Living Small: It's Not Just About Having Less Stuff

Living Small: It's Not Just About Having Less Stuff

Lauren Zerbey
Apr 27, 2011

For some, living small is associated with sacrifice - a situation that forces us to give things up or to live without. But while some people live this way out of necessity, for many it is a choice. Earlier this month, Regina asked readers on Apartment Therapy why they live small. Several people mentioned cost and location as the most significant factors, but there are many additional ways that living small can actually improve your quality of life.

Below are a few reasons many of us choose to go small - what has inspired you to simplify the way you live?

  • Location & transportation - for many, a small home is the only choice when choosing to live in a dense, urban environment. Square footage becomes a trade-off for the amenities and activities that a city has to offer.
  • Less to clean and maintain - this may seem like a minor factor, but having less to clean and maintain means more free time spent on the things you truly love to do (unless of course you truly love cleaning!).
  • Better for the planet - reducing the size of your home affects nearly every aspect of green living, from from the amount of energy and water consumed to the quantity of materials needed to build and maintain the home.
  • Less money - While it may not seem so if you live in London or NYC, smaller spaces generally cost less money. This applies to both upfront costs and upkeep over the life of the home.
  • Cozy factor - Your home is meant to be a haven and spaces that are well-proportioned and "feel good" are an important part to achieving this.
  • Appreciation for the things you do own - Living small often means paring down what you have and only keeping what's important and makes you happy. Surrounding yourself with things you appreciate adds an intangible value to your everyday life.
  • Better control over one's life/belongings - Organization goes hand-in-hand with living small. Keeping things organized and easily accessible translates into less "where did you put..." moments and frenzied mornings.
  • Quality over quantity - Going small could mean more money to put towards quality furniture and household items. If you purchase something you really love, you're more likely to take care of it and keep it for many years.
  • Less filler stuff - You know the feeling, you move into a new place and have the urge to "fill it". So you go to the store and pick things out, but they don't necessarily have any special meaning and will likely get tossed or donated down the road. In essence, reducing your space can also reduce disposable spending habits.
  • Reliance on community - Simplifying how we live can mean that we don't need to own everything we might need to use someday. Community programs like tool sharing libraries are a great way to save money and space while building community with neighbors.
  • Small spaces inspire creative solutions - We've seen all sorts of creative solutions this month during Small Cool - working with constraints inspires invention of the best kind.
  • Less waste in the kitchen and garden - By keeping tabs on what you own, you're less likely to let food go bad or plants die, saving money and resources.


, 2006 Small Cool winner)

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