5 Simple Living Bloggers Show Downsizing Can be Smart-sizing

BlogHer Original Post

Early this month, I moved from what I considered a relatively spacious half-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica -- to a tiny, less-than-400-square-foot apartment in West Hollywood. I just tried to figure out exactly how small it is -- but I can't locate the measuring tape in its new hiding spot!

In any case, the move got me seriously thinking about tiny living, downsizing, simplicity, organization, and efficiency. And thanks to both the economy and the environmental movement, many other women are rethinking their personal American dreams, wondering if smaller can, indeed, make for a better, happier life.

If you, like me, are on a journey to discover tiny, happy living, here are five women bloggers to follow. They've all opted to streamline and smallify -- voluntarily -- and blog both the pleasure and perils of their joyously simplified lives:

Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. This 31-year-old downsized from a "regular" home to a 400-square-foot studio she shares with her husband. Believe it or not, Tammy still wants to go smaller, and has hopes of moving into a 200-square-foot portable tiny house. She's got 10 reasons defending her dreams, ranging from "less cleaning" to "work less" -- which do sound very appealing!

Fittingly, Tammy's also downsized all her belongings down to 100 items. The author of Smalltopia and Simply Car-free, she lives bike-rich and blogs about “social change through simple living."

Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. The blogosphere's currently abuzz with Project 333, a challenge to wear just 33 items over three months. Courtney's the creator of that challenge, who decided she wanted to live and dress simply, letting her own personality shine out.

Courtney says her blog is about "simplifying your life and really living." What makes her the expert? "I have made all the mistakes," Courtney writes. "I have made a bunch of money and spent even more. I have been too busy, too tired, too full, too stressed and too overworked for too long and I am changing my ways." Join her by reading Be More With Less.

Heather of Mile 73. If you've got mixed feelings about downsizing, Heather's blog is the one to read. Now living in Portland, Heather's recently been blogging a lot about how she'd like to downsize -- but has difficulty just taking the plunge.

Heather's personal debates may help you with your own. I wish I'd read her post titled "The Agony of Downsizing" before I myself downsized to move to my new apartment -- because the two of us had the same problem: "a certain weakness about books." Do you agonize over whether or not to keep books you haven't cracked in over a decade -- or a paid-for car that still costs you, if carefully calculated out, $11.35 a day? If so, read Heather's blog for commiseration -- and hopefully better-informed decision making.

Hillary of This Tiny House. With her sweetie Michael, Hillary bought a 500-square-foot house in San Diego -- and started transforming it into "ultra-efficient, eco haven with a veggie patch and fruit trees." This Tiny House chronicles her "girl-blog adventure," with updates on her home renovations and news of new tiny home obsessions.

Hillary recently installed a Tiny Kitchen Pantry -- a project I may emulate in my own tiny kitchen soon, though I don't own my apartment so I'll need to first figure out if the project's reversible.

Dee Williams' Tiny House. Okay -- Dee, as far as I know, is not a blogger -- I just wish she was. Six years ago, this woman sold her roomy bungalow for a 84-square-foot tiny house -- on wheels! The whole house cost her just $10,000 to build including the cost of solar panels that give her power -- and her monthly bills come to about $8 for heating.

In some ways, Dee's life seems idyllic -- but not ideal for everyone. For one thing, though she has a composting toilet, she's got no running water -- so she needs to haul water for everything and look for places to shower. This also means that while her portable, low-cost house gives her geographic and economic independence, she's still dependent on other people and facilities for basic things like showers. Regardless, watching the short film about her life and reading her profile in Yes! magazine will certainly make you wonder if you could downsize -- or smartsize -- your life and live happier.

Want more tiny living stories? Read about Kelly Breslin and Ryan Conder, who live in a 380-square-foot apartment in Echo Park in Los Angeles -- with their son! Or about Zaarath and Christopher Prokop, who live in a 175-square-foot studio in Morningside Heights in New York City -- with their two cats!

Know of other bloggers who live the tiny life? Share the links in the comments --
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel will soon blog about her own adventures with tiny living, both here and at greenLAgirl.com.

Photo by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens/Flickr

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