Life Tip: Get a smaller house

When I was 22, I lived on my own in Taipei. I rented out a small studio unit close the the University that had its own bathroom for NTD 10,000.

It was a few streets away from school. I shared the unit with a few other rooms lined up in a dark narrow corridor. I usually never saw my neighbors come and go.

Once you open the main unit, you go straight to your room. My room was the first room on the left side.

Once you opened my room, my bed was on the left, and the small closet and bathroom was on the right. There was a shower area but no divider. In all sense and purposes, it was a dinky room. But I stayed there for more than a year after I took Chinese lessons at Shida.


It was small and manageable. I think it’s around 25 Sqm. It was big enough for me to jump rope in, which I did everyday, but small enough for me to clean every other day.

All I did was to sweep the floor and mop it using this:

It was a very simple and content life.

That’s what a home should be: Manageable. It fit all my things, had sufficient Aircon, wasn’t expensive and a place I called home.

I moved two other times when I was in Taipei. The second time was because I wanted a brighter room. The next and last time was for a more convenient location: I walked to work!

As I grew older, my house/unit was always still small but my rent just became increasingly expensive especially after moving to Hong Kong!

My most favorite place was my small 40 Sqm two bedroom unit at North Point. T was on one of the buildings on top of the public market and it felt luxurious:

This sofa was super comfy and I used to sit on it for hours while looking out the water:

The bedroom was kinda kinky. It has darkened mirror on the ceiling! I was afraid there was an earthquake, break the ceiling and kill me in bed.

It had a separate small kitchen and another room which I kept as a closet and study area. I was very very happy here and I was sad to let this unit go. I wish we bought it during SARS where property prices were at the lowest.

The cheapest I got was my subsidized dorm room when I was doing my MBA in Hong Kong. It only had a super single bed on the right (won’t fit two people!) and a study desk on the right:

The view was amazing.

It was still fun rooming with your classmates and we had a lot of bonding moments in campus. The school even had a bar! The room was small and suited my needs — a walk to school, fresh air, and a hub for intelligent discussions — what more can I ask for?

The most expensive was my room at St. John’s when I studied in London — this ROOM cost php 81,800 per month!

Here was my rent at that time in 2011:

The deposit is GBP 1350 (of which 600 is the balance to pay the landlord and 750 is the amount I advanced to her). That’s php94,500!

The first month rent to be paid in advance is GBP 1168.75 (php81,800). So in total, GBP 2518.75.

You don’t need to pay all 3 months rent at once. It’s paid each month in advance.

Until I married, I have always lived in smaller, very manageable units. They were reasonably priced for the area, located very close to school/work/subway, and easy to clean. Despite their small space, they were still comfortable and relaxing, a place away from the bustle despite being in the middle of the city.

After I married, my husband’s dad let us stay in a 271 Sqm place with three bedrooms! It was big and we only used two rooms — the bedroom and the kitchen!

It’s a lot harder to clean and gathers dust most of the time. Good thing new Yaya cleans it for us!

As I look back at all the rooms and units I’ve stayed in, I cannot help but wonder just how far I have traveled. Holy, I think I’ve moved 8 times when I was in my 20s!!!!

Through it all, I am just thankful for the memories. And if you have a choice, smaller units trump bigger units all the time. They are cozy and easy to clean. Cheaper too given less electricity consumption!

So who cares if you don’t have a mansion? So long as you have a house you call your own, then that’s the place you should have!

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