Empty that Barn and Start Downsizing Today
My parents were very young during the depression and it made a great impact on their lives and it was totally opposite to the idea of downsizing. They became collectors and never got rid of anything.
Living in the depression made my parents think that they should save everything as they might need it some day or surely they would find a use for it at some time. My dad still cannot turn down a free deal or a bargain from a friend and he has a barn full of stuff to prove it.
My grandfather had collected things for almost ninety years and when he passed away my father brought home most of his collection to add to his own. This is the type of lifestyle I grew up in. You must save, save, save, for you just might need it some day. This way of thinking was ingrained me, so how do you switch from that mentality to a downsizing mentality?
Enter my wife. She was brought up in a family of educators who tended to move from place to place on a regular basis. They used their job as a way to explore the country. My mother-in-law has gypsy blood and loves to just keep moving on. Every time they moved they downsized, had a garage sale, gave stuff away and moved on to the next location.
In our marriage my wife has been trying to train me to think along her way of upbringing. Keep what you need and get rid of what ever you don’t need or use.
I’ll admit it is easier when you move regularly as we did the first few years of married life, but it gets much more difficult when you stay in one place for a long period of time. We have been in our current residence for eleven years now and things start to collect.
So how can you downsize your life? Here are a couple of suggestions. If your not using something, get rid of it. Period. If you buy a new item, get rid of an old item.
My wife goes through each room in the house on a regular basis and pulls out items not in use and starts a box or bag for donations or things to sell. I have been slowly learning to do the same and you can too.
When the kids are completely out of the house we will step into downsizing in a major way, but in the mean time it helps to work on it daily. Get into a habit of removing the items in your life you don’t need or use, make downsizing a part of your your daily life.
Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog.
My name is Kent Griswold and small things in general have always been an interest to me. I enjoy tiny cars, tiny RV’s, tiny cameras and tiny houses.
As a kid I dreamed of working in a fire lookout tower and ended up spending a couple of days in the Prescott National Forest in Arizona on a tower to see what it was really like. This tower was an all inclusive workspace and eating and sleeping area. You did have to hike down the tower to the base to use the outhouse or take a shower though.
Later when I was in college, I was still undecided as to a direction to major in so took a year off and went and worked on the Navajo Indian Reservation as a school bus driver and teachers aide. I lived in an old 20 foot airstream trailer that year, and it was quite the experience as we had every type of weather, from snow to extreme heat.
In college I had the chance to take a course in homesteading. The school had a 5 acre parcel, that was developed into a small homestead over the years. I was lucky to get involved early on and we built a tiny cabin structure and learned some log building skills and did some gardening.
Over the years it has always been my dream to have a small cabin in the mountains or by a lake. Nothing fancy, just a nice little rustic cabin. My first choice has always been log for the building structure. It is not perfect, but you just can’t beat the old log cabin look in my opinion. This is still my dream, although it has expanded to be not just a vacation cabin but a full time home.
When I became interested in the internet, I started bookmarking cabin and small house sites that interested me. Later, when I learned about blogging, I decided to start sharing what I had been bookmarking and I started the Tiny House Blog. I had discovered Jay Shafer early on and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. I found out that he had moved about 25 miles from my home in Healdsburg, California. We have sense become friends and I enjoy the times when we are able work and talk together.
I have been publishing the Tiny House Blog for about two years now, using my preliminary finds on the internet as a starting point, adding stories of those who are living the tiny house life and sharing it with my readers. It has been fun to be involved in the growing tiny house movement.
One of the joys of being involved in the tiny house movement is the people you meet along the way. Here is a picture of a group of us at Jay’s house and we jokingly call it “A Meeting of the Tiny Minds.” This group is built up of designer’s, builders and bloggers. We had a great time getting to know each other better and sharing experiences.