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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making Peace With 'Less is More'

As I've mentioned before, I live in a small two bedroom house with my three kids, three dogs, and a guinea pig named Princess. It requires a great deal of medication creativity, but it's happening.

It hasn't always been like this.  A few years back I lived here:

Spent weekends here:

And drove these:

It was nice. I won't deny it. So far, from my experience, many aspects of life are easier with money.

BUT... The STUFF. That was a lot to manage. The book keeping, the cleaning, landscaping, furnishing; making enough of a living to keep up with it all and then managing that. I remember wishing I could find a way to simplify. 

I remember missing the single mortgage and no car payments. I loved that my kids were living such a comfortable life, but I was overwhelmed with it all. But knowing how to (0r wanting to) deconstruct what we'd worked so hard to build was beyond me.


What I didn't think I could do, the universe did for me (and for way too many others). It was a painful process. 

I remember the first thing I sold. It was a garden fountain. I couldn't even be there when the buyers took it away. I hid inside my bedroom until it was over. I sort of just went on auto pilot for the rest of the purge. Detached. Let it all go... 

I remember my load lightening even with the pain. A sense of loss mixed with acceptance. Of course, I'm not suggesting the transition was that simple. I still dream about my homes, that life. I still feel it all slipping away...

But I have been given something fantastic.  LESS.  I am constantly amazed at how little we need to be comfortable, functional and happy.  And it has been a wonderfully creative challenge to learn how to live well in a smaller space.  I refer to it as "Jewel Box Living".  It is liberating and can be very beautiful.

There is a whole movement of small space dwelling out there.  I have found countless blogs and websites providing tips for simplified living.  People are embracing this lifestyle for a variety of reasons.  Obviously, the economy has been a major unsolicited motivator for many; but there's a large number of people choosing to live with less for environmental reasons, or to escape their hectic jobs, or to simplify what they manage, or to afford living in a city that they love, or to free their funds up for experiences like travel, etc.  

I'm loving the decor/design inspirations I've been finding.  This is a great example of an eclectic living room from a small space design contest hosted by Apartment Therapy:

I also enjoy the blogs on patio and balcony gardening.  It's fun to explore the possibilities of these frequently neglected retreats.  The blog, Small Place Style, posted this sweet pic of string lights:

My mother was a single mom for many years.  She was also a born designer.  She created beauty where ever we lived.  I learned from her that financially challenged doesn't equal trash, it just fosters greater creativity (if you let it).  What a gift she gave me.

I am pouring my heart into my jewel box and finding healing in it.  I would love to spotlight your petite spaces as well if you care to share. Inspiration is a fabulous motivator.


  1. you are blooming where you've been planted. and your post makes me think of our trek cross-country, from a brand new home and a bmw 530i to a 118 year old home and a 1982 one-ton gmc dually.

    less really IS more. it just takes some adjusting. or, extended bloom-time.

    love you, love me

  2. Your patio and story are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing. I've been working with our garden and plants but have neglected the patio and comfy furniture for it so it can be a retreat. Something I will need to change. Aimee


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