There’s only 17 hours left to help our friends reach their goal! Please, if you love the tiny community, help these guys out to make this awesome film! Think we can shock them with and get the last 2/3 in the next 17hours?? That’d be some amazing stuff!
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
~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:
Things I tossed:
~Old receipts/paperwork (some were from 2002!)
~Broken picture frames
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!
It all started with moving the furniture to shampoo the carpets, then it hit us, “Hey, why not put the furniture back in a mock tiny house arrangement?” So that’s what we did. To the best of our ability, we sorted through a few things we knew we would absolutely need and this is what it looks like. Since we live in an apartment the best we could do was to attempt, “Tinier Living,” because we can not get exactly 8×30, so we have tried to work out 8ft sections where possible and smooshing spaces together. I’ve included before and after shots. They are not all pretty as a magazine because this is a work in progress. It turned out that the area previously used as storage for our sewing boxes and exercise equipment was actually the size of our Tiny House living space of 8ft wide.
Before and After
As you can see on the left, this 8ft. wide space contained our storage stuff and on the right, it is now our living room. If you look closely you can see the cooler is doubling as a side table and the white chair as a table as well. I have a cold so the chair is very handy for my kleenex, orange juice and stuff. The red box underneath is my trash basket. You may notice the fire place with a fan on top… I’m running a fever so the fan was running last night and now I have the heater is on. It is electric and cool to the touch. This is about the size of fire place we are expecting to have in our tiny house, we are still researching if we want an electric one or wood burning.
To be honest, I have come to really like this set up. We have changed other things too. For instance, we brought over a book shelf that houses our favorite books, pretty things like pictures and teapots as well as kitchen items I intend to keep (for now, may change later). It is just beyond the white pillar, you can see the red boxes from the side. We also brought over the microwave/toaster oven counter top where the dining area was (the white chair is in the way of seeing the legs in the picture on the right). We shortened it from 6ft to about 3.5ft. In this apartment, it would have been nice if it could replace the kitchen island but we can not because of where the plugs are located and the load from our tea pot and the microwave is too much for one location. We also moved the pantry forward to fit into our “Tinier Living” space.
Here is the before – To help orientate you, pay attention to the location of the dining room table, and the pantry doors are open in the picture on the left so it’s a bit hard to see, also the edge of the counter top and carpet on the floor.
Much of the stuff on the shelf (left) has been removed and prioritized. Later in the post I will show you pictures of what mess we have left to sort through!
And here is after
We are using the space behind the couch, another 8ft section as a mock “Tiny House Loft Storage” space. It’s a mess. We haven’t sorted everything out yet, but it will be 8×6 and we plan to only stack it up to 3-4ft (as in a real loft). But for now these pictures show were we are with this side of the room. Again to help you get proper persepctive, look at the floor. The linoleum is where the dining table, long counter top, pantry and a book shelf used to be. There is still the living room bookshelf on the left which has not been moved, the dining table is now in the foreground and the two couches on the left.
To continue the idea of tiny living experiment, I’ve been slowly adding empty card board boxes with green labels to our refrigerator and freezer, and buying less perishables at a time to prepare for the significantly smaller space we will have:
Before and After
Eventually, I will do a post about what we hope to have in our tiny home with details, drawings and a photo collage of some sort. But this experiment in “Tinier Living” is going to give us a much better idea of what we really need and want in our space which will help us to make more realistic plans.
Next in this attempt we are going to focus on actually removing from the apartment those things we plan to live with out to see how we do. The items will be moved to a storage area at Steve’s moms.
As always, I want to thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and following! You guys help keep me going!
PS. After some prodding from others, I have decided to start another blog soon about my medical conditions and lessons I’ve learned, so look for updates on that!
This week we had random acts of sorting. First with our fall/winter outdoor coats and jackets then with our towels. Since we live in Northern Indiana we need an assortment and the ability to layer is important as the weather changes back and forth drastically. As you can see Steve has a bit more need for flexibility in his outdoor gear, since he’s the one who fixes the cars, shovels side walks and cares for his mom’s farm, I was understanding in his collection.
Coats and Jackets
Steve’s Collection Before – 7 items
After – 6 items
Yes, he only got rid of one jacket, because it’s purpose was repeated by the black hoodie. Left to right: the orange coat is for dirty work, like working on the car in the cold (which we do often), working on the farm, shoveling, etc. The next one is a nice fall weather Columbia jacket for work, it can also be used to layer with all the others. The red one is another Columbia brand coat for work in the cold, cold months. The black hooodie is a staple in the American closet for cool evening walks and layering. The dark blue overalls are for when it is super cold and shoveling needs done, these will protect him and allow him to work for a long time. The green rain coat, is not only for rain but it also packs into his back pack nicely. So, as I said, I’m understanding of his need for the selection. We hope to one day purchase a jacket “system” which is a sweater, jacket, and winter coat all in one, the different layers all zip together. But we would still need some items in which we could get. Perhaps it would not be the answer to all the clutter, but it might help.
