When I moved back home in May to start my articling year, I was considering a number of potential living situations. My mother suggested to me that I should buy a tiny house. She thought she was being funny, but I did some research, and was pretty immediately taken by the idea of living in a home with less than 200 square feet of space that I could tow with me wherever I go.
One of the things I fear is ending up in a situation where I start to feel stuck. I don’t want to be limited in what I’m able to accomplish by the commitment to a single place that comes with having a mortgage or a long-term lease agreement. Owning a tiny home strikes me as being liberating in that sense.
The freedom from clutter and from stuff is also appealing. Owning less stuff would mean spending less money on non-essentials, and having to commit less time to taking care of the things you do own, which would ultimately result in more time and money for awesome experiences (which are really what life is all about).
The most immediate problem was having to fit all my stuff into a very limited amount of space. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on minimalism, and on how to most effectively pare down your belongings to only the essentials. In doing so, I’ve been critically reassessing the things I do own, and whether or not they are necessary for me to live comfortably and functionally.
Here are some of the things I’ve started letting go in an attempt to reduce my possessions to only the bare necessities:
Books – As a former English major, this was a bit difficult at first. My library was a huge source of pride for me in my early twenties (GAH! THEY’RE OVER!). But I don’t need all those books. A lot of them were just sitting on the shelf, sad and unread.
I listed the books that were worth selling on Amazon. The rest I’ve got boxed up to donate to the City library, and guess what: going to the library is free! So if I ever miss my books I can go and visit them, but I’ll probably just continue to borrow other awesome books that I haven’t read yet.
CDs – I haven’t bought a physical CD in a long time (I use iTunes), but I still have a fair sized CD collection. I’ve been loading the albums I own onto my laptop so that I can still have access to the music, and then putting all the CDs in a big box. When I’m all done, that big box will be going to the library. The old ladies there are going to love me—until they see all the classic Hip-Hop albums with “Parental Advisory” stickers I’ve donated.
Clothes – When I’m not at work you can usually catch me wearing one of two pairs of jeans, and a black V-neck t-shirt, or a blue plaid button-up. There’s a reason this isn’t a fashion blog.
I went through my closet, and everything that I don’t wear regularly was donated to the Salvation Army. I still own too much clothing. EXCUSE ALERT: I do a lot of outdoor stuff in the winter, so I have all kinds of cold weather gear: base layers and pullovers, hoodies and jackets, mitts for every temperature range you can imagine, and more toques than a Great White North sketch. But I’m working on it.
I don’t own a tiny house yet, but I’m preparing for the transition. In the meantime my living space is slowly growing as I’m getting rid of some of the things I don’t need to own. This is really just a warm up though. What’s going to happen when it comes time to get rid of guitars and music gear I’ve been using in bands since I was a kid? Stuff that I’ve got more emotional capital invested in. I can see the process becoming more difficult, but for now I’m focussing on the small steps I can take immediately towards my bigger, long-term goal. It’s like that saying about eating a whale—you’ve gotta take it one bite at a time.