Getting Over The Excess Barrier

Today I want to discuss the excess barrier, that spot where we start learning to let go, minimize and bring our life to the comfortable, simple aspects thatI always talk about. The reason this is coming up today is recently I discovered that I too have a problem with the idea of letting go. For those who don’t know I plan to renovate a school bus into a mobile housing solution and while doing that I need to remove almost everything I own because it doesn’t fit in with the design.

Now I have been looking around my apartment and realizing that more than 50% of it will not be included in the new place. Meaning there is about to be a lot of stuff that I need to let go. Alright so let’s discuss getting over this barrier to let go of our things.

What sort of barriers are holding us back when it comes to stuff and changing our lifestyle, well typically we are attached to these things or we believe that absolutely need them. Then there are the sentimental items, the functional pieces, and clothing. Then one of the biggest problems in my mind is furniture, which is strange because most people seem to let go of their furniture every time they move.

Let’s start with the items we absolutely need and are attached to, these items are pretty difficult to let go of because we have used them a lot and they have become something we cannot let go of. I have come to the conclusion that I will be keeping my clothes, kitchen utensils and some close things like books and writing. Everything else becomes irrelevant to me because it is part of the lifestyle change. The barrier for things we are attached to can be overcome by assessing the things we are attached to by true need and absolute use. Things that are not used in more than 3 weeks is something that should not be kept. Things need to be in constant use and in constant need otherwise you don’t need to keep them. This is how life gets cluttered and eventually you can look around and realize there are things you haven’t used in months, clutter means forgetfulness and you actually lose the use of these pieces.

The hardest one being sentimental items, these are definitely hard to choose and I don’t blame anyone for having a hard time. Well alright when I moved out I kept the things dear to my childhood with my parents, who are much more fond of the memories anyways. As for things that are with you currently you should look for different ways to either incorporate them into your space, like as a focus piece or art piece, otherwise I would advise you find somewhere safe to store them. And if all else and you can find a way to let go of these items then I mean do so, find a way to either make something from them or find someone else who will cherish them. I think that is one of the hardest things, because when you sell off your items to someone else you want to sell them at their value to you, when in reality they are not as expensive to anyone else.

Getting rid of functional pieces and clothing, this includes everything from multi purpose pieces or gadgets, and well your entire closet. I group these two together because when it comes to gadgets and clothing everyone thinks that one day they will use this and they should keep it around for that one day that it will be used. Then in reality it never gets used and you continue to use that excuse. So we need to try and find a way to get over that barrier of swearing that things will get used. I mean I’d love to say that the one month rule still applies here but that doesn’t remove the excuse, I want to find out how to actually get over that barrier and let go of these things. Alright well I am aware that we think these things and we need to convince ourselves that the piece will not get used and could apply to someone else much better. Most people don’t keep their closet on display so it isn’t like you are proving anything by having a huge extensive closet, so I mean who are you trying to impress? Yeah, no one, so just let it go to someone who will use it. Donate, sell or hand down, they all benefit someone else. Create a look, stick to that look, and use that look all the time, if a clothing piece doesn’t fit into that look or isn’t in regular circulation then get rid of it. I keep one giant sweater that doesn’t fit my look in case I need one around the house, but that’s all, everything else is used all the time and the moment I find something that isn’t in circulation I get rid of it too.

Lastly furniture, I find that people who become attached to their furniture are the ones that end up having cluttered or gaudy spaces when they move. I realize furniture is expensive but that printed leather couch doesn’t fit in every space in the world. Sometimes you need to change things. For the most part large furniture isn’t a problem, but say a comfy chair, or a piece of decor seems to stick with people even if they aren’t used. Why? I’m not really sure if it is a memory thing or just attached to the piece in the first place. Either way we need to figure out if it is used enough to keep otherwise get rid of it. For myself every time I move I figure it is a brand new start, I let go of the memory of the old place and allow for a brand new opportunity to create and design a new space. So other than the functional items like electronics I choose to get rid of everything else, plus hey it saves on moving costs, I move everything in a car, in a couple trips.