Mine Before – 6 items
After – 4 items
I got rid of two items. I kept 2 coats and 2 sweaters. Left to right: the warm navy blue winter coat with a hood is for daily use, like taking the dog out, running errands, etc. The red fleece sweater is nicer in the cool fall weather and also good for layering with the winter coats including my black wool Pea Coat for nice outings. The blue hoodie is good for everyday use and layering too.
Towels from 21 to 12
Who really needs 21 towels? How did we ever get there?? I imagine that over time, half were gifts and the other half were purchased. Some are ready to be tossed/made into rags because they are in such bad shape so, why did we keep them? We have no idea!
It was tricky to think of how many towels we actually need. So, we started with the same philosophy for bed sheets which states you should have three: one on the bed, one in the wash and one in the cabinet. Since there are two of us, plus my mom is staying till spring and we have visitors often, using logic, we decided the following:
3 for Me
3 for Steve
2 for the dog (for baths and wipe dirty feet daily)
2 hand towels
2 for mom and visitors
We know the reality is that we will not be utilizing all 6 of our personal allotment of towels at once, so we should still have enough for guests. When choosing, we kept the ones that fit two criteria, one – we loved them, mainly the the soft, comfy, and colorful ones, and two – were in good condition.
Before & After
(oops! not pictured is one of the dog’s towels, it was by the back door for wiping his feet)
Keeping this blog really motivates me to find things to sort so I can post my progress to you! Nearly every week I see such an improvement in our home. I hope that if you are feeling burdened by your possessions and would more rather have its space than its company, that you are inspired by my posting to give, sell or donate your items! Little by little, bit by bit, a new found freedom we will get!
Thank you so much for reading, commenting, liking, following and sharing! Let me know if there are any topics that interest you most!
NOTE: Unwanted items in decent condition will be set aside for friends/relatives in need to choose first, after that they will go to the local homeless shelter.
We did it! After last week’s post, about struggling to pare down my beloved cook ware and bake ware, we buckled down and just did it. The results are fantastic! I can’t believe the difference. Sure, there was some hesitation as we sorted through but I think in the end what we have now is so much better. No, I didn’t keep two 13×9 baking dishes, just one. However, the cabinets are much more organized, less stressful and easier to get to. I used to hurt my back trying to dig through the corner cabinet, but the way we sorted it, it’s all at my finger tips now! We even switched the pots and pans into their own cabinet. To see it in video visit our Youtube channel: TheWaxingTurtle
I’ve posted pictures and explanations below as to why we kept what we did. There are about 4 pictures of each section, 1st to show the starting mess, 2nd to show detail of what was actually in that mess, 3rd to show what we kept and a final 4th to show the space cleaned up. You can read the photo captions to gain more insight to what we kept and exactly why.
Remember, things that didn’t get kept are going into a rubbermaid tub for 3-6 months to see if we can live with out them. Then we will see if family and friends have need of the items, the rest will be sold or donated to charity.
Thanks to all of you who have supported us and our crazy decision to pare down and get ready for living the tiny life!
NOTE: I’ve worked 5hours on this post, please forgive the mistakes and the crazy photo layout, as it’s been very trying and I know you guys want to see the progress we’ve made. So, I decided done is better than perfect, for now! I can’t figure out how to post photos with text like I did last week. I don’t know if it is malfunctioning or if there is a setting I’ve missed.
Corner Cabinet Before (pictures #1 & #2):
What a mess. It was always so hard to find what I needed, when I needed it. This took a lot of time and energy! Started with 7 pots and pans with 8 lids, 2 tupperware containers, 7 glass baking dishes, casserole warmer, cake saver, large metal mixing bowl, 2 serving bowls
The picture to the right is a better view of what was in there.
Corner Cabinet After (pictures #3 & #4):
The pots and pans have been relocated, and the cutting boards and trays have taken their place. We kept the majority of the pots and pans because all but one is very high quality (we have had them 13yrs), we use them, and they nest well. We realized we didn’t need so many metal baking dishes as they were replaced by two high quality stoneware sheets we recently purchased for that reason. Kept: one 13×9 with lid, smaller baking dish, and one small casserole dish with lid, (we were unsure about these two so they may get tossed in a few months) two storage tupperware containers, 6 pots/pans and 5 lids. We kept so many pots/pans because all but one are part of a set and each has multiple functions, cooking at home is one way we save TONS of money, so, we thought it was worth the space. In our tiny home, they will probably get hung on a wall or a baker’s rack.
Side Cabinet Before (pictures #5 & #6):
Here we used to place the random items for the Cusinart food chopper, cutting boards, miscellaneous baking paraphernalia and large plastic bags, cookie sheets, salad spinner, lunch trays used when making christmas cookies and so many other projects.
