Sunday, September 02, 2007

Little House on a Small Planet

I just went to a talk by Shay Solomon, author of Little House on a Small Planet (which I'm about to buy). She is the co-founder of the Small House Society, and extremely well versed in the history of homes as spaces in the United States. And although Jim and I do live small in 600 square feet, I learned a lot of historical and political background on housing. I learned, for example, that there is no housing shortgage despite what it seems like from the number of new developments. The economy is measured in terms of home unit growth, and so we build homes even when we have plenty.

Here are some of her tips for living small:

1. Stop Jonesing. Stop yearning for what other people have. Stop comparing yourself and your possessions to others.

2. Choose what you need in your home, not what you want.

3. Live in a space that fits you like a glove, not a space that fits your stuff. (Shay says that the storage industry is larger than the music industry in the United States!)

4. Pay off your debts. (Many people who live small have little or no mortgage.)

5. Go outdoors. Reclaim the common spaces.

6. Give up loneliness. Bring others into your space. And go out more.

(That's an Ezra Pound quote in the sign).