Thinking Small

Thinking Small

robinThe idea of “bigness” is solidly woven into the American spirit. Much of it has largely been to the good, and still is: big ideas, big ambitions, big hearts.

Living big? Maybe not so much.

Living small offers many advantages. A small home is less work and worry to oversee and maintain. It sets out the prospect of living sustainably, in harmony with the environment. It certainly demands less money, and less work to earn that money. And in the right setting, it can redirect our life’s focus toward quality rather than quantity.

It turns out that perceptive people have been writing about the wisdom of living small for thousands of years—all the way back to Socrates. Here’s a sample:

· “Any half-awake materialist well knows—that which you hold holds you.” —Tom Robbins.

· “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” —E.F. Schumacher

· “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” —Will Rogers

· “Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” —Katharine Fullerton Gerould

· “Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” —William Morris

· “Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind; large ones weaken it.” —Leonardo da Vinci

· “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” —Confucius

· “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates

Whidbey is the largest island in Puget Sound at 169 square miles, but with only 60,000 people, it still feels like a small community—friendly, agreeable, with a distinct lack of high-pressure hustle. Our village-within-a-village, the Highlands at Langley, is the kind of place you’d expect to find in such a setting. There are only 54 homesites, and people who live here know and like each other.

Our homes are about 900 to 1,500 square feet. And they’re all about living in the way E.F. Schumacher and William Morris advised: avoiding pointless complexity while living with usefulness and beauty.

Which is in itself a big idea.

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