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Small House Society News 201103

Small House Society – News 201103 | 1 March 2011 | Tuesday

Dear Friend,

I know that time is precious for everyone, so I’ll try to keep this update short. The approximate reading time is about 5 minutes. Toward the bottom, there’s some repetition of announcements from last month for those who’ve just joined the list.

New Website Design. As you’ve probably noticed already, the Small House Society website has a new design. The page header images show various small house designs. The navigation is also improved. We’ve upgraded the software that runs the site, so pages should load faster now.

Legalizing Small Living. I was contacted this past month by a city government wanting assistance with changing their housing codes to accommodate the small house movement. This is an inspiring development for those of us fighting for housing equality.

Green Living Health Expo. This past month I had the opportunity to give presentations two days in a row at the Green Living Health Expo. It was fun to meet other like minded small home enthusiasts, and my new revised presentation (using Keynote on my iPad) was well received.

Newsletter Subscription. In January I considered switching to MailChimp.com for our newsletter notification. However,  at $360 per year for MailChimp, Yahoo Groups seems to offer better features and functionality for free.

Involvement Levels. We offer a few levels of online involvement in our organization. (1) The most active members join our Yahoo Group for real-time discussions. (2) Those wanting to receive occasional news stories throughout the month, but not wanting to join a discussion forum, can follow us on Twitter or Facebook. (3) The newsletter announcement list is the minimal level of involvement. Members receive a reminder when our newsletter is available online for reading, usually twelve or fewer emails per year. We’ve established these options because it’s important to us that everyone can participate at a commitment level of time and energy that’s comfortable and personally sustainable.

Updated Directory of Designers and Builders. One of the most frequent requests we get is from people seeking small home designers and builders. In January I finished updating our directory of small home designers and builders to include the city and state to make it easier for journalists and potential customers to find local small home contacts.

Small Home Registry. We’re increasingly getting contacted by journalists wanting to interview individuals, couples, and families who have chosen to live small. Our current small house registry is fairly limited and needs editing and expanding. Some of the websites listed are no longer active. We want to create an updated list, similar to our directory of designers and builders, to help journalists reach small house dwellers and advocates in their area. Please let me know if you’re interested in being listed.

Plans for 2011. In the year ahead, our goal is to support the four groups of people who are central to the Small House Movement:

  • Bloggers and Writers. Bloggers and writers help create local and personalized stories of smaller and simpler living. Through promoting blogs and providing technical assistance, we continue to help people launch their own websites sharing stories of successfully living small. We also help promote books about smaller and simpler living. Publishers regularly send us review copies of books and we write reviews and promote the books free of charge. While some websites charge $400 or more for advertising space, we offer bloggers and writers premium listings on our site for free. The $5 annual membership fee is optional. Yet many bloggers and writers choose to pay for expanded advertising and promotion initiatives we offer.
  • Designers and Builders. Visionary designers and builders of small homes create enjoyable small spaces as habitats for joyfully and abundantly living small. This past year we’ve supported them and helped to promote their work. While some websites charge $400 or more for advertising space, we offer qualified designers and builders premium listings on our site for free. The $5 annual membership fee is optional. Yet many designers and builders choose to pay for expanded advertising and promotion initiatives we offer.
  • Journalists and Media. Journalists and members of the media have greatly helped us spread the word about smaller and simpler living. We continue to provide prompt responses, usually by the end of the same business day or sooner, to all requests for information and interviews. This helps keep our minimalism agenda in the public eye.
  • Small Housers. The people who are actually living in small homes are at the center of what the movement is about. Through one-on-one consultations and online resources, we’re continually looking for ways to help and support people who are making the change to small living. We hope the resources on our site will continue to inspire and equip people for smaller living.

If you belong in any of the above mentioned groups, we’re here to serve you. Or, even if you don’t, we’re glad you’re here!

Thanks. I want to thank the global team of volunteers and contributors “behind the scenes” who help make all this possible. I’m very grateful to the many people who continue to uphold and advance the mission of the Small House Society. Thanks again for your support. Please let me know if there is any way that the Small House Society can serve you better.

Gregory Johnson, Facilitator, President, Co-Founder
Small House Society

Internet: http://www.smallhousesociety.org
E-Mail: shs @ resourcesforlife.com (without spaces)
Postal: c/o Resources for Life, PO Box 2717, Iowa City, IA 52244-2717
Phone: (319) 621-4911
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By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com