Thursday, May 3, 2007

Got too much stuff?

Are you a pack rat? Seems a lot of us are. In fact, so many are that these self-storage facilities have become quite an industry. I thought those storage places were for people who were in transition - you know, moving to a new house but living with the in-laws for a couple months between closings. We've all done it.

Turns out, as an article I read recently explains, people just have too much stuff. Temporary storage is the second top reason for using self-storage. The first is "no room for items at residence". Wow. The article even has a list of what's in this guy's storage unit. He has 8 extension ladders. 8?? Okay, this guy is a retired roofer so that's why he needed 8. But now he's retired, why is he keeping them all? Besides, he's probably forgotten most of the stuff he has in there, anyway, so why keep it?

This self storage phenomenon is amazing considering we're living in the days of McMansions. We still don't have enough room for all our stuff, even with houses that are bigger than ever and getting bigger every year.

That's why I love my little house. It's about the size of the house I grew up in. Built in 1969, the closets are SMALL. But that's good because it forces me to think long and hard about each thing I buy. Is it closet-worthy? And, it also forces me to clean out every so often. The lack of clutter and the purging of stuff is quite therapeutic. My soul needs it now and then!

I save money because there's less space to air condition and heat. Less electricity to power and fewer rooms to fill with furniture. It's easier to clean and takes less time to clean, too. I can even clean it myself (although I hate to clean).

Sure, when I see those beautiful McMansions, sometimes I get a little green with envy. But it only lasts until I get back to my little house. It's just the right size for my family of 3. It makes us closer. Yes, I mean that physically and emotionally closer too. We can't run away from each other. We have to learn to co-exist together.

In fact, there are builders now who create tiny houses. Check out Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Jay Shafer, the builder, lives in a house of 100 square feet. I love this guy! Here's what he says:

"My name is Jay Shafer and since 1997 I have been living in a house smaller than some people's bathrooms. I call the first of my little hand built houses Tumbleweed. My decision to inhabit just 100 square feet arose from some concerns I had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and because I do not want to maintain a lot of unused or unusable space. My houses have met all of my domestic needs without demanding much in return. The simple, slower lifestyle my homes have afforded is a luxury for which I am continually grateful."

I love that his concerns were about the environment. And check it out - he says a smaller house provides a simpler, slower lifestyle. Who doesn't want that? Yippee! Thank you, Jay Shafer.

Check out the inside of one of his houses:

Hard to imagine, but it sure is food for thought!

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