People have questions when I tell them about my aspirations to live in 270 square feet of con-ex steel box. Beyond “simple” questions like, “How much will that cost to build?” and, “When will it be finished?” (I put “simple” in quotes back there because I have absolutely no idea how to answer either), there’s the considerably more thought-provoking question of, “Why?”
Oddly enough, I have some answers to the question concerning container living, more so than the other two, at least. Personally, I believe in minimalism as a design aesthetic and way of life. The efficiency therein appeals to me; I can’t say why, exactly. Maybe it’s the lack of waste. Maybe it’s the idea of, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Maybe I’m a cheapskate. All I know is that living a life peppered with extended bouts of travel – from 2.5 months living out of a backpack on the Appalachian Trail to six months living out of a backpack from Lisbon to Tokyo – the possession of space and stuff appeals less to me than the freedom to move unencumbered and at will. Through travel, I’ve come to discover that experience is the true reward of downsizing one’s physical belongings.
There’s also the full-disclosure fact that, to some degree, profit potential drives this project. I would like my container home to serve as a sort of showroom for future clients of High Cube Industries, so that I may illustrate the form’s potential as well as my own ability in executing a plan. I have no delusions about Oklahomans clamoring to live in small spaces; rather, I believe there is a market for container-based structures as outlined on my About page. If I’m completely wrong on all counts, then at least I have a place to live while moving on to the next project.
Beyond my own muddled reasons for pursuing a container-based life, there are others who share my sentiments and vocalize them better than I ever could. The following are some of my favorite quotes about how a rejection of our traditional two-car garage, American dream home is actually an acceptance of a greater and far more rewarding truth:
…this isn’t about living without, we aren’t trying to sacrifice things here, we are trying to find the happy medium. When we understand our needs, we then can determine the form and function of our house.
We are exposed to a consumer culture that makes it hard for us to even separate these things. So this part is a gradual process that many of us still find ourselves grappling with. It has been taught to us from a young age that accumulation of things is better. The more stuff we have, the better we are. The psychology of these things cannot be understated; we need to dig deep into ourselves to examine our motivations.
– both quotes above from Ryan Mitchell, http://thetinylife.com/what-do-we-really-need/
In every area of nature, efficiency is the law of the land. Efficiency just makes sense. The only thing I know of that doesn’t abide by efficiency is the human ego.
– Jay Shafer, formerly of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, now of Four Lights
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.
– Coco Chanel, interview in Harper’s Bazaar (1923).
It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.
– Antoine de Saint Exupéry, L’Avion
It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.
– Diogenes of Sinope
Also, I like and agree with everything about this article by Leah Finnegan on downsizing. Do yourself a favor and read it!
In the end, whether living in a container or a mansion, just try to know who you are and follow your own path instead of some arbitrary notion of what the ideal living situation should be. Above all: Keep your self worth from being tied to possessions.