Confessions of a Space Hog: and the 80/20 Rule

Photo by Mohit Suthar on

I’m a space hog. There, I said it. And, while my ancestors are likely rolling their eyes at me, I’m not even ashamed of it. I’m convinced my affection for space comes from growing up in a modest suburban home: 3 bedrooms, a generous living room, eat in kitchen and, eventually, a finished basement. Oh, and ONE washroom – for a family of five. Don’t get me wrong, I was perfectly happy there. And, this was by no means unusual. I’m not sure when things really shifted toward the property ladder mentality that is commonplace nowadays, but I honestly don’t think it ever occurred to my parents to trade up. And why would they? They did what everyone else in their day did. They saved up, bought a house, worked hard to pay it off. End of story. I mean, anything else was actually frowned upon. Keeping up with the Joneses involved a slightly greener lawn, better Christmas lights or (gasp) a newer car. But selling your house and moving on to a bigger one was just crossing over to the dark side. Putting on airs because you thought you were better than – well, everyone. I’m generalizing of course and just speaking from my own experience. According to most news and real estate headlines, 2020 saw people all across the globe fleeing cities in record numbers in search of more space. I get it. Fear of contagion in close proximity will do that. But, what about all that space everyone’s craving? Did they actually find it? And, if so, how much of it are they actually using?? Long before this pandemic ruined everything, studies have consistently shown that most of us spend 80 percent of our time in just 20 percent of our home. And this covers all homes – even apartments. In other words, it’s all relative and not based on how much space you have to begin with. Of course, lockdowns and working from home have definitely had an effect – and, combined, I think they are both the main driver behind that urban exodus. However, just over a year ago (when travel was still a thing) we toured Buckingham Palace – a seemingly endless expanse of rooms and wide open space – much of which is vacant at any given time. Back in the day, this would have been born more out of necessity – I mean, can you imagine trying to heat that place??  But nowadays, it seems the Royal Family tends toward the same phenomenon we all do: favoring a fraction of their overall space (yes, the same thing plays out regardless of which castle they are actually spending time at but, still , I just demonstrated that we all have something in common with Royalty – you’re welcome!) Years ago I recall a friend visiting my rather small apartment and remarking. “You know, this makes me wonder how much space one person actually needs.” He was right. I definitely had no wasted space, and I was enormously happy there – plus, it was literally impossible to lose anything. My travels as a Realtor have taught me that all space is not equal. The actual amount of space becomes almost irrelevant when you consider the layout of that space. I never grow tired of reimagining spaces once a single piece of furniture has been repositioned. Again – function over form. So, fellow space hogs unite – I salute you! But, if you don’t enjoy the luxury of space or lack the opportunity to trade up the property ladder to find more of it, rest assured we all seem to share a tendency to restrict our movements to only 20% of what we have anyway. Now, let’s talk about higher ceilings…

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