Sued51's Blog

{September 23, 2013}   Is Living Small More Work or Less?

I’m not going to surprise you with my answer: more immediate chores that take less time. Does it equate to the same thing? I don’t know; I’m still in the discovery phase. I’m discovering that the chores are different, but are still there none-the-less. In a small place the chores are more immediate and cannot be ignored. This is what I’ve learned so far:

1. There’s a reason for that old saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  Right now, I feel like I live in a thrift shop. It feels like my place looks messy, even when it is clean (still too much stuff), but if there is anything left carelessly on any surface, it seems to scream, “Put me away!”

And the corollary to #1:

1a.  You have to clean up immediately. I have always kept up with scooping the cat litter, even in a big place. But in a small space, the chore is immediate, or it smells BAD! Not only do I have to scoop immediately, but I have to get it outside to the dumpster right away. Also, although the number of dishes involved in the preparation and consumption of a meal for one person (and two cats) is a quick clean-up, I don’t have the space or the number of dishes to allow them to sit around dirty. I’m phobic about bugs so I want everything clean, clean, clean!

2. You have to go out of your way to recycle. Though my carbon footprint is smaller, it is less convenient to recycle when you are in a small place with no place to store up the recyclable bottles and cans. At my house, I could store them in the garage or under the porch until I could take them to redemption. As an apartment dweller, if I decide to go for a “can walk,” my route has to include a walk to the redemption machines at the local grocery store. When I first moved, I had noticed all the recyclable cans in my apartment dumpster and was amazed at people throwing out money! When I first saw them, I wished I could climb in to collect them, but now I understand why they are there. Too bad.

3. You can’t fit every gadget into a small space so you have to be creative and simple. I have a basic sink; there’s no vanity top for putting things down on (like putting on make-up, mixing up dye for my hair, etc.). Instead of putting the stuff on the toilet, I discovered the tray system. I take it out when I need it and put it away. Similarly, I don’t have a clothes drying rack, I have a small expandable curtain rod for my tiny shower. No big vacuum…a corn broom has to do.

small sink

Sink without vanity

small sink with tray

Sink with Tray

And under the bed, behind every piece of furniture and door, lurk the things you need, but don’t use often…but at least you don’t have to see them.

You can deal with anything with ingenuity, creativity and good cheer!

{April 9, 2012}   Dreaming of Shopping

I used to be interested in dreams. (I had so many strange ones and loved to talk about them, to the chagrin of whoever lived with me at the time: mother, roommate, husband.) This interest resulted in one of my friends giving me a book about interpreting dreams (probably hoping that would shut me up). The book related the meaning of certain common dreams like dreams of losing your teeth, drowning or falling through the air. I have almost never had such dreams; for me, recurring dreams involve being late for school or work and not letting anyone know, or trying to tell someone something and having nothing come out of my mouth.

I also remember reading that dreams are our brain’s way of working out conflicts that occur in our waking life. When I worked full-time, I most often dreamed of my workplace and the people I worked with (after all, I spent 8 hours a day with them). Now that I work part-time at a non-stressful job, dreaming of work is rare. The interesting thing to me is that recently I have had dreams about shopping. How common is that?

My husband and I adopted a frugal lifestyle a few years ago, first out of necessity then out of choice. We have learned to evaluate our purchases before we make them. We buy very little that we don’t need and very few items from the “want” column. It is a healthy permanent change in our values. As an ancillary change, I look at my time differently too. I work out and read a lot to take care of my health. There’s very little time spent wandering in stores browsing.

But lately I’ve noticed a difference in my dreams. I sometimes dream of shopping. I did not do that in the past. I wondered if it means that I have not completely accepted my new life? My conscious mind knows I do not need more books, clothes or music cds, but somewhere inside me there’s someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be fun?”

In my past life, I would spend hours lost in bookstores and come out with a full bag. Last week I tried something new; I allowed myself some time to look at books at a store. It was a nice treat (only ½ hour), and I didn’t buy anything. I think maybe that was all I needed, because I haven’t dreamed of shopping since.

et cetera
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