Overall we need to learn that excess isn’t good, it doesn’t provide good space, it doesn’t promote a relaxing lifestyle, it inhibits creativity and causes multiple issues with our space. So figuring out that we don’t need or use something often is a good thing to figure out and it actually proves to create a great space, that is easy to upkeep, easy to use and easy to move. I, myself am working on letting go of some of the larger or less functional items and either repurposing or transforming them, if this doesn’t happen I will sell them to someone who can use them. The idea that the stuff I don’t need can be someone else’s benefit is a good thought and one that keeps me motivated to get rid of and simplify my life. Try it out and see how it feels and what it does to your space.

As always thank you for reading, I hope you learned something or gained some cool ideas!
Have an amazing day, keep it simple, and stay classy!

Smart Spaces and Mobility – A Quest

I’m young, this is a fact, matter of fact I’m just turning 19 and I have the whole world and a life ahead of me. However I’m frightened and I’m scared, I’m actually terrified of debt. It’s statistic that nowadays most people spend the most of their income on rent, many young people are going into credit card debt that is more than 5000$ of what our parents had, we are spending money at an irresponsible rate and realistically we will never fully pay it back. Add student loans on top of that and it is just impossible to ever make that kind of money back. So yes I am terrified of debt and I have made it part of my priority list to make it through my 20’s without getting into debt. I’m not about to tell you some crazy budgeting plan where I live off of ramen noodles. Matter of fact I don’t plan to actually change my outrageous spending habits. I am just going to cut out the major costs and the things that put most in debt. I plan to remove rental costs, no mortgage cost, minimize credit spending and avoid student loans. Yeah, that’s the plan, not to spend differently just remove the most expensive items.

How exactly do I plan to do this? Well I plan to leave a rental situation, I will get out of the dangerous and expensive trap that is renting. When we really look at it, I for example spend 1125$ a month on rent, this making up 13,500$ in a year. I make just a little more than that at my current point in life, so spending such a huge chunk seems a little irresponsible. So I have made it my main goal to make it through my 20’s without modifying too much of my lifestyle, without sacrificing luxury, without losing education and while still enjoying life. I have gone through a frustrating task of trying to figure out what would be the best way to do this an the best way to live. I finally feel like I can say I found a solution.

I had recently come across an inspiring story titled Hank Bought a Bus, see Hank Butitta is an architecture student and he was tired of making projects that never existed beyond the page. He felt that his creativity wasn’t really going anywhere and he wanted to build something. So for a final project he bought an old school bus, gutted it, removed all the old stuff and completely redesigned it. As an architecture student he wanted to further explore the idea of the mobile living and its many misconceptions, he tried to demonstrate that renovating an old vehicle was possible and actually could work great. His project really did just that and he created a beautiful living space, finished with wood, and it was functional and well designed. His project went from something he wanted to try and it turned into a inspiring project. Multiple websites featured his project and he received attention from all over the world. He inspired me to take this concept and push it further.

So when I took a look at how it would be possible to live rent free and mortgage free for my 20’s I had to explore two different options. Both beyond the practical way of life, but both still luxurious and personal. The first option was a tiny house, a small house that is built on a trailer with the same building principles as a full home. They are roughly 150 square feet, they have everything necessary and can be towed and placed wherever. The second option was Hank’s bus, building my own bus and recreating his idea to make a functional long term living environment.
Both options cost overall less than 15,000$ at a maximum, and this would be a one time expense. The one time cost would allow for a mobile living environment for however long I needed.

One of my main aspects of living rent and mortgage free was that I wanted to start making money. I work, I actually work a lot, sometimes one job, sometimes multiple. But at the end of the day I am still basically living pay cheque to pay cheque. It isn’t bad but it isn’t saving. I wanted to receive a pay cheque and actually make money, instead of having temporary funds that allowed me to pay off rent, bills, and so forth. I wanted to make the money I earn, not spend it all at once, and both of these options allowed for that to happen, a one time cost and then just move on with life.

So I made a decision after multiple pros and cons lists, multiple re thinkings and redesigns. I decided to choose a bus, because the framework existed, there was more square footage and I didn’t have to buy a car or truck on top of building a house. It was a large mobile structure which I could take with me and the house would come with, it is the ultimate all in one solution. With little inspiration other than Hank I have to design most of it from imagination and see what I can dream up. See Hank never finished his concept, there are many things it still lacks and it is not a complete living situation. I want mine to run on its own, be completely independent and replace any other living situation I have.

