There is no doubt that we Americans like things big. Just take a look at our SUV’s and the size of the cup holders we equip them with. You could throw a pool party in one of those ponds. Nowadays, faced with increasingly limited and expensive natural resources, a slower economy and a shortage of space, living a little smaller is beginning to make a great deal of sense. Here are a couple of ways you can live large while slimming down.
1. Tiny Homes- There is a growing movement for living smaller. If you are looking for a simple domestic life without the complications of too many possessions, a Tumbleweed Tiny House may be for you. Models ranging from 89-130 square feet are available for purchase either as kits or ready-to-go on a utility trailer foundation. This is the ultimate mobile house, complete with living room, sleeping area, bathroom and fireplace. These structures can be easily moved and perched on small plots of land, are energy efficient, and surprisingly attractive. Tumbleweed also sells a book of architectural plans for the especially handy and adventurous types seeking a more custom abode.
2. Public Transport and Car Sharing- Living in the city, I was blessed with a garage parking space below my apartment. However, trying to find a place to leave my vehicle anywhere outside my neighborhood was next to impossible. Consequently, I took the bus, walked, or rode a bike on a regular basis. I did not miss the hundreds of pounds of metal and plastic. By using Zip Cars and public transit it is possible to save a heck of a lot of money that would have been used on gas, insurance, and maintenance, not to mention opening up some room for storage or starting that home yoga studio.
3. Folding bicycle- Part origami and part engineering masterpiece, folding bicycles help you to your destination without getting in the way. Instead of having to hitch your ride to a rack or worry about theft, you can simply take it indoors and place it in a corner. They are fully adjustable and relatively inexpensive, so they make an ideal lender bike and a convenient set of wheels to take on a bus or train.
4. Balcony garden- Not enough space for a lush, backyard paradise? No problem. Blogs such as Life on the Balcony have sprouted up (heh) to help those with green thumbs grow herbs, fruits and vegetables in their condos and apartments. Browse Wired’s article on Geek Gardening for custom blueprints detailing efficient ways to maximize whatever area you have available.
5. The Armoire Kitchen- Cooks who love a clean and organized kitchen will be impressed with the Armoire Kitchen by YesterTec, a complete culinary setup that fits inside a piece of dining room furniture. Blending social spaces with food preparation, YesterTec attempts to make the kitchen function as a living area while also taking advantage of efficient design.
* Book of the Week tip: Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher