Planet Green

DCL

Steve Thomas is the host of Planet Green's Renovation Nation, a program that focuses on making green renovations to homes across the country. In his regular column on PlanetGreen.com, Steve goes behind the scenes of the show and offers additional tips and insight on green renovation.

The benefits of downsizing your home are pretty obvious: Less to clean, less to maintain, less to cool, less to heat and a lower carbon footprint on the earth. Downsizing your home takes a real commitment to living with less stuff and less space.

The key to downsizing is really good design. You have to think in terms of living in a boat or an RV instead of living in a house. Really efficient design allows you to get all the functionality in less space. A lot of built-ins are critical for downsizing.

You may want to combine laundry and bath in one room or consider putting your washer and dryer in the kitchen to eliminate a whole room. You have to get rid of all unnecessary stuff, because stuff takes up a lot of space.

My wife and I are in the middle of downsizing right now, and we're moving out of a house we've been in for 22 years, so we've been shedding stuff like crazy. I have to say it's great. I looking forward to the downsize.

Before I got married I lived in a boat. That's the ultimate downsized dwelling, 43ft long and ten feet wide. You can live pretty happily in a place like that if it's well-designed.

Don't miss the Greenest House in America Episode of Renovation Nation for more on how to downsize your home.