The past decade has seen a new trend – increasingly, people who can afford to live in bigger houses are simply choosing not to.
The benefits? They range from lower costs and a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle to a sense of rightness...of not using more than you really need.
Some are taking this approach to extremes, with innovative designs for incredibly tiny yet fully functional houses.
Designed and manufactured here in South Africa, the super-modern POD-IDLALA is currently being marketed as a "nano-home". It's prefabricated, so you can have it up in a jiffy, and it's designed to be modular – if you need more space, you can simply integrate multiple PODs.
Each POD features an attractive deck and interior space of just 17.28 square metres. It's designed to be energy efficient and to let in plenty of natural light.
Tiny House Giant Journey
In 2011, a couple in the United States decided it was time for a change. They quit their jobs, sold their possessions, built a very tiny house and took to the road – travelling across the US, Canada, Iceland, France, Costa Rica, Mexico and Thailand.
The house may be small, but it's fitted with plumbing (including a composting toilet), two heating systems (important in the freezing Rocky Mountains in case one packs up), wooden floors and comfortable furniture.
The French Tiny House Movement
Tiny homes are gaining popularity in Europe too. In Normandy, France, for example, Bruno Thiéry started La Tiny House, a company that specialises in designing and building small homes, largely based on trailers.
One of the company's larger designs, the Appalache model, is just under 9 square metres. Its proportions may be small, but it features a perfectly functional kitchen, bathroom, staircase and lofted bedroom. It also includes a large porch, which can be removed from the structure – and it's fully mobile.
In Washington, DC, artist and photographer, Jay Austin, built "the Matchbox" – a 13-square metre home that's entirely off the grid and self-sustaining. The home features solar power, a composting toilet, a rain catchment system for drinking water, a greywater system for the garden and skylights for natural light.
Les Maisons Sylvestres
In the Meuse region of France, designer Matali Crasset created a series of lightweight homes as temporary residences for artists. They're designed specifically so they can be moved around without disturbing the surrounding forest.
Among the features included in this homes are terraces, porch swings, gas lighting, composting toilets and elements that fold away, so that the homes can be reconfigured to suit different preferences and natural surroundings.
Storage solutions for small homes
You might not be in one of the world's smallest homes, but if your space is starting to feel cluttered, XtraSpace can help. We offer affordable, secure storage facilities at branches across the country.