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Downsize It: The First Steps to Living with Less

Call it what you like: Small is the New Big; Less is the New More; Small is the New Black; Less, But Better. There are myriad metaphors and similes to describe a favorite TreeHugger mantra, and even more ways to actively practice it in your day-to-day life and as an overall lifestyle, including big (or small, depending on how you think about it) decisions, like what house you choose to buy — we touched on this before [www.sundance.tv], in our discussion [www.sundance.tv] of “less is more [www.sundance.tv]” as a lifestyle. No matter what you call it, or how you think about it, the one thing we want to stress is this: you can do more with less.

Big steps:
1) Check out our reviews of A Little House on a Small Planet [www.treehugger.com] and Small Living [www.treehugger.com] to get a better understanding of how downsizing your house can enhance your lifestyle.
2) Push the envelope with “The Tetris Game of Housing Design [www.treehugger.com]” (pictured above) — mobile, stackable sleeping units to provide people with a minimal, yet comfortable place to stay overnight.
3) If Tetris living seems like too much (or too little), here’s an interesting idea, taken in part from the small-spacers at Apartment Therapy: “Try this: take one thing from your home that you no longer love, need or use and place it on the curb tonight. Leave it there to be taken, recycled or thrown away. Experience how that feels.” Perhaps a better idea is to Freecycle [www.treehugger.com] it.

4) Here’s something that truly has to be seen (above) to be believed: the perfect stair for small spaces [www.treehugger.com], designed by Aaron Tang.
5) Again, we’ll paraphrase [www.treehugger.com] our pals at Apartment Therapy: “Perhaps 100 years ago, small could only mean ‘poor.’ But now, with less stuff and less overhead, the small space resident can also mean “rich.” Rich in being able to live in a great part of town. Rich in having less maintenance. Rich in living more closely with their community. Rich in being able to afford to splurge on some things. As with the iPod, we’ve discovered lately that small allows mobility.”
6) How does that translate to what you do in your home? Two words: space invaders [www.treehugger.com]. That’s right; small appliances mean less energy and less space without a reduction in functionality.

7) More “stuff”-related examples include this great plan [www.treehugger.com] (pictured above) to hide the bed by building it into the cabinetry, just “sliding” it away when not in use.
8) Dy-rection Line [www.treehugger.com] (pictured below) is an entire kitchen concept that provides a place to cook, serve, meet, party, eat, and work. The range, oven, sink, table, three stools and extendo-countertop are all encompassed in the smart, space-saving design, which can be neatly “put away” when not in use.