Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips for living in a 16x20 foot cabin

Firstly, kitchens tend to clutter easily, and I have a low tolerance for kitchen clutter, so I don't have any fancy kitchen gadgets, not even a blender or a mixer. I use wooden spoons and good, top of the line hand tools (whisks, knives, a mortar and pestle, etc). Not because I think it's amusing or quaint, but because it's very spatially efficient.

Secondly, I have a low tolerance for possessions whose only purpose is aesthetic. The adorable and otherwise useless Miss Millie is an exception! My decorations are limited to a 14x6 inch shelf above the wood stove, and flat things that hang on the wall.

Finally, I am positively ruthless when it comes to editing my personal possessions. I can do this due to two factors. First, I am quite picky about what I purchase. With e-commerce as prevalent and accessible as it is today, and with most online vendors offering free or very reasonable shipping costs, there is no reason to keep anything that is less than perfect. I'm talking that otherwise nice, warm coat whose collar doesn't quite keep the chill off your neck, or that backpack whose strap adjustor digs into your clavicle, or those beautiful shoes that squish your little toe. Do not accept such things! Send them back! The second factor is that I get rid of older things on a regular basis. This is something I either learned or inherited from my mother. I am not at all sentimental about inanimate objects. Have I used it in the past several years? No? Then out it goes. I also abhor waste, so when I find the perfect new home for my outgoing goods, that just makes my day. Here are my favorite places to rehome things, in rough order of the amount of satisfaction they give me:

1) A friend who just happens to need the exact item in question. Need is the operative word there. No fair using friends as trash dumps! It has to be a perfect fit!

2) Any of the local shelters for abuse victims or the homeless.

3) Value Village, the local thrift store. My warm fuzzy with them is slightly dampened by not knowing exactly which "local nonprofits" benefit from them.

4) Finally, the last resort is the "recycle platform" at the transfer site.

5) There are also several consignment stores, but until last year, they have all been located downtown, where I seldom go, and making a special trip downtown is just too painful for me to contemplate. Recently, one opened near me, but I've had $20 worth of credit there since the week they've opened, and have yet to find anything in there that I actually want, so... why not go for the warm fuzzy and give stuff away?

In other news, we came up to a balmy -15F/-26C yesterday. That made front page news.


mdr said...

J&C keep EVERYTHING but often cannot find the stuff when there is a need to use it. Nothing is totally useless in C's eyes, although never being used.

Rena said...

Glad you live simply and aren't overwhelmed by stuff. Our house is like mdr's description - too many things and can't find anything. I blame Dave, ha ha!

Still, I am surprised you can get by without a kitchenAid mixer. I find it indispensable. We use ours every at least every other day.

Debs said...

I'm always looking for tips on removing clutter, as we both come from families of chronic hoarders and have learnt bad habits. Despite all the stuff, I almost always know where any item I need is though. But overfull houses don't sell as easily (esp in the UK where homes are on average rather small), so now we want to move, I have to be much more ruthless now lol

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I married into a family of pack-rats. You. Would. Not. Believe. The stuff in boxes behind all the bookcases in the library and in all the closets. Bleh.

I came down here from AK with one pallet load of stuff and that included 3 bike boxes!