Downsized: Family lives mortgage-free in 320-square-foot home

Nadine Bells
Shine from Yahoo! Canada
June 7, 2011

It’s being called the ultimate downsize.

Two years ago, Gary and Debra Jordan were living in a spacious 2000-square-foot home. When Gary lost his job as a construction manager, they struggled to make their mortgage payments. Both took on odd jobs, working long hours and spending less time together just to stay afloat.

So they downsized.

The Arkansas couple found a local builder on Craigslist who custom-built them a new shotgun-style home — for less than $20,000.

They now live mortgage-free in a 320-square-foot home with their 13-year-old home-schooled son, Max, who sleeps in a loft above the hallway.


As for the major size adjustment, the family has no complaints:

"It's not what you don't have, it's what you do have," Debra says. "We just wanted a simple life and this helped contribute to that peaceful feeling. Not always rushing to make payments on a gigantic home."

[Related: Find a home for your clutter]


The tiny-but-efficient space can sleep six comfortably, she claims, and “eight to 10 people uncomfortably.” The appliances are all full-sized. There’s a walk-in closet. The living room even fits a sofa bed.

"You're constantly in each others' faces and it forces you to interact and even be more pleasant," she says of the close physical contact. "We say, ‘Thank you,’ ‘Excuse me,’ or, ‘Could you scoot over, please? Thank you.’"

The Jordan’s business — the couple makes baby gifts and accessories — is in a small workshop next to their tiny home. The lot costs them just $145 a month.

“Living small” is the new “living large.”

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