Could You Live In A Tiny House?

Post by: Kelly Murphy

Due to recent life changes, I’m seriously pondering the above question-Could you (as in me) live in a tiny house? Okay, of all the questions I’m considering, here’s the first ……..

HOW TINY ARE WE TALKING?
I recently downsized from a home of 1308 square feet, which housed 3 people, a cat, and a dog, to… a one room studio @ my mom’s-which houses 2 people, and a cat and a dog.
So, I have moments that I think, “I can’t wait to move into  my own space,” and then other times I say, “If we can live like this then a tiny house would be a piece of cake!” So, my biggest question is.. what is the least and most square footage I can stand?  This isn’t a question I have answered for myself, yet.  In the tiny house movement there is such variety in square footage.   So, I plan to research that aspect and move on to the next question, which is…

WHERE DO I PUT MY TINY HOUSE?
This is another very important question? If I did have one, where would it go? Would I be able to rent some land on which to put my tiny house or would I have to buy land? Or do I have land, or do I know someone who has some land that I could rent, monthly? (I have a friend who lives on someone’s vacation property-which has an old house, and his presence gives them comfort. So, he inhabits the property, and does some renovations on the home-in his spare time, and they pay his utilities.)  This is a nice setup for him, but I haven’t found a gig like that yet.)
If I had a friend I thoroughly trusted, there could be a possibility of co-purchasing land. Sharing land with a like-minded individual could be very rewarding, and could be an awesome arrangement, but since I am new to the area,  trusted friends are in short supply. So, moving on to the next question…..
WHAT DOES A TINY HOUSE COST?
There are lots of builders out there, but I think in researching the cost, the location of the builder and his warehouse (and shipping costs)  must be considered. Depending on the budget of the project, most builders charge per mile for shipping, so, I plan to do some research on how much per mile.  I will get back to you on that. As far as Arkansas builders, I know of one who provides free shipping within 300 miles, of the area code, which could make a huge difference on shipping costs.  Upon my last communication with this particular builder, the initial “set up” for the house on wheels-which many tiny houses have, is free. After that, there is a charge, so I would need to find out how much that would be also.
And what is the cost of the  actual house? A ballpark figure is between $15,000-$90,000. So some specifics to what plan and what kind mist be researcjed/  The plans for a tiny house are fairly inexpensive, but…. the building of a tiny house is where the expenses can begin to mount. 
HOW TO GET STARTED? 
The way I plan to get started is by collecting pictures of different aspects of  houses that I like.  By that I mean, anything I have always wanted in a house, I will put in my ‘Idea File’.  An example is this… I have always wanted a spiral staircase. I don’t know if that is even feasible for my  tiny house plan, but I want to ask.   
A friend suggested I sketch out some plans on what I want to put where, so I think that is a good idea. I am no David Bromstead though, I can’t make those beautiful sketches of rooms like he does, but I could try to put something down, on paper, since I am specifically thinking of ideas for small spaces.
So, I will let you know what I find out in my research, but in the meantime….what about you? Is there anything you have always wanted to have in a house but never had, or something you had in a house that you had/have and you hate?   I’d love to hear your ideas!  Leave a comment, or email me!

Minimalist Sunday

posted by: Kelly Murphy

Today is a minimalist Sunday for me. No running around like crazy trying to get things done (since tomorrow is Monday and I haven’t gotten everything done on my list, “Ahh!”) Have you ever shared that feeling?

But…. just for today, I am planning to relax, rather than running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Just for today, I plan on listening to what others say, rather than being distracted because I am trying to multitask (because tomorrow is Monday, and I am trying to slam in everything I didn’t get to do this weekend).

This is a new concept for me, being a perfectionist-challenged person.    I will listen to my daughter when she speaks to me, rather than looking at a magazine, or computer, or the TV, so that I can be fully present.

Today, I am going to savor every moment I have with her, listen to every silly comment, deep thought, and story she wants to tell me.

