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Should you downsize when you have no children?

By Nina Steele 

When we moved into our current house in 2012, we were still trying to conceive. It is a fairly big house, with 3 equally big bedrooms. The idea was to have one bedroom for ourselves, another one for our child (we had settled on having only one child by then) and the third bedroom would be used as a utility-cum-guest bedroom.

We have no intention of moving, now that it is only going to be just the two of us. We both love the house, and in spite of its size, it didn’t cost us the earth, as it was in desperate need of some makeover at the time.

It is other people who seem to have a problem with a childless couple living in a big house. I remember a workman we hired soon after we moved in, telling me that we could easily fit 6 children into the house, if we wanted to! The things people say. Another acquaintance with children, could not hide her resentment at the fact that we are living in a big house, while her 3 children have to share one bedroom. As if it was a problem of our making!

The question of whether or not people should downsize has been in the news recently. This time, the debate was about old people living in houses that are deemed too big for them, once their children have moved out. People often make it sound as if downsizing is always that simple. This telegraph article shows how complicated it can be, particularly in the UK’s overheated property market.

We value the amount of space that we now have. We were very limited in what we could do in the maisonette we lived in before. The reality is that children or not, people tend to accumulate quite a lot of stuff through the years and many are now resorting to keeping their belongings in storage, because of the lack of space. Storage warehouses have become big business precisely because of this issue.

Here in the UK, there has been a lot of talk about new houses being too small. I suppose this can be put down to the fact that we are an island and as such, space is at its premium. The house we live in was built in the 1930s, when there were fewer people around. With a growing population, houses are bound to be smaller today than they were back then.

Not only do we love living in this house, but the space issue means that we both plan to stay put for a long time to come. The idea of going back to living in a small house with many space restrictions, does not appeal to us at all.

What are your views on this issue? Have you been tempted to downsize because you don’t have children?

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