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Showing posts from 2018

Tiny House KonMari: Closet Before and After

Something that I think is important when following any set of rules laid out for the masses by an individual, such as when using the KonMari method to declutter and tidy one's home, is to make the process work for you. We are all different people with different routines and schedules and amounts of time to allot to things like organizing our closets, and what works perfectly for one person may very well drive another person up the wall.

I like to think that I am making KonMari work for me. I take what works in my home from Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I forget the rest. (This is especially true when it comes to tidying with kids, but we'll have to save that for a future post.)

With that in mind, here are a few before and after pictures of my closet. Mostly after. (I seem to get really excited to tidy when I find a spare moment, and I often dig in and then realize I forgot to take a picture first. Oops.)

My closet was actually pretty organized befor…

Tiny House KonMari: The Morning After

Dropping off those bags of clothes at the Goodwill was not quite as liberating as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, the sheer joy of looking in my closet and seeing only my favorite things (and being able to see them easily all at once) was worth the purge. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a sense of loss, though. I ask myself if I was perhaps a bit too quick to put stuff in the donate pile. I think of a couple of shirts in particular that I loved but that I know will never fit my post-pregnancy body again.

It's hard to let go of things sometimes. At least it is for me. I tend to be a sentimental person, and separating the memory from the item is not something that comes easily to me.

Knowing this, though, and knowing that the temptation for me would be to keep those bags full of clothes for a few weeks just in case I changed my mind was the main reason that I asked Chris to put them in the car right away whe…

Tiny House KonMari: My Clothes

I had a rare five whole hours all to myself recently, and I decided that would be the perfect time to start my "KonMari" decluttering journey. Following the order recommended by Marie Kondo in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I began with my own clothes.

I ransacked my closet and drawers and looked upstairs in the loft and in the drawers in the entryway for every article of clothing that belongs to me in this house. (I did save swim gear, shoes, and purses for another day.) Then I piled them all on the couch in the living room.

It was quite the pile, especially considering how small our house is. I was really excited at first about how good it was going to feel to not have so much stuff, but as I carried armful after armful of clothing to the living room, I started to feel a little anxious about actually letting go of much at all.

I was committed to this decluttering experiment, though, so I pushed through that feeling of dread and sorted all the clothing in…

TIny House KonMari: Why Tidy?

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the first step Marie Kondo asks her readers to take in the KonMari process is to ascertain what their goal is in tidying in the first place.

Determined not to shortchange the process, I gave this question a lot of thought.

My beloved parents are not tidy people and yet both are perfectionists. I grew up believing that you could only have guests over when your house was spotless. At the same time, our house, while clean, was rarely tidy, and over the years, my parents only accumulated more and more belongings with no room to store them. My dad's whole extended family struggles with discarding anything, and their solution for having no room for so many items is to just build another storage shed to house it all.

I have known for many years that I did not want to live like that. I think that by falling into the tiny house lifestyle, we have been somewhat successful in curbing that inclination to just accumulate more and more stuff. However, s…

Tiny House KonMari

A couple of years ago, some friends of mine read the bestselling book about decluttering, Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpAt the time, I was intrigued by the whole "KonMari" thing as I watched my friends completely overhaul their homes in one fell swoop. It was a way of decluttering that I had never really heard of before, and apparently, it had become all the rage.

For those of you who are not familiar with the KonMari method of tidying, the basic idea is that you sort belongings one category (rather than one room or area) at a time, choosing to keep only those items which "spark joy." (Spark Joy is in fact the name of Kondo's follow up book.) Following the method outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is supposed to result in not only a less cluttered house but also a changed way of thinking about one's belongings and living space. This major purge is supposedly a once-and-done, life-altering event, and my friends who …

Quickly Cleaned, Quickly Cluttered

My four-year-old loves to watch a handful of YouTube channels, and the other day I put one family's popular vlog on the TV for her. As we were watching, I couldn't help but think about their house, and I don't mean the size of it. (It seems like a pretty average American-sized home.) I was struck by how tidy and clean it was. Now I'm sure that when you post videos of events happening in your home on a daily basis for millions of people to see, you probably do your best to keep your surroundings as neat and tidy as possible (and perhaps hire a cleaning service). At the same time, though, I feel like in order to keep our home looking that nice, I would need to find a lot more time to clean than I currently seem to muster up with little kids underfoot.

"How do you think they keep their house looking so clean?" I asked Chris. His answer was thought provoking. "It's probably because it's so big." Huh.

That answer surprised me at first. Then I rea…

Sunshine and Sweetheart

I'm sure it's obvious that I use pseudonyms for my daughters on this site out of respect for their own privacy. I thought it might be fun to talk about how they came by those particular nicknames, though.

Both girls' special names came pretty naturally when I started writing here last summer.

My oldest daughter has always been our light, coming to us right as we were pulling through one of the darkest times of our life, a time filled with infertility and death and health crises. A lot went wrong for us in 2011 and 2012, and then 2013 rolled around with the gift of this precious girl who seems to magically light up a room simply by her presence. She has and always will be our little Sunshine, and every night as I tuck her in, I sing her song to her. "You are my sunshine...." We were browsing through the local dollar store the other day when I spied a perfect little wall decal to hang above her bed. It reads, "Hello Sunshine."

