Downsize It: Living in Small Spaces

Though downsizing may sound like a downgrade, there’s a lot to like about cutting back on space and stuff you need. It’s the ultimate in conservation []: with less space, for example, you have less space to heat, cool, clean, furnish and light; with fewer rooms, you have fewer lighting fixtures to run around and turn off when no one is using them, just to give one simple example. This idea is scalable to everything (home, transportation, food, whatever), and is so easy-sounding, it almost seems silly, but, from a green [] angle, there’s really something to it: less is truly more [], in this case. Today, we’ll ponder the benefits living in small spaces.

One of the most prescient examples of the goodness available in small-space living comes to us from Apartment Therapy, who, for three years running, has been holding the Smallest, Coolest [] Apartment contest. Originally conceived by necessity — it started in New York City, where many apartments are roughly the size of a shoe box — it has morphed into a real zeitgeist of the way that less is more. By showcasing the coolest of the small (and sort of back-dooring the green [] aspect), AT shows that not only is it okay to live with less, but it can actually be really cool, and that you don’t have to sacrifice design, style and functionality to live with less space. This year’s winner, London Urchin’s Jewelry Box [], is pictured above. Out of necessity comes innovation, and a greener [] solution is the result.

When it comes to living in small spaces, and making the most of it, necessity also drives invention in Japan, where space is at a premium like few places in the world. The San Francisco Chronicle [] sends some grace-filled notes from Japan, and includes lessons we can all follow for decorating big in a small space; and when it comes to tips for Japanese-style efficiency, get these tips straight from the source from the blog My So-Called Japanese life. Gomestic [] also has some good info for big living in small apartment.

Ultimately, doing more with less, downsizing to increase efficiency (and maximize conservation []) is all about form following function and moving the impetus for efficiency from you to your home. That means less work for you, less energy [] used, less money to your utility, and more function from all of your stuff.