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 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

The Realities of Trying Tiny!

So, here’s the truth. It’s all about the fridge! Or at least that’s what made me look around to be honest about how HARD trying to live tiny is and sometimes very disappointing! While I’ve enjoyed the benefits of decreasing the amount of possessions we have to maintain, realizing that we may not be able to adjust to an actual tiny lifestyle is sad. However, by observing how we really live and what essentials we NEED, it will help us to make a place that’s just right for us that we won’t regret.

Here are some of the highlights of issues we have found:

Food Storage – We shop sales for our groceries. In a tiny house there will be very little storage for it. We cook our meals and I try to make sure there’s leftovers for the next day. In a tiny house with a small fridge there won’t be much space for that. Because not only would we have an entree but also fruits, veggies, snacks, etc. We also freeze meals for those on-the-go days when I don’t get to cook. Between the sales and freezing foods there’s not enough space. There’s barely enough space now!

I tried. I was putting empty cardboard boxes in the fridge/freezer to take up space and reduce the size available (see the picture above). During the holidays we make buckeyes that need refrigerated so the boxes were removed and we’ve been taking up that space with vegetables and other goods. The same happened with the freezer. I do believe we still have 3 boxes in the back of fridge still, so the experiment wasn’t a complete failure.

One benefit from a smaller fridge is less waste, you eat more of the food in it. There’s not so much space that you forget what is in there. We don’t usually have that problem.

We also do canning and are uncertain where we would find space for that.

Living– We like to entertain and have friends over – A lot! In a tiny house that’s 8ft wide and 30ft long, there won’t be enough space. This is true especially in the cold months, and here in Indiana that can be up to 6 months!! During the summer we can use the outdoor space as an extension of our living space.

Exercise– Space will be a problem too, we enjoy tai chi and yoga. We also have an elliptical for winter time (honestly, it may get replaced in favor of a gym membership, which we are trying now).

Personal Space– Due to my medical conditions, I need daily rest, relaxation and time away from the chaos, this includes the mess of the kitchen, people, clutter, which happens during a project and I have to take breaks. I can’t climb a ladder on a regular basis, so we have to have our bedroom separate. I have seen some tiny homes that have accomplished this really well, but it didn’t leave space for the actual living part of life.

Recycling– This is a minor point right now, but I would love to have a place I could separate my trash and recycle. I currently live in 900sq ft. and have no room for it, how will I have room in 240sq ft? (if you have any suggestions, I’d love to know!)

I know there are many points of view of tiny living, some do it to be pushed to live within their communities or out doors, some to be ‘greener’ or more environmentally friendly, others for the simplicity of life, living debt free, being portable and the list goes on. For us, our goals are 1. simplicity (less to clean/maintain) 2. debt free 3. more time to do what we love.

I worry about being in a place that’s too small and won’t offer the simplicity because it will be tedious and aggravating from not having the ability to do the things we need. I hate tripping over things and feeling closed in.

We just rearranged our bedroom and it really felt closed in, so we changed it again, it’s much better now. But the first arrangement was closer to what we would probably have in a tiny house. It bothered me, it made me wonder if our dreams of living tiny are just a delusion.

Despite these things, we will keep organizing, compacting, sorting and tossing/selling as much as we can. Because in the end, we may not have the 8×30 (240sqft) we had hoped but perhaps a 12×30 (400sqft) instead. It’s still smaller than half of what we have now. It will still be less to clean and maintain, we will build it ourselves with savings, so we will be debt free and have time to do what we love.

Thanks for your readership! I appreciate your interest and comments are encouraged!

Sincerely,

Audrey