Thursday, March 28, 2013 -- you can buy happiness (and it's cheap)

Since this whole self-renovation thing started, I went searching for some books.  Naturally.  I was looking for books that would give me ideas, inspire me, educate me and help me solidify this new self, this new identity of mine.

One of the books I found is You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel.  Tammy and her husband Logan started to down-size, or "smart-size" their life.  They now live in a "tiny house."  If you don't know what a tiny house is, or have never seen one of these tiny houses, prepare to be amazed...

The book describes the process they went through to get to the tiny house.  It involved a lot of shedding of materials and a lot of change in mind-set.  It was really inspiring to read their story.  I am facing a move in the  next few months that will force me to downsize a bit (not by much), but I am working diligently to rid myself of as much unnecessary stuff as possible.  I think I've done quite well.  Yesterday, just by cleaning out some old school materials and going through my clothing and craft materials, I made a TON of space.  I've gotten to the point where I have space to put things now and I feel like the space should be filled.  But I remind myself that space is good and just because you have it, doesn't mean you have to fill it.  

After reading this book, I was all up and ready to move into a tiny house and never, ever have a mortgage.  But... there is the shower thing.  And the bathroom.  So maybe I'm not ready for that radical of a change.  Tiny houses aren't for everyone, but the lifestyle of simplicity is very attractive to me.  We'll see how I do when I move this summer.  

One of the things I loved about the book was that Tammy offered tips to help you in your own "smart-sizing" project.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Wait 30 days before buying something. -- When making a decision over a purchase, I am getting much better at walking away and saying, "If I go home and I can't stop thinking about it, I can always go back."  But 30 days!  I imagine that I would totally forget what I was wanting to buy to begin with.  Stores are sneaky and smart at getting you to buy things and if you are not in the situation where you are subject to that, I could imagine it would go quite well.  Also, if you wait 30 days, that gives you 30 days of research to find the best or find alternatives to what you want... or just decide you don't want it anymore.  That's good too.

Adopt the one-in one-out rule. -- This is brilliant.  Whenever you come home with something new, you have to give something away, anything.  So if you love everything that's at home and don't want to get rid of any of it, you shouldn't bring anything home, right?  That's the logic I am following.

Do the 100 Thing Challenge. -- Write down 100 things you need or want to have.  You can make your own rules like count all of your shoes as one thing, but basically, if something doesn't make your 100 list, you might want to consider giving it a new home.

I think these are great rules to practice with children as well.  Making these things a habit, such as saving or paying tithing, will help your child continue these good habits into their adult life.  It certainly wouldn't hurt.  At the same time, you are teaching them principles and priorities. 

Tammy has a simple living blog >>here<<.  I know I will be checking in often.

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