“I Don’t Even Want to Know”

It’s been a while- many apologies BUT, my absence doesn’t mean I gave up! Quite the opposite. I’ve been slogging through the mud of hiring an architect, searching for, bidding on and purchasing a lot, choosing a builder… requesting a survey and having a site plan drawn…deciding on building materials and finishes…and the ultimate barrier to building my dream home, obtaining a mortgage. That last one has been a B, but I GOT IT!

Construction on Tiny Sparkle is about to begin. Here’s the quick version: TS will be a 12x 24 foot  “stick built” HOME on a raised slab foundation. Interior will be drywall, amenities include a full bathroom with shower, sink and traditional flush toilet, kitchen with full size refrigerator and stove/ oven. The water heater will be tankless (natural gas) and HVAC will be a mini split. The house will be connected to city electric, water, sewer, and natural gas.Exterior will be vinyl siding and the roof will be metal. There will be a staircase to the 8x 12 loft, which will have a height of 5′ at the peak. An 8x 12 screened porch, usable most of the year here, will add living space. I’ve chosen counter top, I know what flooring style I’ll use, and have colors (mostly) decided on.

Besides working out details of the build, I continue to evaluate, purge, downsize and decrease my carbon footprint- especially regarding what I toss and what I can Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. I have become fascinated with the Zero Waste movement and I know I can do better! Today’s title is a quote from my kid, upon walking in on my assessment of the amount of trash that I personally produced in one week’s time. There won’t be a 13 gallon trash can in my house. How WILL I handle “tossables”? Can I get them down to one Mason jar full a year? IDK. Let’s say I promise to work on this. A lot. SO, this is how much trash I accumulated in 7 days. Sorry it took 2 pictures. Whatevs. Pictures do NOT include 3 to 4 plastic grocery bags a day used to dispose of dog and cat waste (thrown away in the Big Green Monster, to be hauled to a landfill and turned into petrified poop for ever and ever amen UGHHH) or toilet tissue used because ew. OK.

img_2465
The other half…

Here are my take- aways from Week One of My Tiny Steps to Zero Waste:

It’s harder to refuse than you might think. I now carry this super fun kit whenever I dine out so that I don’t have to use plastic utensils or straws, or styrofoam take out containers.img_2440 But- I haven’t figured out how to use real utensils in restaurants that come wrapped in a paper napkin and a little paper band around all of that. Uhhh… And how do you refuse the million stupid political candidate cards that show up in my PO box along with grocery ads and catalogs? I can unsubscribe (maybe) but might have to recycle for now. How do you refuse receipts at stores? (Did you know that receipt paper is coated with BPA?) Every time I get a prescription filled, it comes in a bag with LOTS of info printed out- I need to ask if I can just get the bottle. Perhaps those can be used somewhere. The stickers on prescription bottle though…

Reducing is a little easier. I already switched from paper towels to un- paper towels and gave up plastic wrap for reusable beeswax wraps. I use rags to clean up gross things. I made a list of all of the things that I routinely purchase that come in plastic, and am exploring alternatives. Grocery bags were easy- I bring my own bags now, and purchase as much as I can that doesn’t come in plastic already. (MUCH harder than it sounds!! SO much plastic!!) I have found a doggie poo pick up bag that is truly biodegradable and will use those as well as making a tiny doggie “septic tank” for my yard. I won’t buy “single serving” products any more, including small bottles of water. I bought a dispenser to use at work and the 5 gallon refillable bottles. I use my glass water bottle, stainless coffee cup and have my glass to- go coffee cup with me at all times. This part is kind of fun to figure out!

