Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 27, 2009


Good - When it comes to building affordably, small is good. . . Fewer square feet mean fewer nickels you need to collect in order to build said square feet. Makes sense. Small is good, true, but you must be prudent, grasshopper: You don't want to go too small. Too small is even worse (economically, functionally, spiritually) than too big. . .

How small is too small? . . . . If you channel your inner Descartes, you can figure it out in about an hour.

First, buy a nice tape measure and a Big Chief Tablet. Next, break up the home in which you currently live into its constituent parts, and jot them down. (Think "events" more than "rooms": cooking, eating, hanging out, etc.) Pay attention to the way you currently live, and how it really feels. Then, measure the spaces and record if they feel too big or too small. Remember to include all the not-so-glamorous spaces in your house: utility rooms, storage areas, circulation space and the like. Next, think about how your life might change in the future-that will definitely affect the number.

Now start jotting down how big you'll need the spaces to be in your new house. Tweak the size of each space as required, until it feels right for your future life. Carefully consider each one-as carefully as you've considered anything in your life up to this point. Jot down the numbers and then tally them up.

What's your number? It might be 900 square feet, or it might be 1,200-but whatever the number is, it's your number. Be simultaneously prudent and realistic as you perform this exercise. Room by room considerations


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a better idea - let's reduce the number of people, so we can all have as much space as we want.

August 28, 2009 1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll second that big time.

August 28, 2009 1:50 PM  

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