A tiny footprint can lead to more money, health, and happiness
Nearly two decades ago, architect and author Sarah Susanka wrote The Not So Big House and launched a movement that today continues to attract both empty nesters wanting to downsize and millennials whose social consciences and cautious fiscal nature are seeking a simpler life. Developers and builders have responded to the trend by creating houses and apartments that are considered small (between 400 and 1,000 square feet) or tiny (less than 400 square-feet). These shrinking living spaces also tend to be smarter, more efficient dwellings.
“Smaller homes are not only more affordable and gentler on the environment, but it can be empowering to have less to maintain and less to worry about acquiring,” says Katie Hutchison, author of The New Small House. Creating cozy, intimate, and thoughtful spaces that ease overwhelming feelings of stress and worry can be transformative, helping to relax and restore the mind. This breathing space is the emotional luxury that Hutchison sees in smaller homes: “You have less to distract you from what matters.”
Another small-living advocate, Graham Hill, who lived in a 350-square-foot space in New York City’s Soho area, exalts the benefits of “micro-dwelling.” With space at a premium, the founder of LifeEdited removes or “edits” anything that detracts from his clients’ well-being. “Whether it’s incessant emails, texts, or social media updates, our overly packed schedules or the many hundreds of things we own, life can be overwhelming,” says Hill. “I believe we intuitively desire simpler lives filled with high-quality experiences, relationships, and possessions.”