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Thread: Radical Downsizing & Happiness

  1. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I'm decluttering again this weekend. Gotta find another piece of immigration paperwork. I had it all together, but I think it got shifted in the one trunk. Always a good time to declutter.

  2. #22
    Sounds like you are right on track, RCWRTR, and the walk-in closets you mention make me sooo jealous! As does the loft. One of my longtime dreams has always been to have a loft (with large expansive windows) where I could set-up a sewing/sitting room. A couple of bookcases along with some comfy lounge-type seating, and I'd be set! Always so much fun hearing from those (like yourself) who are making moves.

  3. #23
    Senior Member RCWRTR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    One of my favorite things about our new place is the French doors w/ transoms, high ceilings and lots of windows. The bedrooms and bathrooms are defined spaces, but the remainder of the loft is open-concept. Books always figure prominently in my homes.

  4. #24
    Senior Member ctg492's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    6 years ago we made the decision to downsize home, cars, life, hubby quit work and we moved to our vacation home up north. It was exactly one year of planning, organizing, lists, lists and more lists. It was a possible mid life crisis for hubby??? A total change of life to say the least. It did not work for us at that given time in life. A wonderful place to vacation, ended up being not a great place to live. We referred to it as watching the river flow by days. SO many things took a place in the reason this event did not work for us. We actually over budgeted/planned to far out into the future and I personally think that was the killer of the plan. We learned a great deal from the event and overall glad we tried it. It was kinda like a diet when you restrict yourself of the foods you love, you turn around and eat more! Three months into the life changing event my hubby said he was Rotting in paradise. He hopped a plane to NYC, then to Turkey and got back into the rat race faster then before. We are now at a happy medium and more realistic on what works for us. We occasionally talk about how and where we want to live, but no more 100 % total changes.

  5. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I orginally downsized from a 1400 sf 3/2 house in SoCal to an approx. 800 sf 2/2 cabin about 100 miles away (and 7,000 ft up) in a 4 season ski/lake/mountain resort town. Cost about 1/4 of what I sold my place for and enabled me to quit work at age 42. Like ctg492, the area - while a great beautiful vacation spot and a very sports active community (something I need wherever I live) - ended up not being a great place to live permanently for a variety of reason - mostly too small of a town and too difficult to get anywhere because of mountain roads, snow, etc... So I have since downsized to nothing - a rental part of the year and travel the other part. Will buy another place eventually "somewhere" but it will be most likely a very small condo or house. Would love to rent all my life but may not be the wisest thing financially in the long run.
    Last edited by Spartana; 2-24-12 at 4:04pm.

  6. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    we just did another declutter!

    it's really important to do this on a regular basis, because MY GOD stuff just sneaks in. So, we are doing well overall.

    I think that my next plan is to start moving toward a 'zero waste' home.

    Right now, most of our 'trash' is recycling. Then, about every 3rd or 4th week, we put out our trash, which is pretty much 100% compostable stuff. So, we want to get compost going.

    I'm going to have a two-part composting process. First, we'll have a bokashi bin for meat, bones, etc. We will likely need 1-2 bins, because they do have to ferment a bit once one is full (about a month from what I can gather) before putting those materials in the normal compost.

    Then, we're going to have an aerating compost bin (which is designed for our sort of urban setting) for the remainder of our kitchen waste. The bin is expensive, but apparently the city is trying to support more composting, and we can get a coupon! So, I applied for that and we are saving up for the bin.

    FRom there, our recycling bin really only goes out once a month (it's one of those big trash-can ones), because we actually do not create that much waste.

    Our recycling will further reduce by using paper as part of our dry material for the compost bin. I have been reading up on basically tearing up paper, cardboard egg cartons, and card board boxes to use as dry, carbon material (like grass clippings) to facilitate the process. This is great!

    We have a lot of glass bottles right now -- many of which will be recycled -- but many more will be reused. I'm looking to reduce the amount of plastic in the home -- and so we'll be using these green glass olive oil bottles for our shampoo, dish soap, and laundry soap going forward. I will be keeping the very large laundry soap container (washed out) as a carrying can to get water from the local spring, and then transition it over to glass bottles that fit well into our fridge door.

    Here are some bathroom disposables that we need to find/figure out: 1. compostable floss; 2. compostable tooth brushes; 3. compostable ear buds; 4. tooth powder; 5. deodorant without packaging (deoderant stones are out, he doesn't care for them. powders apparently aren't his favorite, and I can't figure it out. . .).

