Minimalism for me personally, is not just about having fewer possessions; not just about cutting out all the excess baggage. It is not just about “living smaller” in the sense of having fewer things, but it also means “living smaller” in a much more literal sense too. It means for me, a much more fulfilling life, if the actual physical things are smaller. This does not stem from an obsessive interest in tiny things (though tiny things do fascinate me), but rather a strong sense of efficiency.
We live in a world where we still weigh our successes on how BIG our lives are. More specifically, how big our home is, how big our property is, even how big our vehicle is. Sometimes this need for bigness extends to some ridiculous areas like: Big hair, big hat, big heels (high heels actually), big body, big lips, big breasts (I am actually quite fond of this one). We have been conditioned to believe that all this bigness makes us more successful and more attractive.
Unfortunately most of this is just an illusion. That is, it’s all image and no substance. We have all this bigness for the appearance of success to the masses. More specifically, we have been conditioned to believe that bigness=success, and we seek the approval/admiration from our neighbors of our bigness because we need that validation. We need that validation because it’s a bitch to keep and maintain all this bigness. THIS is the ridiculous game we play. The truth is, success itself is measured by our happiness; by our passion/s and relationships (but the details of this are in another essay).
I can see that this is just a game. I have chosen not to take part in it. It’s counterproductive and inefficient. Efficiency lies in having possessions just big enough to suit our needs. It saves time, space, and money. Here are some examples.
- A tiny Hyundai Accent as my vehicle. Big enough for me, my wife, my daughter, and if necessary some cargo as it is also a hatch back. Having a compact car saves money as it is incredibly fuel-efficient. It’s size also makes it very maneuverable and easier to clean/maintain. When I need to transport my bicycle, I keep the bike rack in the trunk and strap it on the back when I need it.
- A two bedroom 825 square foot condo for my home. Again, just big enough for me, my wife, and my daughter. On house cleaning day, it takes two hours to clean the entire condo. We pay less in land/school tax due to the small size (not to mention mortgage), and it takes less than an hour for one wall mounted air conditioning unit to cool the entire condo.
- A laptop computer as my only computer. It is mobile so I can use it anywhere in the home.
- I also take a lot of joy in using my back deck. It’s only 5’X10′, but that is big enough for a BBQ grill, cooler, table and two chairs. Everything I need, nothing I don’t. It’s my little slice of paradise at home. I just recently repainted it for the season; it took about an hour to do two coats.
Living small means living efficiently. Let’s choose not to play the game of bigness. It is really just a socially accepted “penis size” contest anyway. Women don’t need to wear high heels. Men who work desk jobs and have un-calloused hands don’t need to own a pickup truck.