Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stuff and Housing

Yesterday on the way to a doctor's appointment for Lorna (3+ hours of drive time each way gives you lots of time to talk), Paul and I were discussing this video. As we are constantly looking for ways to get rid of more of our stuff I found the video interesting. In short, it talks about how goods are produced and sold and the repercussions of our current way of doing this.

As we talked I realized how much happier we are as a family since we don't seem to always be looking to buy more stuff. Of course we all want things but there isn't a pressure to buy and spend and accumulate junk. We don't watch TV much, a couple of hours on Friday night sometimes, so we aren't inundated with commercials urging us to spend and buy. I'm constantly aware of the size of our home so even if I'm tempted to purchase something I rarely do because there is no where to put it.

That led us to discussing the size of houses. We drive through some really nice suburban areas on the way to the doctor. The houses are newer and huge. I cannot even imagine what I would do with all that space and I would probably feel the need to fill it up with junk. Did you know that the average size of a home in 1950 was just under 1000 square feet? The average home size in 2005 was over 2400 square feet! That more than double in a time when the average family size is less.

I was thinking about the size of our kitchen the other day. It's pretty small and wasn't meant to handle a full size refrigerator. When we first moved into this house I just couldn't image what I would do with so little space. At this point I've gotten rid of all but 2 pans, 1 griddle, and a small set of pots. We have 2 sets of dishes because I couldn't make myself part with the set received as a wedding gift and a few other things. We own a blender and a toaster but no other small appliances. I've found that our necessities really do fit in the kitchen even with the loss of the 5 drawers that are blocked by the refrigerator. I know that if I had all the latest and greatest gadgets we would need a kitchen twice the size of the one we have.

Where am I going with this? I'm not even totally sure but I do think that the lack of time everyone complains about is related to this topic. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that many of the time-saving appliances contribute to our lack of time. All that stuff means we have to have some place to store it and all that space has to be cleaned and kept up. The extra time invested in cleaning and upkeep takes away all the time (if not more) we save by using the things in the first place. I'm not advocating we through out all modern conveniences and go back to the pioneer days, but I do think that too much stuff can be harmful. Maybe instead of thinking about how much stuff we can keep we should think about what the least amount of stuff we really need is and go from there.


Glenda said...

These are good thoughts Kim. I enjoy your perspective and it helps me to evaluate my living. I am blessed to live in a big parsonage, but I really do try to keep things to a minimum; and I'm always trying to downsize to make it simpler, and easier. Because like you say, "less is more." :-)

Btw, I like the new blog layout.

Karen said...

I think that you are right. So much time is wasted each day, moving items and dusting items. When I deep clean and throw out a lot of children's toys, the bedrooms are cleaned much faster. The children rarely miss any of the "stuff" and I'm not as cranky because I can walk through the bedrooms without tripping.