When I talk to people about living in downtown Austin, one of the main questions (I italicize the word, because it’s generally not really even a question, but almost a statement, filled with doubt and incredulity – often said with wide-eyes and some form of pitied-awe) I get is “How on earth do you live in such a small space?”
It’s true, 877 square feet (the size of Jude and I’s first place downtown, The Sabine), doesn’t really sound like a lot, given that most of our friend’s places in the suburbs are triple the size or more, but I’ll be honest, it was really, truly, great. Jude and I try very much to embrace a minimalist lifestyle in terms of our material possessions and enjoy putting the emphasis of our lives on experiences rather than objects.
Which is why I was inspired when I read a story in this month’s Real Simple magazine (the one magazine that I regularly read). The headline was “Happily Ever After, in 351 Square Feet.”
Did you catch that? 351 feet.
The story is about a couple that lost their home in a fire, and due to financial necessity, had to move into a 351 square foot shed in the back of their lot. Making the most of their situation, they converted this shed into a pretty bad-ass model of efficient living – scaling down on their material needs, employing multiple uses for spaces/furniture, and making sure every square foot of space has a purpose.
To me, there is something very freeing and inspiring about using only what you need, and being thoughtful in your consumption and use of space. Certainly, it is great to have ample room, but with ample room often comes the burden a million things you have to deal with and are often emotionally held down by – at least in my experience and what I see with those I know.
So, my Sunday thought: Living in a small space not only is an urban-planning strategy to maximize scarce land-use and energy resources, but, on a very personal level, encourages a lifestyle of thoughtful consumption and creativity of living.