The next step is to create a smart space within a bus that is functional mainly for me, but can support up to 6 more people. The bus needs to have ample storage, and functional space, it must have a full bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom. There can be no dividing walls because the space needs to remain open, there needs to be unfiltered natural light and it needs to be functional off and on grid. It shouldn’t matter if I am in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a city, either way I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my living situation or my quality of life. I want a space that is beautiful and brilliantly designed as well as something comfortable and functional. Hank made a great opening statement by creating a beautifully designed, functional space but he didn’t finish all the actual workings. For example his doesn’t have a functioning washroom, but the space exists.

So how does mobility become a potential quest? Well here is my problem, in a 2 year period I have moved 7 or 8 times between houses, apartments and so forth. It isn’t that my living space was bad, but that I got bored of the surroundings. Having mobility and a fresh space is fun for me, sure it is expensive but I just can’t settle. The bus allows me to travel when I wish and where I stay will always be different. There is nothing tying me down to a property or space, I am mobile and can be wherever I please. Hotels would never be a thing, because my home would just come with me. Owning a vehicle and renting are the two highest costs, so by combining them I am simplifying everything and really only paying for the vehicle portion. So my quest is currently to last a minimum of 4 or 5 years in the bus. I want to make it through the university stage of life without living in an apartment or rental space. I also want to travel, this doesn’t mean to other continents since I am still fascinated by what we have here, the idea of a road trip seems like fun and being able to really go anywhere in North America is nice. I can just up and travel anywhere during my free time which is a nice feeling.

In theory a one time cost of under 15,000$ and then afterwards gas and food is the only expenses for my lifestyle. It would allow me to actually make and save money after that one time expense. I wouldn’t sacrifice my lifestyle which seems luxurious but is really just dressed up to look nice. I wouldn’t have to sacrifice much other than an apartment in a convenient location. I would get to design my space and do what I will to make it my own. All of these are appealing to me and provide the kind of financial freedom I am searching for. I plan to continue this discussion and I would love to hear some feedback or advice from others.

As always thank you for reading my random mutterings and articles, I appreciate it so much!
Have an amazing day and stay tuned for more on this topic.

The Obsession with Space

As an industrial designer and an eco conscious vegan I’m constantly concerned with our footprint and this directly relates to the space that we use. The space seems to become bigger all the time and we are using so much more than we need. This is making our cities, weaker, our spaces seem more crowded and it is expensive. Space is expensive, real estate is expensive, having a lot of anything is expensive and yet we are so obsessed with it. Why? Between the 1900’s and now there was suddenly a shift in what we believed we needed and we suddenly started collecting space like it was something real special.

Since the late 1900’s and now we are using 3 times more space than before, our dishes are 22% larger than they used to be, a small family now uses over 1000 square feet as opposed to under 600 previously. Not only that but people are getting married later, getting divorced sooner and many are living single longer, on top of that everyone is living longer. All these factors and we are still using much more than needed. Even young singles or professionals are using upwards of 600 square feet, when that use to host like a whole family. So what is the need for so much space, where did we decide that it was the norm to have more than what we need.

I understand wealth and wanting large houses as a manner of showing off, having multiple garages, maids, butlers and like 2 different wings to your house, however that is another subject all on it’s own. I’m talking about the average everyday person, somehow even the average families are living in spaces with an excessive amount of space. One of the biggest problems is that real estate doesn’t even support smaller, we are forced to buy larger spaces and it puts a lot of people in bad situations. Houses aren’t cheap, mortgages aren’t cheap, and although they used to be, they no longer are. There was an old book that taught how to diy a dream home for under 4000$, this was a basic family home suited for 3 or so people. Now understanding that money has changed over the years and value has differentiated a bit, that is still amazing that a home of such size could be constructed for such an ideal price, where now most homes are well over 200,000$.

