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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life in 2010 - Page 10

post #181 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiemonster View Post
We're in Edmonton.

It's actually a development, so we didn't design it or anything, but it's PERFECT for us.

-it's a townhome (built-in community and lots of green space for the kids to play)
-it's smallish, but has a garage (no scraping our windows in winter!)
-it has an open floor plan
-my husband can walk to work in about four minutes (we have one car and the girls go to school about 15-20 minutes away, so one of us was going to have to drive; this way we don't need a second vehicle)
-the kitchen is sexy (added bonus )
Sounds lovely! I was in Edmonton in the fall ... it's a great city! And yay for a garage ... a must in that cold metropolis!
post #182 of 230
AHHH! So last month I spent an entire day weeding out all the crap we don't need...C's Korean textbooks from when he was at DLI, movies we've never watched, books we have and will never read, clothes, plus papers that could be trashed. What arrives in the mail today? Three GIANT (about 2'x4'x2') trunks of stuff that he's had while in Afghanistan (he gets home in 2 weeks! ). NO! Get it out of my house! I asked the mail man if he needed stuff to build a fire because he could just have it all. Oh dear... Why we need black fake fur blankets I don't know, but they're ugly and I don't want them. And why the heck wuld he spend $300 to ship it home?! Just leave it there with someone else who will need it! Agh I am soannoyed. Every time I get a little ahead I get set back.
post #183 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hidden Life View Post
Reducing material goods is my passion right now. Why am I doing it? To make my life simpler. To have less to clean. To have more space to do other things, new projects. To have more visual peace. To like my house more. To become more detached from the world and more attached to God (there's a lofty goal, eh?).
this is exactly where I'm at as well. You said it much better than I could have though
post #184 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiemonster View Post
We're in Edmonton.

It's actually a development, so we didn't design it or anything, but it's PERFECT for us.

-it's a townhome (built-in community and lots of green space for the kids to play)
-it's smallish, but has a garage (no scraping our windows in winter!)
-it has an open floor plan
-my husband can walk to work in about four minutes (we have one car and the girls go to school about 15-20 minutes away, so one of us was going to have to drive; this way we don't need a second vehicle)
-the kitchen is sexy (added bonus )
As much as I HATED living in Edmonton, some of their developments are really nice, What part of Edmonton are you living in? My parents still live there as does my sister, she lives in the southwest off of I think its called Blue Ridge I can't remember but I think that's what her town home complex area is called, its about 15 blocks from Harry Ainley.

We just bought our first Home and I'm so excited I get to have a GARDEN, and we have a huge double garage that I can make into my own little office area.
post #185 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
Sounds lovely! I was in Edmonton in the fall ... it's a great city! And yay for a garage ... a must in that cold metropolis!
I just wanted to say, Edmonton is great to visit not to live. But that's just my opinion. I hate it there and I'm so glad I moved.
post #186 of 230
We live near Edmonton, smallish older house, no garage, so we plug in vehicles and scrape windows for months every winter ...but... we have a lovely big back yard with garden, fruit trees, oak and maple, big enough and private enough that we cannot see anyone else's home when we are back there. More than worth the trade-off. But mileage always varies

I have been following this thread for a while, not sure if I've posted yet.

My big need-to-simplfy issues are:

1) dh travels a lot, I run a home daycare, volunteer with a local charity, and raise three young children. I need my home, schedule and life to be simple and minimal on the clutter so that I still have time for my own creative outlets (books and the garden, mostly!)

2) We may be moving closer to where dh is working (rural area) in a year. We need to figure out whether we want to try to keep this home we have now in a wonderful walk-to-everything property-values-rising neighborhood ( rent it out?), and whether to rent or buy in the rural area (property values mostly flat/falling. Do we really want an acreage or farm in the country? Maybe we want a minimal home there so that I don't have to work and can homeschool and travel with the kids? I've followed your posts on your housing situation with some interest, starling&diesel!

