All You Need Is…Less
Rightsizing: Smaller Scale Units a Fit for Millennials and Seniors Seeking Community
Oct. 12, 2018 – Too much stuff is…out. Minimalism is on trend. Whether you’re an empty nester, a millennial just starting out on their own or you have a house full of kids, dogs and in-laws, it’s time to consider what you actually use and which of those things makes you happy. And with collaborative housing arrangements, like cohousing, it’s actually possible to have access to useful things without physically having them taking up space in a cluttered home.
The newly forming Ralston Creek Cohousing community (RCCH) in Arvada provides one such opportunity for people to rightsize, since members won’t need the same type of space they once needed for rarely used possessions. For example, all cohousing communities have a Common House used for gatherings, parties and meals – so members might be able to borrow that big pan from the Common House for a dinner party instead of buying one. Many cohousing communities have a common tool shed, so most members won’t need to own a pickaxe or wheelbarrow that they would realistically only use once or twice per year.
There are major benefits to eco-friendly cohousing beyond the opportunity to rightsize. Learn more about RCCH at these events.
• Food, Drink and Conversation at the Ralston Creek Cohousing Potluck – Saturday, Oct. 13 from 12:00-2:30pm, in Lakewood. Contact RCCH member, Jannette Wesley at 720-771-8681 for location.
• Free Slide Show Presentation – Monday, Oct. 29 from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the Aria CoHousing Common House, 2835 West Parkside Place, Denver, CO 80221. Our slide show provides an overview of Ralston Creek Cohousing. A tour of our site in the Geos Neighborhood is available.
As the cost of housing rises in cities and loneliness among older people becomes a major health risk, sharing a cohousing community appeals to many retirees, according to a piece from the World Economic Forum. Seniors can find companionship in a cohousing community, where shared living spaces encourage interaction amongst neighbors.
The World Economic Forum story noted, “Cohousing has long been established in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Now the idea is spreading and there are 165 cohousing communities in the U.S. Another 140 are being built. Residents say it gives them friendly supportive community and could relieve pressure on health care systems. Is this the future of housing?”
Deb Kneale, a Ralston Creek founding member, has even written a blog about rightsizing and how it can relate to cohousing. “In cohousing, members can consider all the things that they use occasionally and get in the mind set of sharing…or as my new friend Carl likes to say, ‘figure out who has the best shovel and we’ll garage sale the rest of them.’ The Common House will be well equipped for entertaining large groups, so you no longer need 24 place settings. Car sharing and limited covered parking may motivate you to downsize your vehicle quota as well.”
Households joining a cohousing group early on (in the forming stage), like the founding members of Ralston Creek Cohousing, have the advantage of participating in the design phase of the project. They can brainstorm with other community members (and the architect) for the best use of space in both the private homes and common house that may cut the cost of living. Tours of other communities can inform individuals about things they like or would alter. Features like pocket doors, tall ceilings, shared laundry facilities and flats without stairwells can maximize square footage. Spare bedrooms in the common house can allow individuals to downsize by eliminating the need for the guest room they used infrequently in their previous home.
Though there are opportunities to share and collaborate galore, cohousing offers one additional key feature. The housing units are individually owned, giving members the option of finding quiet time when they’re not participating in common activities. There’s an element of “best of both worlds” here, as members reap the benefits of cooperation with friends and neighbors yet maintain individual lives and identities within their own home.
“Cohousing provides the privacy we have all become accustomed to with the community we seek,” said Karin Hoskin, executive director of the Cohousing Association of the US.
Ralston Creek Blog
Ralston Creek Cohousing Events
Cohousing Association of the US- Directory