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Less Stuff, More Happiness

Overview

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

Vocabulary

environmental footprint - your environmental footprint (or carbon footprint) is the amount of energy that you use
flatline- to stay at the same level; not go up and not go down
crowdsourcing - getting many people to help you (using social media)
utilities - water, gas, electricity
ruthlessly - to an extreme; without mercy
clear the arteries of our lives (metaphor)- simplify our lives (arteries are passages in your body that carry blood)
extraneous - extra; unneccessary
mantra - a simple saying or slogan (giving good advice)

show definitions

Quick Quiz

Answer the following questions

1 How much money did Graham save by buying a 420 square foot apartment instead of 600?$200,000
2 How many square feet are used by the personal storage industry in America? 2.2 billion
3 What is Graham's 'mantra' for saving space? 'small is sexy'
4 How many people can sit at Graham's dinner table? 10
5 According to Graham, 'we want things that nest, we want things that stack, and we want it ______' digitized

answers

Discussion

Graham lives in a tiny apartment. Would you be happy in such a small space?

Graham's thesis is that if you have less stuff, you will be happier. Do you agree?

Graham points out that Americans buy lots of things that they don't need. Is it the same in your country?

Is your house cluttered or neat?

Learning Points

1 In informal American English, you can use the word pretty in place of 'very' or 'quite':

"The idea is actually pretty simple."

2 You can use the phrase 'why not' to challenge a person to do something:

"why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?"