Tiny houses lead to tiny footprints (mostly)

October 2019—For her PhD, Emily wanted to know if living in a tiny house led to other sustainable behaviors. As it turns out, it did.

Her research discovered that on average, residents reduced their individual footprints by 45 percent after they settled into a tiny home, which is a huge reduction. She also found that the move and new lifestyle impacted other aspects and behaviors even without the inhabitants realizing it.

But not everything got better.

While 86 percent of behaviors changed for the better, about 13 percent changed for the worse. For example, tiny house residents tended to eat out more to avoid the frustration of cooking in a cramped kitchen. These residents recycled less because they had limited space for sorting and storing recyclable materials. They also tended to travel more, including both adventure trips and traveling further for basic items, likely because many tiny houses are located in more rural areas than where the owners previously lived.

You may not want to move into a tiny home but this study shows that downsizing can make a significant different. Move to a smaller space, share your house with someone else, or just clear out all the clutter. Once you live in a minimalist home, keeping only those things that bring joy, you’ll likely change your consumption patterns.