This space phenomenon has also applied to cities, this is actually one of the biggest concern in space management and excess. We see things like urban sprawl becoming an acceptable norm, which isn’t okay, expanding cities so far out ad making them ultimately impossible to navigate without a vehicle is wrong. Suburbs are probably one of the worst concepts that have ever been birthed. The idea of creating individual sub cities within a larger space is just absolutely stupid. They are expensive, inconvenient, bland and boring, they are far from the necessities and everyone there is obligated to own a vehicle because no public transportation system can service all that. I personally choose to live either in or within walking distance to downtown. Most downtown cores have been designed with sufficient necessities for everyone. There are shops, restaurants and markets that allow all the necessary things to be provided. People have adapted the mindset that all the larger commercial brands and so forth are the ideal and this matches with urban sprawl. If you create a suburb you also create a grocery store, banks, restaurants and some stores, it is inevitable.

So not only do our homes get bigger but our cities expand to fit this demand, we create inconvenient cities and we create problems for the general people by distancing things so much. We are really disabling people and this is making our cities harder to enjoy. Who enjoys a gridlocked, busy city where you need to drive half an hour to get anything? They aren’t idea, people are drawn towards places where walking is possible, when the space is friendly and people want to move about and explore your city becomes a much happier place to reside. There are a few cities that have worked to make their area more “walkable” basing your city on walk score can really improve infrastructure. For example the city of Portland, Oregon has thinner streets, bike rentals, city transportation in many forms, local shops, designers, restaurants, bars, entertainment and so forth. Many young graduates and professionals choose to move here, it is an appealing city. Where most of the world is spending the majority of their income on cars and vehicle transportation, Portland is spending that amount on local shops and entertainment. People are drawn to Portland for it’s unique design and the fact that walking is acceptable, it is easier to explore and much healthier overall. If cities were to redesign based on walkability instead of commercial interest and suburbs then maybe their city would be more desirable.

For example I live in a city that is fairly walkable, however recent expansion has built multiple suburbs and the city has lost some of its charm. I still live in the downtown core, and overall the downtown is fairly walkable, you can access a variety of local shops, food, and grocery within walking distance, realistically I could never leave downtown and live perfectly fine. However our walk score is actually a 93 out of 100, pretty decent, compared to Portland which is a 98, both are described as a walker’s paradise. The daily errands and everything you could absolutely need is all within 20 minutes of walking. But this walk score applies strictly to the downtown area, if you were to evaluate other areas of the city they would be very low scores. It is near impossible to walk around the other areas of the city.

My city undergoes road improvements every year, the city is congested with construction all through the warm months and all this money is going towards infrastructure, but we are ignoring the walk score. What if this money was redirected? We could instead work on narrowing the downtown streets to better support pedestrian traffic, many of our roads are 4 lanes wide and all streets support angled parking, which together takes up a lot of space. Widen the sidewalks, erect more attractions in the downtown area and make the space somewhere where people want to stay, not just walk by. Adding pavilions, benches, green space and more beautiful space would increase our score. To add desire to the area we should support pedestrians, we are more likely to receive business if someone walks by and sees it as opposed to driving. Foot traffic is the easiest to attract and the city should work to help these local businesses thrive. This requires that the downtown core space is attractive, friendly but this also means that the businesses need to work to create attractive store fronts and spaces that people want to visit. Overall I would say the city is beautiful, filled with old limestone buildings, large windows and vintage shops, but many of them are dying slowly due to the lack of foot traffic anymore. When there are malls and people who live at opposite ends of the city, it is hard to attract them to the downtown core and keep people here.

Instead of space, and expansion we need to work on the appeal of space, there is plenty of space downtown but it isn’t always friendly. Let’s stop worrying so much about suburbs and that space, and instead work on beautifying the local space. Help make our businesses thrive, our downtown bustle with excited people, make the space beautiful and attract all types of people. It isn’t hard to add some better benches, a pavilion or some extra green space, so what is stopping us. I look around the downtown space daily and I see so much room for improvement, as one of a small population who loves this city and wants to stay here, I would like to see some changes to make the city more attractive, and help keep people here. We have a constant rotation of 17 thousand people coming into our university and instead of just being here for school we should give them a reason to stay, to see that the city is a great place to be and allows for all the things that people want, we should try to attract this educated young generation to help the city. Like Portland, where people want to move there, many young educated folks move there out of choice because it is appealing. With 17 thousand people we should try and create space that is welcoming and invites a more long term commitment to the city, with an inflow of young minds think of the innovations and possibilities. The inflow of ideas and new thinking is great and could benefit the city.

