When I was in graduate school, I lived in a small apartment. I was surprised, when I moved in, how long it took me to move all my “stuff.” I have always had great pride in the spaces I inhabit, and I like to be organized. My friend from graduate school—who we will call Joseph—came over one day and made a proposition. He would clean my apartment. Everything that I “absolutely couldn’t live without” had to go in to a cardboard box. Everything else… went.
Joseph was the ultimate minimalist (and still is) and though I found it disarming, I agreed to give it a try. When I came back, my apartment was stripped down to a small number of bare essentials. My first thought was “how am I going to live this way?”
Turns out, I lived more comfortably, with more space, and with less to manage, and I have been a moderate minimalist ever since.
I am always pleasantly surprised how comfortable living in my Airstream can be. Meals are simpler (and healthier), activities are more direct and to the point. When living in a small space, every square inch must be considered, and every square inch counts. I find myself continually asking “do I really need this?” More often than not the answer is no.
The other surprise about living in a small space: I am shocked at how much garbage I generate. About a grocery bag-full each day. It’s mainly packaging from food that I consume, but it is truly shocking how quickly it accumulates.
Living small takes some adjustment, but controlling stuff rather than being controlled by stuff makes the whole thing worth the effort.