Reusing- let the “ew” begin LOL (I won’t lose sleep, FYI) my first projects are to replace facial tissue with washable handkerchiefs and toilet tissue with Family Cloth. Look it up, lots of benefits- inexpensive options and I won’t need to store multiple rolls of TP! Good thing, because there’s nowhere for that in TS 🙂

Recycle. Already doing but have more work to do. I THINK that where I live, there are only options to recycle types 1 and 2 plastic- and even then, plastic, once made, can’t be UN- made so I would rather not use it to begin with. Plastic ends up as microplastics in the food chain, and we ultimately consume it. Yuk. Many containers cannot be recycled. I need to find out for sure which containers are the lesser of the evils. I’m still perplexed about good products in bad packaging…. I know it is related to maintaining product freshness and condition to market, but it’s hard to buy biodegradable kitty litter or my favorite coffee in non-recyclable plastic bags. Bummer.

Rot- aka composting. Fun and beneficial!! I’ve done this for years but recently attended a (free) class at our local park/ nature center. For my attendance, where I learned about various types of bins and the right way to compost, I received a compost “bin”- a length of fencing that is already set up on my lot and being used as we speak! The week’s contributions were mostly coffee grounds and filters, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

So, at the end of my first ever experimental week of saving trash, this is what was left after recycling newspaper, mixed paper, 1 and 2 plastics, and my one aluminum can.img_2468

My next goal is to review my list of Tossables, and to take my next Tiny Steps by reducing or eliminating one or more items before my next “trash review”!

Have you contemplated your contributions to landfills? Made steps in your own home to tackle the 5 R’s? What has worked (or not) for you?

Sign up to receive upcoming posts from TS. We’re going to document the build- get ready! Thanks for reading~

 

Advertisements

Must.Get.Started.

#oldschool
#oldschool

SO, yes, I’m a slacker!! You thought I had melted…….like the wicked witch LOL

Guess what???? I WENT TO THE TINY HOUSE CONFERENCE!!!! OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!! A national gathering of like minded folks- amazing does not describe this thing!! We got to TOUR Tiny Houses and learn EVERYTHING about them! And, it’s going to be in Portland, Oregon next year so find some frequent flyer miles and come along. I really want to go back…

I am now even MORE motivated (if that’s possible!) to begin the build of my very own Tiny House. May I add that this is not for the faint of heart, as I imagine building any house would be- it is more difficult than I thought to make a PLAN. On wheels or off? Square or rectangle? Lofts or nah? Ladder or stairs? Electric or gas? On grid or off?? You would think I had pondered this enough, and living the Tiny Life this past 2 months has been INVALUABLE, but when it comes down to deciding- I wish I could just throw all my wants into a machine and the perfect design would pop out, finished….

*crickets*

Ok that didn’t work. So this is what I am thinking (TODAY, right this minute. All thoughts subject to change):

I believe that I want a TH on a foundation of some sort, so that it can be 12 feet wide. 24 feet long. That’s 288 sf for the math challenged among us. Still ABLE to be moved, but not able to be towed by me. That’s ok- I don’t plan on being in perpetual motion anyway. 2 lofts, one 4 feet, one 6 feet. The smaller loft for storage, the larger loft for sleeping. Stairs to the larger loft and a ladder (maybe even an aluminum ladder brought in only to access that storage space). I need a decent sized refrigerator, and a cooktop of some sort. I’m Beta testing an induction cooktop now to see if “simmer” is possible. I’ve heard it’s either off or scorch, but I need to determine that for myself. I will use a convection/ toaster oven, so if you want 12 dozen cookies or a turkey dinner ima need an invitation to use your oven 😉 mmmmkay thanks!

My bed will be on the “first floor”, queen size, and will have the closet underneath the bed. I am not planning to be off grid, so sign me up for a flush toilet and a shower. Planning a tankless water heater, but the propane vs. electric decision depends entirely on how I go with the cooktop thing.

I also plan a screened in porch, because in this climate there are about 7 months that we can spend at least some time outdoors. But mosquitos= state bird, so…

Since I am managing storage in my current 285sf quite well, with no planning or built ins, I feel really good about a custom space as far as being able to keep what I wish to have in my house. “Cheating” is what some Tiny Housers call it when you have an external storage building for things that don’t fit. I can see that, possibly- I mean, I don’t plan to keep my bicycle inside my house, or the generator for that matter! That’s a choice I will make later. For now, it’s nuts, bolts, wires, fixtures and graph paper. Lots and lots of graph paper. Yes I know there are apps. I’m old. I’ll use an app when I know what I want for SURE. I hope to have a schematic of some sort by my next post, which I will try to make soon 😀

“So, do you hate it yet?”

