Tiny Tuesday: Two Kinds of Stuff

TRY THIS. Take all the stuff in your home and divide it into two piles. One pile contains stuff you use all the time: everyday clothes and linens, toiletries, kitchenware, electronics. The other pile contains stuff you use occasionally: seasonal clothes, spare linens, tools, sports equipment, holiday items, stuff like that.

Do you have a basement, or an attic, or a garage, or a shed, or any other ancillary space with a roof over it? Take the contents of the second pile and move them there. Voilà, you’ve just freed up tons of space in the main, insulated part of your home… with only a minimal loss of convenience.

It’s hard to get rid of stuff, and that’s what keeps many people from moving to a smaller, more affordable living space. But once you realize how little of your stuff actually needs to stay at room temperature, you may find you can comfortably shrink your habitable square footage. That’s the theory behind Colin’s Barn. They pared down their stuff considerably during the move, and the “sometimes” stuff they can’t part with now stays safe from the elements without the climate control of the main house.

Upstairs in the Barn - a good shelter for stuff.

Upstairs in the Barn – a good shelter for stuff.

Think of all the extra costs of building a habitable place compared to just a shelter: insulation, double- or triple-glazed windows, plumbing pipes, HVAC ducts, electrical cables. These essentials can easily double the price per square foot. And of course you have ongoing costs as well, namely fuel for heating and cooling, which scales roughly proportional to your square footage.

If you DON’T have an auxiliary space to put that second pile, then you probably live a fairly edited life already. But keep the dichotomy in mind the next time you move.

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