Check out my new post at Thrive with Less, which, if you didn’t already know, is a project/challenge/documentary I am working on which is quickly consuming my life so you should probably pay attention to it so I don’t feel meaningless.
This is what Colin and I’s apartment will look like for the rest of the month.
That cardboard wall effectively removes over 35 square feet from our already small apartment. But, we don’t need it. Our living room is substantially cozier now, but we actually like it a lot thus far.
So why did we decide to put up this wall? Well, for me, the reasoning is twofold. First, there is the challenge. If you haven’t read up on what we’re doing this month, we are making small changes in our lives in order to learn how to live better while having less and creating less of an impact. One of the changes we want to make is in terms of shelter.
As a group, we share a sentiment that the idea of shelter has taken a strange shift. It used to be a term than represented one of the basic needs of all beings – food, water, and shelter. This meant a roof over your head; somewhere to escape the elements. But look at us now. Many people have more rooms in their home than people in their family and can separate themselves so distantly that they won’t see each other for an entire day even though they haven’t left the house. They could even be chatting online in opposite rooms without ever having that face-to-face interaction. And while I speak in extremes here, this idea of excessive space has become the norm.
So, we’re challenging this notion. Just in our little apartment, sectioning off some of our space has meant more interaction between the three people living here. We’ve had to change the arrangement of our living room to make it less focused on the television and more focused on creating a space for people to gather. Because it’s smaller, we’re just forced to come closer together – physically and mentally.
Furthermore, we’ve been talking about what we could do if everyone gave up a comparable space. Granted, we can’t really donate that 35 square feet for public use, but in theory, if everyone learned to use a little less, we could give a lot back to the public and to the community. The way I see the world, we’re quickly running out of space as population and modernization both boom, and I think that that again, learning to live with a little less space, could do wonders for curbing such a huge problem.
But more important than any of that, this wall has served as a constant reminder to change my mind set. I come home, see this wall, and it immediately brings me back to what this project is all about: asking myself “what do I need?” and “what is really important?” And that, I feel, is the most important thing I’ve gained and that others can gain from this project. It’s not just about having less, using less, and buying less. Much more importantly, it’s about challenging ourselves to live lives that we are truly happy with and will find fulfillment in.