Overall we need to rethink space and how it is being used, stop supporting expansion and instead support beautification. Making space friendlier not bigger, making things attractive instead of spaced out. I would much rather a space where I can easily walk around and do my daily tasks instead of needing to waste money on gas and transportation. Many people now would much rather walk, bike or use public transport to counter the high price of gas. If our cities support that then it will draw more people. This same rule goes for homes and living, instead of making things bigger let’s make them more beautiful, more attractive, and more functional. I would much rather live in a smaller space that has great looks, functionality and is close to everything. Great spaces are easier to sell than big spaces. If you can offer the benefits of downtown living in beautiful space then why wouldn’t you? Selling people on the fact that they won’t need a vehicle and are close to everything seems so much better than explaining how far they will have to commute or the distance they are from everything.

So together let’s start to rethink space, let’s start to really think about how much we are using and for what. Let’s work on creating beautiful space instead of large open space. It is my belief that beauty and functionality will easily attract more than large open concrete space. Let’s focus on walk score, the pedestrians and the locals. There is still profit in creating friendly space, because you will be attracting a new wealthy crowd of people who are willing to pay to be in such an area. By working on our appearance we are attracting the right kinds of crowds and making the city more beautiful instead of more busy. By working on our appearance we are creating an appealing space where people want to be, what city doesn’t want to be the “in” thing, be popular with the young crowd and be attractive to everyone? It isn’t hard, let’s start making the shift today.

Once again thanks for reading and I hope you picked up some useful concepts.
Have an amazing day and keep reading for more ideas on space, beauty, simplicity and functionality.
Thanks!

The Stigma to Mobile Living

Recently tiny homes and mobile homes have become a rising trend in housing and has become something that people are starting to enjoy. However tiny homes remain pretty stationary they aren’t built to be constantly moved or lived in on the go. So yes, people have become to adjust to the idea of tiny houses because the shift is only downsizing the home, where as mobile living is still classified as “trashy” and unorthodox. I’m not talking about an RV or a trailer, I’m talking about true mobile housing where the entire structure is meant to be on the go constantly and is built to travel.

I’m curious as to why these types of living are classified below others, it isn’t living in a trailer park and it isn’t camping. The idea I’m thinking of is much better, it is taking a large vehicle and creating a home within it and then having the ability to travel with it wherever you need. Making a complete living environment and creating an elegant living situation that allows for one to reside at little or no costs. This would make anyone’s time in the structure rent free, bill free and mortgage free, which allows them to have a period of time where they are able to make and save money, no real costs other than food and general needs. The idea is cheaper than regular housing which may be why it is frowned upon, not many have come to the point where they will accept cheaper ways to live and that a house, mortgage and debt aren’t necessary.

Mobile living spaces are optimal for many young people with multiple aspirations, a space to live, work and also travel with. The idea covers everything you could need with a pretty decent startup cost of around 15 thousand dollars. However it is a one time cost and after that there isn’t much need to pay for anything else. For young people who are taking time off to work and find themselves doesn’t this make perfect sense? Why would you want to work long hours for a job you probably don’t like only to lose over half that money to bills and rent. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much of that money on something you won’t be keeping. Why are we all so accustomed to paying for temporary housing or something that won’t last. Young people can rarely afford to purchase property or land, so they are caught in the cycle of renting something. Where this option allows you to own both home and vehicle in one and go through however long you want with something that you own, something that is yours. Then when you feel done with it you can sell it off and make some return off it. You’ll never see any money from an apartment come back, so you’re already a step ahead.

If there is so much good to them why are they so frowned upon and why is there this stigma as to people who live in mobile structures. My fear is that you get classified with people who live in trailer parks or such stereotypes. Either you are low income and you can’t afford a real house or other such reasons. Mainly there are say 4 or 5 homes built like the way I am talking about and this means that it one isn’t popular and it is still unknown, for it to be a more acceptable idea there needs to be more higher income or top of the chain kind of people choosing to live in these. Or they need to become something that trends just like the tiny house movement.

