Box Truck Film

Deek and Alex need our help!

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!

https://www.fortua.com/campaigns/a-film-fusing-reuse-benefits-and-tiny-home-solutions

We’re MOVING!!

moving2

I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, so I waited till the ink was dry on the lease to our new SMALLER apartment!! We move in 2-3weeks. They are putting the final touches on a major renovation. I can not wait to show you! The bathroom tile is so beautiful! See “Reasons for the Move” below.

It is 158sq ft smaller than the place we live now, another step toward tiny living! Our place now says that it’s 930sq ft, but I measured only 880sq ft living space and that’s not subtracting the front porch (probably closer to 860). But I realized they were counting the back porch as well. How weird is that?

The new place, not counting any porches, is 713sq ft of interior living space! It will be the smallest place we have lived since our small ONE bedroom, 670sq ft apartment, where we lived just after we were married, 14yrs ago. It also comes with a small storage shed, perfect for bicycles, lawn furniture, a grill and folding tables.

Currently we are packing and I’m proud to say there’s very little headed to the trash/goodwill as we’ve sorted most of it out. So far, just some extra wrapping paper and 3 flat couch pillows! (You can see previous blogs if you search “sorting.”) It has two bedrooms and one bath, but it has two large windows in the living room! I’m so excited to have more light, we’ve lived in basement apartments for 4years! I’m ready for some SUNSHINE! We signed a 32month contract, so we’ll be here for awhile!

The big deal will come when we go through my husbands clothing, as I’ve went through mine about a year ago. I will look again. Also, a big change is that he is moving his studio to his mother’s garage area. Mainly because he feels separating his living space from his working space, he will get more done. He’s been slowly taking things over and has actually done more art work than in the past year. I think it will work well for him!! We will be keeping some supplies as an artist can never be naked. We have drawing, sewing and a little bit of paint. I will have to show you in another post once we are set up.

I wanted to do a blog to show you how we pared down, sorted and organized. And have been successful so far. However, when it comes to his studio supplies and equipment, it’s hard for me to blog that as he just works on it when he is in the mood. So I never know what’s been changed. However, we did a video of our place where we are now and will do another video of our new place before we move in and after we’ve settled in. I think seeing the changes will help to understand how things turned out.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to like, share or comment, your feedback is very helpful!

I’ll keep you up to date on our move and if we do any major sorting!! Also, find my follow up blog, “Is it really tiny living?” next week discussing tiny lifers who have two tiny houses and/or storage sheds.

Sincerely,

Audrey

Reasons for the move:

~Affordability, it will be about $100/month cheaper allowing us to be more comfortable paying bills, buying medications.

~Space, the space is laid out much smarter and is smaller, helping us get closer to our more simplified life. I’ll finally have a galley kitchen!!

~NO carpets! Looking forward to having an easier time maintaining the housekeeping as well as helping allergies.

~Privacy, we will share a wall with just ONE neighbor, not three, like we are now!

~Location, center of town, but enough trees around to feel cozy. The park is just a few blocks away, so is the grocery.

~Rent stability, we’ve locked in the current rent for 32 months at the new place and they rarely raise it vs. where we are now has increased EVERY year! ( we would have been paying $60/month more than when we moved in 3yrs ago, if we renewed.) I’d be ok with it if they maintained the actual buildings very well.

~Landlord vs. Corporate Management, landlord is more personable and respectful. The corporate management here has become confrontational in their management style. Although their maintenance is wonderful. We will be our own maintenance dept at the new place, which has it’s own pros and cons.

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:

10291042_359262217599807_7805157623966585894_n

After:

10991156_359262404266455_1823868636139184512_n

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!

10959748_359262524266443_378413101404316266_n

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.

10389650_359262447599784_3526168458325602284_n

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

10389560_359261407599888_274980233126236433_n
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!

10987378_359260940933268_4831631007599885734_n

10985601_359261177599911_3474087619123746915_n
Can you spot the THREE sewing baskets??

10991179_359261277599901_4286192428196984763_n

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.

10955786_359261350933227_3769888144354416366_n
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:

10994261_359262254266470_5759847067882123480_n

10978671_359262320933130_1481189638889682792_n

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:

10818236_359262370933125_3785386428271233139_o

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?!

