Sunday, November 6, 2011

We have our trailer!

Ah yes.....twenty feet of steel on wheels, sitting in our back yard, just in time for winter to start. Perfect. I walk out in the back yard, and stare at the frame. Looking at it. Mentally trying to figure out HOW our house is going to fit on that?! It is not much space. Not much space at all. On paper, the plans look "roomier" and more open. But looking at actual space, I wonder how a fireplace is going to fit on there with two chairs, a galley kitchen, a sink and shower. *shrug* And our families both think we have lost our minds. Which is a complete bonus. Still, our goal is to move in 6 years with zero debt. No house loan, no car loan. And building a tiny house is the only way we will get out from under either debts before we are 60. Six years to build a dream house and purge within an inch of our lives. Sell, give away or donate what will not fit into the tiny house. Priorities. Its a scary thought.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Preparing to live tiny

As I have been purging, and pouring over plans, looking at furnishing and materials, and thinking of how much "stuff" will fit into 130 square feet, it occurred to me---what do I need to keep that won't make me feel poor? Which items make me feel rich?

I have been the unwilling poor, the person living paycheck to paycheck, deciding who gets paid "this month" and who doesn't. When I went shopping, I had only the cash in my pocket. I had to purchase "John Wayne" toilet paper because that was all I could afford. I hated my toilet paper. I would use work toilet paper to blow my nose and reuse that at home rather than use the "John Wayne" stuff. Final straw was going to the Grange Hall, using their bathroom, and having toilet paper envy. Seriously?? My toilet paper made me feel poor. More than my budget issues, having cheap toilet paper was a daily reminder of not having enough money.

In this purging process, I am also trying to keep that same principle in mind. I will need to winnow things down over the next several years. The amount of dishes I have, the number of pots and pans, how many books I have, the number of shoes (which isn't very many to be honest!). Still, with that, I will have to balance it with which items I have that make me rich. What gives me pleasure? And if I purge TOO much, will I feel deprived and have the unconscious need to replace those things?

It is all a balance. Trying to move stuff out, and get used to the more open spaces without feeling the need to FILL that empty space. Keeping in mind that there will not be that empty space in our new home.

Working on the process, and trying to make peace with it.

Friday, September 30, 2011


The trailer home process is continuing. The trailer has been ordered and is being made. We have gone to a few recycled home stores, picked up a tiny door (craftsman style and is LOVELY), victorian ceiling tin to use as the backsplash in the kitchen, a tiny bathroom sink, and various other items.

Inside our normal house, I am starting serious purging. Read a book "Fifty Things" that has inspired me. Sadly, I did not manage to throw away fifty things. I have been too busy with school starting, band rehearsals, etc, to work on the purging she is talking about (she counts 5 pair of shoes as ONE thing). I dropped off a very large pile of things to Goodwill this weekend, and am tossing item after item into the trash.

I am also reevaluating my art on the walls. We repainted our living room this summer, and I purged quite a bit at that time. But, now I am purging even more. Giving things the critical eye---will it fit into a tiny space? Does it bring me joy? What will I give up in order to keep this item?

I know I have a few years before we transition to a smaller home, but I am already shifting my thinking to that direction. Looking at my closet, my shoes, my coats, my kitchen supplies. Knowing I will have to cut all of those items by less than half to a third of what it is currently.

It would be nice to not have that junk drawer any more!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Downsizing and the 6 year plan

If you don't have a plan, you won't get anywhere, right?

We, my husband and I, have a long-term plan. To build a travel trailer home to live in once the children are grown (6 years from now), sell the house then, and move to where my parents live (Montana). Live in the trailer house for a few years while building a small house up there.

It is a plan! I was super against moving BACK into a trailer for a few years. Hubby had been talking about trailer living for a while now (just while the house is being built), but I have lived in a trailer. As a child (twice while a house was built), and an adult (twice, once with three other adults, once with another adult and toddler). It isn't as if I was being snobby or "too good" to live in a trailer. I know the logistics of it. Sweaty windows. Mildew everywhere. Cramped space. Tripping over people. And, WHY, for the sake of all that is holy, do they CARPET the blasted things?!! The area is too small for a vacuum, but gets dirty so fast with that kind of foot traffic. GAH!

