Less Means More Living In Smaller Spaces.

Someone posted this link to me today regarding how someone downsized their life. The fact is in the last 50 years Americans (and no doubt many other nations) now occupy more than 3 times the amount of space they did before. Add to that the rising number of “drive in storage facilities” that are cropping up as a new industry its time to stop.

Now for me its something I realised years ago as although I had a nice Victorian house and garden in the winter I froze and in the summer the long garden was impossible to maintain.

But looking at it another way the ceilings were too high and I never used the sitting room, the kitchen was used for less than an hour a day and generally as a family of 3 at that time we could have lived in a space 3 times smaller and been financially better off. The electric bill would be cheaper, cost of rent and the amount of gas consumed in the winter time.

On a social front instead of my daughter sitting in her room unsocially it would mean the family have to function together in the same space creating a much more social environment. It would also mean having one good TV instead of 3 TV sets in different rooms.

But why stop there, I used to remember my ex buying clothes for specific parties that would never see the light of day again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire or buy something that would be timeless and expensive to wear to more events instead?

In today’s way of thinking I am permanently de-cluttering my life as every time I look at something I wonder if I really need it. When I go back to the UK shortly I will be arriving in the UK pretty much with just the clothes on my back as a suitcase in the UK is all my possessions I need there for work. Literally while working I can live in a small bedroom. I generally eat out due to the type of work I do so no kitchen is required, I wash my clothes daily so could use a launderette if the facilities weren’t at the place I rent etc.

It does away with the general cost of living in the UK which when I assess it cost me £1,500 a month previously with the Victorian house compared to £500 a month all inclusive for my new way of life financially I am saving at £1,000 a month. With the current economic climate its going to be much more of a saving.

So does container living make sense? I think its a case of accepting the fact we have to live smaller and shipping containers give fixed dimensions you can work with. It can also teach people to limit what they waste which in turn reduces personal debt. Question is can we live without container living, as simply it redefines life and moves away from consumerism to realistic financial living.

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Living In A Shipping Container–The Right Type Of People

the wrong crowd

The thing with shipping container homes is you will either get a “that’s cool” or you must be mad type of comment from the people around you. But myself I consider myself one of the right type of people for a shipping container home and I will explain why.

Initially through my first years of leaving school and struggling through college I was having to make do and maximise my cash flow sometimes would be a case of down to the last few pounds (UK money) and then buying something I could then sell later to make more money. Over the years this developed where I was cashing in my salary at the end of the week selling goods all weekend before putting money back in the bank on Monday.

This isn’t thrifty but it does go against the grain as we are told we should have the latest clothes, expensive car, nice house etc. the fact is everything is based around consumer spending and increasing personal debt. I will give a simple example of what I mean if you take a rawl plug its pushed on all the DIY shows as the way to hang a shelf etc but does anyone talk about a whittled piece of wood you just hammer in the hole and snap the head off? Something that is free, doesn’t damage the environment and most of the time actually does a better job due to a tighter fit? Of course not you go down to hardware store and buy the bits and pieces we are told are “right for the job”. The removing of thought from most things has been on going for some time.

Now for me I spend most of my life up and down financially as even when I was with my ex partner and having a great salary her expenditure was a struggle to control. We had the house, the car, 5 horses, ate out most of the time etc.

My salary then was around ten times greater than most of the people I knew from school and generally it was gone at the end of the month due to everything being on finance to keep up with my ex’s desire to compete with the neighbours. But here is what changed.

I left after a problem in the relationship and within the first month I had already saved nearly £3,000 even though was still burdened by debt left over from the relationship. How? because I didn’t eat out and if I did it was lunch time at work that meant my night time meal wasn’t a big curry take out but often was even skipped if not something simple. I began cooking more and at the same time because I had regained my financial control I started to use my remainder at the end of the month for paying off huge chunks of debt instead of thinking “hey lets party!”.

I began to get debt free to the point where I am today living in a completely debt free environment on the other side of the world in the Philippines. If anything I have learned we don’t need most of the stuff we are told are “essential” or this years big item! Even in the U.S. people are waking up to the fact they are sold lies daily and the American dream has changed including the idealism of consumerism. They have realised the last iPhone didn’t enhance their lives so generally don’t buy the new mobile because its irrelevant except as a fashion accessory. That’s all part and parcel of living in a shipping container because its not about “getting by” but actually taking control of your life.

Here in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated by church masses and giving food to neighbours the giving of presents is something being leaked in from the U.S. but thank god most people haven’t bought into it. Personally I actually tell people not to buy me gifts but instead save their money. Not because I am too tight to buy for others but simply most of the time people buy stuff for each other they neither need or want. I would rather someone took the cash and paid off a bit of their credit card because that’s a Christmas gift that keeps giving and not only makes me happy but also helps them get debt free.

This is how it gets on to the right type of people for Shipping container homes as its often down to what people want and need in life. There has been a lot of interest in the single mother living in a shipping container home she built for less than $4,000 but in reality it was her financial restraints that led her into this type of life. For others its being environmental,minimalistic or wanting control of their own lives. For me its a case of minimalist living and being debt free while achieving home ownership. Its not for everyone which is why people either get it or don’t.

 

Holyoake Shipping Container Cabin Home

 

Holyoake Shipping Container cabin 

The design on this home is a mishmash of Shipping Container and timber cabin although a bit of an odd design due to the two materials contrasting with each other the home/retreat works.

Paul Stankey, co-founder of Hive Modular, with his wife, his brother, and his brother’s wife decided about going about building this weekend getaway on family land in hills north of Twin Cities. The two containers came in at $800 each plus labour and transportation.

Upon completion the shipping container home will have a kitchen,dining room,living room,washing and clothes area as well as two queen side beds.

On the energy front there will be at least a small solar array and a cistern will be operated using rainwater catchments from the gully.

Holyoake Shipping Container cabin Holyoake Shipping Container cabin Holyoake Shipping Container cabin Holyoake Shipping Container cabin

Research facility made from Shipping containers – Northern Queensland,Australia

Doesn’t look like much in the photo below but as you see the end result is a nice retreat in the wilderness allowing natural cooling,ventilation and also importantly functional.Research facility made from shipping containers - Nothern Queensland, Australia

What I liked about the design is that’s its all been done on a practical basis with no money wasted on things not needed. I also like the raised deck as it allows water to pass underneath in heavy rain but also would help with cooling the building. The roof deck is also a great idea for seating as well as clothes drying etc. This shipping container building is used as a research facility in a rainforest that is only accessible on a small dirt track used by wood loggers in Northern Queensland. So getting things there as well as being able to build the facility with limited tools made the shipping containers ideal for this role. The other thing you will notice on the left hand side of the building below is that a rainwater harvesting system has been introduced for the needs of the facility.Research facility made from shipping containers - Nothern Queensland, Australia  Another important factor for it being on stilts by the way is its location as there are many snakes as well as white tail rats. On top of that building on stilts also means you don’t have to level the ground which in this instance was also very important as they didn’t want to cause soil erosion.

To read more about the design and see more of the photos of the building being built please take a look at their site here.