Monday, August 06, 2012

Running with the Giants

Running with the Giants
Running with the Giants
The upside of downsizing
It was not that long ago, that “downsizing” carried with it somewhat negative connotations. From businesses that cut staff to become more competitive or do more with less to survive while an economy retracted; to people driving smaller cars or smart cars. Downsizing also suggested that you were either too old or too poor,(or both) to have a large home anymore and so you were forced, begrudgingly, into something smaller and inexpensive and that you were just going to have to “make do.”
These days, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
So, what do giants have to do with downsizing? Personally, I like giant stories, myths, and legends. There is always a little guy in the mix that figured out how to beat the giant, or at least have some of what he has or is able to do.
To me, the modern day giants are the wealthy that keep getting bigger and bigger. They build bigger extravagant castles, and spend a lot of their time trying to make money, so they can have more; another house, cabin, trips, cars all the while having less and less time to spend what time is left doing what they love doing. It becomes a spiral of sorts, as they build bigger to impress someone, they need to make more and spend more time working.  They have become the modern day giants!
When one downsizes, be it by choice or forced upon them, they have freed themselves from the “trappings” of modern society. Instead of spending $251,000 of interest on a $350,000 loan over 30 years, which is about $9,000 per year of income; they can now spend that $9,000 on a 10 day  Regents Alaskan cruise and rail excursion to Denali, take pictures all the while living for a brief spell like a giant lives. Or take a series of small trips around the country, book an excursion in a hot air balloon, take a trip to see friends that have not been visited with in years, or just play around in your backyard, take some classes, and create experiences that will live with you forever.
The comment by Henry David Thoreau, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it” has a lot of wisdom in it. IF you want to run and play like the giants does not mean you have to live like the giants in their stately mansions, castles, and big fancy houses/condos. We can make different choices by living smaller, so we can live large.
Some of the upsides to living small;
Ø  Freedom to travel
Ø  More vacations
Ø  Weekends are yours to play
Ø  Explore the outdoors
Ø  Read frequently
Ø  Explore museums
Ø  Pursue a hobby
Ø  Pursue a passion that makes you come alive
Ø  Take part in sporting activities
Ø  Be of service to the community
Tiny Green Cabins, Tumbleweed Homes, Tiny Home Builders and others can help you achieve living small while running with the giants.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Get the bug! Build Snug!

Living in a small space has its challenges and virtues. I find that it forces me to be more thoughtful with what I bring into my home. Since there is little room for storage, everything is on display. Because of this, I try to be careful with what I buy. I ask myself if I really need it and if I will want to look at and live with it every day.
Living small also challenges me to live and build sustainably. There are countless articles and stories on the web about living small, and I find the most satisfaction in providing a service to folks that want a tiny house that is healthy to live in.
Building tiny houses for chemically sensitive people has taught me a lot about some of my own issues. I get migraines and would resort to a pill, a dark room, all the while hiding away from life for a day or so…burying my head in a pillow waiting for the pain and nausea to lessen. Then I started connecting the dots, when a migraine hit; what was I doing? And that started revealing a pattern linked to some building products that I have used over the years; cedar, Portland cement, treated material, solvents, oil based paints, poly finishes and other man made products.
Building tiny houses for folks with chemicals sensitivities has made me aware of how products a lot of us take for granted can and do affect others. And it reminds me of the canary in the coal mines; miners used canaries to warn them of dangerous breathing conditions, and now I view the folks with chemical sensitivities as the “canaries” that inform us of dangerous conditions in our homes and our work places. As each day passes, I see more warnings about products we used to consider “safe” for human use.
Building small has also made me realize that I do not need a lot of space to live in. The Wildflower is a magical and cozy place to live and climbing into the loft reminds me of being a child when I would hop into bed, cover with quilts and blankets. As I drifted off to sleep all the while listening to the winds whirl around the eves while the rain pummels the roof.

Regardless of the ways in which we are challenged by our space, keeping these inspired quotes in mind provide a good starting point to seeing the benefits these challenges provide.

• 1 You know you have reached perfection of design not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
• 2 Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it. - Leonardo Da Vinci
• 3 The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. - Socrates
• 4 Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris
• 5 Live simply so that others may simply live. - Elizabeth Ann Seton

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