So there we were following friends back to their place in Danbury, CT and just when that little railroad bridge seemed okay… Bang! Bang! Bang! Goodbye sweet little air conditioner. And here we were with a plan to head south in July. Not okay.
Here’s Honey doing damage controls bright and early
Fortunately we got a referral from a friend to a great RV repair place in Pokomoke, MD. What amazing service! We called from New Jersey and four hours later they assessed the damage. Sadly our little AC was beyond repair. They got us chillin’ again by 6:30 in the evening. This friendly crew even stayed 30 minutes past closing to get us on the road again. The bill was reasonable to boot, thank you We RV! Here’s a link to their website: https://wervllc.com
We let go of tools and building materials this weekend. How wonderful that the Habitat for Humanity ReStore takes such things. They took old shelving, working power tools, and unopened packages of screws. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that they do NOT take everything. For example, somehow we came up with about TWENTY unused extension cords. What?! Why??? I have no idea, none. Apparently, we just kept buying more because we did not know where we had squirreled away the others. I am truly horrified. So down to the ReStore only to find out they do not take extension cords anymore, because people bring in too many of them and they don’t sell. In other words, I am not the only one. They also would not take any used hand tools, or extension poles (yep, seven of them— I could cry). All I can say is, the next time you think you need an extension cord, try the closest ReStore. Onward!
In my brief review of minimalist reading, I present my final installment (for now). This book is my favorite so far. It’s helped me to reframe how I think of our space. My new muse, Dana White, wrote the very entertaining “Decluttering at the Speed of Life”.
It is so popular, I had to wait a few months to get the audible book, after putting it on reserve at our local library. White reads the book herself, not something I normally like, but she really is so entertaining! I love all the made up words and down home advice. White is another non-natural minimalist who so inspires. My biggest take away? Recognizing that our homes and storage areas (like drawers and shelves) are nothing but storage containers that each consist of a finite amount of space. That probably seems office to a natural minimalist, but I am a work in progress.
After finishing, I got the e-book to serve as a resource in my virtual library. Note that this is aberrant behavior for me—that’s how much it resonated.
I have talent the time to interact with her blog or podcast yet, though decided to share a link in case you would like to explore. It’s called “A slob comes clean” and can be found at https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/
Before Marie Kondo entered my life, there was the FlyLady, a website I found at least 10 years ago. FlyLady.net, is where I first learned to declutter and create routines to help manage the chaos. What she calls Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. She and her team have lots of ideas and inspirational stories. Now they have products and a rather useful free App with reminders. One of the best parts of this method is that you build up the routines and decrease the clutter rather slowly. This helps keep you from bouncing from one extreme to the other— like tearing your whole house apart and then running out of steam, time and gumption. I’ve learned at least three important take always from the FlyLady: 1) If you don’t have routines, it all falls apart; 2) If you have too much stuff you won’t be able to manage it all; 3) It’s important to take care of yourself first. If you don’t know where to begin, this is a good place to start. You will be “flying” before you know it.
We have one bathroom cabinet. This encompasses all bathroom storage and linens. Since we LOVE huge, luxurious towels, we keep only five. We took a tip out of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and started vertical storage of the towels. That let’s us limit bath towel storage to one little shelf. The middle shelf is for hair products, dentition supplies, and hand towels. The lower shelf stores the hairdryer along with all the little bits— make up, lotions, nail-type stuff, and little unmentionables.
If you see a buy-in-bulk bargain, run the other way! And for goodness sake, make yourself a regular date to clear the clutter (it’s sneaky, sneaky stuff). Limiting chaos will save you from having your treasures land in the toilet, when you open the lone cabinet! Be ruthless, be brave, you’ve got this!
Full steam ahead. The plan is to list our cottage at the end of the month. As we part with larger things, we keep asking ourselves, do we give this away or try to sell it? We’ve sold some through Facebook. It’s easy to post there and things go fairly quickly. On the other hand, it’s like a part time job responding to the messages. Meanwhile, you never know who will actually show up. Many ask for crazy favors, like paying later or delivering the item far away. It’s like a box of chocolates…
So far we’ve given away a few big things to family, including one lightly used treadmill. Yes, we stubbornly kept that treadmill in our tiny house, touching our king size bed, in our 7’x12’ bedroom. It did double duty as a bed rail and nightstand. I am not kidding. Minimal living does not come naturally to me. It’s more of an intellectual exercise.
We’ve given away a throwing wheel, a crystal chandelier, a 1948 enamal kitchen-sink basin/cabinet, and some very large pieces of artwork that never found a place on these tiny walls. The next phase is parting with three bureaus, a small refrigerator, an armchair, bookshelves and a stupidly large kiln. Do we call Habitat for Humanity or try to make a few dollars? A friend and minimalist once told me it made her angry to sell things for pennies on the dollar compared with what she paid, and she felt magnanimous giving them away. Food for thought.
In 2016, we downsized from 1600 square feet to 458. We dreamed of downsizing in 2010, but were essentially trapped in our home by the economy. While biding our time, we began giving things away. Occasionally we sold something, but that involves pushing beyond our natural laziness… so you can imagine how often that worked out.
For over five years we donated and more than once the thrift shop attendant asked sympathetically if someone had died. We are not hoarders, I swear. I have no idea how we acquired so much. I think we just kept bringing things in and forgetting to send out the detritus. Attics are both a blessing and a curse.
In the end we gave away about 80% of what we had in that house. Of course, when the movers dumped the remaining 20% into our new tiny home it was overwhelming. One of the movers said, “I don’t understand why you’re doing this, your old house is so nice.” As I climbed over the treadmill and the food processor to get to the bathroom, I even asked myself, “What have we done?”
We now find ourselves on the verge of a new adventure with a cross-country move looming. Since we do not care to spend the equivelant of a down payment for a house on moving a bunch of old stuff, hi ho hi ho we must minimize again, I know! This blog has waited in the wings. Perhaps it’s more about minimizing than it is about tiny living. I never dreamed I would be a minimalist…but here we go.
Minimalizing and going Tiny? No easy feat. We Americans start acquiring from the second we are born. I heard tales of the Great Depression from my grandparents and, “waste not want not,” blah blah blah. I somehow bought into that cling to every scrap of old aluminum foil mentality. You never know when you might need something, right? Unfortunately, my reality was that when I needed that thing I knew I still had, I could never find it among all of my things. When I began giving our things away I found three skill saws! In fact, I found multiples of almost everything. Going through old stuff is beyond tedious, and yet so rewarding in the end. I challenge you to let all that old stuff go and open up your world.