I’m going CRAZY! But enjoying the ride!

Good golly Miss Molly!! I feel like I’m going to lose my mind! For my dear followers, you know we’ve been working on paring down since August. And I feel like we keep chipping away, little here, little there. and then BAM, we add more stuff! Does that make sense?? NO, NO it doesn’t! For instance, we added a kitchen aid mixer in December. Something we’ve always wanted and use quite a bit, to be honest. But in September added a large stuffed animal, a few handmade quilts, recently a couple more dishes that were in storage the rest we did sell off, and donated! I know I shouldn’t complain because it’s not like we added a table and chairs, we’ve been very smart about our choices, but boy is it a long process!

I must confess here, I have a surgery coming and it’s all consuming right now. It’s not expected to be life altering for long. But getting the phone call to schedule it made me realize, AGAIN, WHY we are doing this. Why we are wanting less and live a more simplified life!

So here I will post happy pictures of the life I hope one day to live!! Thanks for reading!

First, we will start with our favorite “Tiny House” Tom and Shaye’s tiny home. It’s wonderful, 8’x24′ for a total of 161sqft living space. We would need to add a bit more space to have a ground floor bedroom, but I love the simplicity, clean lines and large kitchen space. Oh we would need to add an apartment fridge as well. But for a link for a video tour click here.

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Tom and Shaye's floor plan

Next is the always inspirational: The Hansel House. This is fairy tale living at its best! We love this famous little house, but it does seem a little cramped for our taste at 300sqft. But given the chance, I think we would love to live here! Also, they do have some nifty space using ideas. Watch the video tour here. For interesting history about it and photos of the inside click here.

The Hansel House

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Our Favorite: English Cottage: This is our most favorite, we love the angled roofs, dutch style wood showing and stucco siding as well as all those beautiful windows and stone on the outside and chimney for the toasty warm fire inside! It’s only 17’6″ x 23′ making it 402sqft, 300sqft living space. We would probably square it off and make it 25×25 for a full 625sqft which is regulation size, albeit a bit big for us, for the county we want to live in. For floor plans click here.

English Cottage
English Cottage

Paring Down Pt. 9: The Kitchen Closet and New Organization

Woah! What a chore, but it’s done!! Once my mom moves out this closet will be bare!

Before:

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After:

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I had a crafting box blog that was the blue tote on the third shelf. As I went through this I saw so much junk that most of it went to garage sale or trash.

Some of the items went under our new bed storage!

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This is the new craft box from #7 blog “Craft Box” it since has been given away to my friend.

Here’s where I keep our shoes and stuffed animals (if you look closely you can see the clear tub next to the stuffed dog, that’s my clown gear) too.

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So, while we got rid of a bunch of things we no longer used or they no longer fit our life, we still had things that needed a home. We made room for them under the bed by lifting it up!

Thank you for reading and liking/sharing! Please feel free to ask questions about how we choose what to get rid of or keep!

Ciao,

Audrey

Paring Down Pt. 8: The Fabric Box

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After, the machine, and in the orange tub: fabric, wooden sewing box, a white box of thread and a white box of ‘extras.’

You wouldn’t think two people who don’t sew much to collect so much fabric! However, we’ve been known to sew a quilt or three in our time as well as pillows, crafts along with teaching children to sew. It also helps that my mother-in-law is a master seamstress and glorious quilt maker. She is an inspiration to us and so, we started collecting fabric in hopes to do projects with her. She’s such a joy to work with and so knowledgeable, helpful and very patient.

Before starting we had to make some tough decisions. While owning a sewing machine is on our priority list, did we really need all that old fabric? If so, why? Through our sorting we found that much of it was kept for a project we either finished or realized we honestly were not committed to actually doing. To be truthful, admitting this was very hard to do. We are passionate about so many things, it’s hard to pick and choose. But ultimately, it came down to the question, “Where do we want to spend our time?” And we decided that we want to spend our time doing projects we LOVED and we didn’t want to spend our time lugging around an anchor. So, as hard as it was we let 75% of our fabric, dream projects and hopes we had for all of it -GO… It was so relieving. I felt so much better because those undone items weighed on my mind every time I saw the sewing machine or fabric box. Now, I get to spend my time where I want to spend it NOW, not where I “hoped” to spend it a year ago. We realized that year to year our tastes and priorities change, and we have to be willing to change with it. It doesn’t make us failures, it makes us human. And we do get some projects done, but not all of them. We keep trying, and now we can enjoy working on them instead of being overwhelmed by them!

The fabric we did keep were the kinds that were versatile for many projects, mainly large pieces, or were set aside for an item we really wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. This was a great opportunity to set goals for the remaining of the year.

