In my quest to convince my husband (aka financial partner) this is a great idea for retirement, I often strategically turn on various tiny house shows when we're watching television. I comment on how crafty they are about utilizing space and how the people who live there must be, like, total zen 24/7 because they have simplified their lives and gotten rid of "stuff" that clutters their visual fields and lives. I brag about how I could (probably) totally do this and that I'm really just trapped in all this furniture and "stuff" because of my children and preserving their memories. Really, I could totally do this.
He thinks I'm am overestimating myself. Like, a lot.
Understand he lived in the same house basically his whole entire life. I love that idea of the family homestead, but mine is like the white farmhouse with the attic full of trunks that bulge with family secrets Wide porches and haint ceilings...grand staircases children will tumble down as toddlers and sweep down as brides or grooms. (Of course all the children will get married there. Duh.) I made this dream up when I was younger and we looked at a house much like this, except it had some weeds growing up through the baseboards and I'm pretty rats were the only thing tumbling down the stairs at that time. So it needed some love. Don't we all?
We moved a lot when I was a kid, but we never left our town. Might I add that "town" is about 17 square miles. From about age three until graduating from high school, we moved five times, and lived in one house twice. (I guess we just wanted to make sure it really wasn't the house for us.) We moved several more times before I turned three, but I have no idea how many. I kept the family tradition alive and kicking by moving several times myself after becoming a tax-paying adult with a mortgage (or rent, depending...)
I use my history of geographical dexterity and mad packing skillz to further my case. Then it begins. His rational investigative inquiry.
"So, what about the piano?"
"What are you going to do with that couch?"
"You can't keep that secretary."
If you came to visit me, you'd basically walk into a museum of our lives Kitchen table is his grandparents'...Living room furniture is an olio of my grandmother's secretary, a piano from a great-aunt (I think?) on my dad's side, a couch my parents grabbed off the side of the road about 40 years ago, and a chair I remember my mom buying at an auction that was stuffed with hay and blue jeans (it's all about the vision)...Bedroom furniture came from various grandparents...children all sleeping in beds passed down from other generations of our peeps. Literally, if you have a piece of furniture that was at some time in my family, I'll probably take it even if I don't need or want it. I have designated myself the family caretaker of all furniture forevermore apparently.
When I think of getting rid of this "stuff" to go tiny or at least get some zen into my life and reduce my "visual clutter", I get a little queasy in my gut...kinda like when you've eaten a fat, greasy burger dripping with cheese and a HUGE serving of greasy, hand-cut french fries slathered in ketchup and the server brings you a homemade, four-layer chocolate cake with about 3 inches of icing so sweet your teeth ache and you eat it, too, because you can't NOT eat it and besides it would be rude to not eat it when the server was kind enough to bring it to you and all. Yeah, that kind of queasy.
It's just stuff, but it's my stuff. It's my memories and my childhood and my stories. When I walk into my son's room and see the bedroom suite of my grandparents', I think about how much my Pepaw would've loved to have met my son and how alike they are. The secretary holds my books now, but I remember the things it used to keep safe. I have two brass keys: one belonged to my aunt and one to my grandmother. They hang on my wall just as they did on theirs. I know we only have 7 chairs to our table because Daddy Frank got mad and tossed the broken one. These are the stories of my stuff.
I wish I could be one of those people who could make those decisions to downsize and lovingly pass along furniture to others (or sell it at a yard sale and make some dineros). But I can't. Maybe it's because we moved so much and this is my connection. My homestead is not the walls and floors of a house where I lived, but it is the furniture that provided a constant while I grew up. I raise immortal hell on my mother when she even remotely mentions getting rid of the kitchen table I grew up with because it's riddled with etchings of my youth. Granted, I let her paint it a few years ago, but still. I won because it's STILL THERE!!! I never lived in the house where my parents now live, but it's still a home to me because it's filled with things that tug at my memories and bring a smile to my face. I'm afraid if they go away, my memories will fade.
So, yeah, can I go tiny? Yes. Yes, I can. I can totally live in a 500 square foot or less home (okay, not less than 300 cause that's just asking for a divorce) and be happy. I can embrace sitting on my tiny porch and pondering the meaning of life while letting zen wash over me. I could live without a bathtub and fold my kitchen table down from the wall. All these things are possible.
As long as my tiny house is in my backyard and all my stuff is waiting inside my house next door waiting for someone to ask, "Where in the world did you get this?!" "That?! Oh, it's the funniest story! Let me tell you about it..."