room sets, the whole dining room, and everything else. Anything that didn't sell, they gave away. Then they sold the house, and moved into a 250 sq ft travel trailer. My mom had a few things she "had" to keep, that she put in storage. 9 months later, and she still hasn't needed anything out of the storage unit. She just sold the rest of the stuff she was holding onto.

Just talked to them the other day about it -- they're just as happy as they were before, and they don't miss a thing. They've got everything they need, pay easily 1/10th the utilities, and no longer have a mortgage. And, they didn't do it out of necessity, either. They just got tired of having to clean such a big house, and figured that if they moved someplace smaller, they could save more money for travel / retirement. I steered them towards a travel trailer, and they were sold.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:38 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,596,309 times
Reputation: 4024
Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
I'd argue that people can easily live with less.

I shared an apartment with some friends a few years ago. Specifically, a 300 sq ft, 1 bedroom apartment between 4 people. There wasn't much privacy, but it worked well. Every weekend, we'd have a group of friends over -- easily 8-12 people total -- and it never really felt crowded. We were able to cook for everyone in our tiny kitchen, and had plenty of seating. Probably one of my best apartment experiences!

I think people have a problem with "stuff". They fill their lives with so much "stuff" that they think they need, that they have to pay for more and more space for their "stuff". But once you get rid of the "stuff" you don't need, it's a lot easier to live in a small place.

My parents are a pretty good example of that. My brothers and I are all grown up, and moved out. It was down to the two of them, two dogs (well, they just got a 3rd), and a 6,000 sq ft house. They sold 6 bedrooms worth of furniture, living room sets, the whole dining room, and everything else. Anything that didn't sell, they gave away. Then they sold the house, and moved into a 250 sq ft travel trailer. My mom had a few things she "had" to keep, that she put in storage. 9 months later, and she still hasn't needed anything out of the storage unit. She just sold the rest of the stuff she was holding onto.

Just talked to them the other day about it -- they're just as happy as they were before, and they don't miss a thing. They've got everything they need, pay easily 1/10th the utilities, and no longer have a mortgage. And, they didn't do it out of necessity, either. They just got tired of having to clean such a big house, and figured that if they moved someplace smaller, they could save more money for travel / retirement. I steered them towards a travel trailer, and they were sold.

It is SO related to stuff! I can vouch for that!

It's also about experiences, I think, and what someone has grownup with as the norm for them becomes a necessary minimum for that person unless circumstances force them to live in less space.

I have lived in everything from a travel trailer to efficiency apartments to large 2 story homes. So my living space has ranged from 250 sf to 2500.

I grew up in a large two story, 3 bedroom house with two large living areas and a two car garage. For most of that time it was just me, my mom, and my brother; so in my early years I had more space than I would know what to do with now.

In high school, after a falling out with my father and stepmother, I landed at my Grandmother's and at the time she was living with her husband in a motor home while they were looking for land and a home to purchase, so there were three of us plus 2 dogs and 3 cats doing that for about a year.

Later on, during a rough patch, I lived with my infant son in a travel trailer with my mother. It was awful but that was related more to living with my mother than anything else.

A few years forward, I lived in 800 square feet with a 5 year old, a baby, and another adult (my ex) and people used to be so shocked at how we managed that.. ? I never understood the shock. Two bedrooms, a living room/dining combo, galley kitchen, and a bath. Not sure why that's unliveable..?

Currently, we are a family of five (plus pets) in about 900 square feet. We have been here for a year; our previous place was about 1200 sf. It was SO much better a year ago when we first moved in and the only thing that has changed is the amount of crap we've acquired. When we first moved, we'd gotten rid of SO much and it was very minimalist and pleasant. Now, it is time to purge again for sure. I am feeling suffocated by the "stuff". But really, at first it was quite do-able and while not IDEAL, it is not awful.

Even so, it's a bit too snug... but we are looking to move in summer and with what we're willing to spend, we will probably end up in something that's between 1300 and 1500 square feet at the very largest.

Personally I don't care what someone else chooses to define as necessary as long as they only apply it to themselves. One of my close friends lives alone with her teenage daughter in a four bedroom, 3 bath house with 2 living areas and it is about 4000 square feet (if not a bit more). That is just enormous to me, but it works for them so whatever.

I just take issue when people hear how we live on the opposite end of things, size wise, and are shocked and critical about it, as if we were all shacked up in a thatch-roof hut with a dirt floor. I don't understand judging someone for having half the living space that you do.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:41 PM
 
1,380 posts, read 1,895,238 times
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You can't just multiply people by sq ft like that. You only need one kitchen whether you're a single person or a family with a few kids. While I recognize that a living room is not 100% necessary, most people would not consider living without one. But again, you don't need one for a each person. As a single person, I would find 500 sq ft very claustrophobic. Studios are not for me. My ideal would be about 800 sq ft for just me, 1200 sq ft as a couple, and about 1500 with a child. That's enough for everybody to have personal space without the hassle of furnishing and maintaining a very large house. But again, that's my ideal. If people want to buy a castle and fill it with stuff, that's their business.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Denver
14,157 posts, read 19,840,236 times
Reputation: 8823
We don't need dwellings to begin with. We used to sleep in caves.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:55 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,132,359 times
Reputation: 3118
Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_himself View Post
We don't need dwellings to begin with. We used to sleep in caves.
Interesting point! As a I hiked around ancient cave dwellings in Utah, I was amazed by the ruins for a number of reasons. One was that the dwellings had been partitioned into fairly square rooms. Why square, even then? They looked like little apartments.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,463 posts, read 60,048,781 times
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Where does one find caves in places like central Indiana?
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:42 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,132,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Where does one find caves in places like central Indiana?
Maybe no caves, but would mounds suffice?

Mound Builders | Moment of Indiana History - Indiana Public Media
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:48 PM
 
12,326 posts, read 15,260,581 times
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Perhaps people could live in 500 sf per person and not miss it, but you have to consider space for the "stuff" accumulated. Perhaps if it was stolen or burned you wouldn't replace much of it, but most like to hold onto it anyway.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Southern California
15,087 posts, read 17,612,872 times
Reputation: 10300
I think I could live fine in a 1000SF home. But that would be the minimum.

[or twice the SF/person stated by the OP]
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:14 PM
 
2,493 posts, read 2,202,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Where does one find caves in places like central Indiana?
I went to IU Bloomington and cave exploring was a big weekend activity. Many limestone caves.
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