In a study of 32 dual-income families in the Los Angeles area, a group of researchers affiliated with UCLA found that many did not actively use the majority of the space in their large homes.

In one of the team’s representative examples, people tended to gather around the kitchen and television, with very little activity in the dining room or porch. This left a full half of their first floor unused much of the time.

According to Steve Adcock of the Get Rich Slowly blog, many of these unused spaces were filled with clutter, including 75% of the survey’s garages.

“The findings were not pretty. In fact, they helped prove how little we use our big homes for things other than clutter,” Adcock says. “Most families don’t use large areas of their homes — which means they’ve essentially wasted money on space they don’t need…”

His takeaway: Forget the standard realtor advice that you should “buy as big of a house as you can afford.” Instead, buy as much house as you need. “More does not automatically equal better,” he said. “More simply means more.”

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