Monday, June 16, 2014


The house that we are currently living in is 860 square feet. About 160 of that is dedicated for our recording studio, so that's 700 square feet of living space for the two of us, our cat and dog, and our quickly approaching mini-me. We downsized from a 1000 square foot apartment with lots of storage to a house that technically qualifies as a "tiny house", so we had to do some serious streamlining. 

We knew around the end of March that we were serious about making this move up the mountain, and our lease ended on May 31st. We didn't find a new place until the beginning of May, but I started reducing our possessions in March in the belief that we would find a place. I was rewarded with a gorgeous little cabin in a sweet neighborhood at the foot of Grandfather Mountain.

The bulk of the packing and purging was on my shoulders, since my husband was on the road with a band for the majority of May. I actually found the house and signed the lease before he even saw it! We're lucky he trusts me with all things style and home. I did a lot of soul searching and web surfing, and found the 40 bags in 40 days project by White House Black Shutters. Her guidelines helped me a lot, and I actually (by her standards, where a "bag" is anything from a grocery bag full of things to a discarded dresser) got rid of 52 bags. It took at least 15 trips to Goodwill, a couple of sketchy Craigslist meetings, and some Plato's Closet maneuvering, but I did it.

The most notable places we downsized (aside from our closets) were the kitchen and bathroom. I got rid of so many toiletries that I didn't need (easy pickings) and then went for the towels. Practically speaking, we need one clean one and one that's either being reused or washed per family member. Right now, that's four towels total. I kept my favorite four and chucked the rest. No longer do I have a pile of towels waiting for more towels to make a full load for laundry. I never had room for that anyway!

In the kitchen, I got rid of all but one full set of silverware (four of each utensil), a ton of plates, cups, kitchen gadgets we'd never used, and bakeware duplicates. How many times am I going to bake 4 pies at once, or need 5 cupcake pans? We've already seen the difference this has made since we can't let things pile up in the sink and grab an extra from the cupboard. We now have to wash the dish every time we use it, right away, in order to have a functional kitchen. Some of you that have your lives together may think this isn't a big deal, but for me, this is a revelation. I hate doing dishes, but if it's only a few, I can manage.

When it came to our clothes, we had to make a big change. We had a huge bedroom with a giant closet and room for two antique dressers at the old apartment, but the room we moved to had one small closet and we needed the extra floor space for baby. (I'll address the nursery/cosleeping plans later). If you've never moved from two dressers and a closet to one closet, I will warn you that it is something that should only be attempted with a full belly and tons of nesting energy. I built shelves and hung lower bars like a crazy lady, but I managed to make an efficient and kind of nice looking closet.

In the living room we got rid of our TV and stand, and switched out a bulky sectional for these two cozy red couches. We've had a few friends over, and the community building power of the seating being in a circle is unbelievable. Conversation flows freely and people are so comfortable.

Here's a couple of tidbits I picked up along my journey towards a tiny house:
  • Do your research and find "rules" that work for you. Look for closet purging guides and other downsizing ideas. This helps you be more objective, in order to better...
  • Be ruthless. You definitely don't need everything you think you do. Don't be gentle with yourself and say that you'll wear it when you lose weight or have a special occasion that calls for it. Save the space and spend a little money when the time comes for either of those things.
  • Charge your stuff rent. Not literally, of course, but take into account that you have to pay for every square inch of space that an object occupies. To do that, divide the square footage of an item by the total square footage of your house, then multiply by your rent or mortgage. Take my craft dresser, for instance. It cost about $4 worth of my monthly rent in floorspace! That's $48 a year to house a dresser that held miscellaneous craft stuff that I "might use someday". I chucked it immediately and went for shelves on the wall, and I am so much happier. 

  • Don't forget about your extra room. Which room? Outside!! We're excited that our house came with a giant front porch, but any outside space will do. If you are living on a city block, treat the park like your backyard. This helps if you have a fight and need some space that can't be provided by your minimal walls and few doors.
If you are attempting this journey towards a smaller, more affordable house like we did, let me know! If not, I encourage you to take a good look at what you have and consider what impact it's having on your life. It may do you a world of good to take a few bags to Goodwill. Either way, I'd love to hear from you!


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