Small Space Living

29 Nov

To close off our month themed on home improvements we’ve invited Kara from BC to share her experience in small house building/buying.  Kara is a graduate student in Royals Road’s Environmental Education and Communication program…

As my husband and I began to shop for our family home, one of the biggest struggles we came across was finding a house small enough!  Majority of the homes currently on the market were 2000+ square feet.  We had family members debate with us about “what is a big house” and contractors that refused to build us a 1000 square foot house.  Though we initially felt quite alone in our thinking, we quickly discovered the “small house movement.”  This movement, which was largely initiated in the United States, provides an option for a healthier, more simplistic lifestyle that directly benefits the participants as well as the planet.

A shift towards this lifestyle can greatly help individuals, and communities with the state of the economy, and the reduction in available land for development, especially as the human population continues to increase.  If you are a current homeowner, many municipalities are starting to allow “alley housing” in which case, small houses are essentially being built in peoples backyards, reducing urban sprawl and providing financial incentive to homeowners.  For those who can no longer afford their current house, a shift towards a small house is a great alternative that allows them to still own, rather than rent.

What are the other benefits of a smaller house?


  • fewer resources to build the building – 40% of the earths resources currently go towards the construction of new buildings!
  • less energy to heat
  • able to use solar heating and environmentally friendly energy options because less energy required
  • less consumerism (clutter)
  • more time spent outdoors and enjoying nature – it has been shown that there is a connection between those who have a stronger connection to nature tend to be more invested in conserving the environment, etc.


  • cheaper to build (therefore can be a cheap option, or makes it affordable to build your dream house with dream materials)
  • cheaper to heat, etc
  • cheaper monthly payments (smaller mortgages, lower bills…)
  • less money spent on “stuff” – not as much space to fill


  • closer family relationships
  • healthier (physically and emotionally) families because tend to spend more time outside and together
  • closer community ties as you’re forced to use public spaces
  • all factors tend to contribute to a feeling of a stronger support system

And let’s be honest…who really enjoys house chores? With a smaller house, the chores are a lot fewer and go much faster!

The mentality of our generation tends to be bigger is better; keeping up with the Jones’; and our status and successes are often associated with the size of our house.  We would all be better off if this mentality shifted back to the way our ancestors lived…even just as far back as our grandparents or great-grandparents.  Only 100 years ago, the average person had 50-90 square feet of living space alongside their families.  In North America, we now have about 8 times that amount of space, with the average person having 400 square feet of space within their homes.

Brooklyn Tiny House Movement

The people who are already living this lifestyle stand by it and are incredibly happy with their decision.  Many people want to encourage others to experience this lifestyle, and want to help them with the transition.  If you are interested in seeing the beautiful, functional houses, and accessing some house plans, that some people are enjoying now, search the tiny house movement and you will be amazed!

Thanks Kara!  Any No Waste Wednesdays followers part of the tiny house movement already?  Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.


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