Working for Change, Why Change

So this is exactly it, we all know that changes are everywhere, literally all around us, however many of us wonder why change? I’m personally wondering this with the bus project that is coming up in my life. I see the benefits and all the fun things that could happen but at the same time I already live a really cozy lifestyle. I have a big downtown apartment, an easy job, a fancy wardrobe and expensive tastes. I am always out, I’m always busy and yet I want to give it all up to live in a bus. If I waited till later this would sound like a mid life crisis, except I’m 18 so it’s not that big of a deal. However why would I go through all of this, why would I change so much in my life and for what? Let’s try and work this through.

 

This whole situation might make sense if I was soon to be homeless, struggling or without options. But I’m not, I’m simply 18 and doing all of those things for myself, I support myself and I enjoy the lifestyle I live. It is simple but it works, it has its perks and it has it’s pleasures. If you have read the previous articles, I am going to then give all of this up for little to no luxury, working bare bones and living in a form of primitive style for a bit. The question still stands, so why am I giving up all these great things?

 

The truth is that sure this is nice, but it isn’t sustainable. I’m not necessarily talking about the kind of sustainable that is eco conscious, but financially, space and for my own health. There are many ecological reasons to this as well but those are their own subject entirely. These are the main reasons I see change as a good thing and this is where my reasoning for change comes from. We all realise the changes around us and we sometimes have a hard time figuring out what change we need in our own life and why we may need it. I’m fully aware of this change and here let me explain a bit of why these things could use the change.

 

First I mentioned finances, there is a financial reason for a lot of people to do a lot of things. Most of us want to spend less, some of us want to spend more, it all really depends on your habits and your goals. For myself, I can tell you I really do enjoy spending the way I do, as I please and when I want, no limits and no criticism. I like my irresponsible spending and I enjoy how I live, that isn’t something I want to change, so where can I cut some major expenses? The biggest expenses in anyone’s life is vehicles and homes. These two things cost us the majority of our income, well to begin I don’t own a vehicle so I looked at my housing to cut the costs. Rent is really expensive and I understand its competitive and you are paying for location, so what if I didn’t have to pay rent? Well beautiful but owning is even more expensive, so I have to look somewhere in between. Well if I can build or create something to live in without the need to buy land well I would be cutting all the main stuff, no rent, no land costs and no utilities. Then I can live in something I own, and cut a lot of the main costs in my life.

 

Next I mentioned space, well going with statistics and going with tradition there is no reason we need 1000 plus square feet, even my 800 square foot apartment seems like too much. So part of this change is bringing my space down to what I need and nothing more or less, finding the perfect amount of space that will allow me to function properly and also allow me to live with just what I need. I don’t need the excess, well at least not in space, it is just wasteful. I’ve come to figure something around 200 square feet is perfect, compact, multi functional and organised. With less space, you find there is less room for junk, with less junk we find ourselves being more organised and productive and clean. These are all things I think necessary in such an environment and in my own life.

 

Finally I mentioned health, we all see the benefit of an active lifestyle but I also believe in peace of mind and a simple style. All of my ideas are small, making room and reason to be out and about during the day, whether it is working, or writing or enjoying the outdoors. The less space we have and things to keep us at home the more we may end up going out and exploring. So this will lead to a healthier on the go lifestyle, it will give me a reason to be out and moving as much as possible and it will lead to new discoveries all around. Next I’m very concerned with the peace of mind that there is with a small space. There is little cleaning, little work, everything is organised and you know that you are in a financially winning spot. All of these things lead to a relaxing life at home and the home becomes a place I can go home to and relax.

 

All of these factors are contributing to my desire to change and see this change through, it is a massive step to be taking and it is a big project to take at such a young age. However, to clarify I am not giving up on life, I’m not changing to be cheap or to change things too drastically. I am changing because I like my current lifestyle and the home I live in doesn’t really define my outwards view. Most people you meet in your day to day would never know where you live and this is okay, not that I am ashamed but because it is new.

 

Keep coming and checking back to read more about this journey as it unfolds. Over the next couple weeks I will be making the actual purchase of the school bus and this will put me into the position to start realising my goals. So we will start seeing more posts about the actual progress and expect photos and updates!


Thanks for reading, and coming to check back in! I look forward to sharing more on this project, any questions feel free to ask.

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!

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!