Tiny House Tuesday: Madison’s Minis
April 29, 2008
WHO: The people of Madison, Wisconsin
WHERE: See above
WHAT: Mini-home movement in the heart of the Midwest
SIZE: Under 600 square feet
As long as there’s room for the Cheddar…
The Isthmus of Madison, Wis., covers the small-house trend with a profile of small-home residents. The paper’s Ann Grauvogl checks in with the live-ins of five homes, each 600 square feet or smaller. One of those homes, the abode of Robert and Deborah Luther, tops out just over 550 square feet in toto. Writes Grauvogl:
Robert and Deborah Luther fit themselves, as well as a large dog and a cat, into 396 square feet on the main floor; there’s another 156 in the not-quite-finished upstairs.
Robert bought the house west of John Nolen Drive on the shore of Lake Monona 20 years ago. “More or less, I was looking for a place to keep my boat,” he says. When he and Deborah were married, “I threw out half of my stuff so she could move in. She threw out the other half of my stuff.”
Certainly, cutting ties with prized possessions isn’t always an offshoot of living small; instead, for many — Living Smaller included! — that definition of “prized possession” takes on a different meaning. Rather than furnishing a sense of wholeness and fulfillment, those piles of prizes, when crammed into a small space, turn a bit ugly. At Living Small, this ugly-turn signals that it’s time to pare down, to reevaluate the purpose of each inanimate resident taking up space in our less-than-spacious residence.
What’s more, according to interviewee and feng shui practitioner Jacquelyn Patricia, “small houses keep people connected because there’s nowhere to hide,” reports Grauvogl. “They force people not to keep stuff they don’t use that creates stagnant energy. Simplifying helps people rest and connect. Less is more.” Patricia’s advice? Hang on to “what will pull you forward into your dreams and goals — how you hope you’ll live in the next 20 years of your life.”
Considering that, I wonder: What’s the psychological shelf life of that tube of circa-’68 Mary Quant eyeshadow creme I nabbed from the back of my mom’s makeup drawer ten years ago?