When our second daughter was…


Despite experiencing some beautiful weather last week, we woke up this morning to snow. This is our second snowstorm of the winter (following our beautiful white Christmas), and I was eager to get Sunshine and Sweetheart outside to enjoy the fun since they weren't able to play in it last time.

In a typical winter, we only get a couple of real snow events, but the kids love it so much that we try to keep appropriate cold weather gear on hand for when the time comes. I remember wearing snowsuits myself growing up, and while they definitely got the job done, they are also big and bulky and hard to store in a house as small as ours. Since we bought our girls rain suits in the fall, I thought we should try them out as snow suits this year, too. 
It took me a little bit of creative thinking to find enough under layers in the girls' closet to keep them warm since the Oakiwear rain suits are comprised of a simple, thin, waterproof layer and no insulation for warmth. Between fleece pant…

Layout Matters

When we first got married, we lived in a studio apartment belonging to our university. I don't know what the official square footage was, but I recall trying to measure it once. We estimated that it was around 400 square feet. And it felt tiny.

Our park model is just under 400 square feet as well, and even though the loft provides an additional 150 square feet or so, the downstairs all by itself just feels bigger than our apartment ever did.

Layout matters, folks.

Other than the bathroom, our apartment was one big room with a partial privacy wall separating the bed area from the living room.  There was a tiny closet, some weird built-in shelves, and a desk along the back wall of the bedroom. We never once used the desk as a desk. It was just wasted space to us.

It's odd to me when I think about it now. Why didn't we use it as a desk? Probably because it was in a dark corner of the bedroom, and we've never much been the kind of people who like to sit at desks to study.…

Tiny House Toys: BeginAgain Puzzles

For Christmas, my cousin gave each of my girls a wooden block puzzle, and at first I felt a little trepidation about having another wooden puzzle with knobby pieces to step on or lose. Puzzles seem like a great toy for a tiny house, and we have a number of them and love them, but the wooden ones are usually so much harder to store, and the pieces always seem to get lost so easily around here. Plus, up until now, my girls haven't really been too interested in the wooden puzzles they've had. I went through about a year ago and purged most of their wooden puzzle collection because it rarely got played with, even when brand new.

These puzzles, though, are different. The pieces are big, but not too big, and they are a very nice quality. No glued on paper coating for my toddler to chew off. No knobby handles to step on in bare feet (though they still hurt if you land on one just right). And they are just enough of a challenge for my kids to actually enjoy playing with them.

Winter Tree

A couple of weeks ago we finally got around to taking down our Christmas tree and erecting our new "winter tree" in its place. Birch trees have always been one of my favorite trees, and my parents gave me a four-foot white birch tree with LED lights for Christmas. I saw a similar (taller) one at Costco months ago, and I fell in love with it. I could just picture a tree like that in our home. Something about the soft lights on these long nights makes our tiny house seem even more cozy.

The Mirror Cabinet

My dad came over on Thursday and kindly installed my brand new mirrored cabinet in our bathroom.

He assembled the cabinet at his house and carried it up here to hang. It's a pretty heavy cabinet even before we filled it with stuff, and the screw holes didn't match up with the studs in our bathroom at all. We had some birch boards left from making Sweetheart's toddler bed last year, and we decided to screw two boards perpendicular to the studs on the bathroom wall and then attach the cupboard to those boards. The back of the cabinet is slightly recessed, so it barely sticks away from the wall even with the two boards there.

One of the biggest unexpected obstacles was the mirror that came installed when we bought the house. I thought maybe we could move the mirror somewhere else, though I wasn't quite sure where, but it turns out that it was stuck hard to the drywall with special tape and then screwed on, and it cracked when we were taking it off. Oh well. (I definitely …

Odds and Ends

I was planning to take our Christmas tree down last Thursday, but then Sunshine came down with strep, and I spent the next three days nursing my girl back to health instead. In the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

Then I came down with a horrid cold and found myself curled up on the couch under a blanket while Sunshine fed herself and Sweetheart cheese crackers until Daddy woke up and fed everyone some real food. (Bless my sweet girl and my husband.)

We are both much recovered now, but that tree still sits there, looking beautiful and festive. And mocking me.

I'm hoping to get to it this weekend.

For Christmas, my parents gave me a beautiful little four-foot white birch tree with white lights, and I am eager to set it up on that loft ledge where the Christmas tree stands. We love the soft glow of the lights in our small house, especially on these long winter nights, and a white birch seems like the perfect winter tree now that Christmas is over.

My parents also bought me a medic…

The Stokke Flexi Bath

A couple of months ago, I was wandering through Target with my girls when I stumbled upon an item that I have had my eye on for a long time: the Stokke Flexi Bath (Amazon link). It was on clearance. I was so excited.

As you may remember, it's long been a dilemma for us how to go about bathing our kids without an actual bathtub in our tiny house. A few months ago, I started putting a large plastic storage container in the shower on bath nights, and it worked really well except for one issue: we were constantly having to move it out of the way when it wasn't being used. This quickly got annoying, as you can imagine.

Even before Sunshine was born, I thought the Stokke tub might be a worthwhile purchase, but I could never bring myself to pay that much for a plastic bathtub. I just wasn't sure how well it would work. After weeks of tripping over our makeshift tub, which otherwise was working quite well for us, I did go online and look at the Flexi Bath again. I even measured the…