And last of all…..today, I will look out amid God’s creation and see His beauty, whether it is in the cityscapes or the mountains of the country, or whether it is within the nice person behind the counter @ the gas station or grocery store, or in the guy who tailgates me, if I drive my car.

So, what will you do today, so you’ll have no regrets, tomorrow?

Happy Sunday!

How Would a Tiny House Change You?

Post by: Kelly Murphy

How would living in a tiny house change your life? Or more specifically a Tiny Texas House? If you would care to express your ideas on the subject-that of tiny house living, here is your chance! Check out the contest over at Tiny Texas Houses. I am adding the link so you can check out all the pictures and information. And if you feel like writing about it, there is an essay contest going on, too!

Here is the link  www.tinytexashouses.com

The winner of the essay contest will win a one of a kind Tiny Texas House.

Brad Kittel is the owner of the website and is keen on the concept of sustainability. He doesn’t just build small houses, but small houses made purely with salvage materials.  Check it out!

And if you care to comment on how living in a tiny house would change you, please do! Talk about minimalism!

Tips on Preparing Your Teenager for the First Day Back to School

Post by: Kelly Murphy

For many, the first day of school is a stressful, but exciting time. Listed are a few ideas on how to make the transition easier:

The day before….

If your child walks to school, walk the route she/he will be taking, with her/him  to familiarize both of you with the areas or cross walks you want him or her to take, and chart the time it will take to get to school. This will help your  teens know exactly when he or she will need to be walking out the door of your house, not just when she or he should arrive at school.

If possible, visit the school beforehand to familiarize her/him with the school. Do a walk-through of the class schedule to alleviate anticipation of getting lost, or being late to class.  This is especially important if this is a new school for your child.

Locate each classroom he/she will be attending. This helps reduce any embarrassment or stress many junior high students may feel and helps with time management.

Locate her/his locker.

Next, complete any tasks which can be done the night before.  Some of these may include, but are not limited to:

Shower/Bathe  (Any shaving, nail painting, or hair-washing should be to previously completed to make for a less-stressful and speedy departure.)

Go to bed early.   A teenager may not actually go to sleep early, but it will provide time to unwind, listen to favorite music, and relax.

Spend 20 minutes with your teen. Be open to encourage and listen about any concerns or comments.

Lay  out clothes (Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C (if girls)

Pack the lunch or snacks and refrigerate.

Pack and place school bag with essential supplies by the front door, or the car trunk  (if you are taking all school supplies at once).

Put a note on the school bag, or front door reminding you to get the lunch out of the refrigerator!

Charge cell phone

Share a blessing, encouragement, or a prayer with your teen. Let her/him know you can’t wait to hear how great her day will be when you see or talk to each other the  in the evening.

The morning of the first day of school:

  • Get up a little early
  • Allow a 15-minute warning before walking out the door.
  • Make sure you and your teen eat a simple and nutritious breakfast! (Yes, even a granola or cereal bar is nutritious!)
  • Smile, hug, and kiss your teenager before she/he leaves. (They may not love it, but you will feel much better).
  • Say a prayer for your teen. This can be done aloud or silently. Even having a moment of silence but standing there with your hands on your teen will be good.  (Again, they may not love it, but you will feel much better.  P.S. Do this before you leave the house, and not in the school parking lot. You may love it but they won’t feel better).
  • Be willing to listen when she/he gets home!

Now, get out there, and have a great first day back to school!

Share your comments below!

6 Savey Ideas for Back to School!

Post: by Kelly Murphy

WHAT IS THE LOWDOWN ON SAVING FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES?

I have some ideas on this subject and here they are: .

1. Basics only– Get only what you need.  Shot an email to the teacher, or make a phone call to the school and ask for what must be purchased before Christmas. I have found that so many of the school supplies goes on clearance about September, very inexpensively. Now get the rest of the list.

2. Lunch Boxes, and Backpacks. Reuse last year’s backpack!  I got lucky this year , because my daughter’s school doesn’t allow backpacks, but it would have been fine for her to reuse the one she had. (Then shop for clearance for next year’s in September!)

