My house was built in 1951. It has three small bedrooms, one of which is slightly larger than the other two, a ridiculously tiny kitchen, and one bathroom. The previous owner (I am only the second) managed with his wife to raise three children in this house. That's five people in this little tiny house, this house that I bought because in 2008 it was the perfect size for me alone. Four other people in this house with me? Hell, no.
Every once in a while I marvel at this all over again when, for example, I have to cook a family dinner or bake a cake from scratch. I avoid cooking whenever possible simply because the kitchen is so cramped that any small amount of joy I might get out of it (which isn't much; it's not my favorite hobby) is sucked right out of me when I have to stop in the middle and wash dishes to make room to keep working. But Melba, the mother of the family who grew up here, almost certainly cooked multiple meals in that itty bitty kitchen every day of her life.
Today the state of my overflowing bedroom closet got the best of me and I started pulling things out to go to Goodwill. The master bedroom closet, the largest closet in the house, is 5 feet wide with a 2-foot door. It holds about two thirds of my clothes and has to be purged on a regular basis just to be able to see what's in there. But when this house was built it was intended to hold the complete wardrobes of two people.
So do I feel lucky to have so many clothes? Unlucky to have such "tiny" closets? Or gluttonous for having more clothes than any one human being could possibly need? All three, I guess.
Despite the tiny closets, I adore my diminutive house. When space gets cramped and it's time to purge again, I get a vivid reminder of the difference between what I need and what I want, an inkling of what it's like to live a full life with less stuff, and the inspiration to get rid of the stuff that's nothing but clutter.
And I've got major remodeling plans for the kitchen.