Monday, January 23, 2006

Living Small

A friend of mine is in the process of selling his house and buying a new one. Last night I was helping him pack and he couldn't believe all the stuff he was pulling out of his cupboards and putting into boxes. He has owned his three-bedroom house for six years and as is the case with many people, his possessions grew to fill the space. I went with him shop for houses, and anytime we looked at a house built in the 1920's, he always commented with disbelief that people actually raised families in those tiny places with no closet space.

I read about a college student who conducted a study of her own possessions. She counted every possession that she owned and classified it based on how often it was used. The result was shocking - something like she used less than 2% of her possessions on a daily basis. How much of your stuff do you use on a daily basis?

In my simplicity journey, I have chosen to live in a small one-bedroom condo. I have combed through my possessions and ruthlessly discarded, sold, or donated items. As a result, I have plenty of storage / cupboard / closet space. Plus I can always find what I'm looking for. More than one person has made statements about my living situation like, "Surely you don't intend to live in a condo forever. Don't you want a house someday?" Sure it would be nice to live in a larger house, but I don't feel the need to. I am resisting the urge to upgrade in exchange for a small, simple living space.

Small living is the means to an end for me - it helps me to minimize material clutter and it is cheaper than owning a larger space. Live small.

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