So the “get rid of your crap” mentality is contagious. It’s extended to my neighbors (my mom and step dad) who ventured into about 60 years worth of stuff in their garage last weekend. Glove wearing and trash bin toting, we tackled the endless boxes, not knowing what we would find, hoping to create some kind of order out of disorder. We managed to establish four different heaping piles: keep, give away, metal recycling, and dumpster. There are areas we haven’t even touched yet…but it’s been so freeing to bring the space to some kind of order. Antiques and treasures have been discovered, I’ve been selling them out of the back of my car (literally), and you become aware that these things were very important to someone at some point. Will my keepsakes become fodder for the landfill or will I pass things on that will be given a new life. I wish we could just continue to use the old and stop making new. There are glasses and plates that are perfectly useful, tables and cabinets that just need some love or re-purposing, cookbooks and buttons, records and sewing patterns, lots of doors that still have swing in them, clothes with good seams, shoes with good soles….
Come make the old new again…this Saturday at 2pm!
So I’m spending an inordinate amount of time with my stuff lately in order to determine what’s of value and what should be part of the “Junk Fest” (not that any of it is junk).
It’s been an interesting process.
I set out to do it in this order:…
- Clothes, Shoes & Housewares: the things of no attachment. I found it very easy to relinquish most of these items.
- Jewelry: this category was a bit more difficult. I have not gone through my jewelry box in years and boy has it accumulated! I have a necklace of the Zambezi river god, ostrich eggshell and porcupine necklace from Africa, silver pieces from Nepal, ocean symbols from Australia and New Zealand…these are things that I just couldn’t part with so it’s a good thing they are small! I did manage to extract almost a whole shoe box worth for the junk fest though!
- Books: an area that was significantly difficult. I love books, everything about them, the smell, the feel. I just LOVE being surrounded by books. Over the course of moving a few times…I have already done a purge of my books…but now I had to get serious. I have kept only one small box and have promised myself to let some of those go once they are read and treasured for awhile.
- Photos: Wow. What do you do with photos? I have maybe 20 photo albums and I tried to throw some out…it’s really hard! It’s been fun going through them with Sam and there are so many memories attached to each album…maybe I just need a synopsis of each book…just pick out the highlights. This chore I will save for another time.
- Travel Box: this is huge. Since I’ve always dreamed of writing a book, have an outline even, I have saved just about everything. Boarding passes, money exchange receipts and even a packet of seeds to cleanse your breath that I got on a flight to Nepal where I sat in first class talking to a young man about his arranged marriage. Those seeds bring back the whole conversation, as do the hundreds of email correspondence I have saved from traveling and my enormous stack of journals. These are important things to me…this is the hard part of downsizing…the heavy blue totes that you continually move from place to place. Will the tiny house accommodate these memories?
- Childhood Memories: Does everyone have one of these? The box with your baby book, old report cards, yearbooks, pieces of art you made and a very loved, very squished old stuffed Casey Jones dog. I hugged that dog so much that his nose was rubbed off. I can’t seem to part with that dog…he was a big comfort during my childhood and I somehow still need that comfort, even though he remains tucked away in that tote. I did however throw out some yearbooks…I kept the most important one…the one from senior year. It almost felt sacrilegious though…like I was burning the flag…but I threw them out anyway, it sure made the tote a lot lighter!
- Holiday Decorations: I haven’t embarked on this category yet. I do feel like I could just pitch all of it except my ornaments which are a culmination of my life. I can still remember where certain ones came from when I was little, so those can stay. Oh and my Willow Tree nativity set…that’s special. I’ve just never been fond of decorating for holidays, and all this stuff takes up so much room, so when we go tiny…it’s bye bye big black spiderweb! Sorry Sam
This process has brought about a lot of feelings and memories, it’s reminded me (from reading out of my travel box) that the less I have…the happier I am….and I don’t want to ever have to spend as much time with stuff as I have over the past few months!
Excited for the Junk Fest next weekend as I set these things free…
Next Post: Q & A with Sam…his take on going tiny.
Yes…I am 3 years from building the tiny house…so why am I starting to purge already?
I’m claustrophobic. Knowing the closets are spilling over makes me feel suffocated. Who needs 6 pairs of sheets anyway?
When I traveled I had everything I needed right on my back…how did I fall back into the lure of excess? This is something that needs to be examined before we turn tiny…I need to change my mindset, my habits…or our tiny house will be spilling over with things we don’t need. Part of my desire for excess comes from a need for change. If I’m bound to two weeks vacation every year and cannot change my scenery…then at least I can change the look of my bed 6 times. If I can’t quench my restlessness with travel then why not change and redecorate the environment around me…my car, my house, my clothes. It’s worked…at least for a little while, BUT now it’s robbing me of my freedom. It requires time, money and attention…it’s time those are directed to more important things; my son, my family and friends, and those that need my help.
SO…come take my junk, have a beer, and see my tiny house design!
Sept 27th – Open House from 2-8 at 911 Linden Ave – Erie PA
I’ve always been a fan of tiny living, especially if it was “off grid”.
My first venture in a small space took place in a 6 x 6 tent in the backyard of Angie’s Youth Hostel in VA Beach.
I spent the summer in 36 sq ft, working at the bungee jump, cleaning the hostel rooms, eating the best shrimp at Harpoon Larry’s and loving every minute of it.
When I moved to Winter Park Colorado…I lived in the cutest little apartment…it was maybe 120 sq ft with a loft where I slept under a star filled skylight, a creek ran behind and the mountain view from my window was incredible. During the 10 years I lived in Colorado…I would live in some normal size spaces…but the tiny ones were always my favorite! (tents, caboose and even a closet!)
This is the trailer I lived in while in New Zealand…this is actually on an island off the coast of NZ called Great Barrier Island.
This little gem was abandoned in the woods, about a 10 minute walk from the youth hostel. It was perfect for me! I gave it a scrub, used candles for heat and light, and helped run the hostel by chopping wood in the morning so we could heat the shower water. We drank rain water and explored this beautiful island by hiking miles and miles. I could have stayed forever.
In Australia I lived in a town of only 60 residents, called Coral Bay. This would be my home on and off for about a year. I had MANY tiny abodes there…residents actually lived in trailers like the one above…they were called caravan parks. We would shower with salt water, suffer through mouse plagues (where they get in bed with you) and swim daily with turtles, manta rays and whale sharks.
I often thought I was born in the wrong time…I’ve always wanted to live a more simplistic life, but our society brainwashes us into being tranced out consumers who buy and buy to have some skewed sense of happiness and success. I want to teach Sam the real meaning of happiness and success…and you don’t get it at Target.
When I say I’m starting a blog…the question I get every time is “why?”
It’s not that I think our life is so fascinating that people will want to read about us…or that I’m hoping for some kind of recognition…or money…none of those things were a factor in my decision to start this. I simply want to keep a record of this journey with Sam…a sort of digital journal for us to participate in together as well as invite our friends and family along for the ride.
I look forward to sharing the journey of us turning to tiny living…so that we can indeed live a life that is truly large!
Heidi & Sam