We started with so much, there were three different tubs, a cardboard box hiding here, another there, it was all over the house… Here are the photos of the mess we had on our hands!

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Can you spot the THREE sewing baskets??

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That which we tossed was so old it was too worn to be used for anything solid, it no longer had any life in the fabric. The stuff we decided to sell were things like extra quilt blocks from previous quilts we finished, curtains I had hoped to make a belly dancing skirt from, lace curtains, upholstery fabric we decided we weren’t going to actually use, all of our buttons, and yarn.

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The white box was full of buttons. The fan box is full of fabrics too. This was our pile of yard sale items.

Paring Down Pt. 7: The Craft Box

As we sort through what we ‘need’ and what we ‘want’ I got to my craft box in the closet… Some things got ‘re-homed’ because they didn’t belong in it like markers and colored pencils (we have an art studio area for these items), others given away. But I did this project a few weeks ago and I’m sitting here thinking, you know honestly, I don’t think I ‘need’ anything in there.

Before:

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I kept some stamps to make the usual cards: Happy Birthday, Congrats on your Wedding, Thank you, Thinking of you. But honestly, I buy them now, cheap and it’s been so long since I’ve made a card or wanted to, do I really need to keep that?? I kept some nice colored card stock, glitter glue, glue sticks, for the same purpose.

I decided to hold on to all my embroidery supplies in hopes to finish up my second ever project. A friend bought me these supplies as they decided they wanted to teach me how and I was interested. My first project was easy, my second was quite large and I’d like to finish it as there’s just a little left to do. Then I think I will be done with it. I really enjoyed it but as time went on, I realized that with the problems I have with my eyes, it’s just not good for me. Sure I could do 10 minutes at a time, but it takes about that long to pull it out and get set up! So, I’m still searching for a hobby to have in my tiny home – thoughts?

After is the clear box:

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So, after this post, I’ve decided to find a new home for my craft box, keeping only what thread I need to finish that project. I have a good friend who has children interested in these things and I will pass it on to them. I do their art teaching as they are homeschooled, so it will be like donating supplies to the ‘classroom’!

I’d like to thank you sincerely for reading my blog. I know I have inspired others, which brings me such joy to know I’ve been of help to you! Who knows, without you, maybe I would have quit by now. I’d like to think not, but knowing I have people wanting to read keeps me going. It gives me a sense of accountability to keep sorting and sharing with you! Also, I love how you send me notes and news articles about tiny living and organizing to read that are really helpful to me too!

Please feel free to ‘Like’ comment or reblog! Thanks again!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Paring Down Part 6: What to do with all those photos?!

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So, here we are preparing for tiny living and I have 3 totes of photos and random memorabilia. I worked on sorting it all. I started out with 3 totes of things, and got it down to 1!! I had a tote of old photos, one of photo frames and albums and a tote of random items like large photos, X-rays, used check books and empty cardboard boxes, presumably kept for a later art project.

Things I kept:

~X-rays, medical files

~Photo albums

~Picture frames (headed for garage sale)

~Photos: I only kept those where I could name who was in the picture. They also got sorted into these boxes I got at my local “Mart” store for 94cents! Larger pictures were sorted to lay flat on top in the bigger box. I sorted/categorized the photos under the following headings: wedding/honeymoon, high school, my family, Steve’s family, friends, Italy, Australia, Germany, misc. (aerial views, farms), stuff (we are artist and take pictures of things for inspiration). See pictures below:

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The picture frames in the middle box are being kept to sell. They do not appear in any other pictures.
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With a little tetris-ing, all this fit into the one box on the left, see above
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The photos sit nicely at an angle
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This is a “Shoe Box” for 94cents!!
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Photo box that was full of old stuff, now being used for actual photos, large photos lay on top in this one.

Things I tossed:

~Duplicate photos

~Old receipts/paperwork (some were from 2002!)

~Broken picture frames

~Cardboard boxes

I couldn’t believe how many items we have carted from one house to the next. One of the totes had a shoe box full of random paperwork, I swear this is the stack of paperwork that was on the kitchen island in our first apartment that we swept into a box when moving into our first home in 2002!!

I even found a MRI radiology report from 2000! Which I needed in December!

This was very eye opening as it pointed to our tendency to collect, store and keep unnecessary items due to laziness or just being overwhelmed with what to do with things. And the disorganization of it all made it impossible to find that report when I needed it. So, I realized that I need to stay up-to-date with what’s in my file boxes. I don’t need anything older than 7 years old. So, now I can get rid of old direct sales receipts from the ‘at-home’ business I ran. They are in the back of my file box for safe keeping. With a little more effort and tad more attention, I can get my paperwork under control, be able to find what I need, when I need it!

