There is a huge movement today to minimize our impact on our environment, and part of it is about learning to live with less, “down-sizing“, but how “small” are you willing to go, when the dominant-symbol of affluence is “ever-bigger“? Cities have become “concrete-jungles” with nary a “green-space” in sight, and even suburban-developments pack the homes in like sardines with “postage-stamp” yards. The problem is that, rather than learning to live with “less“, people are insisting on putting MORE in tighter-quarters.
We have seen the recent advent of “tiny-homes“, and several designers and manufacturers have responded with a wide variety of very cute, practical, tiny-homes. They are towed to the home-site and set-up just like a mobile-home. I could imagine myself living in one, as long as everything was on one level. No “loft” bedroom! That begs the question: “Can we really “live-small” comfortably?”
I believe the answer is a resounding YES, because I do “live-small“.
In 2008, after losing everything in a divorce, the only “home” I could afford to buy was a travel-trailer. I was “down-sizing” from a 1500 sf home to a 300 sf home, and yes, I had to adjust, but I did adjust. I quickly learned what I actually “needed” and what was “excess“. Yes, some of the “excess” is in storage, but because it is at my mom’s place, it isn’t costing me anything to store it. Some of that could easily be discarded because I doubt that I will ever use it again.
After over six years of living in my trailer, I don’t have anything that isn’t “necessary” here. So, what does 300 square-feet of total-space give me?
An amazing-amount of well-thought-out storage, including storage under the front-third of the trailer (right behind the 5th-wheel).
An 8′ X 8′ bedroom with a queen-size bed, overhead and under-bed storage, a night-stand with two drawers, and two 18″ closets. By-bye bulky dresser and chest-of-drawers. After all, all I do in the bedroom is sleep and dress or undress. It is “couple-adequate“.
A 5′ X 8′ bathroom, which, believe it or not, three people could be in at the same time. The shower is a bit small to suit me, but I make do. Oh, and there is another 18″ closet and a 12″ linen-closet. Both are 26” deep. Sink/vanity and two medicine-cabinets are built-in.
A 4′ X 7′ dining-room, with a free-standing oak table and four upholstered chairs. Yes, four people can eat there comfortably.
A built-in china-cabinet between the dining-room and the office.
A 4′ X 6′ office. Both the dining-room and the office are in the street-side slide-out.
A wall-to-wall entertainment-center and bookcase across the back of the living-room.
An 8′ X 8′ living-room with an oversize recliner, and 6′ hide-a-bed sofa which is recessed in the curb-side slide-out.
Last, but not least, an 8′ island-kitchen, with stove, sink and counter-top in the island, and the pantry, refrigerator, microwave and small-appliances area in the curb-side slide-out. It could be a “two-butt” kitchen. There is dish and glassware storage above the island, with decorative-glass-centered doors on both sides.
Reducing my utility-bills:
I use fans instead of AC as much as possible, and because I live clothes-free, it is much easier for me to stay comfortable.
Low-voltage and LED lighting, as much as possible. There is only one 110v light.
In the winter, I only heat the space I am in. Bedroom/bathroom at night, kitchen/living-room/office during the day. I also have storm-windows and window-insulators for all the windows.
Now, if my trailer was on my own secluded-property, I could live even more clothes-free than I do now, in a textile RV Park. That would be as close to “paradise” as it gets in this life. I know quite a few people who “live-small“, and some have “lived-small” for over twenty-years. “Living-small” isn’t for everybody, but it certainly suits me to a “T“. It really depends on much much a person is willing to give-up in order to “live-small“, but I am doing just fine.