I have recently become a fan of Carolyn. She lives in a small home with her family, and I just love her personality. She has such a great attitude about making the most out of life and being smart with your resources. You’ll love her too, I know it! You visit her blog at The Mobile Home Maker.
Hey there. I’m Carolyn, the writer of The Mobile-Homemaker, which documents in frightening detail my family’s journey to become debt free while living in our mobile home, or The Shack as I call it. Frightening in that we’ve already admitted to complete strangers that we no longer have spontaneous French-kisses. How that relates to making a budget spreadsheet, I have no idea, but it somehow snuck in there.
I’m so happy Naomi asked me to write a guest post. Her blog helped me to come out, if you will, about my living quarters. And not just own up to it, but be proud of it. Proud that I’ve defriended the Joneses on Facebook because I was tired of keeping up with them. Proud that I could really care less that my counter tops are not granite, but in fact a knock-off of a knock-off. Proud that my walls are so thin they can hardly handle a fly landing on them. And proud that we are choosing to live a frugal lifestyle.
Why? Because it’s making me think outside the box, shed some unnecessary items, learn to share tight quarters with more than just my computer, and appreciate the simpler lifestyle.
So what are some things that I’ve learned so far?
1. Buy a lot of matches. In small places, just shutting the bathroom door doesn’t do the job. Light those babies up.
2. Eliminate duplicates! Or as I like to think of it: host a garage sale with your friends, break out the bucket margaritas, and then let your husband handle all the sales. By the end of the day you’ll be so loosened up and ready to get rid of things, you’ll find yourself apologizing to your husband as unused lingerie given to you at your bachelorette party passes into some lucky customer’s hands.
I did keep this beauty though:
Don’t be jealous. And yes, that is me in a birthing tub. That’s another story.
But seriously, duplicates. Did I really need 3 different sets of spatulas? Or a Fry-Daddy, when a pot of oil could do the same? Did we need an electric can-opener when a hand-held one took up less room and less electricity? Nope, so out they went and if they couldn’t be sold, then hello Goodwill.
3. Maximize storage space. This is a given. But you’ve got to use any nook and cranny you can.
Bed Raisers for additional height under your bed!
Hang pans on hooks and Clothing Racks for your diapers:
Bakers Racks for walls that can’t hold flies!
Shoe Organizers and Floor-to-Ceiling ‘Dresser’ of bins:
See? A plethora of ways to store things. And this isn’t even counting the vintage hamper housing toys, a cinder block shelving unit, or hanging baskets from the ceiling.
4. Use your things. You know that stack of artwork collecting dust in the spare room? Hang them up!
Remember retro tin container you bought? Put some crayons in and display it! You better hurry too, before your husband throws it into the Goodwill pile.
If giving certain items away or selling them gives you heartache, then use them. To be surrounded by your favorite things will only help you enjoy your tiny slice of heaven that much more, plus they’ll open up room in your limited storage space.
5. And that leads me into my last point: Enjoy your small quarters.
I once watched a PBS documentary where several families left their current situation and went to live a pioneer lifestyle. They built their own homes, raised and killed their own food, and drew their own water.
One family was wealthy and, in their own words, ‘disconnected from each other’. After living six months in a one-room cabin, they certainly became connected, whether they wanted to or not. By the end, they had come to (dare I say this) enjoy sharing the space.
Fast forward to an update interview with the mother. She was alone, in her kitchen. Everyone had reverted back to their old ways: dad working long hours at the office, brother and sister holing up in their own respective rooms watching TV or playing on the computer. And the mom was sad, because she knew what the family was missing out on.
Living in a small space forces people to interact, to talk, to listen…
and to go outside.
Because it can be hard too, this lack of personal space. Hard when someone rubs you the wrong way and you have nowhere to hide. When they watch a movie during what should be your dvd workout time. Or, worst of all, when they don’t light a match.
Yes, when that happens, go outside immediately.
But come back in eventually….
I guarantee you’ll miss it.