Downsizing for a Sustainable Future: Redefining Home and Lifestyle

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Reducing your home’s carbon footprint should be a top priority if you’re committed to combating climate change. That’s because, according to data collected by the Canadian government, homes cause 13% of national greenhouse gas emissions. 

While proactive climate-resistant changes to your home do make a difference, the reality is that downsizing is the best way to lead a more climate-conscious lifestyle. Moving to a smaller space reduces your energy bill and ensures you won’t use energy heating, lighting, and cooling spaces that you aren’t actively using. 

Moving to a smaller space can reduce your energy bill and help you adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This is crucial, as much of our household emissions are attributable to meat, dairy, and produce with high food miles. By cutting down your energy bills, you can spend a little more on locally sourced, environmentally responsible food when shopping. 

Downsizing for Sustainability

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Downsizing is a great idea if you no longer need a large space or are simply looking to cut down your energy use.

For example, if the kids have recently moved out, and you don’t need a 5-bedroom house anymore, shifting towards life in a tiny home may be right for you.

Tiny homes may be more sustainable than trailers, too, as many tiny homes are built to last and typically have more insulation meaning they cost less to heat or cool. 

If you do decide to downsize, bear in mind that you’ll need to declutter, donate, and streamline your items before trying to cram them into your new space. This is crucial, as nothing makes a small house feel cramped like too much stuff.

You can downsize and save money today by donating unused items to charitable causes and recycling goods that have lost their value. The benefits of making a smaller move include: 

Minimal Gas Use: Lugging heavy goods around the country will incur higher fuel costs that will make the move less eco-friendly. 

Reduced Stress: Moving fewer items isn’t just good for the planet — it’s good for your mental health, too. You have fewer items to track and don’t need to spend weeks boxing and unboxing your items. 

Save Money: Selling or donating your old items can help raise funds for the move. This is particularly helpful if you’ve got big plans to renovate a small home, but are working on a tight budget. 

Decluttering and streamlining your possessions will help you embrace the small-home lifestyle, too. You may even find that you’re able to adopt a minimalist, eco-friendly approach to home design. This can simplify your life and help you focus on the core tenants of sustainable living while renovating your new, smaller space. 

Read more: 6 Reasons to Live in a Tiny House

Renovating a Smaller Home

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Moving into a small space is a surefire way to cut down your energy bill and start living a more sustainable lifestyle. After making the move, you’ll spend far less on electricity and may find it easier to create a healthier environment for you and your family.

However, once you’ve settled into your new space, you should consider making some renovations. Some eco-friendly room-by-room renovations you may want to consider include: 

Kitchen: kitchens tend to be bright, light spaces. You can make use of this by installing energy-efficient windows that allow warmth to enter your space in the winter and can be easily shaded with blinds in the summer. You’ll also want to invest in energy-efficient appliances after your move, as this will reduce your long-term bills. 

Bathroom: Replacing outdated bathroom fittings is usually among the first changes new homeowners make. If you do decide to switch things up, be sure to opt for sustainable ranges that you’ll keep for many years to come. 

Living Rooms: A smart thermostat is the best way to manage your energy use throughout all the seasons. If you’ve got a little cash left over from the sale, you may want to invest in energy-efficient blinds and curtains or smart glass in your windows. 

Laundry: Cleaning and drying your clothes can quickly wrack up a hefty energy bill. Keep things in check by installing energy-efficient appliances and hang clotheslines in areas that receive plenty of natural light. 

Making these changes early on can drastically reduce your energy use and help you redefine your lifestyle following the move. Making the most of modern, efficient appliances can help you track your energy use, too, as most modern appliances now connect to the IoT and can compile monthly energy use reports. 

Lowering Your Energy Use

Switching to a smaller space should innately reduce your utility bill. However, you’ll still need to make some savvy lifestyle changes to make the most of the change. You can lower your energy bill in every season by: 

  • Scheduling regular maintenance to ensure appliances are running at their peak potential;
  • Conduct an energy audit shortly after moving in to identify areas of low-efficiency; 
  • Install insulation where possible to reduce the demand on your HVAC system; 
  • Use natural cooling (like opening windows in the morning and using a fan to circulate the fresh air) in favor of forced air systems whenever possible.

This will bring down your energy bill and help you lead a more sustainable lifestyle. You can double down on this lifestyle change by using any outdoor space you have to grow your own produce for meals and flowers to decorate the space in spring and summer. 


Downsizing is a great way to lead a more sustainable, simple lifestyle. By reducing your home’s size, you quickly cut down your carbon footprint and can save cash to be reinvested in modern, energy-efficient appliances. Just be sure to sell and donate unwanted items, as you won’t be able to bring everything you currently own into a new space without it feeling cluttered and messy. 

  • Katie Brenneman

    Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in sustainability, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. She is a graduate of UCR where she discovered her love for health, eco-friendly lifestyles, and writing. When she isn't article brainstorming, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.