#10 Downsize this, baby

You can’t take it with you. Not when you die, and not after the cataclysm. When climate change smacks us all upside the head, you’re going to be lucky if you have time to grab your cataclysm kit before running for safety.

So why do you have it now? If you can sort through your stuff and

  1. Decide what’s necessary for survival;
  2. Pick out what’s most important to you; and
  3. Put it all in a backpack,

then what’s all the rest of that stuff filling up your house, garage, yard and rented storage space?

The size of the average American house has more than doubled since the 1950s. Think how much it costs and how much energy we’re wasting to power up all those lights, to heat and air condition all that space.

1950s stereo cabinet from Treadwaygallery.comWhat the hell do we need today that we didn’t need fifty years ago, that’s driving us build big ugly McMansions? Your Ipod is way smaller than your grandfather’s stereo cabinet.

It’s just like packing for a trip, no matter how big your suitcase or your house, you’re going to fill it up. Not just with your stuff, but with yourself too. Average height, weight and body mass index for Americans is on the rise since 1960.

The solution (as every good traveler knows) is to start with a smaller suitcase. I mean house. When it’s full, you’re done.

What’s great is that downsizing isn’t just good for the environment – it’s also good for your wallet. Something we all need help with in these don’t-say-recessionary days. And as that data on Americans’ BMI suggests, it’s good for your health too.

Here’s another way to look at it. One of the great milestones on my path to maturity and adulthood was the day I realized that with the same amount of money I could buy a case of crappy, watered down beer, or a six-pack of a really good-tasting brew. I never looked back.

Downsize your life. Buy less stuff. If the money’s really burning a hole in your pocket, use it to buy from a local store or small manufacturer, to buy better quality, organics and fair-trade certified products.

After all, what doesn’t make it into your survival kit is just going to be hazardous waste after the cataclysm.

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6 Responses to #10 Downsize this, baby

  1. Cheryl says:

    Amen, sista. When I lived in a 400-square-foot apartment, I congratulated myself constantly. Now that I’ve moved to a place twice as big, I can’t be so cocky. I just have to cross my fingers that it’s not a slippery slope.

  2. blog52 says:

    Well, the subprime mortgage meltdown may be flattening that slippery slope a bit. Kind of like how the rise in the price of gas is finally causing people to find ways to buy less of it.

    Why is it that as humans (as Americans?) don’t have the sense to do the right thing when financial times are good?

  3. vbonnaire says:

    Great one!

    You are soooooooo right. I once sailed to an island on a small boat. You’d be amazed after ten days at sea what you learn to do without. Going to the market afterwards was like sensory overload back on the mainland, I swear. I thought that wring post you did was fab, but this one?

    FANTASTIC!

  4. vbonnaire says:

    oops it was the writing with a pen by hand post I meant!

  5. […] You can’t take it with you So why do you have it now? Listen to tip #10 Downsize, this baby: […]

  6. Bumbo Seats says:

    Bumbo Seats…

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you….

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