Monthly Archives: February 2013

Beauty and Small Houses

I came across an interesting article tonight that stated there are three things that enhance creativity and that we automatically reach for, because without realizing it we consider them beautiful: things that are green because our minds associate them with lush crops and food sources, things that have the “golden rectangles” built in-that is a triangle that can be broken down repeatedly and appeals to the eye more than any other (5×8), and fractals. I immediately thought of tiny houses.

Tiny house pictures. They are generally always set in a green, lush landscape. I’ve laughed often that I love the scene even if I’d never live in the house. Or they are set in a beautiful, fractal garden. A bit wild, very geodesic to our minds’ eyes, even if we don’t recognize the relationship at first. And tiny houses themselves. The ones I’ve seen the most response to are often either a ratio of the ‘perfect’ 5×8 “golden rectangles” or close, either in their original shape or their breakdown. Does an 8×10 seem small but look perfect? It’s simply two golden rectangles set together. Or is your perfect floor plan more 8×12 with a bath and kitchen in the back, making the main floor area an 8×10? Back to the rectangles. Wall space adds to the visual appeal of these rectangles in small houses, and a well designed small house also often has smaller rectangles built in, too, like this.

Perhaps we’ve been reaching for the perfect design in more ways than we realized.



This slide show from Good Housekeeping had a few excellent points.
Prevention: what good does it do to get rid of stuff if you only accumulate more? Find a way to refuse more stuff. For me, that was giving away three items for every unnecessary one I bought, or only getting something if I had a specific item to replace that was worn out or unsafe. (ie the blender that started shooting sparks out from under it and smelled like it was burning)

Buying organizing products: How many would agree, when you buy boxes and crates and organizers, sometimes you end up with more clutter, not less? Go through things and get rid of what you don’t need. Then get organizers for the things you want to keep. Trust the person who just gave away 10 plastic organizer boxes and has more that will be going. Also, organizers aren’t good luck charms or magical creations. If you buy them to get organized but don’t use them properly to get or stay organized after buying them, you will only be more overwhelmed.

Undesignated space: Oh, yes. The table. The chair. The nightstand. Give your furniture and corners purpose. If you must have an undesignated space, make one SMALL undesignated space and clean it out when it gets full. Or stop filling it at all. See how long you can go without refilling it and reward yourself for making the goal you set. To me, this goes hand in hand with the next item on their list: putting things somewhere “for now”. The “for now” items go in my undesignated space. Forever. Again, if I have one small cabinet or box that’s undesignated “for now”, I can prevent the table, chair, nightstand, and floor from becoming undesignated. And if everything “for now” is in one box, I can pick it up and move items easily to their true homes later.

Keeping things because they seem useful: This was my downfall, and my salvation. I kept everything because it might have a use someday. That skirt could become quilt squares or curtains. That spatula might be needed if I ever melted the other one… or the other five, as it turned out. Realizing it was more useful to discard what I didn’t need immediately and stop worrying about what I might need someday was a large motivation for starting the decluttering process. Sure, those things might be useful. But they would be just as useful in someone else’s closet.

The Cabin Move, part 2

I talked to the mover today. The cost to move that cabin surprised me, but they were included in the price.

Insulating under the cabin has been a question for me, but apparently may not be too much of a problem. The mover said they generally build cabins with floors pre-insulated, and that insulating the floor of a cabin that’s already been built might be difficult. He suggested skirting it and either insulating the whole floor-which he admitted might be difficult-by running batting underneath between the skids or insulating the skirting just like if it had a crawl space. (I’d probably run 4x4s all the way around and seal them well, since it already has skids under it and that will be it’s height anyway.) I’ve also considered blowing insulation under it. I’m a bit concerned that there would be moisture buildup if I did that, though. A vapor barrier would probably be a good idea but might not help enough. The skirting idea ought to work.

After that, the debate is still over what to do first. Tear out the linoleum and add nicer flooring, I think. Then find a bathtub made for an RV and build some walls, I think.

Moving house!

It’s almost time to move my cabin to it’s new land. It hasn’t been an easy task, arranging for this move. But I’m so glad that soon the little cabin will be settled on it’s new acreage! The garage floor of the burned house is salvageable, so for now it will sit on that foundation. At some point it may be moved to a better foundation or a new location on the land, but for now it will at least be where I can work on it and sleep in it when I’m there.

Springtime isn’t the time for remodeling for me-I just want to get a garden in and some fruit trees and bushes. I could care less about a bathroom at this point. Just give me some dirt. Yet I know that having water and septic connected will soon become a necessity…

I’ve been thinking about a shower base and have decided to check into a large utility sink as a shower base. The higher walls would allow me to soak sometimes, and the depth would probably be about right. It could double as a sink to soak clothes in when I needed to… I don’t know for sure yet. I am definitely going to look into them though. I think the idea at least has potential.

Installing gutters should be fairly easy, and a rain barrel collection system will water garden plants within a certain distance of the house most of the summer. I’m still debating a secondary drain system in the house that would run clear water into the garden as well. But that would come later, perhaps much later. It’s going to be a full summer getting the plumbing and interior done in the cabin on hotter days and getting the land developed on cooler ones for now. Trenching for the electrical will also take some time, but if I can just run the trench the electrical company will run underground electric for free. Even at a few shovels of dirt a day I should have underground electric within a few months of moving there. And for the summer it wouldn’t bother me if I had no electric at all, though I’d probably get a couple small DC panels to charge my cell phone and laptop.

I’m homesick for a place I haven’t even lived yet. But soon I hope I will.