Of course, I'm trying to talk dh into living in a yurt out there . Sooner or later everyone on MDC becomes infatuated with the idea of yurt living, I think....
post #187 of 230
Help me mamas. I'm wavering. I posted a thread recently regarding a small Craftsman style farmhouse on 5 acres that we will likely be moving into after a full renovation. DH's parents own it and are insisting that it needs to be expanded because we have a family of 6 (almost 6yo dd, and then 3 boys ages almost 4yo, almost 2yo and 3months). To be honest they don't get the "Voluntary Simplicity" concept whatsoever.

We love the house as is and I thought we'd convinced them that we really have thought this out and thought we were good to go. Its about 1400 sqft (plus a basement that can be finished) and the attic is a large bedroom (for the boys) and then a cozy small bedroom with a door (for dd). Well apparently not. My MIL came over last night to drop something off and decided to sit down and draw out her "plans" for the farmhouse The current house is about 31x32 and she wants to add another 15 to one side and make that a huge big kitchen/mudroom/study on the lower floor, make the old kitchen a laundry room and bigger bathroom. Then she wants to raise the roof on the entire upper floor and make the upper floor on the new addition be a bedroom for dd and more space for the boys.

We told her we'd entertain her ideas of course. I'm really open to hearing ideas and making sure that we are thinking things out. At first I was excited thinking about how I could have a great big pantry, a mudroom, a dedicated study/craft room and that I wouldn't have to go to the basement to do laundry since we could put a laundry room on the main floor off the bathroom. Plus the kids would have more space and we could add a bathroom in the attic for them (currently only one bath on the main floor). Dh would get a workshop/garage added under the new addition which would be nice for him.

Then today I started thinking about what it would feel like when the house was done. It wouldn't feel like our cozy little cottage anymore. It would feel like a big house. Yes it would be nicely laid and and very usable. We might not be able to match the old wooden windows and floor from the main house to the addition either and we LOVE them. I thought about how when we drive up and I see the side of the house that would be added on, I smile and feel happy because it just seems like OUR perfect home now. Why mess with perfection I guess?

I'm sorry for putting a big rambling post that probably makes very little sense. I'm just really questioning things. On one hand I love the simplicity and cozy floor plan of the current place. On the other hand if we did the addition we could add in everything we ever really thought we "wanted". My MIL made joking comments last night about that if we keep the house as is when our kids are 14 they will "run away" because they will be sick of not having their own space. I get that kids need space when they are older, but I don't necessarily think they need a whole floor of a house to do that, kwim?

My ILs are saying that its kind of a now or probably not ever situation with the add on, since the house is being fully renovated now and prices are low. If we agree to let them add on then we don't need to worry about paying for it in the future if we change our minds. They will agree to keep the floorplan as is if we want, they just are coming from a place where they think it is crazy. Frankly most everyone thinks we are crazy right now!
post #188 of 230
there are exercises in the book The Not So Big House. This helps you begin to think about how you actually use space, and how to create spaces.

it's a great book to read before buying an existing house, rennovating, or building new. it gets you to think about how you live and what you value.

right now, you are looking at what everyone else values and also going on a "feeling" about the old house. at this point, you need a direct understanding so that you know your values and you know how to proceed.

for example, it's possible to discover that you want the mud/craft/kitchen space, but that you don;t need the roof blown up to make that into more bedrooms and that the attic space is fine. it's also possible to discover that "as is" is preferred. it's also possible to discover that your MILs or anyone else's plan IS what you need.

by reading hte book and answering the questions for yourself (also have DH answer the questions), you come to clarity about how you live, how you want to live, and how the space needs to come together for that.

for example, when we moved here to NZ, i did the exercise on how we live and use our space. foremost, we needed a functional kitchen (defined in certain ways specific to us). second, we needed laundry facilities in home. third, we needed only one bedroom because we cosleep--but it needed to be large enough for a king-size bed. we had no problem having a shower-only bathroom. and the "lounge" really just needed to fit a table, but if it had a bump-out of any kind (bay window), even better.

before, we lived in 1300 3 br, 1.5 bath house with a small kitchen.