Thanks for your concern, but so far I love it here! Sorry for the delay in posts, I’ve had a bit of a bumpy month but none of that had to do with my Tiny House, so yay! One month in, and all is well. Best thing so far is learning to embrace the many facets of minimalism. Worst part? No washer/ dryer. Convenient, reliable affordable laundry options are on the discussion list, although my clothes are clean, so I’m muddling through. With spring weather might come a clothes line and my hand crank washer, so I will be ok! Because of the lack of laundry options, I have resorted to paper towels and disposable doggy pee pads- I’m not used to that, but for now I have to go with them.

I’m excited to show you my kitchen today. The small refrigerator learning curve has been great. Cooking for one is easy; cooking ahead and packaging several meals for eating during the week would be grand except I can’t store the prepared food in my available refrigerator space. I had the great idea to buy 8 yogurts when my fave was on sale and I almost had to eat a couple that night… but I got them all in there! Meal prep and planning is a work in progress. I was also concerned about the no- oven thing, but my toaster oven is very nice and bakes evenly and consistently. I invested in a set of baking pans sized for a toaster oven, and I’m breaking them in this weekend on some meatballs. I have also made a king sized batch of chicken salad and used my pressure cooker/ slow cooker for a couple of other nice large scale prep efforts. I could comfortably entertain at least 4 adults for dinner inside. I did measure the interior dimensions of my house; it’s 15x 19. Feet. 285 square feet total. IMG_1641

 

So without further adieu, here’s the video “tour” of my tiny kitchen!

Other kitchen pics in Photos!!

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. -Albert Einstein

So things are surely changing in my world, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Tippy and Heidi are nervous about all of the packing. They know something’s up. I’m planning three more sleeps in my “big” house, and then it’s Tiny or bust. I can’t believe I found a TH to rent while I am building. This image isn’t a Google generic; it’s my for real new house. Yes, it has heat/air/electricity and running water. Yes, shower and flush toilet. I’ll post interior pictures once I move in. It’s a little too “not me” right now- needs some cozying up! You can’t see the amazing little back porch with a perfect view of the woods. I can’t wait to have my coffee there.IMG_1376

I have yet to measure it, but I’m sure you can see it is definitely Tiny. Surprisingly, parting with “things” has been much easier than anticipated. My new goals include reducing my footprint in any way that I can. New kitty litter. Less toilet paper and Kleenex. Making some cloth bags to take to the grocery store to use for produce instead of those plastic bags. Throwing less things away at home- by purchasing less “packaging,” composting more and reusing everything I can. I should be able to rework my budget and adjust some things to better suit achieving financial goals (don’t we all have THOSE… the lottery thing didn’t work so well for me!)

I gave away my 13 gallon kitchen trash can. Sold my washing machine. Gave my dryer to my daughter. Gave my bed to another daughter. Dressers, recliner, couch, tv, end tables, coffee table, piano, rugs. Returned the lawnmower I had borrowed- as you can see, I won’t need that! Gone. IT FEELS AMAZING! My “keeps” include my best cookware, my sewing machine, a dog bed big enough for my pack, and some cute little glass topped nesting tiny tables.

I’m hoping to be able to move almost everything by myself. My generous neighbor is letting me borrow her pickup to take things where they need to go, and my Fiat (oh yes, I have a Tiny Car, too!) will likely have to make a few trips.

Change. I’m not nearly as opposed, afraid, or resistant as I used to be. Change is an adventure to me. It is a constant. Often, I can change what I don’t like. If that’s not possible, I can change the way I react and adapt. So here goes! Pictures of the move and the new place coming soon. Pray the massive snow and ice doesn’t get this far south and east.

“I’m going to live in the woods!!”

