small living


Even as the winter loosens her hold on us I am left thinking more and more about living small.  You see, our house is sort of like two houses connected.  There is the old 104 year old part with hand-hewn logs.  It contains three bedrooms, a very tiny bathroom, the woodstove, and one large main room.  The newer log addition contains a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, the kitchen and eating area, another room we use as the kid’s play room and where our large freezer lives, there is also a large loft which is the home of a very messy underused craft room.  It sounds huge and I guess it is.  I find it amazing they felt the need to build the new part as the old cabin is quite livable.  Our laundry is in the crawl space under the new part.  The old part has a dirt crawl space where our water and furnace are.

If we were to close off the new part, we would have very little, if any, need for propane heat which is pretty enticing.  Sure we would have to buy a stove (ours appears to be a built in and I don’t know that it can be moved), move the fridge, create some sort of counter space (I envision some sort of old wooden cupboards and or butcher block) and sink with added plumbing to it.  We would need to drain the water and figure out something for our washing machine.  Sounds extreme, but when you consider how much we’re paying out each winter in propane ($1500-2000) it would still be worth it especially after the first year. Not to mention a fun little experiment in small living.

With all the wood we have laying in our yard we won’t likely need wood for another two years.  The woodstove heats the entire old cabin without issue, except the basement for which we have a small space heater to keep it at 5* so our water doesn’t freeze.  We hope to build a little divider for the water stuff so we don’t need to heat the entire basement.  I think we will try using the rest of the crawlspace as a root cellar though I don’t know the ideal temps for that yet.  I will read up on it this spring/summer.

Sometimes when things get rough financially, or I just feel overwhelmed, I wish we had just bought a piece of land and put a yurt on it.  I begin to fully understand what the Zen Monks are saying when they let go of all earthly goods.  The more you have the more you worry and the more you spend.  Less stuff really does mean more living.  When we acquire and love something, we quickly move into a fearful place of loosing it all.  I cling to things, not because I am materialistic, but because I am sentimental.

What it comes down to is this: we need warmth, food, our pets, and each other; throw in memory, a few cherished photos, some practical comfortable furniture, a warm fire, some good books and a lantern and you’re free to move through life unfettered by the confining things we like to cling to.  With each passing year, I find myself willing to give up more in order to find my own peaceful balance.  It isn’t everyone’s path, but I am realizing my own and for me, letting go of things and thoughts I assumed I needed is empowering and enlightening.

The more unconventional and eccentric the better, I say.  I think I just talked myself into it.


P.S. I began compiling my usual fawned friday post, but was sidetracked by this photo.  I do hope you’ll forgive me.  To make it up to you, I hope to have another giveaway posted tonight or tomorrow.  Remember, you only have until 7 tonight to enter the Gypsy Forest Giveaway!




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  1. Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm by Amanda | Permalink

    very nice! I too long for less – Its urprising to me how many comments we get about moving to a “bigger” place – that sounds strange to me lol

  2. Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm by Stephanie K | Permalink

    Ah. That little kitchen. I hear you. When I consider the fact that I’ll be paying my mortgage longer than I’ll work, I feel panicky…and get that same urge to uproot us all to warmer climes and a grass hut on a beach. Or maybe a yurt. I’ve just finished reading “The Hunger Games” and I’ve been thinking a lot about the stuff we accumulate in our lives…just too much. I dream of a little cabin, in fact, I made a “necessity” list of stuff I’d bring if I moved there. The pioneers did it. Why shouldn’t we? Love the way you’re thinking, and glad you liked that kitchen photo!

  3. Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm by Laura Jeanne | Permalink

    I pinned that photo this week too! I love everything about it.

    I think it would be wonderful if you lived in the cabin portion full time. I personally have always dreamed of living in a cozy little cabin…it does make it more complicated though with kids involved. I have 4, and I just don’t think it would be possible to live small with all of their books, toys, clothes, movies etc…our house is full of stuff that I can’t really get rid of, because it isn’t mine.

    Your kids are still young though, and don’t have too much, which makes this kind of life more of a possibility for you. If your living space was smaller, they would be less likely to accrue extra belongings as the years go on.

    I say go for it!

  4. Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm by cindy baldwin | Permalink

    Lovely thoughts! Although I don’t think I’ll be moving into a yurt anytime soon, I try to live my life by the precepts you’ve outlined in this post – cherishing the few things that I need and love (for me: musical instruments, functional but not ugly furniture, a car that drives, and a home with enough space to live but not so much that it is stressful or expensive), and recognizing that I am happier when I have less. I think it goes for schedules and activities, as well as material possessions, too.

  5. Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:55 am by Valerie | Permalink

    Hahha – a timely post for me! We just moved into the part of our new house that we’ve managed to finish, but all of our stuff doesn’t fit into the small space so it’s been piled up in the garage. We have both commented that we should just get rid of it all – what’s the sense in keeping it all if we’ve managed without it for many months now?!? I feel a giant garage sale coming in in the months to come :)

    • Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:26 am by erin | Permalink

      Maybe you should rethink finishing the house eh? 😉
      It is quite interesting what we cling to isn’t it…we don’t think of it until we see it, but we still hold on.
      Thank for writing.

  6. Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:06 am by Willow | Permalink

    i used to live in a housebus, no water, no electricity, in the woods of north idaho. it was awesome! the small space makes you consider every object you bring in, is it useful, is it beautiful? i was able to live comfrotably on $400 a month because my only expenses were food and car insurance and fuel. living simply, without much money, challanges you to become more resourceful and creative. things aren’t necessarily easier, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. closing off your cabin for the winter sounds like a great idea!

    • Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:24 am by erin | Permalink

      Oh! How wonderful!
      Thank you so much for the encouraging words and lovely images 😉

  7. Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:19 am by aunt cheryl | Permalink

    ah yes, I yearn for the day when at the end of that day I can look at what i enjoyed, created or accomplished instead of wondering where my day went?……..and the answer to this question is…….I wasted it on organizing, tidying, looking for, tossing and yes, even, buying more!!!!! Less stuff, less wasted time me thinks. So, if this can become a new goal (less stuff) it may still take some time and energy to actually “get small”. Thanks for the great inspiration and motivation and good luck with your home project! xo

    • Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:23 am by erin | Permalink

      You are my inspiration more often than you know :)
      I have always admired how you approach a project and knock out walls and re-arrange a house.
      I think I learned to think outside the box from watching you.
      much love

  8. Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm by Chandelle | Permalink

    I live in a 300-square-foot, one room cabin with my partner and two children and a big German Shepherd. This is a huge change for us as we’ve always lived in “normal” houses and apartments before this. But I love it. The pared-down life is not always easier, but it’s so worth it. When I think back on our time in big houses I just remember the cost of living being so much higher, unnecessarily because our STANDARD of living wasn’t any better. I remember obsessing about cleaning and organizing and maintaining and acquiring, because otherwise all that space lies empty or gets impossibly dirty and then takes forever to clean… yeah, I don’t miss it. I love the idea of closing off half of your house and definitely recommend it, if only as an experiment in how close your family can become and how much money you can save.

    • Posted March 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm by erin | Permalink

      This is amazing!
      Thank you so much for sharing :)
      I am TOTALLY sold on the idea and look forward to it!

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