Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Saturday, January 14th, 2012:

The first few weeks have been a BLAST!

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Friday, December 30th, 2011:

Time to give this thing a try…

A year and a half of learning, community, and dreaming. An investment in sweat, splinters and smashed fingers. A life time of possessions down-sized. A life-time partnership strengthened. An education. A HOME.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011:

We opted to utilize a bench seat at the desk/table that would both serve as a place to sit as well as a storage bin.

How many times do we have ‘things’ in our hands when we walk into our homes? And how many times do these things just get dumped on the nearest flat surface until we know what to do with them?

That’s how clutter happens, and when space is so limited clutter must be minimized at all costs. The storage bin will serve as our staging area for the random things coming into our lives as we determine what to keep and what to send along its way…

We are grateful to have such skilled and talented friends! Many thanks to Bugs Reaka for building our hand-made bench!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011:

In the spirit of going small and becoming more intentional regarding the amounts of space and resources we consume, we installed a Bricor Ultra Max .55 gallon per minute ultra low-flow shower head. This specialty piece was pricey, for sure, but something that we really wanted to include in our home.

While we will be able to be very conservative in our water consumption, we are not entirely motivated by altruism- our water heater only holds 7 gallons of water…

Many, many heart-felt thanks to Danno Frierdich and Kyle Klues. They showed up on day one of this project, and it was so very fitting that they wrapped up the very last day with us… Not to mention the countless days they’ve driven over 3 hours each way to help out throughout. You guys made this dream possible for us!

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011:

Installed a few more custom-built shelves (1X8 pine and 3/4″ dry wall screws) to maximize available space.

We also were presented with a hand-made pine ladder built by a very skilled craftsman and Camp Ondessonk’s Executive Director, Dan King.

Finished all pieces with Tung Oil.

Thanks Dan! Your contribution to our home means the world to us…

Monday, December 26th, 2011:

One of the things that drew us to this project was a desire to simplify our lives through paring down our belongings. While liberating, we knew that this would be one of the biggest challenges of the entire tiny house experience. With construction complete, we took a deep breath, squared our shoulders -revisited The Story of Stuff a couple of times- and dug in.

We had a basic plan of attack -categorize our stuff into four areas: Stuff to be Gifted; Stuff to be Donated; Stuff to be Stored-long-term-for-future-use; and Stuff to Join Us in the Tiny House. While simple, the plan turned out to be every bit as hard as anticipated.

We’ve been gifting many belongings throughout the past year, which has been enjoyable. Deciding what belongings to take with us in the Tiny House has been exciting as well. The hard part turned out to be deciding what things we’d choose to keep in the limited long-term storage space offered by Gabby’s Mom and what we’d donate to the local Goodwill store.

The desire to hold on to “keepsakes” can be overwhelmingly strong, but what do things really mean to us, anyway? Attaching a memory or an emotion to an item is likely fairly common to most. For us, this resulted in box upon box of things competing for a pardon as we lined them of for the chop.

While often difficult, the experience was a great exercise in examining each belonging with a deliberate and critical eye. Utilitarianism became our marching orders, and when some thing tugged at our heart-strings it was set aside to be reconsidered at another time. Some items needed to go through the ‘set aside and reexamine’ process several times before we were able to come to terms with its keeping or giving up. The secret weapon ended up being the ability to truly give ourselves permission to look at our things with intentionality.

Though this was an exhausting process, we have come out the other end with a tiny house containing just the things we need to live and thrive as well as a few storage shelves holding the items that have true family, utilitarian, and sentimental value.

Several truck loads of other items that were really just consuming space in our lives were either given away to friends and family or donated to the Goodwill. While some folks have suggested that we are misguided and have expressed concern about us parting with so much of what we’ve worked to accumulate over the years, the process has been incredibly liberating. We are able to enter this next chapter more lean and light hearted…

Saturday, November 19th, 2011:

After catching an hour or two here and there to knock out those many “we’ll get to that” projects, we are ready to attempt the first Tiny House road test.

In the early planning stages, we made the decision use a car-hauler type trailer as opposed to the standard utility trailer suggested by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company plans. Knowing that the trailer is serving as the foundation of our home, we were interested in something more substantial and robust: the car-hauler offered heavier channel iron framing as well as a larger weight capacity.

While the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company estimates the dry-weight for a Tarleton at around 5,000 – 6,000lbs, we knew that our tiny house would likely exceed these numbers given the heavier alternative/natural materials utilized. (for example, we chose to forgo the lighter weight foam insulation and used heavier sheep’s wool; utilized metal electrical gang boxes in lieu of plastic; copper water lines instead of PVC; etc.)

Following the example set by Jay Shafer when moving his Tumbleweed Tiny House, we rented a One-Ton UHaul moving truck to take our tiny house about 20 miles down the road to weigh it at the local Southern FS. Last minute road-readying tasks: attach red reflectors on the back and rear quarters of the house, amber reflectors on the front quarters of the house and put on the RV license plate.

Words cannot describe the intense emotions experienced as the tiny house began rolling down the road for the first time. We were way too nervous for elation. Perhaps that day will come. In the mean time, every bump conjured images of the project we’ve spent the past year and a half constructing with our friends and loved ones disintegrating into a pile of splinters and wool. Nerves on high alert, knuckles shades of white on the UHaul steering wheel, we pulled the tiny house down the road and eventually (forget anything over 45 mph on any kind of up hill -55 mph max on flat, open road) pulled up onto the scales.

Grand Total dry weight: 7,800lbs.

Heavy, but well under the 10,000lb rating of the car-hauler trailer. We’ll take it.

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