Living small

I’m not officially blogging during the month of December, but wanted to take a moment to share this chic little Paris apartment, which houses a family of 4 and one big dog. They may have the same number of square feet/person that we do, but there are economies of scale that they miss out on. ¬†They have much less living area than we do.

I’m guessing the apartment itself is nothing out of the ordinary over there, but I love the comments from Europeans who point out how we Americans have allowed our perception of needs to become so inflated.


  1. We are currently a family of 8,plus two dogs in a 550 square feet house.Especially now in Winter it IS cramped.And cluttered.And chaotic.
    We are looking for a bigger place but have not found anything.
    There’s not enough space for everyone to have beds and due to the little ones crying at night,no one sleeps much.
    So it’s not the fact that you don’t need a mansion,I agree people don’t.But a bit more space would go a long way: )

    • AnnaH,
      I agree. Space is nice. But it’s a want, not a need. I think it’s silly when Americans act horrified at what others consider normal living conditions – especially others who don’t live in what we perceive to be poverty. This is largely a difference in lifestyle choice, not wealth vs. poverty, and we’re often so prideful that we think our way is the only right way.

  2. It is one thing for the selfish American’s to say “Living that way is Not For Me!” I visited Paris for a week and I felt at home. Yes, really. And in a way I have never felt at home here in the town I have lived in for my entire life. So I would like to have a tiny Paris apartment to visit, and maybe once my kids are out of the house (which is a long way away as not only do I not have kids, I do not have a husband or even a boyfriend) live there as much as half time to expatriating. And I feel I could live in an even smaller space than that with the future hubby, but if I were to introduce kids to the mix, it also would be Not For Me. An as an adult living with her parents it is also currently Not For Me.

    However, I know plenty of people do it and it causes far less problems than the commenters over at AT seem to think. And definitely is legal and not anything like cruelty to children. This is why I became angry with the commenters. It’s not that it was Not For Them, that’s fine. No one is asking them to do it. It’s that they seemed to insinuate that since it was Not For Them it also Should Not Be For Anyone. Seriously? There are people who live on the streets, people in third world countries who don’t have access to CLEAN WATER, whose life expectancies are much, much shorter than those in the first world, who do not get enough food to eat. And they are worried because a family of four shares a 43m apartment in one of the worlds Alpha cities right outside their door? REALLY? That is such an uncharitable attitude. Especially when most of Europe’s cities are like this, and NYC as well. I have heard similar stories about San Francisco, Boston, and Toronto.

    A happy family who doesn’t have a McMansion to go hide from each other in? I say this is a *good* thing, not a bad one!

  3. Anne-Marie says:

    I don’t think there is such a law in the US. Certainly there is no law that governs who sleeps where in an owner-occupied house. If you want to be foster parents, state law regulates how many children can share a room and at what age opposite sexes must be separated, and these rules vary by state.

    Owners/managers of apartment buildings sometimes set rules, and I know that the subsidized housing in Boston had them too. I don’t know whether these would actually be legally defensible if challenged.

    I have lived in Germany, where everyone is required to register their residency. Part of the form is how many people will occupy the apartment, and what is its area in square meters. I was told that if there wasn’t enough space for all people, we could be refused permission to live there, but I have never heard of that actually happening. We had 9 people in 100m^2, about what that Paris apartment works out to, and we were fine.

  4. This reminds me of a homeschool family I read about who live in NYC. Their sons have bunk beds and their daughter’s room use to be the dining room- a 2-bedroom apartment. I saw a tv show where a couple moved to Japan and had trouble finding a house with an oven or a dryer. There was a very small dryer on a countertop-never saw anything like it.

  5. I grew up in Europe and lived in many tiny spaces – though none as well-designed as that! The thing that many people don’t imagine is that EVERYTHING in Europe is smaller. Portions of food are smaller, and there are few places to buy in bulk, so fridges are smaller. Food is less preserved, so it has to be purchased and replenished more frequently anyway. Containers and bottles are smaller, so take up less space in pantries and cabinets.People don’t have jumbo-sized crockpots or Dutch ovens (and ovens are smaller too – once you put in a turkey, there’s no room for any side dishes!). Clothing is more expensive, so people don’t own as much of it. Etc. So it all fits in the smaller spaces! What intrigues me, though, is that apparently there is a law in the US about boys and girls not being allowed to share bedrooms past the age of 6. Is that true?

  6. It’s a tiny bit small for me but I love the idea. We watch House Hunters International a lot and when they show kitchens in the European houses I wonder how in the world someone can cook in there and house all the ‘stuff’ a kitchen ‘needs’. I’d love to watch someone function in one.

    I constantly contemplate selling everything we own and starting all over in MUCH smaller/less cluttered digs.

  7. I do often wonder why we “americans” believe that bigger is better when it comes to housing. Do we really dislike the ones we love so much that we must distance them across the house from one another. When did sharing a bedroom with a sibling become punishment? I do have to wonder though, how much tiem they spend together in their home. I love it though..cozy and comfortable and if I had only 1/2 the storage space they do…pure heaven!

Don't just think it: say it!

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