Hi everyone ~ Sue here ~ We have a guest with us for this post. Her name is Tiffany Krezinski, and she and her husband have a blog called Peace, Love and Travel with Cliff and Tiff. Go on over there and check it out after you read her post about tiny living dreaming. Here’s Tiff!
Like many readers out there, I’m captivated by Tiny Homes. I often find myself endlessly scrolling through images of the innovative, compartmentalized spaces, wanting to then go out and build one of my own.
While it seems like an idyllic lifestyle, I won’t be able to uproot and relocate to a 120 square foot home any time soon. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t take a few notes from the movement.
For those of us in non-tiny homes, it’s worth pretending that such a move is in the near future to help de-clutter, downsize, and simplify — three things we could all use a little more of.
Living in a smaller space or even downsizing to declutter your life you have to go in with the right mindset. Looking to influential people for inspiration is the best way to get the “if they can do it, I can do it” way of thinking. Fault In Our Stars star Shailene Woodley decided after living in her L.A. home for only a short while to give the place to her grandmother saying she hated living alone. Instead Shailene has downsized to a disposable phone, computer and a suitcase full of clothes and travels the country staying on the couches of friends and family, or Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who was not only famous for his innovative work but for his black turtle neck, jeans and sneakers. Living smaller and more sustainably all starts with design. Brad Pitt alongside sustainable architect William McDonough rebuilt New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Katrina.
For me, the act of choosing digital over physical has always been difficult. However, to reduce unnecessary clutter, making this choice more often than not can go a long way.
For one, a lot of the important papers you have filed (or, if you’re like me, not filed) can be scanned and stored safely on your computer. In addition to sending your files through a regular scanner, there are a number of apps that capture and convert various documents into digital files. Instead of a space-hogging filing cabinet (or piles of paper), you’ll have a wallet-size external hard drive. This process will also help you finally go through the mail, memos, statements, etc., you’ve been meaning to toss out. I’m ready for that!
Then there’s entertainment collections — movies, music, and books. My sister, for example, has two wall-sized bookcases full of DVDs, and counting. It’s always easy to find something to watch when I visit, but why take up all that space when it’s so easy to stream or rent/own digital copies? If you’re like my sister and already have quite the collection, there are many ways to make it digital. You can then sell your physical copies to a local used entertainment store for a nice chunk of change.
Similarly, I can’t remember the last time I popped in one of my CDs or cassette tapes, let alone bought one of either, despite my love for the nostalgia they evoke. I purchase downloads and listen off my iPod or stream (my favorite service is Rdio), so might as well dump, donate, or sell the space-takers. For fun, check out this eye-opening visualization that shows what a 160GB iPod full of music would look like as a vinyl collection. Granted, if I had that impressive of a collection, I’m not sure I could be convinced to give it up.
I struggle most with the e-book vs. physical book debate. I love the feel, smell, and sound that comes with reading a real book, and really appreciate the time away from backlit screens. The writer in me also loves underlining specific lines and writing in the margins. I’ve come to the conclusion, however, that a good compromise is getting a library card. This way, I get that much needed time away from screens, avoid adding permanent clutter, and get out of the house. I’ll only buy the books I love so that I can go back and make note of those heart-stopping sentences.
The other day while I was cooking, I happened to look down the crack between the stove and fridge (yes, I know the fridge shouldn’t be there — working on it). What I saw horrified me. The dust looked as if it were climbing up the sides of my appliances, growing like fungi fighting for its species’ survival. I immediately felt claustrophobic by this other kind of “clutter.”
This got me thinking about smaller living spaces. Any amount of dust or dirt in a tiny home would take, I’d imagine, quite a toll on its livability. While it’s harder to notice smaller, hidden messes in a bigger home, I’m convinced those invisible unclean parts — the gap between the bed and the wall, the corners behind doors — take, at least, a subconscious toll. Take out that vacuum cleaner along with some elbow grease and have no mercy! Your lungs and mind will thank you.
Dump Storage Mentality
Speaking of the mind, this one’s a little more about making a mental shift. For the longest time, as my collection of stuff grew, I’d always find myself thinking “I need more space. I need more storage bins. I wish I had a bigger garage.” This mentality is a roadblock. I’ve since made a promise to myself to stop buying storage bins, building storage shelves, and thinking I need additions to my home. Instead, I ask myself, “What do I need to get rid of?” This is essentially the crux of the popular Tiny Home shopping rule of 1 thing in, 2 things out.
Adopting this perspective alone goes a really long way in the overall journey of learning the difference between needs and wants and, in turn, living a simpler, more fulfilled life.
Thanks for your post Tiffany. In the words of Lawrence Welk, Wonerful, Wonerful!!
Ron Here ~ Coming from an almost 30 year perspective of small living, I agree with everything Tiff has written with one small note ~ Vacuum Cleaner? Where do you store a vacuum cleaner in a tiny? Next to the bathroom sink of course, LOL!
We have a little, hand held in the corner of the bathroom. You can see it in the header pic ~ no place to run, no place to hide it Baby! Gotta give up the luxury of a big old, powerful vaccum cleaner when you go small.
Sue will be posting some more comments, learned over a long time, to add to this post soon. Watch for it!!