now, we live in a 600 sq ft apartment with a good kitchen, bathroom with shower and laundry, one bedroom with a good closet and king-sized bed; a lounge with a bay window where we put our table. we don't have any other furniture yet, but we are thinking of just keeping it this way so that we can easily do our yoga and meditation. no reason for us to clutter up a space. we are considering a wardrobe for the entry to hold shoes, bags, and coats, but right now we are not unhappy with how it looks so far and how we keep things. it's nice and neat.

granted, this likely isn't permanent for us; i knew it would be temporary based on our immediate needs. but it still helped define what we needed as the basics for the next 1-3 years as we get established here. then, we can re-do the exercise to figure out what our next place should be for us.

go to the library, check out the book, do the exercise individually (you, dh) and together (you and dh). it doesn't take long.

once you have done it, you'll be able to direct the process with this house--either keeping it as-is, or remodeling to *your* needs, not what your MIL or best friend or whatever thinks you should need or want.

good luck!
post #189 of 230
CD, that is a tough one. I totally hear you about living simply in a smaller house with lower bills and keeping everyone close. On the other hand, a mudroom and laundry room on the main floor have improved my quality of life so much! I have three children and I live in the Northeast (ie. 4 seasons). I would be very tempted to add on but definately on my own terms. Maybe you don't need or want as much room as MIL is suggesting. Maybe you'd like to lay things out a little differently. You could definately live in 1400 sf but would your quality of life be better with more functional space? Also, my husband would insist on having a shop anyway. In the end, you have to decide what's best for your family, ie. not what you inlaws think is best but also not what MDC says is best either. It's easy to get caught up in the small house threads but in reality, my family is most comfortable with about 1800 sf. Good luck!
post #190 of 230
thank you both Zoebird and dovergirl. You've given me good things to think about. I'll go get the book at Borders tonight if they have it since I have a gift card that is expiring soon. I've actually wanted to read it for ages. I've been cleaning the kitchen and thinking about what both of you wrote. Thinking about whether we want to live "small" because we truly want to, or if we have some idealistic vision of that it will make our lives better/simpler/happier etc. We didn't just stumble on the idea of living in a smaller house, we've been thinking about it and working towards it for the past 4 years. I think it is a good that we are making sure it is the right decision now that the choice is right in front of us.

I have been prioritizing the "extras" we would get if we did the additions that the ILs are proposing.

*A mud room? It would be nice since we plan on a full farm set up, but I'm sure we don't "need" one. I'm sure there are other ways of setting up a little entry set up to keep mud outside. We live in the rainy Pacific NW so we are already a shoe free household in our current house.

*Bigger bedrooms for the kids? Yes, I would like if the teeny bedroom upstairs for dd was a little bit bigger. I'm not super sold on needing the upstairs of the "addition" portion. That seems almost like too much room.

*Bathroom upstairs in the attic? Yes...actually I'd really like that. There isn't enough room for one now unless the roof is raised. I'd really prefer a 2 bathroom house for 6 people. There is a tiny bathroom set up in the basement that we could set up though.

*Craft room? Honestly sure I'd use it, but I think I'd just end up collecting craft supplies again which I promised myself I wouldn't do My crafting supplies (including ALL my fabric and yarn, including the dyeing supplies) lives neatly in a old computer armoire. It would fit fine in the current floorplan of the house.

*Bigger kitchen? Bigger bathroom on main floor? I don't really think we need either of these. My kitchen is big now and I have lots of empty space. I'm sure we could lay out the kitchen to include plenty of food storage space in the current floor plan if we want. I could care less about a bigger bathroom. Our bathroom "supplies" fit in one tiny drawer and cabinet, the extra bulk supplies we get at Costco (toothpaste, etc - currently live under the sink) we buy could fit in the built in drawers in the hall closet in the current floorplan.

