We could probably go a little smaller if we didn't have a need for a guest room. Our second bedroom probably makes up about 20% of our house, and isn't currently used for much. It is, however, an absolute requirement now that I am living so far from my family and friends.
Do I think I could have transitioned into a small house as easily if I hadn't sold nearly all of my belongings before we moved? Nope.
Being on a limited budget for furniture purchases required us to be creative with what we did have. The toy chest as a coffee table was a no brainer - now we don't need a separate coffee table, and the chest stores all of our board games in an easily accessible location. We don't have room to keep all six chairs at the table in the kitchen, so I'm using one as an end table near the couch, and the other as a bedside table. Easily moved should we have dinner guests and need the extra seating, and fully functional in the meantime.
I'm also hopeful that the small space will help us considerably as we try to stay warm this winter. To conserve energy, Karl and I always keep our thermostat pretty low. With our house heating up so quickly once the furnace kicks on, we're able to push it even further. We're shooting for 60 degrees when we're home, and 50 degrees overnight or at while we're out of the house. The great part about the small house living is that I can always crank up the thermostat for 5-10 minutes to get the chill out of the air if I'm feeling a bit on the cold side. However, the more you get used to keeping the thermostat low, the less you will realize you need it to be any higher. If it's 72 degrees in your house, 35 degrees outside will feel much colder than if you already feel warm at 60 degrees. Plus, who doesn't love snuggling under a blanket?
We're also becoming much more conscious of the food we keep in the house. When you only have one cabinet to store everything, you can't really tuck too much food away and not plan to eat it in the near future. This will hopefully reduce our grocery bills a bit, which is good when a trip to the Alaskan grocery store is enough to want to stop eating altogether when it's time to pay the bill.
My struggles so far? The closet. I'll admit it, I have a minor obsession with clothes and shoes (mostly shoes) and nowhere to put it all. Everything is kind of packed in like sardines, with more shoes stuck in the corner of the bedroom. I have no solution. I'll let you know if I figure it out (doubtful).
My favorite part? The house is so much cleaner than I would have ever expected. I hate to vacuum, I hate to dust, and I really hate washing dishes. However, a small house allows you to vacuum in a just a few minutes, and the lack of counter space necessitates dishwashing several times a day. The small spaces motivates me to spend just a few minutes a day tidying up, and I'm rewarded with a neat, clean house almost all of the time.
Living in a small space certainly isn't for everyone, and you have to be in the right frame of mind to look at it for it's potential versus what you feel you're missing out on. The first step is to realize that you don't need the majority of what you have stuffed in corners and closet. The second step is making that a reality. The third step is enjoying the simpler life! I can say without a doubt that I am enjoying my small house a hundred times more than our house in Pittsburgh that was three times the size, so it was definitely the right choice for us.