Recently I participated in two online discussions, both of which had to do with downsizing as we get older in order to simplify our lives and free us up to pursue our passions and interests.
The first discussion revolved around the revolution known as Tiny Houses. If you've never heard of them, go on to YouTube and type it in. You will be amazed at the number of videos on this subject as well as the number of hits each video has had. Tiny Houses are homes scaled down to a unit not much bigger than the shed in your backyard but with every possible amenity you could need to live. They all come with kitchens, bathrooms, main living space and sleeping spaces. Some even had two bedrooms. Since many municipalities frown on these homes because they do not bring in as much tax revenue as a full sized house (and the housing industry does not make as much, either), many are built on a metal frame with wheels like a trailers so it can meet zoning regulations and still be considered a home. I have to admit to being drawn to these tiny homes although most of the sleeping spaces are more like lofts and very close to the roof ... a little too claustrophobic for me. However there are some models that feature more airy sleeping spaces and even downstairs living spaces that can be converted for sleeping. They are inexpensive to build and are made with green materials and energy saving devices. You can even purchase the plans and build one yourself.
I think the aspect of this that I like the best, besides being able to clean the entire house in the blink of an eye, is that it forces you to be very specific about what you buy and what you own. While there is usually lots of storage space even in such a small area, you still need to set priorities about what is important to you to keep. For someone with a shoe fixation (or a purse addiction ... please see a previous blog), this would not be a good lifestyle. If you just can't part with the stack of books that you mean to read "some day," this isn't for you , either. But if you aren't into "stuff" and can live happily with just the basic necessities, this may be worth taking a look at.
The other topic of conversation was a challenge from a man who asked us if we could pare down our belongings to just 100 things. Wow. That is a tough one. When you sit down and mentally go through your home room by room, you start to realize just how much stuff you really have. How many cups and glasses do you have? Dishes? Pots? Books? Videos? Shoes? Shirts? I know someone who probably has at least half that much stuff just in her makeup drawer! If you had to do it, what would you keep and what would you get rid of? If this exercise doesn't bring home the idea of what is really important in our lives and what isn't, I don't know what would.
I have to admit that I would probably not be able to meet this challenge unless I was forced to do so. However, after thinking about this long and hard I have a better idea of where my life would be much less complicated with fewer things, and how much free time I would have. Think about how much less laundry you'd have? How many fewer dishes there would be to wash? What could you do with all that free time?
So I'm putting the challenge out there to all of you. Could you do it? What would you be willing to give up? How would you simplify your life? I'm anxious to hear your responses!
And so it is.