*Washer and dryer on main floor? Okay this is the one that has me wanting the addition. I *hate* going to the basement in our current place to do laundry. Since the washer and dryer are out of sight, out of mind, I tend to forget to put stuff in the dryer. We have a stackable front load set, so I'm going to talk to DH about figuring out if there is anywhere in the house on the main floor to stick them.

So it really boils down to the only things I'd really love to have from the addition are the bathroom in the attic for the kids and the W/D on the main floor. I'm going to talk to my DH about my little list tonight and see what parts he agrees/disagrees on. I'm realizing that just raising the roof (not really "just", but you kwim!) and pushing the walls all the way out to meet the walls of the 1st floor, would give the kids more bedroom space and make room for an attic bathroom. If I can figure out a place for the w/d in a closet or something on the main floor, then that would probably be plenty of modifications for us without changing the feel of the home and floorplan. Hmmm....
post #191 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by celestialdreamer View Post
I'm realizing that just raising the roof (not really "just", but you kwim!) and pushing the walls all the way out to meet the walls of the 1st floor, would give the kids more bedroom space and make room for an attic bathroom. If I can figure out a place for the w/d in a closet or something on the main floor, then that would probably be plenty of modifications for us without changing the feel of the home and floorplan. Hmmm....
Or you could put the laundry area in the new upstairs.
post #192 of 230
i prefer ot have the laundry in a bathroom myself, because then our clothes go from body to machine.

but, i think if i lived in a split--by that i mean some bedrooms upstairs and some bedrooms downstairs--then i might want it nearer to where i predominately spend my time (downstairs) than upstairs in the "kids" bathroom.

all a matter of perspective though.
post #193 of 230
I've just read this whole thread and am loving it!
So much resonates with me - in particular about Dp's family culture (low income, massive hoarding, living in clutter - just one example - his mother
currently has at least 3 microwaves in her basement plus the one in kitchen)
My family culture is also geared very much into building wealth and accumulating 'stuff'. We also grew up in a cluttered home that was always aggravating my mother. The main problem - and one I know I'm t reacting to majorly
now that I'm an adult - is that nothing made sense! We'd have these massive 'clean ups' and things would all get put away in really inconvenient places. It made life really uncomfortable until it went back to being
a huge clutter. My goal with my own home is to find the third way - that is, things are accessible, but tidy. The organization has to make sense!!!
I also strive for a cozy, welcoming vibe to my house. One that feels like a haven and a relaxing place to hang out with my family. We're big into just hanging out together with no big rushes, agendas, etc.
Our ideal day together probably involves pyjamas, a big cooked breakfast that lasts until noon, lots of book-reading and maybe a walk to the park. Super simple & satisfying.

Dp and I came to NZ from Canada (hi Zoebird, we're your neighbours 2 hours to the north!) with only 4 suitcases so I could study midwifery. Since then we've lived in a shared/furnished home
so we haven't accumulated much at all.
I'm focusing, at the moment, on gathering things for our new house - a small one in a very small town nearby . My job is govt funded so I would get the same salary regardless of where we live
but life is obviously much cheaper in a small town than in a larger city - this enables me to work only 4 days a week and hopefully still be financially viable (Dp will be at home with the babes). This freaks Dp out a bit as his family culture dictates
that you work hard out 50-60 hours a week making very little money. We've worked really hard to get me through university with no debt on this kind of crappy work situation/income, so I really hope
this proves to Dp that we can make it work and still enjoy life together. Ingrained fears are hard!
Anyway, I plan on only accumulating things I really love and/or that we really need.

We've got a towel each, plus an extra adult size one and an extra kid size one. Just 4 of plates, bowls, mugs, etc. I'm only taking a dozen kids books and we only own a few toys - I'm thinking they'll fill one very small bookshelf
plus a picnic basket for the books and another basket for the stuffed animals (I need to downsize those - I swear every person in our lives has given us some). I'm working on consolidating the kid clothes now.
It's a bit tricky in New Zealand because we have no dryer and the weather can ber very damp/rainy so it often takes ages for things to dry (think 3-4 days unless you do it inside - but this
can't be done too much as then the house gets overly damp and mouldy) and this has to be accounted for. I think we can live with
one bottom sheet for each bed (we have a single pushed up against a queen and all sleep together) and a large flat sheet for emergency use.
I have 2 duvetsand a wool blanket for each bed - but those are needed as it's cold in the winter - no central heating here either!
I'm excited to finally have our own space and I'm eager to learn and implement ideas on how to make our space and stuff accessible, ordered - basically simple & liveable.

