Reflections on a Tiny House

Over the past week, I’ve been fascinated by a number of articles describing tiny houses – those measuring 100 square feet or smaller. Here’s an example:

This type of house is outside the realm of possibility of most families. It would work for many single people and some couples, but I can’t imagine the five of us living in anything so small.

The reason I find it so interesting is that it makes me think about what we would need to do to live in such a small space. How exactly could we do this if we had to do it?

I started going through my possessions and considering which of them I would actually keep in this situation. It turned out that the list was pretty short – if I kept more than that, there would be no room to turn around.

This, of course, leads to the question of why I’m keeping all of that extra stuff right now. The argument could be made that at least some of it does add to my life fulfillment – but most of it really does not.

An awful lot of the items I wouldn’t take with me into the small house are collections – my book collection, my board game collection, and so on. Some of the items I wouldn’t take are redundant kitchen items, as we could do with fewer pots and pans. We’d also drop the vast majority of our furniture.

Without those things, wouldn’t there be a lot less to do at home? Probably so, but it would just encourage us to go outside more and interact with the world and the people around us rather than staying at home so much.

Rather than home being a place where you spend most of your time, it mostly becomes a place just to sleep and do basic food preparation.

If you start looking at your home in that way, a large home begins to seem less important than before. If you’re mostly just there to sleep and to prepare food, it doesn’t need to be very big at all.

The moral of the story is this: if you fill your life with experiences outside of your home, you don’t need as many possessions and thus don’t need a large home. Possessions become more important if you spend lots of time inside your home.

Here’s a proposal for this beautiful spring weekend – and for the next few weekends. Spend as much of your time outside as you possibly can. Go on a hike. Clean your car. Plant your garden. Wander in the woods looking for mushrooms. Take a soccer ball to the park and play with your kids. Go on a bicycle ride. Explore your town on foot.

After several days of this, look around your house and ask yourself how many of those things you really felt the need to use when you were enjoying the outdoors.

You might just find a lot of material for a yard sale and a little less motivation to upgrade your home.

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