The same goes for photos, it is such a relief to have them sorted. Now when I want to show off my wedding photos, or old high school pictures, I know where to find them, quickly and easily.

This was an excellent project. I do apologize that I didn’t have photos of all the things I tossed. But know that it was junk I always intended to “fix up” and use or do projects with. I carted most of it for years and I feel like it’s ok to let that go. The stress of it has been lifted, I no longer feel like a failure who didn’t get to my projects. Instead, I made room for new dreams, new possibilities!

Paring down to live the tiny life has been so liberating. Do we have lots to learn? Yes. Do we still have loads of things to sort through? Yes. But we are so much closer now than we were just 6 months ago! As our motto states, “Little by little, bit by bit, a new found freedom we WILL get!!”

Thank you for reading, if you are inspired, let me know! Please share your sorting story below and pictures really are worth a thousand words!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Tiny Life Christmas 2014

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Here it is! Finally, the long awaited Tiny Life Christmas post! We kept the tree small. It is an old fiber optic tree given to us from a family member. I loved it, the colors changed and we didn’t have to twirl it to put lights on it!

We kept the decorations on surfaces that were otherwise, white and unused. This allowed us to jazz up the house for the duration with out feeling overwhelmed.

However, I must say that the greatest thing I’ve enjoyed about tiny living Christmas, is that when it was all over, everything fit into ONE rubbermaid tub! (The tissue box is there for size reference) AND I didn’t feel like I was loosing out or sacrificing anything. It was a joyful Christmas! The less fussy decorating was much appreciated.

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This included our little snow man. The globe changes color, I LOVE this little guy!

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2 Wreaths and lights. (front door wreath not pictured)

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Decorative wooden cranberry beads and bows.

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Also, while decorating our tiny tree, we realized we had too many ornaments and some too large to go on it. This is even after we sorted through and only kept those with special meaning and those that we truly LOVE. So, we used them to decorate the rest of the house. (see cranberry beads too)

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Last year we made these neat fabric, restickable decorations that can go almost anywhere. They get stored on wax paper, then folded to about the size of a Christmas card.

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And now, it’s all in that one tub! Voila! No clutter. OH WAIT… Except the wrapping paper mess….

This is what it looked like at first.

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That helped it store easily onto the top of our closet shelf.

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We are working our way through all the wrapping paper and bows. Oh, how I love to decorate the packages so prettily! By time we get to actual tiny living we will have much less. We will buy only what we need and limit wrapping products to ribbon and three tubes of paper for birthday, misc (plain color) and christmas. Which we will find space for in the Christmas tub.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this installment of Living the TIny Life. Christmas is such a big part of our cultures and traditions, it would be difficult to give it all up. I hope you’ve been inspired to pare down your things the way you would like. To only have those which make you very happy and bring you joy with out feeling a void.

Please post and let me know how you handled Christmas or would like to this year!

Sincerely,

Audrey

Paring Down Part 5: Shoes 10pr to 5pr!

Yes, I did it! I went through my shoes and pared down. To be honest, I always thought, I don’t own that many shoes…. This used to be true. I used to only own 2 pair! and now? Now I found I owned: 10!! My goodness how did that happen? One word: Crocs!! I own four pair of Crocs! Seriously!!

So here’s where I started 10 pairs:

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From left to right:

Old gym shoes, Black Mary Jane, Black Dress Crocs, 2pr old off brand Crocs, 2pr new Crocs, Brand new black winter boots, Red house slipper boots, Old but still nice grey winter boots.

So, you might be wondering, why so many Crocs? I have problems with my feet and they are so comfortable, it makes it easier for me to stand and walk than any other shoe I have found yet. And I’m still looking! *any suggestions for a shoe that has good arch support and is soft n squishy, I’d like to know!*

Here’s what was decided:

~3 pair Gifted

 

One pair of old off brand Crocs, New dress Crocs and my favorite, nice winter boots, were all gifted to my mom, who loves them! Especially the boots, she was so excited and they looked so nice on her, it made it easier to part with them.

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~1 pair Trashed:

It was easy to get rid of the old gym shoes, they went into the bin! There was no life left in them to donate.

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~1 pair kept for guests

While I got rid of those four I actually kept 6pr, that’s because I kept the other pair of old off brand Crocs for guests, mainly my friend who comes and does my dishes. She says they really help her hips feel better. I feel the least I can do is keep a pair of shoes to help while she does it, right?

