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Let's Get Small

A five-step program for those suffering from too much stuff and not enough space.

Illustration by Arunas Kacinskas

There are many benefits to living in a smaller home. Generally speaking, living smaller costs less than living bigger—less to build initially, and less to operate on an ongoing basis. Living smaller is more sustainable— it translates to a reduced resource impact on the environment, both short- and long-term. And living smaller can be far easier—once constructed, a smaller house has fewer house-parts to operate and maintain.

Like a hot sports car, a Good Small Space benefits from the vibrancy and dynamism of hyperefficient design. Something exciting happens when compact programming meets high performance in a well-designed space: We feel more connected to the world beyond our walls because less stuff separates Us from It.

  • Illustration by Arunas Kacinskas

    Edit Your Life

    Good Small Spaces start with Good Small Occupants. Now, it could be that you’re one of the few who are hardwired to live compactly. But the rest of us need to sharpen our metaphorical red pencils and edit our lives.

  • Modern home office illustration by Arunas Kacinskas

    Measure Your Life

    With less stuff, you’ll need fewer square feet to jam it into. But how small is too small?

  • lets get small think volume

    Think Volume

    Creatively separating your functional needs is a key component of Good Small Design—it’s all about overlap, nesting, and double duty.

  • lets get small get the light right

    Get the Right Light

    Daylight is the lifeblood of a Good Small Space. Start the process of getting the light right by better understanding the nature of the light-emitting gas ball that we call the sun.

  • lets get small think volume

    Think Outside the Box

    The final step in the creation of a Good Small Space involves its connection to the 2.5 zillion square feet that exist outside your 900.1

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Comments

Hello. My name is Richard. I live small.
Our family of 3 has lived in 460 square feet of passive solar, super insulated, space for 18 months. As a home planner, I treated this project as a puzzle to be solved. The article well describes the required life editing. We enjoy our outdoor patio space. But we could have edited further. Some unnecessary possessions are re-invading. The "bring something in, bring something out" rule is not being followed. (The other two residents are not as committed as I am).
But everyone is happy. No one is ashamed of our tiny abode. Cleaning and maintenance is a very small part of our life. And total housing costs are under $40 per month.

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