I came across an article today, "The Value of Minimalism," that reminded me of the many benefits we've experienced by downsizing and simplifying our lives. We are fortunate to have had the choices to change our lifestyle in a way that many people do not.
In 2015, we sold our 2,500-square-foot house on almost four acres of land and our two cars and left our jobs to move into a 100-square-foot camper, storing what little was left in a 5 x 10 storage unit. After traveling across the country through the summer and fall, we returned to New England that winter and rented a furnished 600-square-foot cabin. When we bought another house the following spring, we went much smaller in size and acreage than our previous house – about 900 square feet and a 1/2 acre, half of which is wooded and undeveloped. We also bought one 18-year-old car that we now share. We have much, much less stuff than we did before and we don't miss the things that we gave away or sold. At this time in our lives, as empty-nesters seeking a work/life balance that's right for us, we have less stress and more free time. There's less to clean, less to mow, less to maintain, less to repair.
Our biggest problem so far? When one glass breaks in a two-glass household (as happened this week), our glass inventory is suddenly cut in half! I guess it's time for a visit to the local thrift store to restock. But I'm still calling the glass half-full.
When nature comes to your window, it's hard not to take an interest. This mama spider settled in earlier this summer, so we've avoided washing this window. (Well, to be honest, we haven't washed any of the windows this summer, but we'll chalk it up to wildlife conservation efforts.)
Since last summer, Tom's been busy setting up a rainbarrel, composter, and garden system at our new house. We started with new gutters and then added the rain barrels last fall. Tom built the garden beds over the winter. The last piece assembled was the composter, to which we add kitchen and yard waste and have nutritious compost to add to the gardens.
We've just posted our first video and it describes the details of our "Rain-to-Roots Story." You can find it here, on our Sustainable Green Life channel on YouTube.
With our two 50-gallon rain barrels that remain mostly full at all times, we haven't ever come close to needing to use town water for watering our gardens. The four watering cans fill with overflow from the rain barrels with each storm and we use them for daily watering of the garden. If we need more water, we use the diverter hose to fill the watering cans again, so we always have an excess of rainwater at our ready.
Kerry A. Thompson
I had a dream last night that the animals of the world said, "Enough is enough" and decided to kill the humans. Although I was afraid, I also thought of their decision, "I totally understand."
With every story I hear about elephants and rhinos butchered for their tusks and horns, sharks killed for their fins, dolphins slaughtered, animals in factory farms imprisoned in horrible conditions, and so many more examples of animal suffering and cruelty in the world, I feel angry, despairing, and complicit. I long for a world where humans understand that the planet is here for all of us and all beings are allowed to live as they were meant to. I have more work to do with my own choices, especially with my transportation and food choices, that are contributing to that suffering.
Tom and Kerry
We're two people trying to do our best to bring about the change we want to see in the world.