Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Selective Acclimation- Tiny Habits Carried Forward

Photo Cred: Nat Rea Photography
It has now been about three months since we have lived in the Pod.

I think that's a pretty solid amount of time to adjust back to more conventional ways of living. I have been incredibly curious and observant of the both of us as we have transitioned. I wanted to know what habits and mindsets would stick with us and what would fade away. One thing I spoke about in length at the very beginning of this journey was the true desire to simply have the experience. No matter what came of it, how long it went on, or even if it didn't totally work out, (but it SOOOO did) we wanted to give it a try and live through what followed. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: gathering experience is what makes life grand. We will all grow older, but if we seek experience over stuff, we grow deeper and richer as individuals. 

I have heard so many different people remark, "Well I guess living tiny doesn't work," when they hear of someone selling their tiny house and moving on. We were still living in the Pod when I came across that mentality for the first time. The person was commenting on another couple that was leaving the tiny life behind after about three years. I immediately thought, "What an idiotic, narrow response!" By that logic, we really need to rethink apartment living, because those people relocate as often as every year! I guess apartment living doesn't work! -- Oh she had that hair cut for two years, now she's changed it? Guess having hair doesn't work! Shave it off! ......I think you get my drift.


No version of Jess saw this coming!
This person was turning a gigantic blind eye to...let's call it LIFE in general.  I think back in five year increments and who I was at 25, NEVER EVER would have seen all the experiences and accomplishments that 30 year old me was bringing. The same goes for 20 year old Jess trying to imagine what 25 year old Jess would be. The point is, the "Decisions Made for Life" list is very short- heck! Even tattoos used to be on the list and now, (with enough money and sessions) those decisions can be reversed too. So to say- at any age really- "Yep! This is it! This is where I want to be for the next 50 years, I won't ever feel differently about this! No sir!" - is just plain ridiculous.

I digress. Back to the sociology study- so here is what I have noticed about how we live life now... We are incredibly lucky to be able to stay in a family members' apartment while they winter in Florida. They too, started to recognize the benefits and beauty of minimizing. So we got to transition back to regular spaces with perhaps the most perfect place!

This is big news people! For the first time ever,
Dan's side of the closet is bigger!!


The apartment is maybe 600 square feet with an open concept. They have just enough dishes, towels, chairs, etc for two people. There aren't stacks of books or shelves full of picture frames. We didn't find 34 different bottles of lotions, peels, scrubs and soaps in the bathroom. It seemed almost hotel-like at first, but the space has a very clean and inviting energy. We only moved in our clothes, computers plus gadgets, and some choice pantry items and kitchen tools. We were incredulous when we saw that we had cluttered up certain areas.  We might have lived tiny, but that doesn't automatically make you a minimalist. I found myself overwhelmed with the urge to donate even more things. 

Ready for the podcast! 

Major discovery number one: My involuntary need to get things just to fill a space, has been eradicated. Huzzah! I look at the simple layout of the kitchen slash living area, and feel no urge to put a big vase in that corner and a little statue on a stool over there, and a bowl of ceramic fruits on the coffee table.

Major discovery number two: This one actually came on the heels of the first- my ability to let items go is approaching Jedi Master levels. It was something I really had to work on when we began the journey, and had to keep in constant awareness as we lived in the Pod. But now, suddenly, I am a pro. My theory is that, since my ties to items were often sentimental, and we just let go of our tiny house, our veritable baby -- well....haha, giving away that pair of shoes is nothing now. I have learned that very little of life's material things are really worth the effort it takes to carry them along through all that life will bring...and minimizing is cathartic and energizing. 

Major discovery number three: My obsession with water use has some how intensified. I am painfully aware of every time I use water, but it's also a little magical too. Knowing I didn't have to carry that water into the apartment is pretty awesome. I am so happy that something as simple as running water is now a source of joy. It should be. This enduring appreciation for water, and keen awareness of my usage, is something that took root thanks to our way of life over the last three years. 

Major discovery number four: The friendships and community we have gained through living tiny will always be there. We have a pretty sweet group of friends, all impressive and compelling individuals that we are proud to know, let alone know well. We have continued to participate in cool tiny house stuff. If you missed it, check out the podcast interview we did with Tiny House Podcast! We met Michelle at Deek's tiny house summer camp last fall! (Relaxshacks.com) It's a more candid conversation that sheds light on our backgrounds and the underlying motivations and desires that took us down the tiny path.
We also recently joined in for one of Ethan Waldman's Tiny House Engage sessions focused on building with salvage and re-claimed materials. It's a great group on FB that is committed to sharing quality information on tiny houses.





Chattin' it up with Ethan during a Tiny House Engage
 video conference session.

In my happy, messy place...
Major discovery number five: The size of my cooking messes will always be directly proportionate to the size of the kitchen I use....as in, I will fill it all with mess. Ha! I am truly enjoying having a fully-applianced kitchen once again. I did miss that while we lived tiny, but now, I have a reason to especially enjoy that oven, that large deep sink, all that counter space! And much more so than I did before we had those experiences. 

In short, I believe that those three years of living tiny "worked" fabulously. The fact that it lasted for three years and not eternity certainly doesn't make it a fail in my eyes. Not only did we save a bunch of money and pay down a good amount of debt, I actually started my own business! I went down this path  wanting to be more aware and appreciative of the small things in every day life. I craved the empowerment that comes with building your own home, and wondered what all that new found courage and confidence would spur next in life. Let me tell you, the adventure did not disappoint. We are so proud and grateful to have experienced living tiny. 

Thanks for reading!