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Home Downsizing Encourages Simple Living: Small Spaces Help Create a Clutter-Free & Green Living Environment

Regardless of the many different reasons of downsizing a home, the move provides the household an opportunity to simplify the living environment and to embrace green living practices in a few easy steps:

  1. Maximize and optimize the living space
  2. Go paperless
  3. Go wireless
  4. Live and shop green

Maximize and Optimize the Living Space

Multi-purpose furniture can reduce the space required for the functions by half. Platform beds with storage, convertible coffee tables and multi-functional entertainment centres are good examples.

Once a spacious small home is created, it is just as (if not more) important in a small space to be mindful to maintain the space free of clutter. Personalities differ among individuals. It comes natural to some to put mail, shopping and clothes away as soon as the front door is closed but those are the endangered species. A few processes can be put in place to help every member in the household to streamline their everyday lives.

Go Paperless

Set up electronic statements and billings for banks, utilities, credit cards, brokerage accounts and retirement investment accounts. It will drastically reduce paper piles, strorage space required for paper work, trips to the recycling bins, the need for a shredder, cheque writing and trips to the post office.

Set up corresponding folders on your computer to keep all the electronic bills and statements and perform periodic backups. When tax time comes, the information can simply be emailed to the tax accountants. Passwords can easily be encrypted on the documents for email privacy.

Purchase a financial software programme such as Quicken to keep track of expenses and reconcile statements. Balancing the cheque book for hours with a calculator with piles of receipts and bank statements will be come a thing of the past. If updating is diligently kept, the software will provide a snapshot of all accounting holdings and net worth at any time.

Go Wireless

Cut the cords and cables. Wireless routers and wireless printers can be easily tucked away far from the computer. If there is good mobile phone reception in the neighbourhood, canceling the land line can free up space on the kitchen counter when the clunky phone would have sat. Most importantly, going wireless reduces unsightly cords and bundles running along the walls on the floor.

Live and Shop Green

Applying low VOC paint and installing quiet energy-efficient appliances are wise choices when living in confined small spaces.

Shopping wisely can also help avoid clutters and being friendly to the environment. Is a non-biodegradable beer stein a must-have souvenir from a vacation to Germany? It will likely sit collecting dust on a shelf or in a cabinet, be forgotten in a few months and thrown away at the next spring cleaning. A picture taken of the Rhine framed and hung on the wall does not take up any shelf space and adds a more personal touch.

Shopping wisely will likely become second nature after a while. When space is tight, unnecessary purchases of decorative knickknacks (which will likely be sent to a landfill after a couple of years) will likely be curtailed.

Involuntary Downsizing

Some home downsizing is due to financial reasons. An article on Job Profiles provide some very good ideas how to downsize life after a layoff. Some of the ideas are not necessary for those without jobs. They are simply common-sense, green and good practices.

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