Since plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, I borrowed some of Andrea Zittel‘s writing (from her ongoing “Things I Know For Sure” series) because, well, I’m quite a fan. Below I’ve put together a mashup of tricks for living in small spaces — or guiding principles, or billboard-quality truisms. Whatever you want to call them, I hope they are as useful and inspiring to you as they are to me.
1. What you own, owns you.
2. What makes us feel liberated is not total freedom, but rather living in a set of limitations that we have created and prescribed for ourselves.
3. Things that we think are liberating can ultimately become restrictive, and things that we initially think are controlling can sometimes give us a sense of comfort and security.
4. People are most happy when they are moving towards something not quite yet attained.
5. Ideas seem to gestate best in a void—- when that void is filled, it is more difficult to access them. In our consumption-driven society, almost all voids are filled.
6. Maintenance takes time and energy that can sometimes impede other forms or progress such as learning about new things.
7. Surfaces that are “easy to clean” also show dirt more. In reality a surface that camouflages dirt is much more practical than one that is easy to clean.
8. All materials ultimately deteriorate and show signs of wear. It is therefore important to create designs that will look better after years of distress.
9. Ambiguity in visual design ultimately leads to a greater variety of functions than designs that are functionally fixed.
10. The best rules are never stable or permanent, but evolve, naturally according to content or need.
Image credit: Andrea Zittel, Andrea Rosen Gallery
Hillary lives in a 677 sq. ft. historic home with her partner while renovating a 50 sq. ft. tiny trailer and preparing for full-time travel. Her blog is located at thistinyhouse.com.