Finally the greatest difference between tiny houses and mobile living is exactly that, one is a residential unit placed in a stationary position while the other has the ability to function on it’s own and can go anywhere you want. Which in my mind for every young person looking at these options would be the better option. Trips and so forth all become simple and really easy to just pick up and leave. If the mobile living idea could catch some more attention and become a trend like the tiny houses maybe there wouldn’t be such a stigma to what kind of people would live like this.

Once again thanks for reading and thanks for checking in! Love sharing thoughts and opinions and as always I hope you have an amazing day!

Downsizing and Tiny Homes

I have previously discussed the ideas of life editing and downsizing, today we will specifically touch on downsizing. The main idea of downsizing is to take a space and bring it down to a sustainable and manageable footprint. So through the statistics business we have determined that the average person needs 150 square foot per person. That’s fairly small but that is the space needed to feel comfortable, and yet the standard in most cities is a home cannot be smaller than 1000 square feet even if it is a one or two person home. So why has the standard becoming 6 and a half times what we need? Where did the standard suddenly rise so dramatically and when did our society get so greedy about space.

Many people look at the tiny homes, living spaces and hotels in Japan and think it is madness, yes its crowded but it is a good system. In under 400 square feet you can sometimes find up to 6 or more people, it is crowded but it is livable. Then we shift back to North America and we see average of 1000 square feet and upwards for a home. Most cities won’t even allow a tiny space to exist. Many building codes prohibit the existence of spaces under a certain square footage and there are very few codes that allow it. Most of the tiny house movement would be considered illegal if they weren’t built and classified as trailers. It’s unfortunate for those who want to downsize to such a good level but can’t due to their cities limitations. See our current society is actually working against the potential for small spaces and small space development.

So why is our society so against small spaces and tiny houses? What happened that our society can’t deal with the thought of downsizing? Well it turns out that generally there are two mentalities associated with tiny homes. Either these are poor people, or hippies, most people assume living in a tiny home is a choice made through poor life choices or homelessness or being a “hippy” when the reality is quite the opposite. The people moving into and building these usually are well off or doing okay, these people are conscious of their footprint or like me fed up with using so much space. Often these people are forward thinking and understand the movement and that it can save us lots of money to do something like this.

The real problem is that tiny homes aren’t profitable, to take up space and set up a tiny house community wouldn’t be a lot of space but for the same space someone could build a more profitable “resort” or even an apartment structure. Both of which are far more profitable than a tiny house community. It’s an unfortunate reality in the business world and anyone who has the space will want to create something that makes them the most money, since it is an investment.

But back to downsizing, downsizing isn’t expensive, anyone can do it and anyone can begin to simplify their life like this. It starts with need vs want. People who live in tiny spaces and people who have already simplified their lives still have stuff, but this stuff has some use. They have learned to bring it down to the necessities, not bare necessities but the things that are most needed. Just because you live in a large home doesn’t mean you need to fill it with stuff, take a look at minimalist decor and you’ll see that less is really more. This is part of the excess mentality where we are convinced that more stuff is better, the more you have the better you are. But it isn’t that, long time saying of quality over quantity, let’s learn to keep quality and useful items instead of junk and random pieces to fill space.

Start downsizing, you’ll learn how free your home feels and how relaxing the process can be. If you haven’t used something in many months chances are you won’t be using it much down the road so why keep it? What purpose does that hold. If there is something that sits around and collects dust don’t you think it is time to get rid of it? Maybe one person’s trash is another’s treasure, so why not offer someone a treasure today? There is no value or purpose in keeping junk and it is a mentality that needs to change, we can’t continue to amass more without getting rid of something. One of the best rules once you’ve downsized is for something new to be purchased and brought home something old needs to be removed. It makes sense because the more you buy the less of the old things you will still use, they lose their lustre. So why do you still need them around, well you don’t.

Downsizing is very freeing, you can look around at your open space and know the things you have are of value and are useful. You can breathe easily if you ever have to move because you have less to worry about moving. You know that everything has a purpose and a value and it makes for a better home. Plus you can come home and relax knowing there is less to clean and less to organize. Let’s be real who doesn’t want more relaxing time?

