While I was up at the lake, Dennis lent me his copy of Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 sq Feet by Gregory Johnson. I read it a couple times now and I liked it a lot. After a divorce, the author found himself living in a small studio apartment and later in a Tumbleweed Tiny House Company built house that he refers to as the mobile hermitage. The premise is that while we live in a consumption based society, we don’t have consume like everyone else does and by living differently, it frees us up to explore other areas in life.
Wendy and I have always lived in a small house (it is a little hard to be married and raise kids in 150 sq feet) and I personally prefer to be on the grid rather than off it but at the same time he is correct in that we need very little to live happily with. Too often what we own ends up owning us and we start to make life decisions based on what is right for our possessions rather than what is good for us.
The book looks at how we consume in five main areas
Of the five areas, the sections on housing, food and tech interested me the most. While living in 140 square feet isn’t practical for many of us, there is a lot in the book worth pondering and adopting. I found his best arguments to be based around how we get caught in the trap of living in bigger spaces which require us to buy more stuff and then we need even more space because we have all of this stuff. If you feel trapped at times but the culture we live in, this is a good book to read as it shows there is a different way to live. While context is important to understand while figuring all of this out, there is enough in the book for anyone to be able to read and rethink how we go about this thing called life.
Of course the running joke was that if I had read this book before we started to paint the cabin, we would have only had to scrape down half of the cabin OR we could turn it into a duplex 🙂