By Matthew Lewis, Yerdle
Tiny is beautiful. Tiny is efficient and elegant. Tiny is a lighter footprint. But tiny also requires more thought, more creativity, more … effort.
I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with Tiny Houses. I’m delighted by the concept of a whole house – kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom – that’s less than a few hundred square feet. The incredible attention to detail, the challenge of designing an efficient and livable space, the opportunity to live with less stuff – all trigger my inner minimalist into wondering if I, too, could take that radical step toward a simpler, happier, more sustainable life.
In recent years, Tiny Houses have moved from random oddity to Internet trend to potentially game-changing strategy for affordable housing and urban development (well, maybe). Any movement worthy of a full-on Portlandia spoof must be on the threshold of true legitimacy.
But much like the couple at the end of the Portlandia episode, I’m not actually sure I could pull it off. As the man on the couch says, “I’m down,” but can’t there be a middle ground? What’s the junior-varsity version of the Tiny House lifestyle? And what’s up with all the clutter in Carrie and Fred’s Mini-micro-tiny-smallhouse?
I suspect that a lot of people share a similar aesthetic. We want to simplify, even if we still like having extra closet space and a regular-sized sink. We know we have too much stuff, and that we have a dysfunctional relationship with our belongings.
After all, what does it really mean to “own” something? If your closet is filled with things you’ve almost never used, should they really “belong” to you – or should you make them available to others who need them?
At Yerdle, we’re actively exploring whether the whole notion of “mine” is outdated. We believe that a huge cohort of humans could be on the verge of a fundamental re-think of our possessions and needs, and what it takes to be truly happy. We know that shopping as emotional therapy has failed. We know that investing time and/or money in experiences with other people yields the greatest returns. And we know that sharing something we truly value – whether it’s a song, a bicycle, or a chocolate chip cookie – is what gives us the greatest pleasure on this earth.
Yerdle is a store where you can post a pic of your unused stuff, and shop for things you really need. It’s a new way of thinking about stuff – one that uses technology to make our lives better, reduce our costs, and reduce our environmental footprint.
We’re hopeful that a deliberate shift in our relationship to stuff can help accelerate a crucial transition in human behavior, to the benefit of our pocketbooks, our own well-being, and the health of the planet. For the past month, we’ve tested this by building a bridge to the Tiny House movement, working with our friends at Tiny House, Giant Journey. We’re also trying to find ways to express these behavior changes in our business, through new platform functionality on Android, and new product features that will, quite literally, allow strangers – friendly, Yerdle strangers – to shop for the unused things in your closet and attic.
(image caption: sharing things with our friends. feels good.)
If you’re like me, you know the feeling of relief that comes from letting go of something that’s not serving you anymore – that feeling of freeing up space in your life. If you’re an active member of Yerdle, you know you get the added benefit of receiving great stuff that you can put to good use. At the end of the day, that’s what Yerdle is all about – whether you’re living the Tiny House dream, or just dreaming it. Pass it on.