Fess up. You’ve said it. In a moment of frustration with everyday nonsense, you have blurted out something to the effect of, “I’m getting rid of everything I own and I’m moving to a cabin in the woods where no one can BUG me!!” Kind of like going Tiny, huh. But could you, really? Can I??

I am finding my responses to the honest queries of friends, family and total strangers. “Why would ANYONE want to give up their things?” “Won’t you be cramped?” “What if you NEED something?” “I could never do that.” “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.” “You’ve lost your mind.” “I’ve always wanted to do that!” “HOW many square feet?!?!?” “Are you going to have a toilet?” (Haha! YES!!)

I didn’t just start thinking of Tiny living this year or last. I remember as a small child, seeing little places and thinking how cool it would be to have that space as my entire living area. I guess I brushed it off as kid stuff- like who didn’t want a cool fort or playhouse when they were young? It never went away though. That feeling that I could do with less, or as I accumulated extra dishes, clothes, books, furniture, kitchen items and the rest, wondering when I would ever USE it all. So, I did what I thought everyone did. Boxed it up, kept the reasonably useful things out, and filled up my house. Now, as I have pared down to what I will keep, it’s more like everything that I call mine has a meaning, a history, or a purpose. I haven’t “given up” anything.

Eleven months ago, in preparation to living Tiny, I started the purge of my house. For the past 6 months, I have not used my living room (200 square feet), the foyer outside my bathroom (80 square feet), the front bedroom (110 square feet), the dining room (120 square feet, except to sit at a tiny table and drink my morning coffee), the third bedroom (110 square feet, except to sit at my desk and sew). I used the bathroom, which is quite big for my vintage cottage, my kitchen, which is typically small c 1948, and my bedroom which is dwarfed by my king sized bed. So. Of the 1,200 square feet available for me, I have been living in 580 of them. I think I got this. We shall see!

Scared I will need something I gave up? Ummm…it’s the USA. I can hit up WalMart and get a replacement flashlight. Or a new lamp. At 3 a.m. I promise, the things I have eliminated are things I have not used in a month of Sundays. I’m not even concerned.

You couldn’t do this? Good news- you don’t have to! My typically polite answer runs more like “Oh Tiny Living isn’t for everyone, but I’m at a place in my life where I think it’s perfect for me!” My circus, my monkeys. Bless your heart.

It’s the dumbest thing you ever heard? My dear Dad. He’s furious. Turned purple while he was yelling at me for building a “Midget House.” He’s 88. He doesn’t do computers or keep up with housing trends. I’m sorry you think it’s (I’M) dumb. I can’t spend time explaining and justifying- I don’t have to, I don’t need to. Love you, Dad.

Perhaps, yes, I’ve lost my mind. I believe that may not be related to going Tiny, however. I’m old, and I give credit especially to Emily, Katie and Mary for propelling me along the path to crazy. I think I am doing satisfactorily, though and thank you for your concern!

You’ve always wanted to do that? I recommend then that you do. Whatever it is. Life won’t wait for you. Make a plan, break it down into steps, and get to work. I’m reading about Goal Setting and I am diligently using a planner this year. I am sharing as I go Tiny so that if that’s your dream as well, maybe you won’t have to reinvent the wheel as you go!

Square feet? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 315, give or take. I have not seen the title to “my” trailer yet. My plans tentatively include a kitchen, living room, sewing room, closet and bathroom. With a flush toilet. There are two lofts, one with my bed and one for the grandbabies- because sleepovers at Mammaw’s are where it’s AT! I think it will be plenty. Do I know for sure? No. I’ve never lived Tiny before. There are SO many options when building though! I have made a list of my “must haves” and my “I don’t need” items, and I’m going to live in the woods. With everything I need and want. Yep. Y’all come see me!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! What IS it?

Per my parents, it’s the worst idea EVER- but that’s another post…

The Tiny House movement is new enough (especially in eastern North Carolina) that opinions abound, rumors prevail, and the left hand has no clue the right even exists. Building, insuring, financing, licensing, inspecting and planting a TH on a piece of dirt has more twists than an SCCA road course. Sheesh!!!