Next up - purging all my student stuff - I'll keep the relevant texts, but all the notes and extraneous literature can go. Dp is really hard to wrench books away from though - see aforementioned family culture
issues. . . but books are probably the least offensive things to have around in a quantity (and really he hasn't gathered that many - he left tons behind in his mother's completely stuffed basement, lol). Personally,
unless the book made me cry or I actually read it at least once a year it has no business on my shelf.
There are a couple things I have issues with:
* hand knits people made for my babies - I knit and so appreciate the time and love that goes into them, but my MIL and other family friends have knit some horrendous blankets (with birthdates and names emroidered into them even)
and clothes that are 100% arcrylic and sooo impractical. I haven't been able to figure out what to do with them.
* my dear uncle knows I love poetry and so sends me lots of books of poetry from local poets - all personally addressed to me by the authors (he's in literary circles). I *love* the poems, but I don't return to them
over and over.. . if I really love a poem I'll memorize it, or paint it on my wall, etc.
*clothes - I'm tandem breastfeeding so I need major boob access in my clothes - ruling out tons of shirts I love and have worn for ages (but are still in great shape). Some of these I can wear to work - others not. But it seems
ridiculous to give them away when breastfeeding will be over in a few years (I think anyway!).

At the moment we're house sitting and it's been a really neat exercise in how little we need - I brough one box (like a small wine box) of clothes for *all 4 of us* and another knapsack of cloth diapers, and it has been so
simple to do laundry and clean up - it's great.

Anyway - that's me. Happy to be joining this thread and looking forward to the continuing discussion
post #194 of 230
Hi! Can I join in? We are working toward a more simple lifestyle mainly out of sheer necessity. We have had a very rough few years financially & we are now moving from our 3 bedroom, 1100 sq ft home w/ a garage full of junk that we have been in for 10 years into a 2 bedroom, 900 sq foot apartment w/o a garage. I have never been a materialistic person but in the process of this all this I am realizing how much junk you can accumulate overtime without even realizing it. I am actually really enjoying getting rid of a lot of things. It feels very freeing. I really look forward now to living much more minimally.

I saw our new apartment for the 1st time yesterday so I have been obsessing about exactly what will go where & how to get it to fit or what else just really isn't necessary. I hope I'll get some helpful tips from this thread!
post #195 of 230
durafema:

hi! are you going to the Home Birth Aoteroa Hui Mar 27 and 28 here in Welly? I can forward you the info if you don't have it, but you have to decide by tomorrow (the 21!) if you are able to make it. I plan on going for Saturday (the workshop days), but not sunday (their business/planning meeting) days.

I find that having a small space really inspires me to minimalism! But, here is my current hang-up.

I knew when i bore my son, that i would be leaving the house, so i didn't form an attachment to "i gave birth here." i did make a mark on our mattress pad, and thought to bring that with me--becuase i found i was attached to it! unfortunately, it didn't fit, and do not want to ask my friends (to whom i gave the mattress and bedding) to send it to me.

i was talking with a maori artist who makes traditional placenta bowls about how i feel that i don't really have a "token" of his birth and how special it was to me. she recommended ritualizing around an object to infuse it with the birth memory. i am attracted to her bowls too.

so, i am wanting one. but i am asking myself why.

i think part of it is that my little guy is getting older (ok 18 months), and i didn't do a lot of things that i'd wanted to like recording his hand/footprints at that age, or doing a placenta print, or even having a nice family portrait done (or even portraits of him). i have some little bitty clothes saved, and a few decent photos of him, but that's really it. most of my stuff is from when he is older and we felt more comfortable/grounded and able to record him a bit.

