April Update: Minimalism Edition

I finished the 12-week Uncluttered course. It was interesting, motivating, and irksome.

Interesting: Seeing how other people live. Despite demographic and geographic differences, I had a lot in common with a widow in a tiny NYC apartment and new parents in a UK two-up-two-down house. We minimized cherished belongings to free time and space for the here-and-now.

Motivating: The weekly goals and participation helped a lot, particularly when another participant would confess, “I’m behind.” Plus, occasionally someone would balk at a weekly assignment and other attendees offered work-around ideas.

Which leads me to…

Continue reading

Tiny houses? Nonsense. :)

Someone shared a link about a man’s response to unaffordable housing: a tiny house. He and his girlfriend essentially live in a homemade travel trailer with what I imagine is electrical and septic hook-up similar to a campground or a trailer park.  I wonder if it’s electric or propane heat; I imagine a woodstove would be messy and downright inconvenient.

Another person responded by sharing blogs about tiny-house living. The first is about a family who homestead (tiny debt-free house, big garden, and various farm animals) while building a larger home in stages. The second details drastic downsizing of a family’s life after a financial collapse.

I sympathize with “living small” out of necessity. From the time I left home until I moved into La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense), I lived in a series of rented rooms, tiny apartments, and even a friend’s “house” that was a former camp cabin. Almost all the time, I shared space with one or two other people.

I discovered general rules about living small: Continue reading

Another complication of disposable culture…

“Flushable” baby wipes and cleaning wipes might seem more sanitary than using washcloths and sponges. However, they can clog up the pumps and digesters in wastewater treatment plants.

The Port Huron Times Herald reports the Algonac Wastewater Treatment Plant (aka my friendly neighborhood sewage plant) spent $72K in 2012 cleaning out a clog. This year they’re going to spend $600K in improvements, but that won’t stop all the clogging.

So in the end, the “convenient” wipes are going to raise the prices on our utility bills.

Talk about a “happy homemaker”

Here’s a neat story about a grandmother who turned her 8X10 shed into a cabin so that her homeless daughter and grandchildren could move into her 2-bedroom home.  After looking for the original story, I couldn’t find out where Monica Smith lives (I imagine a North American community, based on the imperial measurements, and somewhere that the local building department allows such for her renovations).

Still, the photos are neat-o.



It’s Awards Time Again In the Blogosphere

Mohamed Tohami at Midway Simplicity offered readers a chance to campaign and vote for the best simplicity blog of the year.  As usual, the list of candidates alone gives a variety of good reading.

His blog was my first introduction to a workable approach to simple living.  Ironically, it was because a hoarders’ support site linked to an interview he did with a declutterer! By the time I went to his site, I’d known both hoarders and ascetics, and decided neither had a grip on a practical way of living and thinking about material goods.   Tohami’s “midway” approach was refreshing, as were the variety of experts he’s interviewed and the quality of his guest-posters.