Easier to see: 2 Cusinart bowls, salad spinner, slicer, garlic press, hamburger pattier, 2 cooling racks, 2sm metal cookie/cooking sheets, 2lg metal cookie sheets, 5 lunch trays, 2lg cutting boards
Side Cabinet After (pictures #7 & #8):
To the left are the items we kept from the original mess, a salad spinner, as farmers we get a lot of greens in the summer and this saves energy and time, it’s used as a colander for washing/rinsing and dries the greens for refrigeration. One cutting board, one Cusinart bowl, one large cutting board, and our large plastic bags for storing the greens and other items. 3 lunch trays which get used all the time for cookies, projects, so many uses.
(not pictured is my white colander for hot items like noodles and potatoes and three tiny cutting mats that are good for small jobs and easy clean up)they were placed in the corner cabinet as you can see in the pictures up above. That’s because we repurposed this space for easier use of the pots and pans. The added shelf in the back was removed when we did our first paring down, it came from the cabinet we keep our glasses in (see the post “Paring Down part 1”).
Measuring Utensil Shelf Before (pictures #9 & #10):
In this cabinet we had a mess of measuring tools, 3 measuring bowls, 10cups, tiny sifter, 17 spoons, 3 scoops, one funnel
Measuring Utensil Shelf After (pictures #11 & #12):
This way is much simpler and easier to use. We kept: a funnel, one set of spoons, cups (plus one extra used as a scoop for soups), one funnel and one large bowl used for mixing smaller items like cake, pancakes, and it is microwavable, the liquid measuring cup is a standard item for a kitchen, but it might get tossed eventually. I’m not sure if we use it enough for it to stay. Time will tell. I hope in the tiny house to have the cups and spoons on hooks on the inside of a cabinet door so I won’t need to have them tucked in a bowl.
Oven Drawer Before (pictures #13 & #14) After#15:
In the drawer before were 2 aluminum pie plates, 1 tiny alum. bread pan, 1 alum pan, 1 old cupcake pan, 2 muffin pans, 2 stoneware cookie/cooking sheets, 3 alum. pie plates.
Items kept: 3 aluminum pie plates because I bake a lot of apple and pumpkin pies for family gatherings, 2 muffin pans (which may get tossed later like the cupcake pans did, in lieu of using a cake pan), two stoneware cookie sheets. These are used to make not only cookies but also meat loaf and pumpkin rolls and frozen goods like tater tots, etc. When making cookies it’s good to have 2 pans, one going in, one coming out.
There will not be a follow up after photo as the oven drawer is now empty. We placed what we kept into the corner cabinet.
This exercise in living more with less has been wonderful. The actual paring down part has been hard, but it’s paid off. We no longer own so many dishes that the sink is overflowing with dishes before we wash them. Since we do not own a dish washer, this can become a serious chore. But owning fewer, means washing more often and things stay neat and tide, more easily. The easy part is what we like. That’s one of the major points to tiny living, to make your life a little easier and less stressful.
We are well on our way to making decisions to help us prepare physically and mentally for life in a tiny home!
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I want a simpler life, really, I do! However, I’m struggling with going through and picking out what to keep, toss, give, recycle,etc… We went through the easiest part of the kitchen, next will be the cookware/utensils… and you know what?? I DON’T WANT TO! I don’t want to choose how many cookie sheets to keep or whether or not to hold on to 1 or 2 of my beloved 13×9 baking dishes. What if I want to make a casserole and a cake in the same day? See the problem?
Paring-down or as I like to call it, “smart-sizing,” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Our first sorting session that I posted about in the kitchen was quite easy. Now the real challenge, for me personally, will begin. I love to cook and bake. I like my tools and utensils. I have fear of getting rid of something and really missing it or that its absence will make my life harder. This would go against the idea of living the tiny making my life easier.
At this point I must explain that there’s a certain amount of introspection and psychological digging we have to do to find out WHY we want to keep our things, what purpose do they serve? Do we really NEED them or is it just more stuff, do I seriously need two baking dishes? And in the end, will tiny living really be a life we can ENJOY if it means giving up so many of our possessions?
So, what’s a girl to do?? My plan? Well, as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that I will be putting these things in storage and not yet giving them away, just as a test. That perspective might help to make it easier to part with some of my items, knowing they are not far away if I find that I really NEED them.
Another aspect to take in account is that in my tiny home, with less things, organization will be key. As you can see these cabinets are awfully messy, but the space is not proper for good organization. One of the things I look forward to most is customization for what things we have decided to keep, even it it is both baking dishes.
I hope by next week, these spaces will look very different as I continue to come realize this is just an experiment for now, nothing is permanent and I can always go back. But the hope is that I won’t need to. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading, please be sure to subscribe so you will know when a new post goes up. Also, please leave comments/tips on how you have or would handle this issue!