A week or so ago our fellow blogger Mark at the Lean Blog celebrated a milestone birthday. I was a bit surprised at his age; for such a young pup he's learned – and taught – a lot. Coincidentally I also just celebrated a milestone birthday, but one a bit more than a few years greater than Mark's. In fact I got to celebrate for over 40 hours as I was winging my way home from Japan and crossing the date line in the process. Of course a celebration while stuck inside an aluminum tube isn't much of a celebration, especially with United's "cuisine."
I'm not sure if it is truly related to how lean is increasingly invading the non-work aspects of my life, but I am become more and more of a minimalist. I recently went through all my clothes and donated about 75% of them, leaving about a quarter closet's worth. A few months ago, as an experiment, I put a bunch of clothes in a suitcase… and as expected a few months later I hadn't needed any of it. Poof! Off to Goodwill! My wife hasn't exactly had the same passion about minimizing clothes inventory; in fact that's one reason I did need to minimize my usage of the closets! But together we have been reducing about everything else in the house. Books have been donated to the library, extra furniture to Goodwill, unused foodstuffs to the Food Bank, and remnants of past hobbies and crafts put out for a "free" garage sale.
It's increasingly liberating. Less clutter, less "stuff" all around you. It's really amazing how little you really need.
Which brings us to the house. When my wife and I met I was living alone in a 3800 square foot monster of a house in Salt Lake City. I had wanted a small cabin in the mountains, but my real estate agent convinced me that due to the size of local families there was no resale value for small houses in the area. I was bouncing around the inside, especially since I had moved from a 1100 square foot house in the Bay Area and never bothered to add more furnishings. Luckily. Because after a couple years in Salt Lake we relocated back to California in 2000 to a more modest 2500 square foot house.
Which is why articles like this one on tiny houses really intrigue me. Over a year ago I wrote about a similar concept: looking for less storage space instead of more when shopping for a new house. That would turn realtors on their ear!
But imagine living a place like this. 100 square feet! You would really need to be a minimalist. And you'd have to be exceptionally neat and clean. I'm not there yet, but I'll admit it does have some appeal. I would probably make one modification however: it would be a on a beach. Preferably in the south Pacific.
How much… or how little… do you really need? But watch out, minimization can be addictive and perhaps even create a form of OCD!