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Warmest regards: The trend toward ‘bigger’

The routine task of washing towels turned into thoughts of how much bigger many things are now.

Take towels, for instance. I used to be able to load the washing machine with at least a week’s worth of towels.

Now, after I stuff two of my supersized towels in the washer, I’m out of room.

I used to have just regular-sized bath towels until I saw the big, luxurious bath sheets. They are as big as beach towels. Thinking it would be nice to have the bigger towels, I now have bath towels so big that they take up too much room in the closet as well as my washing machine. I’m tired of trying to stuff the towels in the linen closet.

Bigger isn’t always better. Yet bigger is definitely the trend for our homes as well as for much of the contents.

Remember when a TV set, complete with “rabbit ears,” was the size of today’s small computer?

Now, 65-inch TVs are commonplace and 75- to 85-inch models are available. So many things are much bigger than they used to be in the past.

What were called “double beds” were once the norm in most houses. Then along came queen-sized and king-size beds. Now, what they’re calling super king beds and mattresses (6 feet in width and 6 feet 6 inches in length) are winning favor.

My friend’s husband said he can’t picture having to sleep in a “tiny full-sized bed.”

For many, bigger furniture throughout the house is the way to go.

My new neighbor Allen said he never realized how furniture got much bigger over the years until he moved from his Connecticut home to Florida.

When the big moving van arrived last week, the truck was so big it couldn’t be turned around on our street.

A bigger problem for Allen and his wife developed when the moving company carried in their favorite furniture from their former house.

Nothing fit. The supersized beds were too big for the bedrooms of their new house and the rest of the furniture was obviously too big for their rooms.

“Who would have thought the rooms in our new house were so small,” sighed Allen.

The house isn’t small by any means. It’s just too small for supersized furniture.

Allen’s experience made me realize many of the homes built before 1980 have stood the test of time, but not the growing expectations of new buyers.

I’m a fan of HGTV. Before I fall asleep I usually watch a bit of the house hunting/renovation shows.

It’s a way to relax as well as a teaching experience. I’m always amazed when newly married couple say they need “at least three bathrooms.”

Often, they see what looks like nice bathrooms to me. Yet, frequent comments are “the bathrooms are dated and too small.”

Again, it’s because expectations have outgrown what was once the norm.

I can see this in my own experience.

I marvel when I think how our family of four thrived in our much-loved old Victorian house. While the rooms were big, it only had one bathroom and tiny closets because that was the norm in older houses.

Yet, as I think back to those years, I can’t recall ever thinking I needed more closet space. The one small bedroom closet my husband and I shared seemed adequate.

There’s an illuminating reason for that. Life for us back then was much simpler. I had fewer clothes and didn’t seem to need more than a few pairs of shoes. A pair of sneakers and dress shoes were all I needed.

I contrast that with the situation today. l have three walk-in closets, each one crammed with clothes and shoes.

I’m distressed to think about this.

I don’t need more closets. I don’t need more room.

I need less of everything.

I deliberately bought a small house when I relocated to Florida, knowing I needed to control living expenses in retirement.

I’m told my cottage-sized house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms is not small.

HGTV keeps claiming across the country there’s a growing real estate trend for tiny houses no larger than 500 square feet.

Have you seen any in your town?

The only place I see them is on HGTV.

One builder in our area was offering to build a little enclave of tiny homes. No one wanted them.

Instead, like the rest of the country, homes here are getting bigger, not smaller. That’s especially true for retirees who move here from other states, flush with money from the sale of a home in more expensive areas.

In one block alone, three retirees are building onto their recently purchased half-million-dollar, three-bedroom homes.

They need more than three bedrooms, I’m told, because both need an office, separate bathrooms and more space all the way around.

We are definitely in the age of “bigger.”

If you want to have fun reminiscing, think back to what used to be compared to how it is now.

For instance, a small 8-ounce bottle of Coke has expanded to the 32-ounce Big Gulp soft drink.

For me, all this rumination was caused by oversized towels that have me rethinking my buying habits and my shameful overstuffed closets.

Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and more stuff is seldom needed.

Contact Pattie Mihalik at newsgirl@comcast.net.