1508205_358240561035306_2719846629834279488_n

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:

1508177_358240617701967_2065387703834049673_n
The picture frames in the middle box are being kept to sell. They do not appear in any other pictures.
10562488_358240977701931_8903010249846863912_o
With a little tetris-ing, all this fit into the one box on the left, see above
10429311_358240717701957_3355360658697236024_n
The photos sit nicely at an angle
10996900_358240834368612_2612303538020773911_n
This is a “Shoe Box” for 94cents!!
10998902_358240871035275_6225313167467072193_n
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

Trying Tiny Part 3: The Dinner Party!

:: Plug for fellow Tiny Houser- Derek “Deek” Diedrickson’s appearance on HGTV! ::

He has a youtube channel under: RelaxShacksdotcom as well as a Facebook page.

Deek is a tiny house and tiny space builder, musician, author and so much fun to watch. He has a great sense of humor and brings a unique energy that keeps the videos not only informative but also entertaining! Please check him out and show him some support!

THE DINNER PARTY:

Sticking with our attempt at Trying Tiny I made a full formal meal and served it on our folding table, family style. This table is what we plan to use in our Tiny Home. Typically you would do it buffet style, so I wanted to see if we could comfortably visit and eat. I made Hungarian meat and gravy, potatoes, corn, green beans, beets, rolls, Iced Tea. The table is 4ft long and just under 2ft wide. We used the couch and a cooler as seating, despite the chair at the end, I did not use it for this experiment.

Tiny dinner two

With all the trimmings on the table we had room for the three of us. I feel comfortable saying that would could fit 4-6 at this table but only if we did it buffet style.

Having room is one thing, being comfortable is another. My guests were not excited to use the couch as seating as it didn’t have any back support. We think there are a couple ways to make this better, one would be making a bolster pillow to help support your back while sitting or using tv tray style plating instead of the folding table. But that would mean using space to store said trays.

The dinner was delicious but honestly crowded. I wasn’t comfortable moving around. So, I think this experiment was informative and helpful, now we know to stick to buffet style serving!

Thanks for reading! Please be sure to check out Deek’s new program and show some tiny love!!

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:

20141122_121634

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.

20141122_122209

 

~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.

20141122_122426

 

~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:

20141122_125015

~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!

20141122_124652

~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.

20141122_124105

 

~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.

20141122_125932

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

 

Trying Tiny Part 2 Making Changes

Wow! Where to start. I don’t want to overwhelm you with photos (those will come later) but we have been working on trial and error style living. This included things from using up what we already have, limiting counter space, changing behaviors and so much more.

As you saw last week in Vertical Space,  we’ve moved the towel drawers, but they got repurposed for our tea collection. We are trying to use up all that tea and get rid of the drawers permanently and stop purchasing so much! But we LOVE tea!

*We have taped the counter tops to replicate what we expect our counters to be – 18inches rather than the normal 24inches.

20141117_214530

*We set our toaster oven on the counter top to see how that will work. We have decided we want to get a Convection Oven/Microwave combo that is mounted above the stove so it wont take up the precious real estate of the counter tops.

20141117_214714

*We are also trying to change the way we do dishes to suite a one sided sink style of doing dishes by placing a tray over the other side to immolate what we plan to have. The plan is to have 1 sink tub with a dish pan inside of it. Fill the dish tub with hot,soapy water set it on the counter top, wash the dish, rinse it in the empty sink tub then put on the drying rack. (in the tiny house, the drying rack will be where the dishes are stored as well (see lower photo).

20141117_215213

 

We are thinking to have it in front of the window like the one on the left but have it as a rack, like the one on the right. The neat idea would be to have translucent, colored glass dishes so when the sun shines in, it would look like a stained glass window! I’m completely in LOVE with this idea. What reality is, I don’t know.

 

20-creative-ideas-to-organize-dishes-storage-on-your-kitchen10

dish-drying-closet-design

*We are also working on buying only what we need at the grocery store in order to get used to smaller cabinet and fridge space. The cabinets are improving but not quite where we want to be yet, as seen in, Organization, the same with the fridge. I keep adding empty boxes to the fridge to reduce the space, but we still seem to fit a bunch in there!

wpid-20141022_172517.jpg

Let me know what you think about our progress and ideas! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading, please be sure to share, comment and start a conversation.

Sincerely,

Audrey