By Brad Beckstrom
Tiny houses, bring em on. Tiny house on the beach, even better, less lawn care. Less yard work, absolutely. In fact, tiny everything, that would be perfect.
Spent several hours last weekend pulling huge weeds in 95° heat. I like to take a stoic approach to work around the house. I should be thankful to have a yard, some people have no weeds to pull. I’m fortunate to have the rain and subtropical heat that helped create these epic tree-like weeds. Some people’s yards, somewhere, are burning up, literally, droughts, forest fires. So yeah, bring those weeds on, glad to have them. If I get too hot, there is a ton of stuff to do inside as well.
Years of Work
In fact, there is easily a couple of years of work waiting for me in the house. Closets, drawers, the basement and garage to clean out. You see, I am trending minimalist. I’m defining this as “moving in the general direction towards less” less clutter, less stuff. The thinking behind minimalism is freeing your life of stuff and possessions to focus on whats important.
For years I was more of a maximist, accumulating stuff to fill an oversized, overstuffed house. I don’t feel bad about it. Having a family and raising kids often involves a lot of stuff. Could we have done a better job at this? Absolutely.
So now we have way too much stuff to be called minimalists. We can only be trending, heading in that direction. I feel fortunate to have lived in the same house for 17 years. 17 years of bringing home stuff from the store, birthday parties, plastic toys. exercise equipment, home theatre systems, leaf blowers, and weed eaters, it’s all here. I’m as guilty as anyone.
Staying put has its advantages. However, it’s often easier to downsize and declutter when you move every five or ten years. You just naturally get rid of stuff when you move. The challenge is staying out of the big-box store at your new location, slowly replacing it all. Moving can also be expensive, add seller fees, closing costs and taxes. It can wipe out years of equity in your current property in one fell swoop.
Keeping our first home together is one thing we definitely did right. Here are a few things we could have done differently.
- Think small. You don’t need a living room, dining room, den and basement clubroom. This can all be accomplished with an eat-in kitchen and great room.
- Think smaller. Do you need a basement? Homes in many parts of the country don’t have them. For me, it was another excuse to hang onto something. Sort of like a staging area for storing my junk.
- Are existing homes and property taxes in your area expensive? Search for odd size small lots or lots that can be divided with just enough space for the small home you need. This couple did it and the New York Times asked to tour their newly completed one room home. Can’t find a lot, consider a floating home.
- If you can find a small lot, think factory built high quality prefabricated homes. If you think prefab is just for cheap poorly built homes take a look at Dwell Magazine.
- Want to own a home but skip the mortgage altogether, join the tiny house revolution. For the right person, there are some very compelling reasons to explore tiny homes.
For now we are staying put, working on slowly giving away years of accumulated stuff and paying off the mortgage. When the time comes, we’ll be ready.