Bucky Fuller Relaxing John Phillips//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

DCL

Buckminster Fuller once said:

Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time. Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time. Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time. It's time we gave this some thought.

Indeed it is. As the recession takes hold and people are worried about money and jobs, it is important that we figure out how to use what we have efficiently, and how to use less of everything. It isn't just because it saves money; it is also because it is green, using less resources, burning less fuel and creating more carbon dioxide.

People in New York or San Francisco apartments might disagree, but Americans are living in more space per person than ever before. In 1973 the average house was 1525 square feet and had 3 people per household; in 2006 ot was 2248 square feet and had only 2.6 people per household. The increase in size has offset any savings of energy or money through increases in home or appliance efficiency.

If we are going to stop wasting energy and if we have to live more economically, we have to learn how to live with less. Fortunately, this is not actually hard, and some people find it liberating. In the next few pages we will look at some of the ideas for living with less in style and comfort.

Read the next page " How much stuff do you need? Get rid of what you don't."