Husband and I watched a short PBS video today about tiny homes (under 400 sq. ft.). We are inspired! Probably the most exciting thing for me is imagining how we could properly downsize and avoid accumulating more and more clutter if we had less and better organized space.
Weekday mornings are a bit crazy around here. I end up dashing back and forth from the front to the back of the house (and this is WITH lots of help from husband). Baby might want to play in the bedroom, in the back room or the living room. I might need to move lanolin or bottles from the bedroom to kitchen or elsewhere, or go back and forth from the bedroom to the back to put in laundry, then to the front to load bags for the day. Then cooking, and figuring out where to eat, and tracking the constantly moving baby. It is not efficient unless I were trying to lose weight with 2000 steps before I leave the house. Which I’m not.
So I asked husband what he thought the minimum house size is that we could handle. He suggested 1000 feet. I’m coming in at around that number. We could do smaller, of course. But we do have a baby who likes to move, and we do want more. I want a writing area. We’d like to be able to accommodate a guest. So maybe around 1000 if it’s well designed. All space well-used, connected central living area (kitchen/dining/living/play area). Lots of built-in storage.
And then there’s the downsizing, too. I’m going to finish this Kyrgyzstan paper soon no matter what, and that’s a box of things gone. Next up will be the singles paper, and another mini-stack of articles into recycling or the fireplace. Then the Buryat article, and I’m home free paper-wise! One blogger downsized her family’s files to only a few papers and a memory stick – she scanned most documents rather than keeping hard copies. I’m tempted and considering something like that. As it is, I’m down to 2 drawers, and lots of those are family files. Well, okay, plus a box or two for papers :). But those will be gone soon. Eliminating a bushel of paper in my purging pre-baby was a remarkably good use of time.
Clothes is another, but that’s dropping. I’ve streamlined what we have and use for baby, not hanging onto fancy clothes we won’t use or things that don’t fit. For myself, it’s a question of repeatedly eliminating things that look bad or don’t fit, and then not replacing them with others. I’m closer than I’ve been before. Though I once again feel the need for a make-over and some clothes that actually look good on me – this blog is inspiring me in that direction.
And books. Some people can let go of them. I struggle. I have eliminated probably a box or two over the past year, which is amazing (oh … and bought at least a box 🙁 – mainly second hand). I have probably several boxes of books that are to be read and discarded. If I were to move, I wouldn’t take them, but I’m not ready to get rid of them yet. Who knows when I’ll be unable to get to the library and desperately need something fun to read?! I would like to downsize there, too, though, because I do have reference books that aren’t useful and some books I simply don’t enjoy.
The other side of space is the environment and resource use. I’ve picked up Eaarth again (Bill McKibben) and am reading the solutions part of the book. The section on food is great – lots about organic, local and building community to create food where you are. I’m highly motivated to do a much better job growing and preserving food next year! Then the section on energy. #1 is conservation, though there’s lots more after that. The thing is, I like to be warm. I’m really not that happy or sociable when I”m cold. I want my house to feel comfortable for me in winter. Solution: well-built, well-insulated house with solar supplementary heating, wood stove, high-r windows. Small, easy to heat, easy to keep hot. 1000 square feet is sounding big when I consider that side of things!