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Live Simply

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Minimal and Natural Kid’s Art Supplies

Buying natural art supplies is perfect for downsizing if you want a minimalist lifestyle. The best part? It is more beautiful, smells better, and is more environmentally friendly. Downsizing our art and craft supplies for the Tiny House move was a little bit overwhelming. Since we homeschool, we have had boxes and bags and jars of glitter and sequins and fabric scraps and so many broken crayons. At one point, we had an entire walk-in closet full of art supplies. I wish I had a photo. It was probably 1/3 of the square footage of the entire tiny house and it was just piles of stuff. To be honest, once I got over the fear of downsizing, and stopped thinking things like, “but I might need that jelly jar full of felt scraps or that box of half finished origami. If we throw it away, it’s just a waste.” It was really, really freeing. Who really needs 10,000 broken crayons? Here is a step-by-step guide to…

It’s almost Tiny House Time!

As the winter trudged forward, people frequently asked me, “What’s happening with the tiny house?” and I gave the same answer, “We will get started in the summer.” and now the summer is finally here! It’s time give everyone a detailed update on where everything is at, how close we are, and what you can do to help us get there! Trailer: The most important part of our tiny house on wheels is actually acquiring the wheels. This was probably one of the parts of the tiny house process that we most underestimated. Like a lot of novice tiny house folks, we naively assumed we could just throw a 10,000+ pound home on top of an old RV trailer… WRONG! As it turns out, that’s really, really untrue. A lot of people have done that and watched as their beautiful custom made homes snapped in half while going 50 miles down the highway. We’ve got a custom built trailer being made…

Tiny Cabinet Tetris & Selling Everything

I’ve spent most of this week cleaning out the cabinets and closets, eliminating everything that won’t fit into our tiny house. We briefly discussed renting a storage unit for the transition period, but decided against it. Even though we are going to store a few sentimental things, like my wedding dress, everything from spare blankets to craft supplies are expected to fit inside the house or be sold at the flea market or in one of our Etsy shops. It’s a lot harder than you think to get rid of excess junk. I have gone through the same cabinets six times to the point that I felt like I was only keeping the bare bones, and I still find things we don’t need every time. I’ve also discovered a significant amount of things we need to just use. Apparently, I buy handmade soap bars more often than I actually use them. I’ve created a pile of East Hill honey soaps and…

Tiny Living Leads To A Bigger Life For Families.

Reducing the overall square footage of a living space has many advantages and disadvantages. Like everything in life, you have to weigh out the pros and cons. For us, one of the biggest points in favor of living tiny is that fact that it will afford us an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. This has a clear tie-in to helping with the issue of poverty and homelessness. It isn’t simply enough to put someone in a home, they also have to be able to maintain and survive. It does not take major math skills to be able to see that an average person can not live on minimum wage. One way to combat this issue is to raise the minimum wage up to a working wage, but while we all sit around and hold our breath waiting on congress… Another way to combat that income disparity is through reducing overall cost of living. However, in a modern world, there are…

Our 10 year old just became skeptical about tiny houses.

Our biggest advocate about moving into the tiny house has been our oldest daughter Kira. Every morning, she wakes up and asks to check the crowdfunding site to see how many books have been sold. She has produced us with concept designs for interior and exterior layouts. There was even that time she attempted to bribe the tooth fairy for funding. However, this week, things took a turn into skeptical-ville. One of the major themes in the comments that people have left us have been threats of how difficult life will be once our children are teenagers. Well, Kira is definitely knocking on the front door of teenagerhood, and with that comes dramatic highs and lows of emotion. Today, while driving home from an event, she posed a bizarre question: “Will my room have a ‘real’ bed in it?” Being a really stupid dad, I walked right into that with my defenses down, not yet fully equipped with the jaded armor…

Our kids’ first tiny house tour

Something I have been asked several times since we launched this campaign and tiny house project is how my kids feel about it- especially the oldest. The truth is that the kids have been our biggest cheerleaders. Kira, my 10 year old, wakes up every morning and asks how much we’ve raised, and Selena, my 4 year old, asks every day how many more books we need to sell until we can build our ‘tiny little bitty house. They had never actually seen a tiny house in real life before… so a few days ago, I panicked. What if they liked the idea in theory, but not in practice? I decided it was time to take them to tour one. It just so happens that we are lucky enough to have met a few people here locally who are a part of the tiny house community, so yesterday we were able to tour a 21 foot long house with the kids.…

I’m moving my family of 5 into a tiny house… here’s why:

  When I was a child, I could have never expected for our family to become homeless. My early childhood was the appropriate level of normal and dysfunctional. I fought with my siblings, but we also played together every day in the field outside of our house. Financially speaking, my parents couldn’t always say yes, but we always had Christmas, birthdays, and the occasional candy bar while checking out at the grocery store. Then, suddenly something changed. At first it was little things like introducing food stamps, or mom and dad started yelling more. It did not take long before we were bouncing from one hotel to the next or sleeping in our van. The stability of a childhood home was replaced with extreme uncertainty and fear.   People don’t want to talk about family homelessness because it is scary and unsightly. It isn’t something that should be happening in a first world country. However, every single day, families find themselves…

A solution to family homelessness

For far too long, the national conversation on homelessness has been only about restoration, but not prevention. When an individual or family moves from the area of poverty, and into full blown legitimate homelessness, it becomes a very expensive to rebuild their life. It is estimated that, in general, a homeless person costs the tax payers an average $30K per year. That’s right, more  than the average minimum wage worker makes annually. There has got to be a better system. The face of homelessness is not what it used to be, more and more families are finding themselves without a savings account that could be used in an emergency. When a sudden crisis strikes: loss of employment, medical conditions, or acts of god that destroy property, homelessness is on the other side to devour those suffering from desperation. People truly can’t keep up with the growing cost of living, between inflation and rising housing costs alone are preventatives to the goals…

How did we acquire so much clutter?

Two years ago, our family was moving across the country again for the fourth time in a year. I was pregnant with my third child, and pretty much over the packing/unpacking process. Since we were in a sort-of career crisis at the time, and weren’t even sure where we would end up permanently, I made the decision to just sell all of our stuff and found a furnished apartment. We sold everything that wasn’t sentimental, and only brought what we could shove into our minivan. When we first moved into our rental house a year and a half ago, it was with five small boxes, an arm chair and a mattress. So, how is it possible that I already have clutter?! Stuff is like magic. Since I have space for it, the chase lounge just got moved to my bedroom when we bought a new couch. Our garage has been filled with various half-projects that we found at thrift stores or that friends…