The Small Space Commandments

Monday, June 29, 2020

When I was wrote the book proposal for The Little Book of Living Small, I included what I called "The Small Space Commandments," but when it came time to write the actual book I hesitated about including these "commandments." Here's why: I'm a big believer that every space is different and the rules that apply in one situation may need to be thrown out the window in another. In the end, I tweaked and refined the commandments and they appear in the first pages of the book.

Yes, the commandment idea is a little bit of a gimmick, but I'm glad the rules stayed because I've heard over and over again from readers that they loved these ten simple principals. There are other parts of the book that I might revise now in light of the time we've all spent at home during the coronavirus pandemic, but these still feel just as relevant as they did when I first wrote them two years ago, so I'm sharing there here. Your small space can be a white-walled shrine to minimalism or a cozy den of personal treasures. Whatever your style of space, these are my firmly held beliefs—commandments, if you will—that apply to every small space.

1. You shall honor the space you have.
Show respect and remain grateful for what you have—even if it’s not much—and treat your home like a place you value.

2. You shall not covet bigger houses.
Yes, you can keep your Pinterest “Dream Houses” board, but don’t long for more than you need. Try dreaming about the ideal tiny home instead.

3. You shall live with what you love.
Edit the objects in your home so that only those that are useful or adored (ideally both) remain.

4. You shall not hoard.
We are blessed to live in a time of abundance. Don’t hang on to things you might use one day*.

5. You shall use resources wisely.
Living small is one way to reduce your environmental impact, but it doesn’t give you a free pass to blast the AC, skip the recycling, or drive a gas-guzzler.

6. You shall value quality over quantity.
“Want better, not more,” are words to live by in any walk of life, but especially in a small space in which your possessions are edited down to a minimum.

7. You shall not have off-site storage space.
The answer to your home’s clutter woes is not an auxiliary space that is hard to access and expensive to maintain.

8. You shall buy only what you need.
Technology has made it easier than ever to borrow many of the things that we use infrequently, from books to power tools to camping gear.

9. You shall tidy and organize daily.
A house does not keep itself: the secret to a happy home is for everything to have a place and to do the work to put those things back in their place.

10. You shall cherish your home.
Protect and care for the home you have. The satisfaction you’ll feel when you do will reward you daily.

*and really, if you didn't use it during three months of stay-at-home orders, when will you ever use it?



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