With the cost of living on a steep incline, it’s time to rethink what we really need. Our family has decided to take a break from the clutter and want of our suburban lifestyle and downsize to simple experiences and shared moments. Our journey began after a bitter divorce relocated us from a large family home to a three bedroom rental, then to an apartment. We’ve spent three years downsizing our catalog of items to not only fit into smaller spaces, but to evolve with our changing needs. Kids grow out of their toys and clothes, eventually moving on to college, and adults re-prioritize.
Why do tiny homes appeal to us so much? Is it because our sub-conscience is aware of the effects of commercialism? Has capitalism gotten out of control or is it just our self discipline? Why do we need to buy the latest phones, shoes, and handbags when we already have ones that work great? Does every family member really need their own individual bathroom, television, and car? I believe the simplicity of living in a tiny home is intriguing us for a reason.
What do we really need to live a full life? My family is about to find out. We found a tiny home on the bay with a nice deck and beach rights. Maybe it’s cheating a little, but we thought the extra space with the deck and beach would help us ease into this transition of a tiny home.
Our experience in this new adventure will be posted each week. We have no idea what to expect. There’s excitement about living on the beach, concern about getting rid of enough stuff, relief of living without material items weighing us down and even a tiny bit of sadness to pack away the bulk of our mementos.
Countdown to move-in day
I have worked diligently since the last move to donate, sell, and pass on the hoards of clothing and toys that no longer fit my children’s size and age. Countless frustrating hours on E Bay produced a little extra cash and more importantly, new homes for our “belongings”. Local thrift stores and charities gladly took multiple items that weren’t worth the time and energy to sell, but still had lots of life. Multiple postings on social media marketplaces moved the bigger items. It’s not easy to let go of objects that summon fond memories of loved ones, but you can’t keep it all.
My next step was to find a storage facility that was affordable and not too distant for accessing our abundance of stored belongings. With the monthly rates averaging close to $200 for a 10′ by 10′ room, we decided to make some hard decisions about what to keep. A limit was put on the size of our storage unit and we began moving the items we thought we really wanted to hold on to. Family heirlooms, favorite childhood toys and clothes we want to pass on in the family, and holiday decorations were the first to move in. The heirlooms were easy since there weren’t too many- grandpa’s WWII medals and uniform, grandma’s depression glass fruit bowl, and the like. Toys and clothes we think will stand the test of time and bring joy to the next generation have been whittled down with each move. Holiday decor could easily be three boxes, but with a family that loves to celebrate as much as us, there was a mountain of boxes. We did our best and cut our holiday decor in half with hope to whittle it down some more over the coming year of celebrations.
As we are nearing move-in day, our storage facility is filling up fast. I’ve made an art form of packing and stacking boxes to the ceiling in perfect balance. Organizing the layout with items that are being saved long term in the back and items that we’ll need to access towards the front takes some planning. I’ve catalogued each box so we have a clue where things are and, heaven forbid (!), there’s a need for an insurance claim. (You should always insure your items in case of fire, theft or any other disaster.) Of course, we’re going to have to keep downsizing this lot if we truly hope to achieve “tiny living,” but… baby steps.
Tips On Using a Storage Facility
- Find a facility that is within a comfortable travel distance. You will most likely be making multiple trips to this unit and the driving adds up fast.
- First floor units close to the entrance are always easier. You will be making multiple trips from your vehicle to the unit. Going up an elevator and down three hallways adds up over ten trips. However, these can be more money.
- Climate control is a great feature, but a lot of facilities don’t offer it. Silica Packets added to each box help cut down on musty odors and even mold from humidity.
- Cardboard boxes are cheap, but if you plan on stacking your items you will need something sturdier. Plastic bins are the best way to go. You’ll get the most out of your storage unit if you use bins that are square (versus rounded sides). Clear bins will also help you recognize your items much quicker.
- Storage facilities offer insurance, but it’s not as good as your standard Homeowner’s or Renter’s Policy. Do your research before assuming you have to take the insurance being pushed by the business. Theirs is never mandatory and usually offers less coverage for more money.
- Check out the internet for deals. Businesses like Storage Post have money saving promotions that aren’t advertised on standard storage business websites. I saved 50% off the first three months by going through Storage Post.
I love this concept of ‘Tiny Living’. When I was a single parent, my daughters and I lived in a two bedroom house with a tiny garden and were as happy as Larry. I had a real sense of satisfaction from minimalism and not cluttering our beautiful space. When we moved to a larger house as a blended family, I tried to maintain this ethos. It takes discipline, and constant vigilance! But I think we manage it. We grow and preserve a lot of produce and have almost zero food waste. Our awareness of waste has been heightened this year, with the focus on plastics. I think through every purchase, and try to find a better alternative where we can.
Wow! That is wonderful. We really try to live by reduce, reuse, and recycle here too. I hope our family is as successful as yours!