with this, i'm not sure if i will have other children. one, we don't know if we want more; and two, even so, i may not birth again (we may adopt). i don't think it would be the end of the world if i do birth again, but i'm not sure i want to do it, you know?

so i think that, emotionally, i'm working through this sort of loss of that time, the ending of that time, and the reality that that time will never come again, and all i have is what is in my head. well, i did write out a lot of things too, but i don't go back and read journals all that often.

i question whether i need an object as a touchstone for that time in my life, you know?

and a maori placenta bowl would really just be pretty cool. LOL

but anyway, that's my minimalist moment for the week. Can i live here and be happy without a placenta bowl?

post #196 of 230
I am so happy to find this thread because over the last few months of discovering more about waldorf education and montessori education, it triggered something deep inside of me.

Looking around at our large amount of plastic toys covering a large amount of our living room, I realized how much I hated them. I realized how much I hated, not just the plastic lie that was sold to me with my lack of education, but how much I hated the clutter and the ridiculous amount of stuff we have!

I started giving things away, and not just toys, at Goodwill and at swap parties or to friends. I have done a huge dent from what we had, but I still feel this deep need to get rid of more. I plan on selling the remainder of what I feel is adequate on craigslist. I am really trying to focus on having good quality wooden toys and open ended toys, instead of having similar toys that pretty much do the same thing.

I feel a huge release when I get rid of the stuff but also kind of sad for some reason. I'm really not sure why that is though. Maybe I am questioning who I am as a person or if I am doing the right thing, but I think I am. It already seems more peaceful in my home and I feel like my kids will actually play with what they have because they can finally see the toys.
post #197 of 230
An update to our farmhouse situation - Dh and I have totally ruled out an addition to the house. We are going to find out about either raising the roof to accomodate a bathroom for the kids (and a little more room for them) or maybe just a wide dormer to accomodate the bathroom. I was thinking I wanted the full second floor until I realized I really love the feel of a 1 1/2 story home.

We are thinking of moving the kitchen in to the current living/dining room on the main floor. That room runs the entire length of the house (like 31ft?) and it would make much more sense to have a kitchen on one end, living room on the other and dining room in the center. Then we could have a set of cabinets to help divide the kitchen space from the rest of the room with cabinets facing the dining area to store the homeschool stuff. I'd be able to work in the kitchen while the kids are doing school at the table or talk to dh while he's on the sofa.

We are thinking the old kitchen could be our mudroom/laundry room. There would be room to store my craft supplies and for a nice size pantry. It seems to make sense to have that room connected to the back door and right next to the bathroom on the main floor. I'm already thinking of everything we'd use it for and how to lay it out.

Since figuring out how to rearrange the main floor the floorplan just seems to make so much more sense. I've been reading the Not So big house books and really thinking out each room. I like how in the books (can't remember which one, I'm reading 3 at once ) it talks about thinking about each and every task you might do in a room, For example, to think about laying out things like a place for the mail, etc. I think super organized IKEA cabinets may be my friend when it comes to the kitchen and mud/laundry room!
post #198 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post
Of course, I'm trying to talk dh into living in a yurt out there . Sooner or later everyone on MDC becomes infatuated with the idea of yurt living, I think....
Oh yes. I was totally obsessed with the idea a few years ago. 2 more baby boys later, it no longer sounds like a great plan
post #199 of 230
i think taht sounds cool, CD. and, it will be a much less expensive renovation if you do it that way. i love the NSB house books a great deal. they do help you think about space, and how simplicity and organization can work together to create really beautiful, multi-purpose spaces.

cleaned the whole home today in an hour. i love a small place (1 br apt).
post #200 of 230
Zoe, I think you're trying to use things to hold onto your son's infancy. I understand having an emotional connection with stuff, but I think that you need to let go, move on and live in the moment more. Isn't the child himself the ultimate memento of his birth? Is a dust-gathering tchotchke bought almost two years after the fact really something you need?
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