Waste Reduction: How Low Can You Go? -- Downsizing Mindfully

Waste Reduction: How Low Can You Go? -- Downsizing Mindfully

One way some people are reducing their environmental footprint is to downsize their living space. Having less room typically means buying less as we’ve been known to buy things to fill empty space even when we don’t need anything.

When I moved into my last apartment, I had been looking for a one bedroom but ended up finding a two bedroom that fit all my needs so I went with it even though I didn’t need the extra room.

Flash forward two years and when I was packing up the two bedroom I noticed so many things that I didn’t need. Things that had been sitting in a box for the full two years I lived there. I even had a bookshelf filled with things I didn't use. It sparked some thoughts on filling empty space and I wondered if I would have accumulated all those things if I didn’t have the extra room.

As I downsize, which we talked about in last month's blog, I think of all the storage rooms and spare rooms in the world that are unnecessary. If we shared more items, or if we utilized borrowing programs like a Library of Things, we might not need so many storage rooms.

When choosing the size of my new place, I also put a lot of thought into if I needed a spare room. It’s nice when friends and family come to visit to be able to host them in my home, but how often does that happen? For people it is important to who frequently have guests, it's likely worth it to have a spare room or two. For myself, it’s not worth it to furnish, heat and cool an entire extra room for the few times I have visitors wanting to stay there.

Also of note is the cost associated with having an extra room. Offering to pay for a hotel for the occasional visitor would be significantly cheaper than the accumulated cost of furnishing a spare room, the increased energy bill to heat and cool the extra space for the year, as well as the overall added cost of renting or buying a place with an extra room.

Have you downsized or thought of downsizing to a smaller home? What’s on your pro/con list?