Season 3: Episode 1 - We Have a lot of Stuff

September 12, 2020

Step one is buying the trailer...  right? Not quite.

 

If we want to live comfortably in a Tiny House on Wheels, then we need to cultivate a lifestyle that will comfortably fit inside a Tiny House on Wheels. Here are some things I think about to move in that direction.

 

Declutter or De-own? 

 

Imagine a home with clear surfaces, calm and comfortable spaces, and a few beautiful items to make you smile. This kind of place is my sanctuary and how I’d like my home to be. Often our homes get overrun with cables, paperwork, fridge magnets, gadgets, unwanted gifts, multiple pairs of scissors, broken or worn out things, mismatched items or stuff that’s never used. Decluttering is about removing those unnecessary items from your home so it can be more like that sanctuary. 

 

We still need items that are functional, useful and beautiful... but just how much is necessary to live a comfortable and content life? Without spending copious amounts of time, money and energy cleaning, organising and buying stuff. That’s a pretty personal question with no hard or fast answers or rules. 

 

We have learnt lessons along the way about only having what is necessary. On our road trip around Australia for 9 months we lived out of our car - no caravan, no camper trailer. Just the car, though a spacious car! (Adam - Rest in Peace Gary) In order to live comfortably we had to carefully consider what items were necessary to take with us on our road trip. The amount of clothing, shoes, cooking items, plates, mugs, tools, entertainment, chairs and tables all had to fit in a certain small space. The reality was there were still items we didn’t use! We need far less than we think we do to have a good time. 

 

We hold on to items we no longer want or need for various emotional reasons or beliefs: 

  • Guilt 

  • Fear 

  • Shame 

  • Money wasted 

  • Belief that more is better

  • What if? 

  • Sentimental items

  • Holding onto the item is somehow better than letting it go. 

 

De-owning. If only decluttering was as simple as putting everything in the rubbish bin and it disappeared for good. But sadly, it ends up in landfill and will likely never disappear. One of my favourite human beings (Brooke McAlary) poses some useful questions in her book ‘Slow’ on deciding whether to keep certain items: 

  • Do I want this?

  • Do I like this?

  • Do I need this? 

  • Do I have multiples of the same thing?

  • How many of this thing do I really need?

  • Do I have another item that can do the same job?

  • Do I use this? How often?

  • Can I do without it?

  • If I don’t use it very often, can I borrow or rent it when I do need it?

 

Brooke McAlary also provides a helpful Ethical Decluttering pyramid in her book Slow, to guide us on how to de-own items. Op shops are often overwhelmed with second hands goods, a lot of which does not get sold and is instead sent to other countries or ends up in landfill anyway. 

  • Can I sell this to someone? (gumtree, facebook, garage sale etc) 

  • Can I give this away to a friend / family member / charity? 

  • Can it be recycled (eg. books)?  Or sent somewhere for specialty recycling (eg mobile muster) 

  • If it’s broken, can it be repaired (sewn, taken to tailor) and reused / upcycled (made into rags)?

  • Can it be composted? 

Image Credit - Brooke McAlary (2018) 'Slow' Sourcebooks, Inc.

 

 

 

 

A space free from clutter involves making new habits. Here are some tips I find helpful: 

  • Every items needs a home (not on the dining room table, or the corner of the bedroom floor)

  • Put things away once you have used them. 

  • Put things you are considering decluttering in a box out of sight, after a month see if you remember what’s in the box. If after a few months you haven’t reached for it, chances are you won’t! 

I can’t talk about decluttering without talking about changing our buying habits. If we still buy stuff in the same way (hyperconsumerism) we will be forever on the purchase/declutter merry-go-round. More to come on this topic!

Image Credit - Brooke McAlary (2018) 'Slow' Sourcebooks, Inc.

 

In the context of Tiny House this all means that before we can start thinking about the size and configuration of our space, we need to decide exactly what will go in it. We have been focussed for the past couple of months on putting things we seldom use into Bedroom Number 3 to see if we reach for them, downsizing wardrobes, selling off those board games we haven't played in 5 years and for some reason bought with us from Perth, thinking about the hobbies and activities we want to remain part of our lives, and how that might look in a smaller space.

 

Adam - now where the hell do I put my drum set? (Don't worry, we have an idea in mind)

 

All our Love,

Ruth and Adam,

Foraging for Vegan Treats

 

Season 3 Statistics:

Mortgage purchase attempts: 2

Funds raised through selling stuff we were not using: $700

 

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Vegan food blog. Tiny House build blog. Tasmanian adventures. Many hats and two cats.

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