The Three Ss For 2010: Small, Simple and Shared


Japanese Tea House by Naomi Darling via Green Homes
Chris Brogan is in social media and web technologies, and is writing about business planning for 2010, discussing the three Ss: Small, Simple and Shared.. What he writes has absolutely nothing to do with physical architecture and design, yet I found the Three Ss to be absolutely appropriate.

Small has been an obvious theme on TreeHugger.

smallest coolest apartment

Apartment Therapy's smallest, coolest apartment

The tiny house movement in America, the shed movement in the UK, small prefab were popular throughout the last decade, but the economic meltdown finally tipped the scales toward smaller, easier to manage and heat living spaces. How we deal with them will be the story of the next decade as a generation of boomers downsizes.

More on Small:

Less is the New More: Building Loft and Alcove Beds
Less is the New More: Making the Most of Small Spaces
Pushing the Envelope on Small Spaces
20 Tips for Living in Small Spaces
Tiny Homes: The Next Little Thing


Chris writes:

Look for ways to be simple. Talk simple. Make deals simple. Do nothing complex, because so very little needs to be complex. Remove steps everywhere. Make everything brief and simple.

If you are living in smaller spaces with smaller incomes, we have to learn to live with less stuff, to simplify, to develop zen habits. You wouldn't know it from the Christmas sales, but the trend might be towards Conspicuous non-consumption.

Collin wrote about the Simple Living Manifesto with 72 ways to simplify your life. His favourites:

9. Purge your stuff
11. Edit your rooms.
13. Simplify your wardrobe.
17. Limit your buying habits.
32. Make your house minimalist.
34. Consider a smaller home
35. Consider a smaller car.
36. Learn what "enough" is.
44. Try living without a car
71. Live closer to work.

More on Simple:
Are Our 'Default Settings' for Consumption Too High?
Book Review: Radical Simplicity
product service systems

And finally, sharing. Chis is talking about communication, about twitter and blogs, but we talk about how computer technology lets us share, trade, and get what we need without having to buy and store it for when we need it. That is why we love Product Service Systems so much; to quote Alex Steffen again, "why own a drill when what you really want is a hole?" Just as renting housing vs ownership is up, more people might take a minimalist approach to stuff, or as William Morris put it, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"

More on Share:
Why Buy When You Can Rent? 5 Product Service Systems I Wish Were More Common
SF Green Festival 09 - Rentalic Creates Profit Around Community Rental Service
Wall Street Journal on Product Service Systems
Zipcar - A Product Becomes a Service
Tool Lending Libraries: A Product Service System Success Story!
But as Chris also says,

Not all of this is easy to implement, but I know you realize that in order to succeed you can't just do the easy things, right? Just because it's "simple" doesn't mean it's going to be "easy."

Getting rid of stuff is hard. Living a simple, minimalist lifestyle is really hard, you have to be disciplined and organized. Making the decision not to own, say, an electric drill gets harder all the time; ten years ago they cost a hundred bucks and now they are almost throwaways, it is hard to say no when the Home Depot sells them for under twenty bucks. But Chris's three words are the place to start.

Small. Simple. Shared. Three words that might well be the memes for 2010. Thanks, Chris!

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