Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Downsizing and Living Smaller

I love what Kate McKinnon wrote on her blog today:

"When you have Things, you have to house them, clean them, maintain them, and protect them. When you have nothing but what you need to survive, and nothing any man wants to steal, your life is your own. There is a balance in there that we all need to find for ourselves."

As a person who lives in a tiny, tiny house after living in a big, big house, I appreciate all manner of personal purging (not that kind!) and Stuff Reduction. I had a crazy idea about a year ago - after my sister took me to Costco and I came home with a 25-pound box of laundry detergent. I couldn't find anywhere to put it! I started thinking about building an addition on my house. I got all excited about having a real studio space and turning my existing studio space into the second bedroom that it was intended for. Overnight guests wouldn't have to sleep on the fouton in the living room! I even drew out what I wanted on graph paper and talked to a contractor about how it could be done and how much it would cost, but when we got to the cost part, that's when I gave up the idea.

I suppose I could have looked into a loan to build that addition, but then I would have to figure out how to earn enough money to pay it back, because my finances are usually hand-to-mouth. Short of going to work for someone else, it just wasn't possible. And, I realized that if I concentrated on getting rid of stuff I don't need or really want I wouldn't need another 400 square feet to put things in. And, I don't get that many visitors anyway, AND, I'm so much happier working for myself, even though I don't have a lot of extra money. It just wasn't worth it to give up my lifestyle just to aquire MORE STUFF!

So, I ended up scooping the detergent into plastic bags and storing it in my tool shed and I'm really careful about what I buy at Costco! But I still buy a $2 Powerball ticket every week so that when I win I can build that new studio!


wendy said...

This is a wise perspective, indeed. Life is full of trade-offs, and everything has a cost - although you might not see that total cost in the dollar figure.

Sue said...

I don't shop at Costco just for this reason - I don't have anywhere to put a 5 gallon bucket of soy sauce, and I don't need a 6 pack of mascara, thank you very much. If you have 6 teenage boys to feed then perhaps it's worth it to shop there. It's cracking me up that your jumbo box of detergent nearly led to adding on to your house! Less is more.