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When it comes to living spaces, what feels large to you now might feel small later. After you spend four years in a shared dorm room in college, that first post-graduation studio apartment feels sprawling. The next upgrade to a two-bedroom apartment feels even bigger. After that, your 1,500-square-foot starter home feels like a mansion.
So you may find yourself surprised, one day, when you realize the house you bought is just too small to meet your needs for much longer.
Not sure if you’re ready to move on to a bigger home? Keep an eye out for these signs that a move to a larger home might be a good idea.
1. Your family is growing and the kids are getting older
We’ll skip the obvious — that as your family expands in size you often need to upsize — but sometimes the literal size of your family members is what makes it time for an upgrade. A three-bedroom house that has one room for the parents, one room for the two little ones under the age of three to share, and a guest bedroom home office combo does the trick. That is, until one day those tiny tots aren’t so tiny anymore and they need more space for their growing bodies, bigger beds, and desks for doing homework.
As your kids get older they will also want more privacy and that often requires more bedrooms. Take some time to think about not just if your house is too small for your family now, but it’s too small for your future family.
2. You work from home
Countless individuals made the transition from corporate office to home office in the past few years, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the conveniences of working from home are undeniable, when your living room starts to feel like your workplace, it’s hard to relax after clocking out. A dedicated home office space may require upsizing, but having a quiet and organized place to work — separate from where you spend your leisure time — is a very worthwhile upgrade.
3. The market conditions are right
If you’re unsure whether or not you want to upsize now, but know you want to in the future, take a look at what the current real estate market conditions are like. If interest rates are low and home prices are reasonable then purchasing a bigger home now might save you a lot of money. It’s hard to predict the future and while the market could get better it could also get worse. If current market conditions work well for you then you can capitalize on them.
4. You want to invest
Investing is nerve wracking and most good investors will tell you to diversify to lessen your risk. One way to invest—and provide yourself with a nice place to live—is to buy a larger home. If you have money you want to invest, but don’t want to keep pouring money into the stock market, invest it in a property that will likely grow in value overtime while also improving the quality of your life.
5. You’ve reached your decluttering limits
We’re going to talk about how decluttering makes living in a small home more doable in a bit, but first let’s address the fact that you can only declutter so much. If you’re someone who constantly declutters, looks for clothes and books to donate, and tries to live a minimalist lifestyle, you will rightfully feel frustrated if you find after all your efforts you’re still bursting at the seams. If that’s the case, it’s time to upsize, not to keep decluttering.
6. Your family is full of introverts
We all lead busy lives and most of us need some quiet time to ourselves at the end of the day. If your family has a few introverts who need their own space to recharge then sharing small quarters likely isn’t a good long term fit.
7. Your green thumb is ready
Upsizing doesn’t mean just expanding that amount of indoor space you have. If you are perfectly content with the size of your house, but don’t have enough yard space to make your horticulture dreams come true, then you can buy a house with a bigger yard that gives you the space you need to grow an enviable garden.
8. You have big hobbies
Speaking of hobbies — gardening, like many other hobbies, requires a decent amount of supplies. Painting, riding motorcycles, and hopping on your exercise bike after work all require equipment and tools that take up space that a larger home may be able to better accommodate.
How to cope with a smaller home if you can’t move
If you can’t afford to move right now, but are running low on space, these are some tips on how to cope when your house is too small.
Find solutions outside the home
No room for workout equipment? Make the trek to the gym a few days a week. Have a small backyard, but are dying to start a vegetable garden? Rent a plot at a community garden. Need to store seasonal sporting equipment or holiday decorations that only get used a few weeks out of the year? Rent a storage unit nearby and rotate these items in and out of your home as needed. Point being, you may need to think outside the home if you want to find ways to make more room to live comfortably where you’re at.
Declutter to the best of your abilities
As previously mentioned, decluttering only works to a certain extent, but if you haven’t given your home a good purge in a while then give it a go. Try to remove any items that aren’t used frequently (unless they’re used seasonally) and make a point of not bringing home new unnecessary items that will build the clutter back up again.
This is a fun one. Take a close look at your furniture and see if it allows you to make the most of your space. Do you have a large desk you can swap for a smaller corner desk? Do you need a large sectional if you’re a couple without kids or will a sleeker couch do? Do you have to have a home office and a workout room or can you combine the two with some strategic storage solutions?
Get creative and see how you can make the most of the space you currently have until you’re ready to upsize.