Paring down…

In preparation for the future, I’ve begun the paring down process of culling possessions. In the past month I’ve taken a couple trips to Goodwill, and have another stack in the living room to go tomorrow. Before the Wisco opportunity presented itself, I was already in cull-mode, spurred by Tammy Strobel’s book “You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)”. My original plan was to move back into town, into a smaller dwelling, meaning that I needed to get rid of a bunch of stuff so I’d fit in a more modest abode. But now, as I’ve divulged, the plan has become a bit more involved. Instead of having to fit into a small house, I need to fit into an even smaller U-Haul!

It’s funny how, no matter the size of your dwelling, you manage to fill it up. The more you have, the more you use – and that goes for more than just space.

Before I moved to my current house, I rented an enormous place just north of town. Three bedrooms and a living room big enough to do six cartwheels across. I lived there alone – with the exception of my furry, four-footed family.  In other words, it was a gratuitous-sized space for a woman, a cat and a dog. So I downsized to the ranch where I live now. And now I’m looking to downsize again…

In Strobel’s book she shares the story of how she and her husband progressed from a typical American lifestyle of big dwellings, tons of possessions and debt, to a tiny house with few possessions and the freedom to live life as they want. I highly recommend her blog  Another favorite blogger, Kimberly Wilson, recently hosted Strobel on her podcast Tranquility du Jour. Strobel offers baby steps at the end of each chapter to help inspire readers toward achieving that lifestyle. She’s careful to say that you don’t have to live in a 128 square foot tiny house, as she and her husband do, in order to reach simplicity and freedom. It’s a different concept to everyone.

Personally, I’m not looking to live in 128 square feet. I currently live in a house that I estimate to be around 900 square feet. It’s two bedrooms, two baths, a modest sized living room with a dining nook attached, and a generous sized kitchen (which, admittedly, I love). However, I’m definitely moving toward the ideal of a much smaller dwelling – for a few reasons:

Cost – in theory, the smaller the house, the less it costs. Of course, that’s not a given, but in theory that’s generally the way it works. I’d rather have more land and less house than the other way around. And I’d rather spend less money on a smaller dwelling than spend my life doing something I don’t like in order to pay for a house I don’t spend any time in.

Freedom – the smaller the house, the less time you have to spend maintaining it. I’d rather spend that time working the land and enjoying my life than mopping the floor and dusting knick-knacks.

Feeling – small spaces hug ya! In my humble opinion, it’s just not possible for me to feel nurtured and safe in a gigantic space. Little spaces hold me tight.

Simplicity – small spaces require good organization and few possessions. Less is more. Do you really need 12 coffee mugs when you live alone?

There are a lot of resources on the web that offer inspiration for downsizing – just go ahead and Google tiny houses or downsizing and see what I mean. A decade ago the standard was to live bigger and better. But with the downturn in economy, and the understanding of what our “footprint” really means, environmentally, both globally and locally, I’m pleased to see a new migration toward smaller, simpler living.

In my mind’s eye I see my future home, when I get to the point where I can afford a place of my own. If it’s in the upper Midwest, we’ll call it a cottage. If it’s in the west, we’ll call it a cabin. But either way it’s definitely smaller than where I live now, by a third at least. And has lots and lots of land for gardens, orchards, chickens and room to breathe…

Until I get to that point in my life I’ll carry on with culling possessions, minimizing my purchases, continuing to live debt-free and keeping a clear vision of the future.

Categories: The Journey | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Paring down…

  1. “lots and lots of land for gardens, orchards, chickens and room to breathe…” Yep, you and I are on the same page w/ this one….you just described my life to a T w/ that last sentence. Our home isn’t tiny (two story farmhouse) but I am building a 12 by 18 ft cabin w/ woodstove heat attached to the shop that could double as a cabin from the 1800’s…just in case the grid goes down…

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