Changes are a coming!

It seems everyday that we battle the amount of possessions we have. We sort, toss, organize and yet, it still seems to be overwhelming. The closet that once was empty is now filled with canned goods because we ran out of pantry space and I got tired of looking at the clutter on the floor.

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But we gave some items to a relative:

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And changed the area around, which has made a large impact, like our new dining table, it’s an old typewriter table, (the sides fold down and it’s on wheels so it become half that size)?

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We even sorted through all our games, this shelf was just crammed, nearly to the ceiling, this is what we have left of them. We have more work to do on this shelving unit. All the discs you see are headed to become digital and then we will give them or sell them to some one else.

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There’s still a bit more sorting to do. We are actually contemplating a very small two bedroom where the second small bedroom is a library. We have a lot of reference materials and collections we’d like to keep. But perhaps that’s part of the issue, hard to let things go. I think in time this collection will dwindle, it’s just about taking the time to adjust to the idea then we can give it to a good home? Let’s hope. Other wise we will be living a situation just like we are now, and that will not achieve our goals!

Thanks for reading, if you have questions or thoughts, feel free to share! Also, my next post will be on tiny houses we love and hope to immolate when we get around to designing ours!

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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 – Part 3 Washer/Dryer Our First Tiny House Purchase!

We got a stackable washer and dryer to save space by going vertical! These things brand new are $1200!! We have always planned to have a stackable unit but figured we  would save and planned on getting it when we moved into the tiny house. But we saw this was at a relative’s yard sale and it was a great price, so we bought it! After selling our dryer and probably giving the washer away (or scrapping it), the upgrade will have cost just under $100! Well worth it since our washer was very old and started tearing up our clothes, however still usable and good for anyone who is in desperate need temporarily.

But the biggest surprise was the amount of space it saved, I couldn’t believe it. Since we had a shelf above our original set, I didn’t think it would add much, but it really did. I am very pleased with this.

On the down side,there isn’t a good place to store my laundry soap, dryer sheets and other laundry related items. We will perhaps have a small shelf built near it in the tiny home. See photos below.

Laundry room before
Laundry room before
Laundry room after
Laundry room after
Corner:  open space!
Corner: open space!

 

Paring Down – Part 2: 85 Cook/Bake Wares down to 39!

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): 

#1- corner cabinet before
#1- corner cabinet before
#2- Corner cabinet items before
#2- Corner cabinet items before

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)

#3- Corner cabinet after
#3- Corner cabinet after
#4- Items kept
#4- Items kept

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!

Please be sure to comment, like, share, and subscribe. Your feedback on what you like, what you want to know and personal experience helps to create a sense of community and belonging.

~Audrey

#5- Misc. cookie sheets, salad spinner, lunch trays used when making christmas cookies and so many other projects
#5- Misc.  Cabinet
#6- Misc. Cabinet items, 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
#6- Misc. Cabinet items before
#7- Items kept: 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)
#7- Items kept.
#8- The side cabinet was repurposed for pots and pans as they fit better in here and are much more easily reached. The shelf that was removed from our glass/mugs cabinet, found on "Paring Down Part 1, was added here for better organization.
#8- The side cabinet was repurposed.
#9- Measuring tool cabinet before.
#9- Measuring tool cabinet before.
#11- Measuring Items Before: 3 measuring bowls, 10cups, tiny sifter, 17 spoons, 3 scoops, one funnel
#10- Measuring Items Before.
#11- Measuring tools 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.
#11- Measuring tools kept.
#12
#12
Mess before: this is the oven drawer, there is no "AFTER" picture because it is empty, except the broil pan that came with the apartment.
#13- Mess before: this is the oven drawer.
These were in the oven drawer: 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
#14- These were in the oven drawer before.
Baking 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.
#15- Baking items kept.
#4- Corner Cabinet after: Look how nice and neat everything is! All with in easy finding and reaching!
#4- AGAIN Corner Cabinet after.

The Struggle

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?

this is the cookware cabinet, pots, pans, baking dishes and tupperware
this is the cookware cabinet, pots, pans, baking dishes and tupperware
Misc. cookie sheets, salad spinner, lunch trays used when making christmas cookies and so many other projects
Misc. cookie sheets, salad spinner, lunch trays used when making christmas cookies and so many other projects
old cupcake pans and new muffin pans, who needs both?
old cupcake pans and new muffin pans, who needs both?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

~Audrey

Paring Down Part 1 – 111 dishes down to 45!! wow!

