An item on Perthnew.com today tells us that living in 'smaller spaces' makes us happier (here). This is a revelation for me. This could be where I have been going wrong all these years.
When the wife and I bought our very first block we bought the biggest 'quarter acre' we could afford; and this was back when the typical 'quarter acre' Aussie block was not too much smaller than an actual quarter acre. From memory the block was about 980m² which is pretty close to a real 1012m² quarter acre.
We are now on a 2000m² 'quarter acre'—okay, yes, 2000m² is more or less a half acre.
Turns out this is not a good idea when it comes to being happy. Smaller houses on smaller blocks are the way to go if you are looking for happiness (apparently). Taking this smaller-is-happier path leads to all kinds of happiness related outcomes, such as: less time needed to maintain a yard, hence more time for socialising and play; less money being soaked up by the house, yard, rates, insurance, power, heating, etc., hence more money for holidays, socialising, toys, and the nicer things in life; the accumulation of less clutter (based on the principle that the more space you have the more clutter you will fill it with) and stuff/clutter maps directly to a downturn in happiness; and being able to be tidier and more organised which again helps in being happy—the list goes on.
So all these years I had it wrong. Bugger!
Interestingly I recently caught up with a very old work mate and friend. Like all of us around my age he had the big house on the 'quarter acre' and the boat over at Hillarys by the coast. He told me he and his wife had just moved to a little two story house on 300m² over near the Hillary's Boat Harbour and it was the best move he had ever made. So maybe there is something to this.