There have been a number of posts recently from my favorite blogs about the trend in smaller houses, in response to the economy and the environment. One cover story from The Environmental Magazine (emagazine.com) references the changing tide in America's preferences for smaller not larger:
If McMansions were the trademark of the overindulgent ’80s and ’90s, the not-so-big house may be the symbol of a generation that is slowing down, considering the earth’s resources and doing what it can to preserve them. Consider this: a 2008 survey by the National Association of Home Builders shows that more than 60% of potential homebuyers would rather have a smaller house with more amenities than the other way around.
For me, this mindshift rings true. My husband and I have almost done an about face on the subject just in the last year. We live in a 900 SF apartment with our 3-year-old and decided that it was time to move to the suburbs and buy that big house with the yard everyone goes for when they have kids. We even put a bid on a house... but it fell through to our (now) relief. In hindsight, having that house would have put a strain on our finances, lengthened our commute, and burdened our every weekend with fix up jobs (this house needed some work). As it stands, we're living well below our means in a super-convenient neighborhood and have even considered "building in" or creating a bedroom out of one of our multi-use spaces. Our place is tight, but honestly, we've got more than we really need and it's giving us time and money to spend with family and friends, to and to treat ourselves now and then.
At work, my team is kind of in the same place. We sit at small 30" x 60" tables and keep things simple. We try not to store too much and get rid of paper as soon as humanly possible. It's just not worth having all that "stuff" around and frankly, it stresses me out!
Less is more is my mantra these days. It feels pretty good and pretty green.