Downsizing? Tiny House, Big Life Movement

I have been obsessed lately with home improvement shows.  As I have been home the past year and a half and we have gone down to a one income family, I have started to shift my thinking from ‘what will make me happy’ to ‘how can I be happy with what I have’.  This largely applies to the house my husband and I purchased 5 years and 2 kids ago – hence the home improvement shows obsession.  I am working out some thoughts on how to take my less than ideal home and make it into a home I love.  In the future I will be sharing my current project, which is our bedroom.

Part of being a single income family has also led me down a path of reevaluating what is actually necessary for our family of 4 to possess for efficient functioning.  Of course we have made ‘sacrifices’ like going from a 2 car family to a 1 car family and getting familiar with all sorts of money saving apps and grocery store coupons and rebates (more on that later).  Among all of these home improvement shows, what keeps jumping out at me is this tiny house business.

I am not about to jump on the band wagon and sell off most of my possessions, put my 3 bedroom house on the market, and move my family of 4 into a house roughly the size of my bedroom but the idea is rather alluring … At least until they get to the composting toilet … then I just feel a little bad about myself for being so spoiled by modern amenities.

But here is the thing, a life where I don’t have a mortgage, my home can have a minimal impact on the environment, my entire house can be cleaned (I am talking deep cleaned) every day in the matter of an hour or less, a life in which I have what I need but I most certainly don’t collect and attach meaning to those things that are not necessities sounds like a dream come true … and like a nearly impossible dream that is just too darn good to be true.

This weekend happens to be our annual garage sale.  It never ceases to amaze me that we have enough stuff to get out of our house every year to have yet another sale.  I always think ‘well next year we can’t possibly have enough stuff for yet another sale’ and every summer I can’t wait until our sale to get things out of the house.  This year I have the advantage of going though my stuff with this tiny house lens but it still seems almost impossible to part with things that I probably should let go.  I have gone through my fabric stash and craft supplies at least 5 or 6 times.  I still have 4 totes of fabric and yarn and a 5th tote of fabric that is actually piled up and spilling over … that tiny 144 square foot house would be a tight fit for my sewing supplies alone!

The point …

The point is this, I am completely and totally an all or nothing kind of person.  And somehow or another I believe I can do absolutely anything – until I talk myself down and begin to tell myself the ‘I can’t’ story in such a convincing manner I do nothing.

As I approach my 5th year of marriage and my 30’s, I become more and more self aware of these tendencies that are truly self destructive.  How, exactly, does one go about creating a world view in which being an informed and responsible consumer is not an overwhelming undertaking?  In the busy world we live in today, how is it that people are able to balance health and wellness with finances and economic decision making … without going to the extreme of becoming a complete minimalist or ditching modern living and going completely off grid?

The noise and clutter of this life is constant.  The demand for more is incessant.  The messaging of not being good enough is deafening.  And the stories of all of the dangers lurking in the world are pervasive, risk is the name of the game after all.

While I am not about to become a minimalist and my family won’t be moving to a tiny house in this life time – I can barrow some thoughts from the movement.  My current dream is to expand my garden and learn to build my own little structure of reclaimed windows.  A green house of recycled materials to grow my own seedlings for next years garden or maybe to extend the growing season to have fresh fruits and veggies from my own backyard sounds like a great use of 144 square feet.

But first, maybe another sweep through that tumbling pile of fabric.

Share your thoughts.  How do you balance the demands of modern life with your own sanity and ‘green living’ desires?