Tiny Houses and Aparigraha


This is Ken. I met Ken on a run last Thursday, while I was off on a run to cat-sit and water some plants for my girlfriend while she was out of town. I noticed his truck immediately and identified it as a potential house… Luckily, Ken was out walking around and was kind enough to chat with me for ten minutes or so! (P.S. If you follow me on facebook or instagram you have probably already heard this part of the story. Be sure to check out is blog at ecobiq.org.)

Anyway, after I chatted with Ken, it got me thinking. My husband and I talked for a long time about creating our own tiny home, but recent life turns have diminished that dream a bit (the boychild staying with us for two months, a new puppy, more cats than we can handle). I did run home and try to convince Keith that the tiny home dream was ours again, but he wasn’t having it.

I did, however, take that opportunity to seize some minimizing that needed to be done. I donated a trashbag full of clothes I no longer needed. I got rid of silly little trinkets that have started to clutter our house for no reason at all except that we have them. I finally vacuumed the rug from Mookie’s daytime demolitions of all stuffed toys. (Speaking of which, I need to update my about me page and put Mookie on there! Maybe tomorrow. I’m feeling quite unmotivated today in this heat.)

I’ve always been the person to start pitching shit we don’t need haphazardly, and I’ve been known to throw away a thing or two I later regret (I actually got rid of a shirt last week that I wanted to wear this week – but miraculously I found another shirt to wear.) “Stuff” has just never held that much weight for me. When I was in grad school I slept for two years on the floor with cockroaches and then on a broken futon. I didn’t decorate. It just didn’t feel like I needed to.

Even now, living in our house, I’ve had to get used to decorating. The bathroom remodel was a big sell for me – I didn’t love our bathroom, but it needed to be done. Keith was also convinced we needed new doors in our interior – this was never even a thought that broached my mind. New doors? But the ones we had worked just fine. Suffice it to say, that Keith changed the doors and it does look much nicer… But I probably would have been fine with the old doors too.

When I did go to my girlfriend’s house to clean the cats and water the plants, I do always notice how nice her house is. It’s decorated, there’s photos of her and her husband all over, there’s pretty colors and it feels bright and airy. It smells nice. And our house just… isn’t. I’ve lived more like a bachelor and with just the necessities for a long time and quite honestly I hate it when I get tangible gifts from people because then I have to figure out where to put things. Less is more (although I do get whimsical for an adorable little house like Holly’s when I visit).

One of the yamas of yoga is aparigraha. Aparigraha is non-posessiveness, or non-hoarding. Remaining unattached to possessions, people, thoughts, ideas, and more. Particularly in our culture, which tends to value excess and the ideology that “more is better,” aparigraha and tiny house living is stripping it down to the essentials, being content with what you have and making do with what’s there.

Even in our conversation, Ken told me that it’s not as if he doesn’t want for things. He lives in a very small space and uses the restroom in other places (and we all remember how terrible I am without a bathroom in my living space), and while we didn’t get into the details I’m sure he wants for other things, as well.

But the point is not to cease want – we live in a consumerist culture and it would be almost impossible to avoid at some points. The point is to exercise control. The point is to not hoard what you have, to have some trust in the universe and whatever divine plan is unfolding.

The point is to let go.

So how can you experience some aparigraha in your life? What is it what you find you’re holding onto – for no good reason? What is it that you’re holding onto – maybe for a reason – that you can begin to let go?

Those china dishes you never use?

Your college textbooks you kept “for reference” and haven’t pulled them off the shelf in years?

A grudge?

Start small. There’s no need to strip everything down, buy a truck and sell your house and do tiny living like Ken. Baby steps make progress towards living a minimalist life. Maybe you’ll never live in a 150 square feet home, but maybe you’ll have a little more room in your closet and a bit more ease with your laundry. 🙂


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