Before we bought our own tiny house, my family got me gift certificate for a stay at a tiny house with Get Away (http://www.getaway.house/). We stayed at a 160 square foot house in New Hampshire. It was lovely. The woods were so peaceful and pleasant. It was great trying out a few features. I learned I don’t love a tight loft space. To me I feel like I’m in an MRI… not my favorite feeling. I also like a place to hang my coat or sweater and bag when I walk in the door. I am not a fan of a set up that’s like a studio… I like to have a bedroom that has a door. The dog really enjoyed the open concept though. Overall there were many lessons learned and we had a nice time away to boot. I would definitely recommend this company.
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/
Long after the Art of Tidying, Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki, dropped into consciousness. It worked very well as an audible book. It was surprisingly entertaining… not something that is always true of non-fiction. Instead of buying more books, I frequently download the audible versions from my local library onto the Overdrive App “Libby” on my phone. This way there is more time to “read” while doing chores (your basic win-win).
Sasaki’s personal story is so inspiring. This is someone who let go of cnearly all of his possessions and his social drive to show material success. I love that minimalism does not come naturally to him, rather he has learned about and chosen this lifestyle. He now lives in less than half the space of our house.
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.
Next trip to the Goodwill donation center, here we come. I am so, so excited!! I’ve no idea how we fit so many things in this little house. I have not a clue how I’ve been donating and selling things for 8+ years pretty continuously and there’s still too much. We’ve been such good little American consumers I guess. As we get ready for selling our home of the last three years, the plan is to move into a 27 foot RV for a while. More stuff has got to go, cause there’s just so many places it can go. At this point giving the things away fills me with joy. I usually photograph it before it goes, and I enjoy seeing the pictures of the old stuff once in a while. I have never regretted giving any of it away. Of course this trip is especially easy, since most of it was not even mine in the first place! I used to ask, “but what if I need it again and it’s gone?” Honestly, that has happened a couple times. It’s okay. I buy it again and choose more carefully the second time around. I go for something that is smaller or easier on the eyes, whenever possible. Do not beat yourself up if you’ve given up something that you end up needing again. Stuff comes, stuff goes. If you can’t afford it again right away, get inventive… there’s always a way.
In the summer of 2016 we gave up our typical suburban house for a tiny house. We closed on July 7th, moved in that day, and took off for Europe before unpacking on the 8th. Yes, we could finally afford to travel and did not waste a minute!
To be clear, we literally spent five years giving things away in order to get ready for the move. We researched, we talked, we studied. I thought, “We’ve got this!” Meanwhile, we came home to a treadmill dominated living room. It partially blocking the bathroom door! The king size bed took up about 80% of the bedroom.
When we tried to put it all away… a little voice inside my head secretly screamed, “What in the name of heaven have you done to yourself?!” Ever the stubborn people that we are, we gave up our walking path and squeezed the treadmill next to the bed. This became the entire bedroom. I am not kidding. See for yourself:
So basically it took a while. We had to make it work with what we had and slowly convert it to more livable. Getting to pretty was a process, a long process. Looking forward to the next challenge!
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.