13 May 2012

LIFE: Give Me the Simple Life

SARONNO, Italy – So I spent much of yesterday just looking at all my ‘stuff’ and wondering how I am going to fit everything into a one bedroom apartment. I’m trying to get my head wrapped around moving into a much smaller space in my new push to simplify my life.
Piazza Sant'Ignazio, Rome
I’ve already cleaned out the book cases and the closets, or at least I thought I had cleaned out the closets until I came across a large plastic bag filled with un-ironed tablecloths. Storing table cloths un-ironed is an old habit I acquired somewhere along the way when I didn’t have enough room to properly store them ironed.  I figured one ironing was just about all the effort I wanted to put into a tablecloth. 

During the past couple of months that I’ve been apartment hunting, I’ve become more and more concerned. It’s obvious I have too much furniture and in spite of my gargantuan effort to clean stuff out, I still have too many clothes.  I also have to re-think my office space and decide if I really need to have a printer and a scanner on my desk. And what about all those shoes? 
 How Small is Too Small
In this land of wine and honey, simple storage solutions are hard to come by. This is a country that doesn’t understand closets. It’s like living in a land of turtles. When they move they take their closets - and kitchens -  with them. I’ve stopped asking why.

When I first came to look at my current apartment (which had been remodeled by an architect who obviously spent time in the USA) and the real estate agent opened the door to what was clearly a linen closet – positioned in the hallway right outside of the bathroom – and said to me, “this is for your shoes.”  It took me a minute to realize he had no idea what that space was about, nor did he know the smaller closet next to it was a utility closet, a convenient place to store a vacuum cleaner and other such things.
 Ms.Zorzo (photo Corriere della Sera)
So as I contemplate these minor inconveniences that I need to find a solution for, in this morning’s Corriere della Sera, Milan’s  newspaper, there’s an article about Carla Zorzo, a woman who lives in 13 square meter apartment (which is roughly 10 x 13 feet)  in the center of Milan. Ms. Zorzo says it was a good choice for her simple because her monthly expenses are relatively low and it’s an easy space to keep clean. She’s happy that   she only pays 650 euros ($840 US) for the space, including heat and hot water.

She did admit she misses her TV – no room for it – but she has everything else, including a dishwasher. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like much of a bargain to me. 
 It;s a Little Tight in Here (photo orriere della Sera)
A few years ago a 55 square foot porter’s closet in a building in Rome was converted into an apartment. There is a ground floor bathroom, shower and sink and a sleeping platform just big enough for a single twin size bed, that you access via a ladder. If you want to look out the small window to see what the weather’s like in the morning, you have to climb over the bed.

The best thing about the apartment is the location, it’s very near the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio, home to a beautiful Renaissance cathedral. Your neighbors aren’t too shabby either. Just a few blocks away is the super-lux private residence of Silvio Berlusconi, the venue for his now infamous ‘bunga-bunga’ parties. Who knows, maybe you can wrangle yourself an invitation, if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, it’s all yours for the bargain price of 50,000 euros ($64,000 US). 
 Piazza Sant'Ignazio, Rome
Actually, that apartment is somewhat appealing to me, or it may be that I’m just missing Rome this morning. It certainly would eliminate the decisions I’m having to make as to what to keep and what to get rid of.  

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