    In the kitchen, we do really well overall. Our primary kitchen waste is the packaging from the fish that we purchase. As fas as we can tell, it's not recyclable. So that would be two "bags" a week. Actually, our trash-trash consists of two fish bags a week plus some cotton ear buds and floss. When our toothbrushes die, those also go in the trash -- which is why I want to move to the compostable ones. But not much else is not recycled or compostable (most of our trash is compostable).

    Not sure what to do about those fish bags.

    In our living room and bedroom, no trash coming from there -- so that's good stuff. We do have "office paper" that is being recycled regularly through that for notes, and then recycled in the recycling bin now, but hopefully into the compost once we get that online.

    ah, and pens. what to do about pens?

    I think that, overall, we are doing quite well -- and we are happy with this process. DH and I once again debated paying for a parking space vs busing in most days (save 1-2), and ultimately decided that bussing is still more cost effective. Once DS is in school (slightly out of town -- about a 40 minute drive from the house), then we'll likely get one because it will likely be thus: drive me into town, I get out of the car with a good 20 minute walk left to go; DH drives DS into school, drives back into town and parks; we work, and we go and pick up the kid together, and head home.

    This makes much more sense than using the bus and the car, and will save money THEN, but wouldn't save money NOW. And, DH is thinking that we might carpool 1-2 kids from our area as well -- which might bring in some $ to offset gas and also, since we're doing it anyway, make it more eco-friendly for fellow families who send their kids to school there.

    Anyway, looks like we are doing very well overall, and I'm excited about the prospect of developing more zero-waste or really, reducing waste, practices. . . and continuing to "live small."

  7. #27
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Zoebird, I have tried the Bokashi buckets and found them a real pain for a couple of reasons. We gave up after one bucket and then its replacement both quit within 6 weeks. The problem was the little tap which you have to use a lot just kept busting - they seem to be made of inferior material. Plus, it was not without smell, even using it as the instructions laid out.

    We actually found it much simpler to use either a worm farm (for things that could go in) or to dig a hole and bury things (like meat/bones) that couldn't go in to the worm farm. Much cleaner and broke down quicker. Also, to use the Bokashi buckets, you have to buy the mixture to help it break down - definitely not a cheap way to go and we found the earth delt with it all much quicker, cleaner and cheaper.

    Good luck with setting up the systems - I'm still trying to get ours to all fit together!

  8. #28
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    we have no place where we can bury it, or I would. Our entire yard would be dug up and buried with a week's worth of meat. So, that isn't feasible for us.

    the bokashi bins here don't have taps. they have a bucket inside a bucket, and the inside bucket has holes and works like a strainer. Then you drain off the bokashi liquor into another container.

    it's not a perfect system because you are dependent on the starter, but it's at least an option for those of us who don't have a lot of yard in which to bury the bones.

  9. #29
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I'm trying to downsize from what most people would already consider a pretty downsized life: I live in a studio apartment (about 450 sq. ft.) and the furniture I own would easily fit into a van. This week I sorted through my remaining books and will be giving them to friends or to the library book sale. I rarely buy books unless I can't get them from the library, but during the past few years I've accumulated a few dozen in spite of myself. Now that I've read them all (in some cases more than once), it's time to set them free in the wild. In future I hope to confine myself to having no more than 10 or 12 at a time.

    My ultimate goal is what I call "duffel bag living" (after a remark someone once made to me that he was happiest when he was in the army and all his worldly possessions fit into a duffel bag). I suppose this is my version of the "100 thing challenge," although I don't believe in setting numbers on such things -- for some, the 100 thing challenge might involve owning 250 things; in my case it might end up being less. We'll see.

  10. #30
    Helper Gregg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Macondo (or is that my condo?)
    We are in the process of building a house and are living in a rented townhouse of about 1150 sq.ft. right now, which is about 20% of our old house. Most of our stuff is in storage, but we are seriously negotiating with each other regarding how much we want to take out and how much we want to just give away. The 1150 sq.ft. is plenty of space. The only difficulty is that we don't have any real spot for teen DD to go with her friends to just hang out. The living room is the only social/public space. She will be off to college in 2 years so not really worried about it long term, it would just be nice for now. The interesting part for us right now is that the house we are building all of a sudden feels huge after seeing how easy it is to live in the townhouse. The new house is on a prime lot in a very desirable neighborhood so we've had several calls out of the blue asking if we would be interested in selling. We're thinking we might be. Life is a moving target!

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