I feel the benefits to downsizing really outweigh having junk around, so really what’s stopping you? One or two days of sorting and hard work, some donations to a local thrift store or selling some old stuff and wow look now you have a more open and relaxing space!

Thanks for reading and as always I hope have an amazing day!
Next I want to dive more into the subject of tiny space living and also the idea of flatpack!
Stay tuned!
Thanks

Downsizing and Life Editing

Today I really want to touch on the concept of life editing and the need for such a thing in not only our lives as North Americans but also for really anyone. The 21st century is completely obsessed with commercialism and advertising and consumerism. Now I won’t convince you to run away and live in a cabin in a forest far from the tax man but I do want to talk about life editing in a world where we have been taught to consume.

First why is downsizing important? Why should I downsize when I can own three cars, a mansion and have tons of money? Well downsizing is important for so many different reasons, first off it is important to our own sanity. Why is it that our homes are much larger than 20 years ago and yet we still can’t find a spot for all the things we own. Doesn’t that tell you that maybe you have too much stuff or maybe you are possessing too much? The american dream is no longer of freedom and expression or acceptance, it has become about consumerism and possession. It is not a healthy thing to keep as the “american dream” because that means many other people are trying to accomplish this dream all over the world because they see how wealthy our nation is, and yet no one sees the damage of this. Many current issues with society and the way we consume things has caused a ripple effect, we are causing problems in other countries and other places because of our consumerism, this isn’t healthy and not something we should be proud of let alone inspiring the rest of the world to partake in. Downsizing is important because it is trying to make a mentality shift in people and show the world that consumerism and possession isn’t a happy way of life, it isn’t fulfilling to own a lot of things, it is nice and something to brag about, but it isn’t happiness. We need to start taking steps to show that the american dream isn’t about multiple cars and big houses, we need to show them that it is about a happy, comfortable life, living within means and having the essentials. The american dream should be something like having freedom, expression, and essentials, shelter, water, food, security and love. Some places don’t even have proper water.

Now life editing, that is a fairly new word isn’t it, well the definition is simple it is exactly editing your life. This is important because many of us do not live a sustainable lifestyle, especially the ones who are the biggest consumers, it is hard to live sustainably when all your meals come in packaging and your waste is more than your actual possessions. Life editing is all about learning how to bring your life down to a manageable, sustainable and happy lifestyle. Often a critical point is the actual space we use, we don’t need 2000 square feet to live, in fact many people are living and managing quite well in under 500 square feet. So evaluating the size of space you need to live, this is something that helps your finances and also teaches a lesson in frugality, you learn to keep the things you need and nothing more, you buy something, you get rid of something, there is no excess, there is just balance. Learning what we need instead of what we want is a very freeing experience and we learn just how much consumerism has taken over our lives, once you realize that it is amazing.

These two steps don’t mean you have to live in a studio apartment, with the bare essentials and so on, it just means that you take steps to make your life more sustainable and easier to manage. You are taking steps towards a better life through simplicity and downsizing. Discovering that there is more to life than that sale or that new product, instead we start living with what we need, we become more relaxed and more comfortable in our space and we realize that excess doesn’t bring happiness.

As always thank you for reading, I know today was short but I plan to continue this thought in other articles. I hope you either learned or gained something and I hope you have an amazing day!
Thanks

A Sustainable Life is a Good Life (Introduction)

Have you ever seen a landfill? A junkyard? Or for that matter any other place we dispose of goods and waste. Well if you have you will see these mountains of trash, these huge spaces covered by supposed garbage. If you have seen these than maybe you will have thought about how much excess we use, just how much we waste and that there must be some way of changing that. It’s so true, there is a way to change it and it starts with learning to live a more sustainable life.

I don’t want to go into huge details but I want to visit this subject along the same lines as simplicity and minimalism. By simplifying our life and bringing things down to the essentials we can maybe learn to minimize our impact on the environment. The benefits of consuming less is pretty clear, I mean you have less stuff to organize and clean, you have fewer but more valuable possessions and you are saving money. So in theory a more sustainable life is better right? So if it is as good as I say then why haven’t more people hopped on board? Well the reality is that as North Americans we have just grown accustomed to excess, we are used to having too much, whether that be space or possessions, either way we have learned to want and possess more.

