Downsizing Your Home: How Much Space Do You Really Need?
The Smallest House in Great Britain, photo by ChicagoGeek
When was the last time you really thought about how much space you really need to be comfortable? 250... 500... 1,000... 2,000... 3,000 square feet. While many people are concerned about their lifestyle, what they eat, what they drive, some never even consider the wasteful space accompanied by their home.Bigger Baby, Bigger, Don't Stop Till You Hear That Last Coin Drop!
From the 1950's to now, homes have increased in size approximately 140%. Even from the late 1970's we have seen the typical home grow from just over 1,600 square feet to an excess of 2,500 square feet. Trading up for a larger home has become somewhat of a sport to some folks.
Size has long been a representation of ones success. All you have to do is look at some of the homes of the rich and famous. You haven't made it unless you have several 10,000 square foot mansions spaced from one part of the world to the other.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that all those extra cubic inches of space end up reflecting not only more initial cost, more raw construction materials, more waste, but also inevitably more electricity, more gas, more water, more cleaning supplies, more maintenance, and more... stuff, to fill up all that extra space!
Bigger is Not Always Better
That is the way things used to be. Within recent years there has been a new trend developing. A trend which reflects the housing collapse, rising energy costs, and greater awareness for the environment. People are no longer dreaming of bigger and better homes, but rather smaller and more efficient ones.
According to the National Association of home Builders (NAHB), 60 percent of buyers may in fact be looking to downsize http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4669, rather than upgrade to more square footage. This is a rather huge change in the factors of personal choice for the typical American. The housing drop has taught a rather painful lesson. Sometimes less is more!
Unlike several years ago, designers and builders are also following suit and offering smaller plans for buyers. Often, in return for less square feet, the buyers can then afford to splurge in other areas, such as improved insulation, higher quality windows and flooring, and perhaps a few other luxuries, such as solar roof panels and skylights.
Does Size Really Matter? (Ahem, In Reference To Your Home Folks)
The point here is making the most of a smaller space to make your life easier and possibly even more enjoyable. What have any of you discovered during your lifetime of trading up apartments or homes. Do you find that you can live better in a smaller space, or do you need the extra square feet?