“It’s an RV.” A prevailing opinion, because it is small and on wheels, it’s prefab (which only means that is was built at a location other than where it finally lands), and therefore should be licensed as an RV. Taxes would be paid accordingly. The big OH NO here is that the landowner may be required by local zoning to have their lot designated as an RV Park. Who knew, unless you do this, that you’re not supposed to live in an RV for 12 months of the year. They are sold as “part time” housing, and even if you build an RV yourself, it still isn’t considered permanent housing. And from a reputable source, it will cost $1,200- ish to have your very own personal one-family RV park.

No, wait- it’s a mobile home! Because it’s small and on wheels. Note the potential for confusion here. It’s prefab. Unless it is built by a certified builder of mobile homes (where inspections are conducted at the manufacturing facility), you are required to have inspections performed during construction by a HUD approved inspector. (I’m still looking for one of those, btw, so hook a sista up if you know one!) My insurance agent doesn’t even know how to insure my new house, but he assures me he will come up with the answer before I need all that. Because, guess what, he doesn’t know what to call it…Okey dokey then!

So if it’s a mobile home, I can get a mobile home loan, right?. Uhh no. But thanks for asking. But it’s a house, so I can get a mortgage loan, right? Ha. No. I can’t. It’s on wheels so it’s not a “real” house. OK but if it’s an RV, then I can get a recreational vehicle loan, right? Ahhh. You so funny. NO. Getting frustrated here. There are cars that cost more than my house will, for Pete’s sake. What would my option be, then? How about an unsecured personal loan at 10.75% Not.even.kidding. For my HOUSE. Clearly we need some new rules here for this brand new “thing.”

So pretend for a minute that I get it (legally) built. No, really. Pretend. I want to place it on a lot, in a county not far away. Per Mister I-Wear-The-Pants-Here, I need 38479384539485 permits. Well maybe not ACTUALLY that many. Mechanical, electric, plumbing, building and zoning that I can remember. AND a copy of my engineered plans for the house. Did I mention that for a house not on wheels (aka a “real” house), one needs plans from an architect/ draftsperson. Toss in the wheels, and you have to add on “must be checked off by a civil engineer.” Huh. *sigh* Then, IF it is in fact a mobile home, there’s this little requirement that it be at least 40 feet long and 900 square feet. Uh oh. So now I have to ask the county zoning administrator to approve my HOUSE as an “unlisted use substantially similar to manufactured homes” and ask him to “allow it in the same zoning districts and pursuant to the same conditions as a manufactured home.” Ima need my diploma to prove I have my JD after this… OH and one more thing. I will need to get “a variance from the condition that it be at least 900 sf.”

I’m plowing through this list of must do’s like a crazy mom at Target on Black Friday. I’m GETTING that toy. one.step.at.a.time. And wine. Because this is complicated!

 

 

 

ring out the old

IMG_1433Timeline

I don’t know how to blog. Let’s just get that out of the way! My house looks like an episode of Hoarders, I need to be out of my current abode in 33 days, and I am determined to chronicle my journey to Tiny living! I really did do better than one lonely Charlie Brown christmas ornament on curly willow branches, but not by much. From the street, my house looks downright cottage-y. I think. Inside, I have been purging and packing for the last 10 months. I have dreamed of Tiny Living since I was a child- I just didn’t know it could actually be done until recently.

Cue a husband, 3 children, a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house with a full basement. 2,400 square feet. Kids grow up, I am single again. Downsize… cue 1,200 square feet, 3 bedroom one bath. I don’t use the living room, the dining room, the front bedroom, or the foyer outside the bedrooms. I sleep in one bedroom, I sew in the other, I shower and I cook. Tiny living makes sense in so many ways for me!

My house will be sold (if all goes as planned!) by the end of January. Everything that I don’t want will be donated or rehomed with my children. I hope to be in temporary housing by mid-January. I will meet with my builder soon to discuss the construction timeline. It.Is.Happening.