Some small facts about excess include: Westernized places account for over 60% of the world’s spending. The US accounts for 5% of the population in 2004 and 33% of the world’s consumption. We are targeted by over 1500 commercial advertisements per day, as opposed to 500 in the 60’s.

I don’t know about you but those kinds of statistics scare me, the fact that the North American population isn’t too big but yet accounts for the majority of the world’s consumption is terrifying. Places that are extremely dense with population still consume less than us, as a whole we are obsessed with consumption in the forms of fast food, products, and housing. Even in housing we have changed drastically. In the 1900’s the typical american house consisted of 700-1200 square feet for 2-3 bedrooms and a whole family. Now the typical american house is around or over 2000 square feet, and this is for a small family and even just a couple. Did you know that when building a home in the states there is a minimum square footage required for building a home? Most of these are above 1200 square feet minimum depending on the area, that means today’s minimum is bigger than the 1900’s maximum. Two people can somehow occupy 1000’s of square feet and it’s completely okay, but if someone tries to build something less than that minimum it isn’t zoned properly and it doesn’t classify as a home. See how we are working against sustainability here?

Ever notice that while living in a large home you still can’t seem to find a place for everything? We somehow still have too much stuff, and it isn’t even like people this is material items. After the statistics above how is it even possible that two people or a small family can have too much stuff to fill a space that is bigger than ever before. So why is it that we still have too much stuff even though we have more storage space than ever before? This is where a great term called life editing comes in. There is a man named Graham Hill that I stumbled upon a while back, he lives in purposely small spaces and manages to live and work just fine, he is still demanding a home office, living room, bedroom, spare room, full kitchen and not giving up amenities but yet he still manages to live in spaces that are under 500 square feet. Now yes Graham is a single guy in these situations but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to downsize. There are couples living in tiny houses built on trailers that are less than a 100 square feet, so what’s your excuse for needing more than a thousand? How is it that you still have too much stuff?

The concepts of sustainable life are simple, you edit your current lifestyle, you remove the junk from your life and you learn to let go and downsize. I will never stop throwing the idea of letting go out there because it is so vital to life. You can’t hold on to the material goods in our life, is that waffle maker increasing your daily happiness? Probably not. I went from a busy family home, and I’ve moved and rented spaces all over, from people’s houses, to people’s basements to my own house. Through each experience I was surrounded by excess, not my own per say but everyone else. It is ridiculous that someone can have a house so filled with things they never use.

For a sustainable life we need to learn to edit, let go and find multipurpose. These aren’t difficult, because once you learn to let go the rest is really simple. Bringing things down to the bare essentials is great because it means that you have everything you need, which means everything has a place and everything has a use. Finding multipurpose is also really important because it means that we can have even less without sacrificing everything we need. Whether this means a sofa that is a bed, a table that changes sizes, and so on, it just means we can have less without sacrificing our needs. I believe to this day I could pack my entire house into the back of a van and move on without a huge hassle, to me that is a beautiful feeling, I can pick up and move on at a moment’s notice without losing everything I need.

I hope you are beginning to see how simplicity and minimalism can be more beneficial than excess, and maybe you too will eventually be inspired to change your habits and maybe downsize a bit. With an ever growing population and a shortage of space we need to learn to downsize otherwise the future is going to be really difficult. When the future comes I would rather be living in a really nice, multifunctional, small space than in a big house. While the world is struggling to find space and everyone needs a spot to live I would rather know that I am doing my part to live small and not being one of the people who are living in excess. I want to be an innovator, I don’t want to be stuck in the same trend as the rest of the nation. For the future to go smoothly we need to learn to downsize and take the space we need as opposed to the space we want. This all starts with downsizing, life editing and multipurpose planning, these simple concepts can be applied throughout our lives and will help us move forward into a more secure, more sustainable future.

I’m going to continue a series on sustainability here and we will address many different aspects of the life that could go through some editing and downsizing. Stay tuned for those articles.
Thanks for reading today’s kind of lengthy article and I hope this opened your eyes a bit to the crazy changes our world has made in a short span of time, maybe this has inspired you to take up some changes, even coming back to read more on sustainability is a step and I thank you for being here to take it.
Have an awesome day!