Living In a Cocoon

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf
In the above slide show, you see some general refining of the living space I’ve been slowing moving into. The concept here is to eventually get everything I need to live a fully independent life inside a very tiny space. Then, I should be able to start moving from the house into a space that will be more mobile.
So far, what I’ve found is that I actually enjoy being in this smaller, more confined space. Not saying I’d like to go to live in a prison cell or anything, but just existing inside the smaller confines is rather comforting. For me, anyway. When my Mother checks out the progress I’ve been making she just shakes her head and starts complaining about how claustrophobic she gets. I tell her she doesn’t have to live in the tiny house when I get it done 😉
The other interesting aspect I’ve discovered over the past few weeks, is how important natural light is to the living space. I’d like to have more plants around the room, but the limited light doesn’t seem to make that advisable.
Also, as it’s getting cooler here in Northern Arizona, the ambient temperatures in the space are lovely. It is getting rather chilly at night, and I love to be able to sleep with the window open, so that’s totally groovy. But the heat which is generated by the electronics is definitely something to be considered in the warmer months.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to warm the interior of the space all winter long just by the heat output from the computer, HDTV and other devices. Of course, I won’t have the satellite receiver or the Internet modem, both of which contribute to the warmth. Also not sure if a ceiling fan is advisable when I start building, but we’ll see.
I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not building a tiny house is actually the wisest path to take. There are many options when it comes to choosing a smaller footprint to live a minimalist lifestyle in. Sure there is inherent talking points to building a house on a mobile trailer, but does that make the most sense?
In my next post, I’m going to look at listing out some of the various options I might consider and then start researching the pros & cons of each. For all I know, I might end up riding a bicycle around and pitching a tent wherever I intend to travel.
Who the heck knows! See you all soon.

Shrinking the Bedroom Down To 108 Square Feet

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf
Just 10 shots or so of how the bedroom now looks after I’ve taped it off to right at 8 feet wide and about 13.5 feet long. Obviously the finished house will depend upon the size of the trailer I eventually get to build the small structure upon. For illustrative purposes, however, this should provide a nice visual on making progress with de-cluttering and minimizing my life.
I was struck by just how much space I actually had once I moved furniture into the taped off space. Mom was even less concerned about the fact I had so little in my room after the de-cluttering. She’s beginning to get it.
And that makes me think that if you stick to your guns, believe what your after and just keep doing it, those closest to you might eventually come around. We’ll see!
The other thing that struck me was how much space a bed uses. By most accounts, the small houses I’ve seen blueprints for or videos about all tend to have the sleeping quarters up in the loft area. Of course this makes sense because there’s no need for an attic/storage area since I’ll have nothing of excess to store. Right? 😉
Some of the design ideas that have started to flow about what I’m calling Tiny Enterprise (how could I not?!) will have my sleeping area in that loft with a skylight that opens up wide to allow access to Nature’s breezy cooling system. I’ll also have plenty of solar cells up there somewhere as well.
Can’t wait to start working on the drawings of this thing. Have you designed or built a small house? If so, did you create the plans yourself, or simply rely upon some of those available online? Share your experience and any advice you might have as I begin this journey.
And Thanks!!

My Minimalistic Moves From Consumerism To Living in 72 Sq Ft

My friend Joseph and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago about my plans for this site. For my life. This is a conversation we have. Often. Either of us can be the center of focus. Since he’s been working a full time gig for the man for quite a few months now, the spot light has tended to focus on me of late. Where I am. Where I’m going. What I want to be doing.
As often happens one or the other of us will email or tag stories in our RSS feed readers which we believe might be of interest. Within the history of our friendship, we have had some interesting adventures, learned a lot, and discovered deep and lasting friendship. One thing we both know about each other is our propensity for analysis paralysis. During that chat I mentioned I was going to think about shifting the focus of this site from being a pure food blog to something that might include local food production, travel, general sustainability and the like.
We chatted for a while and tossed some ideas around. If memory serves, I probably followed up with a message about what I was going to work on next in order to get ready to start thinking about what I was going to need to do. See where I’m going?
Analyzing the death out of my life. ARGH!
Well a day or two goes by and I get a notification of a story by Leo Babauta author of the Zen Habits blog. This first post was about having no goals, plans and subsequent need to analyze the hell out of everything. Well, I can only say that after reading (and subscribing to Leo’s feed) I was a convert. Not only to the option of relinquishing the need to know every possible outcome for every possible option, but just relaxing. And breathing.
The more I read on Zen Habits, the more fulfilled I found myself (at least as it related to letting go of the stress associated with making things happen.) Then, I got sucked into the vortex that is Minimalism. I even spent a whopping $9.95 on Leo’s book, “The Simple Guide To a Minimalist Life“.
He calls it minimalism. I call it freedom. In fact, I’ve been thinking about “getting free” for the past few years. For me, this meant reducing things I really only had in my life because I thought I wanted them in my life. It also meant getting control of my time and money. Sadly, the only reality I’ve ever been able to associate with these thought processes has been that I might figure out how to succeed and get free “some day”.
After reading The Simple Guide To a Minimalist Life, and spending this past weekend de-cluttering, I have to share just how amazing it feels. First, I was able to bag up about 80% of my clothes, shoes, and various other tidbits in my bedroom. I’m planning on donating those items to one or two of the local thrift shops that do great works for charity.
I have a ton of read books (mostly read, anyway!) that I’ll be posting up on Amazon Resellers in an attempt to recoup even a small amount of money. Additionally, I have a number of computer hardware, software, related cables, tools, etc. that I’ve just been hauling around for a while. They are going on eBay or getting donated as well.
And my 10,000 or so comic books that I stopped actively collecting several years ago (mostly due to finances, but a good amount of apathy as well) are going to start getting listed also. In fact, I’ll first try and sell some of my belongings on the new local site Classifieds.InVerdeValley.com. If I’m able to sell there first, then more profit. If the free classified site doesn’t bring any interested buyers, I’ll try posting on eBay. Worse case scenario, off to the thrift store.
As Synchronicity would have it, today I came across the small house movement. Looking into my bedroom now, realizing I’m only using about 25% of my dresser (its more for holding up my entertainment hardware) And I’ve contracted from 2 normal sized closets to less than a single one (with my hanging clothes spread out on the rack) I have a ton of space. Clean, sparse, uncluttered, beautiful space. Mom was concerned that the next time she visited the room I may have no bed!
Well, the small house movement is definitely quite attractive to me. Below is a video from PBS (thanks to viewers like you! 😉 ) that documents some of the founders of the what they refer to as the tiny house movement. Tiny, small, minimal: however you’d like to refer to it, the idea is alluring. Check it out, it’s less than 9 minutes long. Then leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Can’t wait to get some feedback!
http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.