“Your sleeping space, does it define you as a person? Does it suggest more power or less?” asked TK Devine aka The Office Hobo who spent over 500 days living undetected in an office where he worked.
What Does Where You Choose to Sleep Say About Who Your Are?
Speaking at the Simple Living Expo in Fort Collins, Mr. Devine’s question struck me as odd until he went on to explain that in the US at least our sleeping spaces-houses, apartments, RV, and cars are symbols of the status we have achieved in the world. The expected normal living arrangements follow a timeline often based on age.
College Students: live in a dorm, apartment with friends, or with parents
Young Singles: Roommates, apartments, not so nice houses, maybe a camper/van
Working Marrieds: starter home looking for a bigger one with kids
VP’s, Company Owners, Middle Aged Folks: Live in 3 bedroom ranches or over 2000 square foot house
It seems to upset the natural order of status and perceived power in the US if the VP of Company X chooses to live in a studio apartment with his family. Why? Doesn’t he make enough to afford “the right sleeping space”?
Living in an Unusual Place Does Not Make You An Unusual Person
People in the US spend an average of 17-24% of their income on housing. In Mr. Devine’s case in Los Anglos, CA the average is 47%. Rethinking where he could reallocate the large sum of money being used for rent. Mr. Devine terminated his lease. He them proceeded to design experiment.
This is my experiment. It is rent boycotting. It is selective homelessness. I prefer to call it “home-free” living.
He then moved into his office. Spending the next year and a half there undetected.
Loss of a Conventional Sleeping Space Means Loss of Power And Status?
Or does a change of housing mean freedom to control your debt/income ration. Freedom to choose a lifestyle or dwelling place that allows for more time spent on relationships, purposeful work, and less time spent acquiring or manipulating “stuff”.
We buy things we don’t need. With Money we don’t have. To impress people we don’t like.
The Office Hobo is an extreme experiment in living home-free. The tiny home movement reviews the same question.
If I do not draw my status and power from where I live and the “stuff” that I own; Who am I to myself and the world?
Mr. Devine purposed that except in a few extreme cases,
I don’t think people are afraid of the homeless. I think they are afraid of being home-less.
Is being home free by choice the same as being homeless?
Reducing Living Space and Expense = Happiness
Depends. The Tiny House Movement is just that a a movement a life style to get off the hedonic treadmill that believes more/larger items purchased brings more happiness. As Mr Rousseau eloquently states,
“Since these conveniences by becoming habitual had almost entirely ceased to be enjoyable, and at the same time degenerated into true needs, it became much more cruel to be deprived of them than to possess them was sweet, and men were unhappy to lose them without being happy to possess them.”
– Jean Jacques Rousseau in his Discourse on Inequality (published in 1754)
Reducing your living space, after being used to a large living space maybe “cruel” at first. There is pain in the letting go. Is there more freedom on the other side?
Does Your Housing Work For You Or Do You Work For It?
Take a minute to calculate how much you spend on housing?
Then figure how much time you spend in your house per week.
How much time do you spend taking came of your home? (cleaning, repair, outdoor maintenance)
How much enjoyment do you receive in return?
Is there a balance? Deficit? Positive Return?
While Mr. Devine’s experiment is extreme so is the average America middle class house with 2,600 sq ft and only 2.5 people in residence. Is your current sleeping space worth the time effort and money you are required to maintain in order to keep sleeping there?
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