We look at some easy-to-implement ideas for living large with a little less.
In 2011, founder of Life Edited Graham Hill gave an inspiring TED talk on the joys of “living little” after downsizing his life into a mere 39 square meters. Fast forward five years, and there has definitely been some societal change. Tiny house enthusiasts and “downsizers” are advocating smaller homes, and people are focusing more on consuming less while trying to limit their footprints. But, there’s still the lingering general consensus in the West that “bigger is better”. But is it?
In theory, the huge mansion with pool, tennis court, private cinema and Michelin Star-rated kitchen sounds like a dream come true. But more often than not, these absurdly-huge homes come with an absurdly-huge price tag – both financially and for their owner’s well-being. Thankfully, choosing to deliberately live with less can be hugely beneficial for your mental health – and that of your bank account.
So how does one begin to live more simply? According to Hill, there are three phases:
“We’ve got to clear the arteries of our lives“ he says. Things that haven’t been used in years or are kept stored in boxes in attics are of no use to our everyday life – and therefore have no bearing on our happiness. Considering purchases before they’re made can help stem the influx. “We need to think before we buy,” Hill says, “and ask ourselves, “Is that really going to make me happier? Truly?” By all means, we should buy and own some great stuff. But we want stuff that we’re going to love for years, not just stuff.”
Small Is Sexy
Think space efficiency. Think practicality. Do you have a double-door fridge when you barely fill one shelf with your weekly shop? Are there rooms in your home that you sometimes don’t even enter for days at a time? “We want things that are designed for how they’re used the vast majority of the time, not that rare event.” says Hill. It’s not only more efficient, size-wise, but by surrounding yourself with things that you use and love and enjoy daily, you’ll eventually feel more fulfilled and satisfied. How many of us have bought something only to never use it – and feel guilt when we come across it in a dusty drawer?
Sofas that become storage, beds that bend to become benches – when choosing to downsize, multifunctionality is your best bet. Wasted space can become an asset, with awkwardly-angled walls becoming a wall-to-ceiling bookshelf with the simple addition of clever custom storage. Take Tylko Shelves for example – they’re completely adaptable to fit any space, and multifunctional – working as anything from sideboard all the way up to ceiling-height storage. The trick is to look at everything for what it’s purpose can be – often many things can be used in different ways, and the fun part is figuring out how. It just takes a little nimble thinking.
Of course, while these tips may be more geared towards an extreme home downsize, their principles can easily be applied to your everyday life.
Editing your surroundings to include things you love and cherish – and, importantly, use – can clear out clutter you’ve been hanging onto for years, and free up space in your home for more exciting possibilities. And thinking on the smaller side is not only good for you – it’s good for the environment. Choosing objects in your home that have multiple uses and are well-built means you’re buying less stuff, less often.
If you’re still not convinced that downsizing for a simpler life might be suited to you – consider your time. Do you really want to be spending your Saturdays vacuuming rooms you never use, or dusting objects you forgot you had? A well-curated life that makes sense spatially and sentimentally is truly a step worth considering, and, thanks to deft space solutions like Tylko, easily within grasp.