A funny new word has made its way into conversations of late. That word is McMansions, alluding to McDonalds’ habit of adding “Mc” in front of its latest food offering. McMansion is a derogatory term for a type of large, mass-produced luxury house which is oversized for its neighborhood.
Americans are often obsessed with the size of their homes. According to recent statistics, the USA has the largest homes with an average size of 2300 square feet. And close behind, Australia ranks second with 2217 square feet and Denmark third, then France and Spain. The UK and China rank last with average home sizes of 818 and 646 square feet, respectively.
Those UK and China statistics became the reality for two friends of With Time to Spare in 2012. When Mel moved from Virginia to Hong Kong in 2012, some 8,000 miles, she had to change all her paradigms about space. Her new reality is an 800-square-foot apartment with one closet in a 69-story high rise. When Jenevieve found out she was moving 4000 miles from Virginia to rural England, she purged, sold and donated nearly all they had. Her current home is a 1000-square-foot centuries-old stone cottage-style row house in the ancient English village of Oundle. Similarly, she also has only one closet and no storage. Ironically, the combined living space of both Mel and Jenevieve’s homes is smaller than the typical American home.
For both these moms, presently living six-thousand miles apart, an additional reality included very small kitchens, by American standards. Jenevieve’s refrigerator is half the size of an American model–no room for leftovers or tomorrow’s meals. Thus the need to shop fresh every day. Both homemakers had to buy locally-made furniture specifically designed to fit in these tight spaces, as well as downsize their families’ wardrobes.
Despite downsizing for a move both women and their families have found a way to enjoy their lives and thrive in their spaces. The point here is that we can thrive wherever we are living, whether it be the tiniest of cottages or a modern castle.
To thrive wherever you live requires you to embrace a change of attitude, thinking, and planning. Then, like Mel and Jenevieve, who have embraced this change of thinking, you can enjoy your space more, whether it be large or small. Need some places to start? How about clutter reduction? Need some help thinking about organizing? Give Sue a call!
To read more of Jenevieve’s story, visit her blog Halcyon Homestead.