Over the next several weeks we will be bringing you stories of people who have decluttered and lightened their load in favor of a more nimble and flexible lifestyle. If you have a story, let us know!
Meet Gabriella, Andrew and their daughter Terra (12) the operators of www.StrawBale.com. This family embarked on a journey to identify what really brings comfort and happiness into their lives. To do so, they sold more than half of their belongings to fund this quest, letting go the security of their rental house and setting off for beautiful, peaceful and sunny Baja with only a minivan and pop-up tent trailer. This is their story of letting go.
Eat your heart out Jimmy Buffett!
One of our intentions in ridding ourselves of more than half of our belongings and living for a few months in 150 sq ft of space was to really challenge our thinking about what we have considered to be ‘vital’ for a happy and comfortable life. This has been a most interesting exercise and each of us has gained some valuable information that we will be able to take back up with us when we re-enter our US lives.
For us, it’s been vital to go down to the very basics to see what we miss and what we don’t even notice being gone. For example, kitchen space. Our current kitchen is comprised of a 3 very small gas burner stove, a mini-fridge, a sink that measures about 18”x18” and a work surface about 18”x12” deep. We have some hanging shelves and a little bit of storage space under the counters for food and cooking/eating utensils. The 3 burners are more than adequate and even the size of the tiny cooking range suits my needs. We have more than enough space for food storage and cooking and eating utensils. A fridge a bit larger would be nice though.
In terms of kitchen implements we brought just the basics; a frying pan, two pots of different sizes, plates and utensils, a potato peeler, can opener, wine bottle opener (have yet to use that one), couple sharp knives, cutting board, lime juicer (used almost daily down here), couple stirring spoons, tongs, and BBQ skewers. That’s it. There hasn’t been any kitchen gadget that I’ve missed in our time here and we cook pretty much every single one of our meals from scratch since Terra has to eat gluten free. All of these items fit into two very small drawers. LEARNING LESSON: when back in US, in creating our dream home at some point, we will design a very efficient and small kitchen with apartment sized (rather than full sized) appliances.
Our living room/dining room are combined. We actually spend a lot of time in the trailer because we don’t have an outdoor sitting area (other than folding chairs). Our small table (2’x3’) is great for all the card games that we play, for Terra’s home schooling, for Andrew and I to do our Spanish studies, for us to watch movies on our laptop, and of course for us to eat our meals on. With organization (we each have our own plastic bins that we place our personal belongings into such as books and writing utensils) and as long as each person puts their things away after use, the table surface is available for the next activity. Underneath each of the bench seats is storage space for extra belongings such as our backpacks, batteries, other games, printer, etc… We rarely need to access those things so they are just fine under there. LEARNING LESSON: in designing our dream home, create built in furniture that can multi task as storage. Also, we have seen that we actually need VERY little space to do fun, family oriented activities. Our living room and dining rooms can be combined and need not take up a lot of space.