Do you own a big house and find yourself thinking a lot about downsizing to a condo? Do you love the idea of convenient, low-maintenance condo-living, but worry that it's not the best choice for a family with small children? If so, read on to find out why buying a condo is perfectly sensible, and what to look for in a condo to ensure your family remains stress-free after the move.

How Families Spend Their Extra Space

The average single-family home being built today provides 2,736 square feet of living space. In the 1950s, the average size of a newly-built family home was 983 square feet. How could people have been happy being crammed into homes a third the size of what today's generation is used to? They just didn't buy as much stuff.

As it turns out, most of the space in the large houses of today is used for storage. In fact, your family probably only uses about 400 square feet of your house on a regular basis. If you're willing to take a somewhat minimalistic approach to living -- not buying stuff that will be crammed into a drawer, closet, or shed and forgotten about -- you can easily move your family into a condo and not have to worry about feeling the crunch of lots of kids in a little space.

Going Minimal

It's time to throw out all those toys your kids' don't play with anymore, and donate those clothes that fit but aren't worn. Trade some of your big, bulky furniture for modern, multi-purpose options, and get in the habit of evaluating your purchasing decisions thoroughly.

Focus your efforts on a single room at a time using the 4-box method of decluttering, and slowly but surely, your new, condo-ready lifestyle will begin to emerge. Get your kids on board by teaching them the joys of simple living. 

Once you've gotten rid of all the useless things your large house has enabled you to keep out-of-sight and out-of-mind, you're ready to start shopping for that humble-sized condo that won't tempt your consumer instinct to buy and buy some more. 

Here is what you should look for when you're ready to hit the market:

Floor Plan

A lot of condos are designed to make the master bedroom shine. You might find a condo with a huge one that has its own private bathroom and a walk-in-closet, but this comes at the cost of lost living space. Look for a condo with smaller bedrooms and a larger living room and kitchen/dining area.

You'll also want to opt for separated rooms instead of an open floor plan. Open floor plans work okay for large houses, but don't allow much room for privacy in smaller quarters. 

If your kids are light sleepers, it may be in your best interest to shop for a condo on a higher floor of its complex. The higher up you go, the less you'll be able to hear the sounds of traffic on busy city streets. Just be sure to keep the little ones safe by taking the necessary measures to protect them from window falls.


Children are high-energy, and it can be difficult to keep them entertained. Make sure they have plenty to do by choosing a condo in a location that allows easy-access to parks, playgrounds, and entertainment venues. You can enter the address of any condo on sites like to see how close it is to all of these things.

Also, as a parent, you likely lug around plenty of groceries, sports equipment, and school supplies. If the complex you're interested in has an elevator, try to score a unit close to it so you don't have to carry these items quite so far.

If you have kids and live in a big house, but find yourself wondering if your family could transition to a humble-sized condo, the answer is yes. While the homes of today are much larger than they used to be, most of the space in them is wasted. If you take a few steps to minimize your family's lifestyle and know what to look for when shopping for a unit, then you and your family can absolutely enjoy the convenience and low-maintenance of condo-living.