This summer, Donovan and I joined the Tiny House Movement.
In the beginning, that consisted of perusing the internet for Tiny House talks and Tiny House tours; measuring out the space in our kitchen that will be the total square footage of our beloved future Tiny House; signing up for a Tiny House conference, and, especially for my part, getting rid of shit.
Though I’ve considered myself an ardent adherent of Voluntary Simplicity since my late teens, since my partner and I moved from our tiny shacks into a spacious 1,200 square foot, 3-bedroom abode, I have bought endless thrift store accouterments to make the bare rooms feel cozy. Part of the Tiny House philosophy that attracts me stresses tailoring one’s space to reflect one’s true needs and values, and getting rid of shit is already making space for more ease, efficiency, time, and, wonderfully, an opportunity to get closer to life!
So, I’ve taken Tiny House proponent Andrew Morrison’s suggestion to heart: to evaluate each object, down to the paperclip, and ask, “Is this necessary for my happiness and well-being?”
Here are a few things I’ve learned I don’t need:
I don’t need 8 sets of bed sheets (even organic cotton ones) or a dozen bath towels
I don’t need a dresser (especially when I’ve realized that–)
I don’t need half my clothes, especially anything in black
I don’t need holey socks
I don’t need ugly or uncomfortable shoes (this also applies to–well, everything)
I don’t need a tongue scraper thingy (or maybe I do, but I won’t use it)
I don’t need a cake plate (a difficult one, because I thought for a while that I did very much need a cake plate)
I don’t need ill-fitting underwear (who has time for that? My ass deserves COMFORT)
I don’t need books to remind me of who I am or used to be or would like to be
I don’t need my old journals (nor need I tearfully re-read and ceremoniously burn them [any more]; I just toss that old shit into the recycling bin)
I don’t need to keep things that people have given me because I’m afraid to hurt their feelings if I don’t
I don’t need my retainers, which will never, ever fit again (side note: fuck braces)
I don’t need most of the dishes or silverware or half of the pans in the cabinets (which, like most of these other things, we skip over anyway, because of lack of function or pleasure using them)
I don’t need pictures/letters/things to remind me of people–their essence is here
I don’t need gift bags and tissue paper (how often do we give gifts other than food or flowers, which are wrapped in their own beauty?)
I don’t need art that no longer inspires me
I don’t need boxes of magazines I will never read
I don’t need bottles of shampoo that have hung out, unused, in the tub for years
I don’t need leftover ex-boyfriend baggage
I don’t need a plethora of charming containers for small, unimaginable items
I don’t need a single pencil on my desk (how the hell did those get there?)
I don’t need crayons
I don’t need photo after photo of my cute 20-something-year old self in exotic locations (okay, maybe just a couple)
I don’t need countless objects that I not only stopped using but even SEEING until I consciously evaluated my surroundings
I am left with things I use on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Things that are pleasurable to look at and to use. Things that are relevant to my current state of being.
There is no end to this process. I can apply this paring down to my work and to how I choose to spend my time, and it deeply informs each purchase and each object I seek or accept into my life.
And don’t go asking me for any of that stuff, ‘cause it’s all been passed on to friends or to local thrift stores.
Feel free to comment on your own relationship to all things THING.