I really want to title this sequence, “What were we thinking?” Because as we sorted through just two cabinets we went from 111 dishes to just 45! We frequently found ourselves saying, “Why do we have this? Did we need so many of these? Have we even used this? It may have been given to us, but why did we keep it? Did we really think this purchase through?” For example, although we had 22 plates, 10 of them were blue plastic lunch trays. They were given to us, two years ago. We thought we would use them for the children who visit. Number of actual times these used: 0!

10 plastic lunch trays, never used.
10 plastic lunch trays, never used.

This first in many exercises in paring down was a real eye opener.  We started in the kitchen because it is neutral territory, not just Steve’s things, not just my things, but our things. It was obvious to us that we had more than what we needed, so it was an easy start to gain some momentum. The things we removed went into a rubber maid tub and will be stored away to see how we survive with out all these extra. So far, we love that our cabinets are neater, it’s easier to find what we need and there are less dishes to wash! We feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in having a nicer place, even though it’s just two cabinets, we know it’s just the start! So, in this particular instance, I think we’ll do just fine, but when it comes around to other stuff like games and books, it might be harder. Many tears will be shed as we say good bye to some of our favorite companions.

Here are the before pictures!

NOTE: I’m still learning the software, I’m not sure why the pictures/text look one way while writing and different when I publish the post. Hence the pictures are all skewed. If you have any advice please let me know.

Cup/glass cabinet
Cup/glass cabinet before: 3 thermal mugs, 19mugs (6 stored else where), 31 glasses (10 stored elsewhere in the house), 4 shake cups.
Plate/bowl cabinet before
Plate/bowl cabinet before: 22plates, 21 bowls (some small ones also used for Japanese style tea/soup) 14 peripheral items including 5 wine glasses, 2 tea presses, some not pictured, like the carafes, apple peeler, etc.

I would also like to add, we are pretty frugal people. We did not go on spending sprees in buying these items, the majority were given to us by people who know we love tea, coffee and entertaining. So to those who helped us amass this treasure trove of items, Thank You for your love and kindness! Please know we love you and appreciate you! However, there will not be room for all our precious gifts in the tiny home, so we must choose only those that bring us  happiness.

Here are the after photos:

The glasses and mugs now fit on the same shelf! The water bottles (we use a lot because we don't buy bottled water) and other things that were on top of the fridge, can now fit on the top shelf!
The glasses and mugs now fit on the same shelf! The water bottles (we use a lot because we don’t buy bottled water) and other things that were on top of the fridge, can now fit on the top shelf! We kept 9 glasses, 7 mugs, 1 shake cup, 4 metal water bottles and 3 plastic ones, 2 baby cups and one 2oz shot glass.
Plate/bowl cabinet after
Plate/bowl cabinet after, we kept 7 plates, 11 bowls (many used for tea and soup), 2 carafes (one tea, one coffee) 2 tea presses, a tea pitcher and an apple peeler.

You will notice that I had space left to put some things from on top of my fridge in this cabinet, like my coffee and tea carafes, tea pitcher and apple peeler!! We decided to hold on to these things as tea and coffee are such passions of ours! That’s what living the tiny life is all about, focusing on the things that bring you joy!

We kept quite a few of the very small bowls. Steve likes to make tea in them. Maybe after some time he will be willing to let a couple more go, but for now this is where we are comfortable.

Here are some other photos that give more details:

bowls/cups 21
BEFORE: bowls/cups 21
bowls/cups 11
AFTER: bowls/cups 11
21 glasses
BEFORE: 21 glasses
10 glasses that were stored
BEFORE: 10 glasses that were stored
the glasses we kept 9 total
AFTER: the glasses we kept 9 total

At the time of this post we broke one of the green glasses and had to pull one out from the storage. If we were living in the tiny house, I think we would have just done with out or perhaps picked up a new one at Goodwill or The Depot (local thrift store).

water bottles and misc
BEFORE: 14 water bottles and misc
remaining amount of water bottles and misc
AFTER: 10 remaining amount of water bottles and misc

We decided to keep most of the refillable/reusable bottles because we do use them daily. Steve uses the metal ones for his lunch and I use the plastic ones when I have a day out. We do not buy water bottles, instead we have a Brita water filter on our faucet. The water in our town tastes like chlorine, it’s like drinking pool water! The Brita does a good job and we feel that the space these take up are worth the money saved.

peripheral items 14
BEFORE: peripheral items 14
10 remain
AFTER: 10 remain