Living in a society that was designed for families, singles are naturally inclined to follow the “family” model. Why do singles do this?
Singles do this because our communities and supply infrastructures are designed to fulfill the needs of families. When you go to a grocery store, do you ever see packaging that reads “Singles Pack?” No! What you’re accustomed to seeing is “Family Pack,” “Family Style,” and “Family Size.”
We are taught about what the ideal home looks like by television shows and especially by product manufacturers and home builder advertising. We are also taught how the perfect home should be decorated and equipped through these mediums.
Things are slowly changing as a society, home builders and product manufacturers recognize the growing single population. In 2010, there were nearly 100 million singles 18 and older in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s almost 44 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older. There is probably a similar trend happening in other free and open societies around the world.
In order to create a futuristic model that precisely aligns with our needs as 21st Century singles, we need to let go of traditional and stereotypical mindsets of home design and lifestyle.
The goal is to create a home environment and lifestyle that fulfills our needs while giving us greater financial and personal freedom. With that goal in mind, here are the things that singles don’t need.
1. Family size vehicle – I’ve known singles who buy SUVs and vans on the slight chance that they may be asked to transport the children of relatives or a group of single friends. Not only are these singles wasting their money, but they are also positioning themselves as a taxi service.
Save your time and money by buying a small economical vehicle. To keep things simple, get an economical, sporty two-seat vehicle. This is all you really need and want if you think about it — unless you enjoy being an unpaid taxi driver.
Most importantly, don’t let your ego drive your car-buying decisions. Those urges are created by lifetime exposure to advertisements by automobile manufacturers. The car doesn’t make the man or the woman stand out. The man or woman makes the “car” stand out!
2. Family size quantity of furniture – If you accumulate a bunch of mostly unused furniture, the furniture will dictate many of your choices in where you live, how big the home must be, and the ease with which you can move to a new location should you want to do so.
I’ve seen countless singles do this, including myself. We fill every room with the “tradition” types and amount of furniture. Once it’s in place, it feels like “home” but it’s rarely used, it cost us a lot of money, and it’s a bear to move if we decide we want to live somewhere else.
What does a single person really need when it comes to furniture? What items will serve their comfort, convenience, and lifestyle? In order to answer this question properly, you’ll need to let go of the traditional family lifestyle model and embrace an innovative singles lifestyle model.
Rather than spending thousands on a bunch of furniture that is rarely if ever used, you could spend a fraction of that amount on a few select high-quality items. Then you could use the money you saved for things that are more important to you! Here are the ultimate minimal furnishings that could fit into even the smallest of homes and still provide a very comfortable living environment.
- Luxurious easy chair.
- Small end table.
- Dining table and chairs for two.
- Highest quality twin, double, or queen size bed.
- Small nightstand.
- Small dresser.
- High-quality computer desk.
- Comfortable desk chair.
- Flat-screen computer monitor/television.
- You place it on a turntable so that it can serve a multipurpose function by simply rotating it.
3. Family size kitchen appliances – Do you really need a family size stove, oven, and refrigerator? Unless you’re planning on making meals for 4-12 single friends or relatives on a daily or weekly regular basis, you don’t need large kitchen appliances. I purposely don’t have them to avoid the wasted expense and the obligation to make meals at my place. I’d rather meet at a restaurant.
If you’re not filling up your refrigerator, you’re paying for electricity to keep an empty space cold 24-7-365. Do you really need a large capacity double door refrigerator? Or will a much smaller and much less expensive single-door refrigerator do the job?
4. Family size quantity of eating and cooking utensils – If you go to any store you’ll find that dishes and glasses are usually packaged in quantities designed for families. How often do you have 12 people over for dinner? Once in the last five years? Never? If you do have dinner parties for your single friends, isn’t it usually more informal where paper or plastic throwaway utensils will do?
If you’re like me, you prefer to have your dinner parties in a private room at a restaurant. That way there’s no clean up afterward, everyone can order what they want and the expense is limited to the cost of what you order plus the tip and your portion of the room rental — if there is one.
All you really need is a few select eating and cooking utensils. If you limit the quantity of these kitchen utensils you can live in any size home that you want without being forced to choose the size based on its ability to accommodate all your “unused” stuff.
5. Family size quantity of towels and bedding – I don’t know how many times I’ve visited single friends and seen a linen closet filled with dozens of towels, sheets, and blankets. If you’re not a linen sales representative or a community coordinator for emergency linen supply, then you don’t need more than two or three, at the most, of each.
6. Dishwasher – If you’re living alone, you’re only using one set of eating utensils at each meal. It’s easier and more economical to simply wash a single setting after each meal than accumulating a dishwasher full of dirty eating and cooking utensils over a period of 5 to 10 days. By doing this you avoid the potential smell from all the dirty dishes and pans, the cost and hassle of maintaining a family size inventory of eating and cooking utensils, and the work of loading and unloading all those items.
You may have a dishwasher in your home, but use it only for special occasions. Otherwise, wash them yourself! You’ll save time by not having to load and unload your dishwasher and you’ll save money on your utilities by not running it.
If you’re building a home as an investment, including a dishwasher is mandatory. If you’re really into cooking elaborate meals and/or entertaining, then having a dishwasher is a good idea. But if you’re building a small home for only yourself, you’d probably be better off using that space for something more valuable like a water filter system, combination washer/dryer, or even a worm compost bin for your organic vegetable garden. 🙂
7. Family size home – If you live by yourself and you intend to keep it that way or you want to keep the cohabitation option open should you meet someone special and you don’t want children, then having a large home is a waste of money and time.
Family size homes cost much more money and time to operate and maintain. And they produce the largest reduction in your financial and personal freedom.
Start by deciding what lifestyle you want. Then choose a home size that fits your lifestyle. Finally, select the items that go inside based on the size of your home.
8. Family style neighborhood – Most residential suburban communities are designed for families. If you buy a home in one of these communities, you will likely have to deal with kids and their noise and shenanigans. And most of the community events will be geared toward families.
I found this to be true when I bought a home in a new master-planned community in California. Although the community had a lot of activities for residents, all of them were for couples and children. This inspired me to start a unique non-profit singles organization. It was a hit and the club grew rapidly! My singles organization fulfilled a need that was completely overlooked by community planners and leaders. For information on how to start your own singles organization, read my article on how I did it entitled, “How to Build a Successful Singles Club.”
After my experience of building and leading my singles organization, I started developing ideas for building a master-planned community specifically designed for singles!
Be very selective in the neighborhood you choose to live in. Do some online research to find communities that serve singles and your lifestyle. Ask your real estate representative to provide demographic information about areas that interest you. Spend some time at and near the home you select at different times of the day and evening before you sign any documents.
9. Life insurance policy – Life insurance, as I understand it, is designed to offer financial security to a spouse in particular and children in general if you die before they do. If you don’t have a spouse or children, you don’t need life insurance.
10. Double gravesite – I know this is an unpleasant subject, but it’s a future reality for all of us. And I’ve known several singles who have wasted their money on what I am about to describe.
Many cemeteries and mortuaries will try to sell you on the benefits of buying two burial sites by offering you a reduced price on the second one. If you’re an unattached single, then buying a double gravesite is a waste of money. How can you make a decision for a person you haven’t met yet?
As I mentioned at the beginning, the goal is to create a lifestyle that increases your financial and personal freedom by ignoring traditions and embracing innovation! The first step is to ignore the conditioned urges to buy things you don’t need.