by Linda Hunter –
Those familiar with the minimalist movement will know Joshua Becker, his website, Becoming Minimalist, and his best-selling books devoted to a lifestyle of modern simplicity. And while many celebrate the Marie Kondo art of tidying, still more support a growing multi-million-dollar storage industry.
Part of living simple for me is living smaller. Living smaller includes living with intention and asking myself what I actually need rather than simply what I want. And while some might believe that more is more, I would argue that having more includes more work, stress, worry, maintenance, cost and less peace of mind. These stats from Becker’s U.S.-based website are staggering to me:
- There are 300,000 items in the average American home (Canadian homes won’t be much different)
- The fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry is offsite storage
- 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% have room for only one vehicle
- The average U.K. 10-year-old owns 238 toys and plays with just 12
I agree with futurist James Wallman: “we are all suffocating from too much stuff.” And, this is never more evident than when we attempt to move house.
For many, moving means boxes, and lots of them. It’s about finding the right size of box, being organized, packing and labelling so that once moved, you can spend time unpacking those same many boxes and storing everything you packed. As we walk around our current home making decisions about what we want to see in Shirley, we are asking ourselves why we want to take it with us, what its purpose will be, and how much joy it is going to bring versus how much joy it has already brought. Moving forward means leaving behind; those things that no longer serve us and that won’t enhance life’s next chapter. So far, and with plenty of time left, we have determined that along with the necessary household items, there are about 11 things that hold special meaning and will be of real use. Our new home, a 960-square-foot box, has no built-in closets or bookcases, few cupboards and has been designed more for people than things, with views of the woods and outdoor spaces that beckon. It will be a container for what lives, rather than what lands.
What we most want in our new house is not what it will hold but what it will host: meals and shared celebrations, milestones and memories, reading, resting and revelry, ageing in place and if we are lucky enough, a home-based death. A house is a place to lay our heads, but a home is about finding our sense of place in the world, and for me, mine will always be filled with more than what I have, it will be filled with what I hold dear: love and life.
Join Linda quarterly, as her family designs a plan to share a life which includes listening to the land and to each other, introducing themselves to the place and to the people, and living a communal future in Shirley, BC.