How Much Space Do You Really Need?

More and more Americans are looking for increasingly small places to live, some less than 100 square feet. Small-space living is most popular with young urban singles and students who live in cities where the cost of living is high. Some micro-housing buildings provide living quarters for six to eight residents who share a kitchen; other similar spaces include a small kitchenette. The spaces are about the size of a camper or a hotel room, typically 150 to 250 square feet, and may even be transportable. Those promoting these small abodes aren’t talking about people who are “downsizing.” Instead, they have coined the term “rightsizing” to describe the goal of the “minimalists” who are choosing to live small.

Rising costs of energy, the recent mortgage crisis, and the troubled economy all have contributed to the demand for smaller housing. The trend is also fueled by an increase in first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, tighter credit standards, and decreased emphasis on home buying as an investment.

Surprisingly, those who choose to live in tiny quarters don’t complain about living in less space. Instead, small-space dwellers feel their intentional decrease in living space has actually improved their quality of life in several ways:

  • Affordable alternative to shared living. The rent for “micro-apartments” is typically lower than for the average studio or one-bedroom apartment so there is no need to find a roommate to help pay the rent.
  • Need for less stuff. Because there is room for less stuff, small-space dwellers spend less on furnishing and decorating, leaving more money to save or to spend in other areas.
  • Convenient location. Developers of micro-housing projects typically locate them in walkable neighborhoods with easy access to shops and transit.
  • Lower building and operating costs. A tiny space requires little space and is inexpensive to build. Small spaces also save on the costs of cleaning, maintenance, electricity, heating and cooling.

You can read more about the small space trend in these articles: Tiny Little Houses: A New Trend, Micro Apartments in the Big City: A Trend Builds.

Would you be interested in living a “micro-apartment” or very small house? Why? What adaptations would you have to make to live in a very small space?

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