Own Less, Live More

Tiny house creates time & the resources to use it wisely

Susan Caba
Resale Evangelista

The home of Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel of Portland, Ore., could be called a Freedom House.

At just 704 square feet, Copenagle boasts that she can vacuum the whole place in five minutes, without ever unplugging the vacuum cleaner. And that was the idea when she and her husband designed and built the tiny home in a neighborhood of two-bedroom bungalows. They wanted a home big enough for two, but small enough to “set it and forget it.”

“There’s so much more personal freedom in going smaller,” Kennel told the New York Times, which featured their house in Own Less, Live More in today’s paper. Rather than keeping up the house, the couple spends time and money on hobbies, education and other pursuits.

Now that is a clarified, simplified and artful life!

My plans are for a slightly larger space–1,000 square feet–and I would configure the structure differently, but I’m all on-board with the concept.

Many people are puzzled at the idea of living in so little space. The average house built in the U.S. in 2012 was about 2,500 square feet, according to the Times. Even the architect who designed the Kennal/Copenagle house was doubtful: “You really don’t want this,” he told the couple. Kennel’s family was baffled. “It doesn’t fit their societal picture of success, generally. We’re doing well, so why aren’t we demonstrating that through our house?”

I occasionally drive through neighborhoods of stately mansions, like those in the Central West End, admiring the buildings. I used to think I wanted a house like that. Now I shudder at the thought–the heating! the dusting! the vacuuming!

One of the reasons I’m moving is that I use about half the rooms in my house which, at 1,400 square feet, is either moderately small or–compared to the Freedom House–relatively enormous. I spend the majority of my time in my office. And still, I look around my house and think “the heating! the dusting! the vacuuming!” I was born to have a housemaid; unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way, so far.

So that’s my plan–move into a Freedom House of my own. Love it while I’m there, but be able to lock it up and leave it without worry when I want to get away. Own less, live more.

If you read the Times article, ramble through the comments–some are wonderfully snarky and many hint at the state of the readers’ marriages.

Resale Evangelista posts are my musings on clarifying and simplifying life, for a richer, more connected existence. Will I get there? As someone once said, “There is no answer. Pursue it lovingly.”

One thought on “Own Less, Live More

  1. Jone

    Sue,
    Love this post! I lived in Tokyo for several years and what freedom to live in a tiny space — accumulating “stuff” was not an option but as the McMansionization influenced me here in the U.S., I too took in more and more. Sending wishes that you get your Freedom House!
    Cheers,
    Jone

    Like

    Reply

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