Monday, November 25, 2013

Tiny Home principles in an Apartment

I have to confess, I love the idea of a 'tiny home'. I see the glamorous photos of these beautiful little houses that people have built themselves or had built for them. I look at the wonderful interiors and I am instantly enchanted. I get the same kind of swooning desire that I do when I am looking at lush gardens and a cheerful and busy little room where everything is put neatly in its place. I look at all of that tidy order and the beautiful simplicity of it all and... well, I find myself having a visceral craving for it in my own life.

I look at how people have turned spaces that are smaller then my home into not merely habitable, but thriving homes. I am inspired (and a touch envious). I find myself gobsmacked at the people who have such homes with young children. It amazes me to see them keeping their homes so tidy.

I see things like what Joanna Goddard shared on her blog about how to make a small apartment work with two young kids. I then look around my home and go 'hrm, what do we have that we simply never use?'

This often leads to my doing things like purges of old books and toys the kids no longer play with. I will also go through my crafting stuff and purge things too. I try to pare back the non-essential and what we don't love. At the same time, I feel a bit guilty about excising the excess.

I tell myself that it's perfectly acceptable to give away things that you haven't touched in over a decade and don't even consider looking at. As long as they're not heirlooms or something that is important in some fashion, and Beloved is ok with it vanishing, it is ok to go. Even so, I have times where I am seized with paroxysms of guilt. I feel horrible 'throwing away' perfectly serviceable items.

I'm kinda rambling away from the point I was trying to make. Let me try to bring it back to where I was initially attempting to go. The things that make tiny homes work are all rooted in three points:
  1. Simplicity
  2. Utility
  3. Love
You don't need gobs of clutter to make things work for you. If I have learned anything from FlyLady, it is that clutter works against you. Clutter is complicated. Having 47 different things to do three things, with all of those tools overlapping, is over complicating the matter. So, I try to pare down my proverbial 47 things down to 7. That's simplicity in action.

Having the right tools for the job is always essential. Having the right tools that can be multifunctional is just plain smart. I have in the boy's room an over the door shoe sorter. It holds their shoes. It also holds the little treasures that they like to collect. (When I can get them to put them away.) I have another shoe sorter up in the kitchen by the fridge. It doesn't hold shoes. It holds my various little kitchen gadgets, which frees up counter space (something that is at a premium in my place). I try to find as many ways to make something work as I can think of. Sometimes, it is a bit of a mental stretch.  After all, there are only so many ways you can use a can opener.

I am making a point of keeping out and available the things that we love and find important. It sometimes makes it a bit challenging because we have little things that could stand as mementos of places where we have been. I have to carefully consider, is the item something that I truly value. It's been entertaining, in an odd little way, to discover how many things that simply just don't have the value that I paid for.

As a result, the three principles have been working to make me more cautious about how I spend my money and my time. It's why we are done with Yule stuff NOW. And the total sum of money that has been spent upon gifts is a bit shy of $200. That's including the cost of yarn for all my knitting and crochet. That's easily $400 less then what the average person spends.

All of that money gets eaten up by stuff like the bills, but it is something that I am pretty pleased with. And I guess that's part of the reason why I am trying to put these principles into action.

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