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Do You Occupy More Space Than You Need?

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 1 CommentBy admin | September 6, 2009

Maybe it’s time to downsize. Because as Bernie Madoff can tell you, if you’re obsessed with living large, you can indeed end up in the big house.

Do you take up more space than you need? I’ve always lived a fairly simple life, but some missteps in the last year forced me to really downsize, and at the end of it all, frankly, I was happier. One thing I noticed as I shed a lot of belongings was that I had only kept many of them simply because I had a place to put them. Another thing I noticed was that with every box of knickknacks or piece of extra furniture I let go of, a place seemed to lighten up in my head. I had a palpable feeling of liberation, which got me thinking about all of my values. That little house info-graphic lower on the page shows how much more space we all occupy today as compared to 50 years ago. Do we need that extra space? An obsessive longing for wealth and a big house can, as Bernie Madoff can tell you, lead to a life in the big house . And a life fueled by consumption of goods, in my opinion, also leads to people’s actual bodies taking up more space than they should. To me, the debate about higher airfares for obese people is a no-brainer. Sure. Charge more for heavy people. And less for skinny people. In fact, do it by the pound; that’s how they charge for other shipping, and especially with today’s quality of service on airlines, that’s all they’re doing is shipping people, right? If you have a problem with this, consider donating some of your fat for fuel. Maybe they’ll give you a credit for reducing your “Carbon Fatprint”. But I digress. Simplifying your life is gratifying, and easier than you think. There are hundreds of books out there on the topic, but I’d say it’s self-evident that buying and reading a book about simplifying your life kind of defeats the purpose. This quick article over at Zen Habits agrees, and distills the process down to four simple rules. Once you’ve committed to simplicity, there are some amazing ideas out there. I’ve always admired the Japanese approach to efficient use of space, and the Kenchikukagu series of modular furniture (pictured) doesn’t disappoint. As their site says: “Everywhere there is a Mobile Kitchen, there is a party!” and “If a guest suddenly come, no pronlem. Enjoy!” No pronlem indeed. Not to be outdone, the Russians have the Matroshka Compact Living Concept, which can compress your living space down to 43 square feet. And if you have about six grand and are ready to live in a 22 foot diameter circle, maybe you need a Yurt. But there are lighter levels of commitment. For less than USD 275.00, for instance, you can build your own Murphy Bed. And speaking of bedding down: if you’re single and want to live green and simple, give me a call. Because apparently after mansion dwellers, we’re the biggest resource wasters of them all.

Image from Treehugger.com

20 Feet o’ dirt and a Yurt

Read Comments

  1. Posted by kristin on 09.06.09 5:33 pm

    don’t even get me started about obese people and how they need to pay more for airfare – expecially if i’m charged for “heavy” luggage. we pay full price for our tots – they’re only 35 lbs. each if that. i’ll stop venting now.

    our house is 1400 something square ft. that includes 2 cats, one kitten, an overweight dog, and a bunny. it’s too big for me to clean right now, so i guess it is too big. not that we can move any time soon. and space is what’s keeping us sane as we try to cope with my crankiness re:pain :)