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

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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. 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

Trying Tiny: Part 1 – An experiment in Tinier Living Now!

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

Winter is Coming! Winter is Coming!

Winter is coming here in Northern Indiana and in true tiny living fashion we are preparing by picking our priorities, paring down and organizing! Last winter we were snowed in a few times from 2-3 days! We baked and we cleaned, baked and cleaned! And just a little side note, it is not ok to use hot water and a blow dryer on a window that has ice on it, it didn’t get replaced till March! brrrrr…  Having lived here most of our lives we are ready for a blizzard, we have 3 days or more of food/water in our pantry, loads of blankets to keep warm and back up plans if the power goes out, which it did last year but only for a few hours. This winter we have different goals, my mom is here with us and she likes to clean, so that will leave us with lots of time on our hands. My husband wants to draw, make more art, relax and play games. I want to sew quilts, relax and do deep organizing. But neither of us can do that in the current state of the apartment. So, we have been working, working, working, not making much progress so, there’s still a lot to go.

You can see what the sewing area looked like before, and here’s what it looks like now.

sewing20141005_134239This is our go-to place for storage, so getting it ‘clean’ and ‘organized’ is a real challenge.

We changed sewing machines, the old one was a friends and I got a ‘new to me’ 1952 Elna Supermatic that comes in a case! We also have been storing the strawberry toy box and the large blue Christmas tote over here. The stack of quilts have been organized and are now on the new shelves in the laundry room (see paring down pt. 3), the pillows have been put with the dishes from the kitchen to be donated (see paring down pts. 1&2) and the three totes are all fabric for projects.

Since sewing is one of our priorities, we will find space in the tiny house to sew and store items for it after significantly paring them down, of course. I have 3 quilts I want to complete this winter but will consider it a success if I can finish just one! Also by tackling these projects it reduces the things stored away. Our 1st quilt is a “Crazy Quilt” made from blocks I was given from Steve’s grandma, who has since passed away (a block folded in half is on the table to the left.) I felt honored to be given something she worked on, these pieces were done all by hand, so much time and care went into them. We have flannel for the backing, it will be a warm and heavy quilt. The 2nd quilt looks like it will be fun to make, we have tiny little, adorable, puppy scarves my dog gets each time he goes to the groomer, you can see one on the right of the table. I don’t think I’ve thrown any away so there’s a lot to use up! The 3rd one will be made out of already cut up pieces we got from Steve’s mom, who found them at an auction. I plan to make it slowly, over time, by sewing two pieces together every day with out much of a plan, just to see what we get.

You can see from the photos the huge headway mad in Steve’s studio!

steve studio 20141005_122602 Most of the stuff has been consolidated, although I believe he took the broken Keurig coffee maker to his moms for parts or in hopes of fixing it this winter. The long shelf that was by the back door is now in the laundry room (see paring down pt. 3). The long folding table has been taken down to make space for moving around better. One tote has been taken to storage.

He hopes to sort through all his old work and decide whether to keep it, photograph it then toss it, or sell it, so he can have space to make more. Steve has decided that drawing is his priority in the tiny house and he will have a loft as a studio. He’s looking forward to focusing on drawing because not only does it require a lot less materials and equipment then sculpting and crafting but it also can be applied to all art that he does. He will have a small workshop on the property for his other passions. It’s difficult to make these choices for artists and it’s even more difficult for them to part with their work if they are not employed doing it. But living a more simple and less stressful life is worth making these sacrifices which will give him more time to actively engage his skills.

 

I know it doesn’t look like much progress at all, but the point of this post is that we have SO MUCH work to get done in a short amount of time because WINTER IS COMING! WINTER IS COMING! And admittedly, we are sorta looking forward to it!