Living (too) large

You know how they say “travel is broadening?” Well, when it comes to the size of my ass, I’d definitely have to agree. Seriously, I’ve taken to referring to my hips as “croissant” and “pain au chocolat.” Whatever. I don’t regret eating a single slab of pâté or hunk of Camembert. It was vacation.

Now that I’m home, though, I’m actually feeling the need to downsize a bit. And I’m not just talking about the size of my hips. You see, one of the things that struck me during my travels was the simplicity of how Europeans live. Both apartments where we stayed, one modern and one in a more aged building, were built on a much small-scale than their American counterparts. Honestly, it made our American tendency to accumulate seem downright vulgar.

Let me give you a couple of examples…

The bedroom closets are really compact to accommodate much smaller wardrobes than those of the typical American. I’m talking maybe 2 ½ feet of hanging rod space and a handful of drawers. Coming home to my walk-in step-in closet and double-sided rolling clothing rack embarrassed me. Why do I have so much frigging clothing?

Both flats had lovely, updated kitchens. If these kitchens are any indication, Ikea seems to dominate the market and I am definitely going to consider going that route myself when I address my tired kitchen cabinets. Both kitchens were well laid out and contained more than adequate storage for the limited number of necessary items. That being said, neither kitchen had extraneous space, merely enough cupboards for cookware, dishes, glassware and some pantry items. Why do American kitchens require so much space?

One of the apartments we rented had 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a combined kitchen, dining and living room. The other had 2 bedrooms, a large loft sleeping area, kitchen and combined living/dining room. There was one bathroom. I don’t think either of these apartments exceeded 800 or 900 square feet. Why do new American homes need to be nearly three times that size? Who convinced us that we should aspire to maintain, heat and clean such large residences?

Time for me to minimize.

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3 Comments

Filed under Europe, house, musings, Observations, travel, vacation

3 responses to “Living (too) large

  1. Hock

    American clothing is cheap and falls apart; ergo we buy a ton of it, because we can. Europeans buy a few, nice, expensive pieces that are versatile. Therefore they fit well and they last. That’s why they don’t need much storage space.

    Similarly, Europeans really don’t go “grocery shopping” in the American sense of buying enough food to last 2 weeks or more. Traditionaly, they go to small specialized markets and buy only enough food to last a couple days at most. This means they don’t need huge fridges or cabinet space, although they do actually have to go shopping more.

    • Amelia

      Well, think about what life is spent on in Europe instead of McMansions and material goods. In Europre they spend it on amazing food and real vacations. Corporations have us brainwashed on what our needs are.

  2. You’re both so right! We’ve been so conditioned to consume we simply don’t know how to live. My biggest weaknesses are clothing/boots, books and photos. How about you?

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