Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forJuly 15th, 2004 | back to home

15 July 2004

As a Canadian (generally big-housian) living in the UK (generally small-housian) I have been struck by the different attitudes toward space in different countries and (I believe) through that towards possessions. “Donella H. Meadows”:http://www.pcdf.org/meadows/ (now deceased) of the “Sustainability Institute”:http://www.sustainer.org/ wrote about a calendar showing the “lifestyles of people around the world”:http://www.menzelphoto.com/gallery/mw.htm including their homes. She notes that on the calendar the number of family members living together varies between 4 and 13 and the houses ranged in size from 200 square feet (a six person yurt in Mongolia) to 4850 sq ft for eight people (in Kuwait City).

Bhutanese family with all their possessions in front of their house from the book “Material World”:http://www.menzelphoto.com/gallery/mw.htm

Our ‘two bedroom’ flat is tiny by Canadian standards but a moderate size for Londoners (something like 600sq feet?). It has become apparent to me that we don’t have room for any more things (whether in storage or in active use) but it doesn’t bother me all that much yet – it helps us to keep our lives simple. Thank goodness I have almost limitless digital storage available at least!

Has anyone tried the experiment where you put a sticker on anything you use in the course of a year and at the end of the year you throw away anything without a sticker?