living with less

i have mentioned before that-- in my not-very-copious free time-- i am writing a book.  it is about houses and home and my own journey to living with less.

a few days ago my former business partner, ariana, (see her beautiful aesthetic here) sent me a link to an article by graham hill, founder of 'sitewerks' and 'treehugger.com':  'living with less.  a lot less'.

hill writes:

Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago.
man, does this all make sense to me.  i am especially aware this week of what it costs in dollars and energy use to heat/ cool all these big, largely empty,  homes.

twice this winter my daughters and i have lived without heat and hot water for a few days while we waited for parts for our problematic boiler.  twice we have learned that heat is actually not nearly as important as we think.  when we are unable to turn up the heat, we are forced to put on a lot more clothing in order to be comfortable-- not, actually, that big a deal.  when we cannot take half hour showers-- or any shower at all-- because there is no hot water, we learn to heat bowls of water to use to wash ourselves-- again, pretty straight forward lifestyle.  we acclimate to the new climate. we remind ourselves that most people live this way all the time-- and that it is only in recent history that we had the ability to turn up the heat or take showers at all.  

we realize that something we think of as a necessity is really a luxury-- and one that we should not take for granted.

good to be reminded now and then of how we are living.


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