Finding the Right Size

-written for ecomii blogs:

The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2040.

That’s a lot of people to sustain.

Population growth tends to be a taboo and contentious issue within climate change discourse.  However, what holds true is that we as a global population, need to be creative and also realistic about how to support our growing species.

In North America, our cultural relation to space and the need for much of it has lead to a commonly held lifestyle that does not correlate to what the Earth’s resources can support.

In the city I live in, situated in the foothills of Western Canada, our geographical footprint is said to match or exceed that of New York City, and our population is just over one million; less than one-eighth the population of New York.

Yet, the building continues. Much of it to house single families living in near or certifiable mansions.

Recently I’ve come across the concept of “rightsizing” life, an idea that seems to offer a more realistic way to exist in our spaces. Right-sizing is a step beyond down-sizing, an evaluation process of understanding better the amount of space needed to live and simplifying life in the process.

It an acknowledgment that we have different spacial and material needs according to the stages of life. Right-sizing can extend to the home, vehicle, and luxury accessories like boats, RVs, or vacation homes.

It wouldn’t make sense to wear rubber boots year-round, and yet many people drive SUVs to see them through one season of the year.

Two-person families live in four-bedroom homes to be prepared for the two weeks of the year house guests are visiting. Entire homes sit vacant and unused, for the one month of the year its owners visit for vacation.

A great way to start the right-sizing process is to list properties and the big stuff you own and chart how often and effectively these things are being used. Monitor your use of space in your home for a week. Do you have a room, or several rooms that you barely enter?

Can you eliminate unused furniture or accumulated “stuff”?

Start by de-cluttering the home to better suit your stuff to your space rather than your space to your stuff. From there, you just might find it’s time to move that de-materialized life to a space that is your right size.


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