I briefly touched on the topic of downsizing in my previous post when I explained a solution for our modern problem of limited space, but the real reason for today’s prominent downsizing trend is the change of living and buying behaviors in the wake of the recession.
The baby boomer generation embodies this trend, as aging consumers seek to downsize from their previously larger homes. Most of these downsizers cite expense, maintenance costs, and overall effort when explaining their need for downsizing.
Large homes are costly in several respects. First of all, the homes themselves are expensive. Then you have the heating and cooling costs, which can be hefty in themselves. Add to that list cleaning costs, general maintenance costs, and landscaping (since large houses are usually situated on a large plot of land of course) and you’ve got yourself a pretty high cost of living, a cost of living that’s certainly going to be unacceptable in post-recessionary times.
So what does it mean to downsize? Well, this term does not only connote the act of moving into a smaller house, it has many connotations in today’s market, and has become quite a business of itself.
First, a consumer looks to moving into a smaller house, condo, or apartment due to excessive expenses, which is happening on a mass scale, since many newly prosperous builders cite small, green houses as their major seller.
But the process of downsizing doesn’t end there. People want their smaller houses green because not only do they care about the environment, they want to save on energy and other utility costs. Modern houses are being smartly built to take advantage of environmental utilities such as wind direction and natural light to handle heating and cooling needs. Some people are opting for solar paneling, some for improved insulation, and others for water saving technologies. Still others are opting for all of it to save money in the long run. All of these green technologies are creating quickly growing markets as well.
People are seeking to get rid of many excessive objects they once owned, and there are businesses out there that seek to help with that. Then there is the process of actually taking advantage of what little space people have to work with to still live comfortably in their homes. Single rooms are now multi-use thanks to smaller appliances and modular technology, all of these things creating other markets.
Businesses themselves are actively involved in the general process of downsizing as well. Businesses are constantly looking to cut costs and become lean and efficient in the face of a weak economy. Smaller facilities, more efficient use of materials, harnessing of green energy, whatever it takes to get by.
So as you can see, today downsizing is a big deal, and the term itself implies many different facets of slimming down and optimizing smaller amounts of space and material. The practice itself is generating its own newly booming market, generating a perpetual engine for efficiency/ecology-minded technologies and space utilization. This is how we will recover from the recession.