If you've visited this blog in the past few weeks, you might have noticed that I created a new page titled TIny House Tour. I finally had professional photos taken of our tiny house and posted them so you all could see the glory that is Lil Blue! Most of the photos I've taken on my phone don't do it justice. It's hard to take a good picture in such a small space without a good lens. I haven't posted many photos of our bathroom because it's the hardest area to try and photograph, but now you can all enjoy a full tour of the entire (tiny) space!
During the photo shoot, it really dawned on me how much we have downsized and made me think about the stuff we kept. Obviously, as we were downsizing two years ago we gave a lot of thought to what we wanted to keep and why, but I haven't thought about it much since moving in.
Downsizing was easier than I expected. We got rid of 90% of the stuff we owned--stuff that we either bought second-hand or that had been handed down to us from friends and family. Neither one of us are sentimentally attached to stuff (mostly) so we could easily look at an object and say yea or nay with a pretty quick mind. We knew what we used and what we didn't, what we liked and what we were only keeping because we felt like we "had" to. We made $3,000 (!!) off of all that we sold and were able to put that money towards finishing Lil Blue.
The photographer was asking me about some of the items we have on display on our shelves, and, for the first time in a long time, I found myself talking about the stories behind each item we kept. When you only have a handful of decorations, you find that each one is meaningful and special because of how you got it, or where you got it, or who gave it to you. We no longer have any "filler" decorations--things that just fill up space so a room doesn't look empty. We no longer have the gifts or the hand-me-downs or the items from childhood and college that we held onto out of guilt or because we didn't want to buy something to replace it.
The items we brought with us were ones that brought us joy. I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and kept the William Morris quote, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful, in my mind as we combed through and purged our stuff. One item I knew I was going to keep, and will forever keep, is our blue female sculpture (pictured above).
This sculpture is the first thing that Jordan and I ever bought together...for our future home. When we were dating and living in Chicago, we passed by a yard sale as we were walking back from church in Andersonville. That bust caught our eye and we immediately picked it up. They wanted something outrageous for it (for a yard sale), like $50. Honestly, I can't even remember, but whatever it was seemed like a high number to us 20-somethings at the time. This was during our poor years, when we barely had enough money for rent and food, so that dollar amount was out of the question for something as trivial as a decoration. But, for whatever reason, we both really liked it! And we both could see it in our future...home...together. (This was during a time that we were not talking about marriage and I was preparing to move to France and leave Jordan pining for me :) ). We scrounged through our pockets and bags and came up with a whopping $7 to offer the owner. After some begging, turning out our pockets to show that they were empty, and showing off pleading Bambi eyes, the seller relented and gave us the bust for our seven bucks. Maybe she could tell how much we wanted it, or maybe she took pity on some fresh-out-of-college poor adults, or maybe she just wanted to get rid of it. Either way, it was ours!
I held onto it in my apartment until I moved to France and then Jordan had it in his apartment until we got married. It was originally a gross brown-orange color. Once we got married and put it in a prominent place in our first home together, I painted it a bright blue--something more reflective of us and our personalities. This bust not only made it through two apartments in Chicago, it traveled to Madison to live in a bookcase for 2 years, then to an apartment in Iowa for another 2 years, until now, where it is one of our most beloved objects, highlighted on one of our few shelves in our tiny house. The memory lives on and makes us smile as we think about its history.
This is one thing that tiny house living has to offer: it makes you pare down to the bare minimum, both in stuff that you need to get by (clothes, cookware, dishes, etc.) and the stuff that you truly love and brings you joy. When I look around our home now, I don't feel stressed out or anxious by all of our stuff (like I used to feel). Instead, I smile, looking at the half a dozen items that I love, remembering where they came from or those dear to me who gifted them to me, and I feel content. Which sometimes seems like a rare feeling for many of us-- satisfied, with no real desire for anything more. Just happy and content with what we have.