Taking Minimalism to Extremes

The housing needs and desires of 30-somethings are driving a new trend in condos — micro units. Micro units are typically smaller than 400 square feet and imaginatively use space so that not even an inch is wasted.

Millennials don’t have quite as much stuff as generations before them. They don’t need entire walls to hold their book or record collections because they’re stored in hand-held devices. Capsule wardrobes, which consist of just a few mixable pieces, are all the rage. And today, options to rent everything short-term — from clothing to cars — make it easy for people who don’t want to own anything to not own much at all.

This emphasis on minimalism coupled with Millennials’ desire to sacrifice space for location, and the trend toward people living alone rather than with a roommate, is driving a building boom of micro-units in many major cities. Many developers who build them say that with very little advertising, they typically have a waitlist.

Micro units are an elegant solution to the lack of affordable housing in major cities. And environmentalists say that increasing population density reduces per-person pollution rates, another thing that makes environmentally conscious Millennials happy.

But living in a micro-unit isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a matter of figuring out how to cram every single belonging into 300 square feet. It’s much more of a lifestyle choice to own less, be in the world more, and use the entire neighborhood as living space.

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