Yeah, like you’ve never seen that headline on the internet before!
There’s a great architecture and design site I subscribe to called Life Edited. Their raison d’être is to share both compelling designs — for anything from dwellings to furniture to city parks — and life strategies that help folks to think about how we might go about living with far less then we presently do. Not only by physically “editing” ourselves, but by intellectually and emotionally “editing” ourselves as well.
As an architect, I found one of their stories this week — Take a Tour of Steve Sauer’s 182 Sq ft Triplex — especially interesting. It’s definitely worth a few minutes to check it out.
While we may not all want to take our endeavour to de-clutter and simplify our physical surroundings to quite this extreme, the story of Sauer’s “Pico Dwelling” certainly sets up some important, universal themes that are absolutely central to anybody’s ongoing battle with “stuff”.
1. The smaller, more compact and well designed we are able to build our dwellings and / or house ourselves, the more resources we’ll typically have left over to purchase quality finishes, appliances, furniture, etc. Why “overbuild” a cavernous gourmet kitchen if you can’t afford a decent stove or countertops?
2. The smaller the dwelling, the less expensive it is to operate and take care of. You’ll use less electricity, less heat and spend less time maintaining your home because you ultimately have less home to maintain. (Plus, given that you have you chosen to pursue quality finishes and equipment in lieu of excessive size as per Item #1, you’ll soon discover that there’s less maintenance and replacement to worry about on this front as well).
3. Living in smaller spaces generally forces us to live more in line with our true financial reality. Plus it means that we can’t just be constantly buying stuff willy nilly and bringing it into our home — because there might often be literally no place to put it! Such limitations on our physical surroundings force us into a more thoughtful, conscious approach to how we accumulate things and what things we find truly meaningful in our lives.
Do I think we’d all be happier living in converted 182-square foot former storage units? Probably not.
Do I think we’d all be happier if we were consciously able to apply the general principles outlined above to our own lives in some scaleable, meaningful way, and then proceed to pursue these guidelines with some tangible commitment? Probably so.
How small a dwelling do you think you could live in?