So, here is a pic of hers and my Crocs:

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~2 pair Crocs kept for myself

In the picture below are my two pairs of Crocs. Now you may be wondering why I need two pairs. Well, for one, it’s good to have two pair to switch back and forth so they can rest and it increases their life span plus I wear them in the shower, so I can wear one, while the other dries. Also, my two pair are very different. One pair is for hot weather or just indoors (I am never bare foot inside), the other pair is for indoors and when it is wet out, notice there are no holes on the sides for water to splash in or dirt from gardening? These are my main ‘outdoor’ Crocs for when I take the dog out. I LOVE them because they work exactly the way they should! Dewy morning and evening doggy walks no longer leave my feet wet and slippery!

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~2 (3) pair outdoor pairs kept

 

These below are my outdoor shoes. The black boots, center, are my new, very expensive Dansko winter boots that are warm, water proof and have good arch support. These will be my winter wear when ever I leave the house this winter. These will last me a lot of winters and so far have been worth the money! The blue Crocs we discussed above, the cheap black Mary Jane’s on the far left are because I need a ‘dress’ shoe of some sort to go with dresses and skirts when I go to weddings, funerals or gatherings in general. These are comfortable enough and do the job of looking like formal wear with out hurting my feet too bad.

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~1 pair kept for indoor comfort

Lastly are the boots that I have a feeling will be given to my niece eventually but for now in the colder months they are nice to wear inside, a nice change from the Crocs, they are fuzzy on the inside and really comfy. They also have leather bottoms, so I could technically wear them outside, if there’s no water, or to stand on the porch to let the pooch out.

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So, getting rid of half my shoes is a good beginning. But I’m realizing that no matter how much I “smart-size,” due to my medical issues with my feet, I will still need 5 pair of shoes: 1. dress shoe 2. 2pr indoor comfy shoes 3. winter boots 4. gym shoes.

If only I could get one or two pair to do double duty and cover more than one use that would be ideal. However, I haven’t figured that out yet.

Have you gone through your shoes yet?? If so, was it hard to let them go? What are your favorite pair and why??

Thanks so much for reading! Next week I’m going to tell you all about “Trying Tiny” with a formal dinner!

If you enjoyed this feel free to like, share and I would love to hear from you! If you have any questions about living tiny, I could answer or find the answer for you!

Take care and good luck with your own projects!

Sincerely,

Audrey

 

The Scourge of Trying Tiny! Just say NO!

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It is hard to just say no when someone cares about you enough to give you a gift. However, when one is trying to go tiny the idea is to get rid of things, keep the basics, organize, condense and relieve oneself of excess…. So, somebody please explain to me where these mugs came from??

Oh, two are from storage and some how snuck their way back into the cupboard, one was given to us – ummmmm, “Just say NO!” seems to be screaming in my head again, and one was being used for dog water in the back room, now replaced with an appropriate container. The black one is for my mom, she bought it and when she moves, she will take it with her, however, it still increases the number of items we had pared down.

One of the reasons we have so many things in our house that we are overwhelmed is because someone gave them to us. Whether it be a stock pot as a birthday gift (even though they knew we already had one), mugs, which we obviously have plenty, more dishes, stuffed animals, blankets, clothes and even food like canned goods, snacks, and baked goods! While the food is tasty, we are out of room to keep it, so often I take them and share with others. I feel awful complaining because we are sincerely blessed with such thoughtful people in our lives.

But, it feels that at this rate, tiny living is not going to be possible unless we exercise that, “no,” muscle more often. It’s so hard, but if we really want a simpler lifestyle then we need to get our friends and family on board so instead of gifting us “things,” they may start to gift us experiences, like theatre/museum tickets, restaurant gift cards, or what would be super helpful is a gift card for the vet!! (::wink, wink :: to my friends and family reading.)

While the photo only shows 5 mugs, 5 small, unassuming mugs, it is what they represent as a whole that creates the problem. And I just don’t know how we will figure this out. I have been reorganizing to be able to have more space but there is a tipping point that keeping things comes at a great cost of the freedom we so dearly want.

Have you had to just say no? How are you living smaller, tinier, happier lives?

Thank you for reading and for liking, commenting, sharing, it means the world to me. Please be sure to let me know if there are topics about tiny living you want to know about!

Sincerely,

Audrey

 

Organization!

I never realized how cluttered clutter could look, simply by not being organized. Now, I see that I can keep a lot more important things just by organizing through consolidating, condensing and containing!

We are practicing tiny living in our current apartment, so we have been cutting down on cupboard space! In the first picture all that empty spsce was made by moving it to the tall pantry. What’s left are our medicines which need a better place, for now they will stay. The bowls and mixer were moved to the corner cabinet. Where the cookie sheets are (see Paring Down Part 2: bakeware)

Thank you for reading! Please share/comment!
NOTE: Sorry this post is a bit lacking, I’m doing it from my phone, from the comfort of my sister’s hospital room, she’s doing fine. 🙂
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