I recently read this post by the wonderful Ronnie about her wardrobe purge, and how it was both deeply cleansing and somewhat effortless. It reminded me that I haven't yet written here about our Tiny Home, and how we've gone transitioning into it from a 3 bedroom home. Our little home is definitely not as tiny as this gorgeous little place, but I can promise you the reaction from friends who have dropped by has been in the realm of horrified (they have a baby, this place WOULD NOT work for a baby!) to highly amused (Is this it?!).
It's been two and a half months since I moved out here to the farm. It feels much, much longer than that, in a good way. I feel like that for right now, this is exactly the place I want to be, and it's very quickly felt like home. I think a big part of that is due to how easily we adjusted to our little house - you see, I'm a homebody. To feel settled and happy in nearly every area of my life, I need a space to call home, to make beautiful, to retreat to, to be surrounded by precious possessions in, to love.
So, what's our tiny home like? It's basically a removable, corrugated iron cabin, with a big sliding door, 3 rooms and 2 windows. We managed to fit our couch configured as a day bed (that's a revelation and a massive win, actually. Day beds pretty much rock), along with a tiny table and 2 stools, a couple of other stools used as side tables, a lamp, an old meat chest as extra storage and a wire hanging rack for clothes in the living space. The bedroom snugly fits our bed, 2 chests of drawers, a lamp and 2 bedside tables. The bathroom is small, but works fine as long as two people don't try to brush their teeth at the same time. We also have the use of a separate laundry, and a separate office. I think that office space, while it doesn't have any power, is a big factor in creating comfort for me - it houses our desk, bookcase, filing cabinet and the worlds comfiest oversized armchair ever. It's also got a big window, and the most gorgeous light reflecting on it's white interior.
The idea of moving into such a compact space, initially, was abit daunting - I thought we might get frustrated living and working together in such a small space. But I was also excited - the idea of really decluttering was pretty appealing. It gave me permission to be ruthless. We sold a heap of things and gave away way more. We've been left with what fits in our 5 rooms, and a garden shed with our bikes, a dryer, the stuff from our old shed and about 6 boxes, some with surplus kitchen things and some with sentimental things and pictures that we've no room to hang, a lamp and a pallet coffee table that are too large to fit in the cabin, and our old dining table acting as a storage shelf to keep them safe from mice and damp.
Though it's a huge reduction, I am far from finished with our downsizing. In fact, we are just about to put our second car up for sale - we really don't need it out here. And, when eventually we move again, I'm certain we'll reduce other things further. Living here has quickly taught me what I need to live comfortably and happily, and alot of the things I kept and packed up into boxes are no longer on the maybe list. One day soon, I might open a few of those boxes and purge some more. In fact, I've got a huge bag in my car already to drop off at the charity shop when I'm going past next. Once winter is drawing to a close, I'll be able to get rid of any clothing and blankets that weren't used - I've kept things that I'm not sure about simply because my lifestyle here is so different from what it was before, I wasn't sure what I'd use. Same will happen after Summer.
I've mentioned before that my decluttering process revolves around "Do I love it? Is it useful?", and this is basically how I approached this move too. Of course, we still have things we don't need or use very often and we are very far from calling ourselves 'minimalists' in the traditional sense...but gosh, it feels pretty amazing to have lightened the load somewhat.
I thought I'd finish with some of the lessons this process and move has taught me.
+ quality over quantity - always. Things NEED to work when you have less.
+ you need less that you think you do to make a house feel like a home.
+ beauty is important, so is space - putting things away when you are finished with them, though sometimes annoying, helps on both counts.
+ multi use items are important. And thinking outside the square when it comes to uses for items is very enlightening.
+ you don't need a dishwasher, but in a small space it'd be useful (unless you like to wash up after every meal. I don't, and we are sans dishwasher also. First world problem!)
+ people will think you are abit crazy - and you will realise that the you from before was the crazy one, putting so much emphasis on 'things'.
+ you'll realise you really do only wear 20% of your wardrobe
+ you adapt. Quickly.
+ it is ok to really hold dear the possessions you DO love (which is why we are looking at hiring a storage shed for the few things in the shed we want to protect from mildew and mice).
+ keeping things you don't use now for a future you plan to use them in is actually ok, if it's aligned with where you are heading.
And finally, the biggest lesson on living with less?
Simple living is less about numbers of items, and more about depth of appreciation, freedom to let go of the unloved and getting joy from everything that is left.