I've always liked small houses. My favorite childhood house was the beach cabin on the Oregon coast. It (and my grandfather's amazing time capsule house ... c. 1927 ... in Astoria) accounts for my affection for bungalows, old stuff, and history too.
My parents jammed 6 people into what was probably 700 square feet during the summer ... but no one cared because we played outside on the beach, the woods, and the sand dunes. No one got killed by sneaker waves (pure luck), broke any bones (more luck), or got kidnapped by BAD PEOPLE (it was a simpler age, I guess).
Two us work on SHL ... mostly for fun and because we love small houses. One of us (me) gravitated to smaller houses as an adult. Even with two teens I kept our footprint little. Then came the stuff ... overwhelming, endless, middle class stuff. Clothes, sports equipment, entertainment machines required furniture to contain and organize our material culture. I still didn't give in ... we kept the house small ... even though we're bursting at the seams.
The goal is to reduce ... reduce ... reduce, then reuse and recycle what's left.
The other half of this project is not so committed to the small house movement because it's not practical for her family. As a result, we are willing to concede that there is probably a good reason for some people to have big houses ... just as we are certain a great many of us have more than enough room already and would probably thrive if we could wrap our brains around a "less is more" life style. Maybe by having fun with the idea and sharing my small house affinities and adventures ... be they ever so humble ... other folks will see the myriad advantages of living better in a smaller space.
In the last fifty years, American homes in particular seem to be suffering from steroidal development. At the turn of the 20th century, the average house size was about 800 square feet. Most housed a family with a couple kids. It was close quarters to be sure, but most time was spent outdoors much of the year anyway, especially in rural America where the vast majority of people lived until the exodus to the cities after WWI. (Read more at NPR or listen to their segment on McMansions.)
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