Like most of you I suspect, much of my life included living in spaces of 1,000 square feet and upwards. The exception to that rule in my life is my first apartment ever, a temporary place in 2005-2006, and the place that I reside now. I order of size, my first apartment was the smallest, next my current space, and the beach cottage was by far the largest at a bit over 400 square feet (and housed 2 folks full-time and up to four at other times). Having now spent over a year in just over 200 square feet, I realize that LIVING space is not the issue when it comes to housing and being a singleton. The issue is STORAGE space. I am having to re-think what it is that I actually do in living spaces, figure out how much of what I have is used regularly versus seasonally, and how to accommodate both living and storage needs in my planning. The simplest of these solutions is a very streamlined and smaller living space, plus a storage shed/tool barn. It is also probably the most cost-effective route.
I have to take into consideration while planning, what my life looks like today compared to what it will look like when I move. Right now, I live close to a lot of conveniences that simply are not present where I will be building. It’s nothing to dash to the market (of which there are a plethora), the big box garden center (at least two within 15 minutes), and all kinds of other money-suck…errr I mean odds and ends kinds of shopping. In TN, that stuff really just doesn’t exist except for 30 minutes to an hour or more away. Of course, Amazon is always just a click away no matter where one is located. When I previously lived in TN though, I really tried to give my business to the local privately owned businesses. I wanted them to still be there years in the future. I am fortunately located close to a fairly large Mennonite area at the new property. I did a lot of my shopping at their dry goods store, which also carries seasonal produce, dairy and fresh delivered breads. It is quite nice, and has most of the staples, even organic ones, that I normally use. My first year garden there was buried under 12″ of rain within a couple of days, so my production was nil the first year. My second year I did container gardening for ease and to avoid the possibility of drowned gardens. It was quite successful and humming along when I had to abruptly move and leave all of it behind. Hundreds of leeks, several varieties of small potatoes, snow peas, tomatoes, bucket fulls of chard, tons of lettuces, strawberries, herbs, broccoli, and a bunch of other stuff. I spent a lot of money on soil amendments, containers, small greenhouses, row covers, etc. I am certain that I could have probably eaten organically from the closest local supermarket far cheaper than my own foods that year. Had I stayed though, those investments would have paid off in the second and third year nicely. As usual with me, life didn’t have that in mind, lol!
But when thinking of how I will live there as opposed to here, the storage of produce, the reduced need for a large refrigerator, food prep areas, large sinks for washing greens, all of that has to come into focus. And somewhere between my fantasies about garden production and the reality, I will need to use that space by which to plan. I’ll still need storage (freezer) for meat. I’ll still need cool temps for dairy and other perishables. Most of my dairy consumption up there was fermented milk products like yogurt and kefir that I made. I rarely keep milk, except for cream to use in my coffee. When I had a lot of space, I also kept a six month food supply in the huge pantry that is about the size of my entire living space now. I am re-examining this as well. While the actual visible progress on the land will be slow and separated by many months of less than noteworthy activity, what is happening internally and mentally is extremely active. It’s kind of like seeing an ant or two on the surface but really knowing that down below, the chambers are filled with frantic activity that we simply cannot see.
I wish that dreams were built as quickly as they are crushed and bruised. That simply isn’t how life works though. It is through the delay, the wanting, the build up of anticipation for a good thing, that appreciation is nurtured and grows strong. Think of how long from seed to flower, sometimes years before you have a first fruit or blossom. Oh how cherished that appearance is! So too, may it be with the fleshing out of dreams for us. In this day and age of immediate gratification, have we nearly lost understanding of delayed gratification? I know that I wrestle with it all of the time, and I am aware of the difference between the two.
And a funnier, more light-hearted version of the above 🙂
Tune in tomorrow for more…who knows what! Pictures of cool stuff, endless blather about the life of one small person on a very big planet in a much bigger solar system, or grid layouts of living spaces. Ya never know!
Learn discipline. Learn contentment. Practice being the best you possible.