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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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!

Peace, Happiness, Stress and Possessions

Our grasp on happiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Only “40% of our happiness is under our control,” whether we like it or not, that’s what research has found. So why not make the most of it? Living Tiny isn’t just about being less expensive, it’s a lifestyle that allows you the freedom to make choices that often leads to being happier and less stressed. It gives you more time and opportunity for daily happiness, not just in the big adventures but in living more simply, peacefully. This has been testified by many tiny house owners like author, Tammy Strobel, Heather on Facebook’s  Little House, Big Adventures, and Ryan Mitchell of www.TheTinyLife.com or Alex Pino at www.TinyHouseTalk.com, just to name a few. As for the other 60% that makes up our happiness? We have virtually no control over, “50% of happiness has a genetic component, 10% depends on your life circumstances.”

My hope is to reach out to those of you who feel trapped in your lonely, stressed-out, depressed, hamster wheel lives like we were. When we work so hard to have things, we are stressed, have less time to have experiences that enrich our being, our relationships, our lives. Finding peace is hard. There is an emotional aspect that doesn’t get mentioned often enough about how our happiness is affected by our ability to relate to others versus our physical environment. Studies show that experiences and relationships trump possessions on the ability to make us happier. I want to encourage you to do what you long to do, to make connections, to make the choice to be happier or at the very least, make little changes to live less stressful, more peaceful and better, manageable lives. It takes courage. So, I write this blog to share our journey in making difficult changes, choices and paring down for living tiny. It’s hard, but we roll up our sleeves, conjure our bravest game face and get it done! We want to show that you really can live more with less! Often times we are burdened by our possessions whether by their physical presence or by having to maintain them, not to mention the emotional exhaustion from it all too.

Many of us are stuck working lots of hours at jobs we hate, to afford the things we have and spend so many hours to keep it that we don’t get to use it much. I’m a homemaker because of severe medical issues, but at one point my husband was working three jobs! It was crazy!! We didn’t get to spend time together, which made me miss him, he was grumpy and tired. So, he worked hard to find a new job that paid better, we adjusted our budget and now he only works that job and one day on the farm for his mom on the weekends, which is more fun than work! Our choices have made both of our lives easier, by working less, having less to clean/maintain, we have less things so we spend less time searching for them, which means more  peaceful time together. We are much happier as a couple and less stressed now.

The quotes about happiness used in the opening paragraph came from: http://www.medhelp.org, in an article, “How to cultivate happiness that lasts.” I have found the information repeated in other medical documents. I will be posting on happiness and tiny life more in the future. The picture was taken at a park we frequent.

How about you? What do you want to do to be happier and less stressed? What brings you a sense of peace? Are you burdened/stressed by your possessions?  Let me know in a comment what you value, what are your thoughts on happiness, questions? If your house caught fire, aside from your family and your pets, what things are worth saving?

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.

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

Biggest Tiny Inspiration: My Two Dads!

I was blessed with two dads. My dad, Jim and my step-dad, Dennis. Both loved camping, fishing, hunting, the great outdoors. They both taught me that the simple things in life are the funnest. As far back as I can remember my dad had recreational vehicles, meaning, small spaces. I loved them. I loved camping, including tents, sometimes I’d even sleep in them just for fun. I loved the small spaces, everything with in reach, it was compact and there was a adventure around every corner. I liked the challenge of fitting all we needed for us for cooking and living in the allotted space, during our visits. I’ve included pictures however, pictures are from the internet and not actual photos, they are just to give you an idea of what I’m describing. 

I remember as a young child, maybe 5yrs old, traveling to Northern Michigan in a VW van that the top popped up and it was a bed and the back seat laid down to another bed with my mom and dad and 3 siblings! (see pic 1). That was one of my first experiences of sleeping under the stars! It was fantastic! I was hooked! Then when I was 8yrs old my parents divorced and dad got a combo truck/camper, see pic 2. We spent a lot of time in that, on our visits, we went camping, took it to my great grandparent’s cottage on the lake, and we lounge in it in the summer. When I was 13 he lived in a 5th wheel camper, my older brother and I spent an entire summer in it, see pic 3. It had a sound system through the whole thing, my brother decided that was the summer I was going to learn to love Garth Brooks! Since my brother’s passing in 1997, I think of him when ever I hear this music. It made me crazy at the time, but now, I smile.

My dad has been a truck driver for a long time and once lived in an Airstream like RV, see pic 4. It was very small but had everything you would need. He then owned a home for a while, but after that he lived in a different, bit bigger 5th wheel. He since has given it up and lives mostly in his semi, or in a 12×20 room in a farm house, which he owns, but rents out to others. Interestingly enough, he fits a bed, bath, couch/entertainment area and a long dresser that has a microwave and coffee maker. All he needs. I’m sure if he wanted he could include burners and a micro-fridge, but he doesn’t cook. This is one of the reasons, I know we can do tiny house living, especially if we have loft storage for my lovingly, yet pack-rat, husband, Steve.

My step-dad, Dennis also had a camper, see pic 5. We took it camping every year, but we did a lot of tent camping too. Between his kids and us, there were 8! So we didn’t all fit into the camper that went on the back of the pick up truck. He also taught me all kinds of things, like how to properly start a fire, what kind of nuts, berries and grasses are edible, just in case you get lost in the woods for a few days before help finds you! I enjoyed all these experiences and I guess it taught me that I don’t need a lot of space to be entertained. At home, I with all the kids, I learned that you can share a little space and still be comfortable. Dennis showed me how a kerosene lamp and a fireplace are more relaxing and cheaper than a furnace set on high and bright lights at night and that nature entertains, the beach, streams you pass by on the drive home, the walks, it’s everywhere. He would often stop the vehicle, get us all to get out and go for random walks along beautiful scenery. He could also spot a deer 100yards away while driving 55mph! Since his passing in 2007, I try to honor his memory by continuing to do these things, finding pleasure in the simple gift of everyday life.

I lived in Chicago for a year and found that even if you have a tiny space in the city, life is outside, in the many parks, or cafes, in the sounds of traffic, the museums, the buskers singing/playing/dancing on the side walk. Life is all around to be experienced, we just have to get outside of our homes and let it sink into our being, let it become part of us, to make us feel whole, even with out a big home or many possessions, we can be truly fulfilled.

vw van camper2 newest 5th wheelmetal camper  truck camper 3 interior