*breathing* As I said, I have lived in one before. But, I finally recognized, that in order to get what my final outcome is---home ownership by my parents without having a mortgage--- means that I am going to live in a trailer for a year, or two or three, I want it to be on my terms this time. MINE.

We are going to embark on building a tiny house, on a trailer frame, from scratch. Based on the Tumbleweed House idea, and other tiny trailer house ideas gleaned from the internet. We intend on using these next 6 years to build a house (a HOME) in such a way that it will be cozy, airy, and well thought out. A place for everything.

Our current house is just under 900 square feet. Of those feet, I don't touch my son's room. Still, our new home on wheels will be about 130 feet. And I am already looking around my house thinking to myself "what will I be getting rid of?" I am NOT a clothes horse. I have a nice size dresser, and about 5 feet of closet space. But I will need to cut my clothing in half before we move. OUCH. I am an artist. I have tools that I have owned since I was 16. My workspace overflows with the stuffness of creativity that I NEED to function. (yes, a workspace is on my MUST list on our living space in the trailer, much to my husbands consternation) But I recognize that much of this will need to be stored, not out and visible the way it is now.

The art on our walls. Handmade blankets. Heirloom crystal candy dishes. Things I love but that won't have a place in a tiny home. Will need to be stored or let go of.

And here, at 900 feet, I always thought we lived small already. Thank goodness I have years to sort out the truly important things from what I am willing to part with.

Wish us luck, and I will be posting about our big adventure!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Repurposing a cabinet

This started out as a dingy, old, grey cabinet from my grandfathers garage. It housed screws and bolts, and other misc man bits.

After my grandfather passed on, my husband took this and brought it home. It mostly got shuffled around, and not really used. I am in desperate need of organizational help with my artist job (the small bits will kill ya), so this is perfect.

Husband cleaned out the dust and cobwebs, painted it blue to match our living room. After it dried, I added gold diamonds on it (oh, no! geometry is not my friend!), and then free-handed the bird and scroll-work.

A few hours later, a work of art. For free. Gotta love that. And, importantly, I have a cabinet from my grandfather.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life at my speed

Life is different here, inside my head. The random, and odd way I choose to live. It isn't for everyone, and I know that.

I get up in the morning, drink my first cup of coffee, let the dogs out. I let the ducks out, and talk to them---generally to tell the girls that they need to lay me some eggs. I go inside, drink some more coffee, and get my kids up.

If it is a school day, one or the other of the boys will head off to school, or I will drive them off. Making lunches, making sure proper morning rituals are taken care of (teeth brushed? homework done? etc etc). On a summer morning, they get to sleep in.

Later in the morning, I head outside and take the ducks some grain. Watch them run up to me and eat from my hands. Then I hunt up some eggs, it's like an Easter Egg hunt every morning. Where did they hide them today? I know the "normal" hiding places, but they always find new ones.

More coffee. Start some laundry, do some dishes. Head to the library. Perhaps do some crafts (I make jewelery to sell). After school and in the afternoon, the boys have appointments, therapy, doctors, sports. Seems like I am gone from the house most nights.

It is the MOMENTS in the days that I cherish. The ducks running up to me to eat grain from my hands. Seeing a dragonfly on a leaf near the pond. Feeling the warmth of the sun on the deck. Moments of peace. Moments in the now.

My children are getting older. Their minds are busy and they don't want to talk to mom anymore. It is rarer and rarer that they open up and talk to me. Which is normal, they are becoming independent and growing into their own person. I am needed by them, but mostly as a meal provider, laundry do-er, and driver. It doesn't feel very "mom" like.

So I look to other things to find moments of peace and fulfillment. Transitioning slowly to a new time and phase in life. It is coming. It may still be a few years off, but they are growing away from me, and soon enough, this "mom" phase will be done.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's nearly spring......

But you wouldn't know it from our weather lately.

I got a single egg from the ducks at the tail end of Feb. On the same day, it snowed. WHA?! We have been having a wonderful, warm weather winter, and suddenly we have snow. I finally get an egg from the duckers, begin to think that the egg-laying season is about to begin, and it SNOWS?!

I almost cried.

On the plus side, because of the increase in daylight, my girls have continued to lay eggs. (You go, girls!) I am getting three to four eggs a day, far more than we can eat. We are already starting to give some away. Which is a nice thing to be able to do.