3.Grab this year’s school supply list off of the internet, or at a sponsoring dept store, and next years’ also. When things go on clearance stock up!

4. Calculators, Again find out EXACTLY when they will be used, (email the teacher) and see if you can delay until it goes on sale. ( My 7th grader had to purchase a certain calculator for PreAlegebra, and didn’t actually use it until Christmas).  I was able to buy it on sale, which saved us about $11 on a $115 calculator. When you’re living on a shoestring, anything helps! )

5. Clothes… Can you say thrift stores? Uniforms.  Email friends, post to Facebook,  Freecycle… whatever. If you have to purchase them @ the store, only buy 3 coordinating shorts, pants, and shirts. It works.

6. Tax-exempt day… For some this is a way to save but if you keep an eye out for clearance stuff this year, you won’t have to go through the rush of the tax-exempt day crowd.  If you are brave enough, here is a link for all U.S. states….. 

http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/649/back-to-school-shoppers-get-a-break-on-sales-taxes (P.S. This link is daughter’s father’s contribution to school supply support, money not included. Very helpful K.B. Thanks.)

 

Am I A Minimalist, Really?

Post: by Kelly Murphy

Am I a minimalist, really

Well, I thought I was.  I had been sorting through stuff  over the last three or four years. And don’t we all have different views of what a minimalist is and what a minimalist does?  

As I’ve said before, my mission toward becoming minimalistic has been gradual, and began just by simply purging unused teaching stuff, and clothing. 

My childhood home looked “lived in” or cluttered, since Mom and Dad were both very ‘innovative repurposers’. We had lots of stuff around, and while this was due to necessity, it provided me lots of time spent dusting, cleaning, organizing, and straightening. Most of which I found annoying.  We saved mostly everything, and were very minimalist and thrifty with our resources, but as for getting rid of “unneeded stuff-not so much…because, well ..we needed everything. 

 This type upbringing, can affect a person one of three ways…..to live the same way,-keep everything, or go in the opposite direction-get rid of everything, or like me… adopt a combination of both.   Over the past five years, visiting my mom has always left me with a fervor to go back home and purge my belongings, so that when I am gone, that aspect of my leaving, my possessions, won’t complicate their feelings of my loss. While I try not to think about those aspects of having to deal with her possessions upon her departure I know it’s inevitable.

 Anyway,  when I returned to our Memphis home, and began to purge, I started to experience that feeling of space, and I liked it!
Sometimes, it was just when I dusted and cleared of my desk, other times it was when I ditched half of the clothes from my closet I never wore. Once, it was when I went through my kitchen container cabinet and threw out 10 Cool Whip containers I’d used for leftovers. I’d have been happy to recycle them,  but they are #5s, which my local recycling center didn’t take.    And sometimes it was just by disposing of my daughter’s school papers, keeping only the highlights, and not every single piece.  It felt good. Now, I am not saying go rent a dumpster and get rid of everything-unless you want to do that… I am just saying for me-gradual was the way it worked best.

But now…after returning to my mother’s home,

  • (due to being recently separated,
  • and now being sued for divorce,
  • left with zero cash flow, (except for the less than state-required child support received by the father)
  • after 14 years of being a stay@home mom (while totally renovating our recently sold home-exterior and interior),
  • and caring for a family member when an unexpected illness occurred
  •  and seeking employment in the teaching field (this sometimes occurs for those who choose to become unpaid, full-time mothers and wives,)….

I realized that at least in some ways….can only strive to be the minimalist my mother is.

Let me preface these following comments by saying that my mom,  like most people in their  late 70’s,

~draws social security
~and like many, of that age, is on a squeaky tight income.
~She, like many of that era, is a believer in thriftiness,
~and now has some medical challenges. So she has her reasons for trying to conserve energy. (She is in the hospital, as I write, so I’d appreciate any healing and happy thoughts and prayers you send her way!)
To many of that era, and especially to my mom,

Minimalism is….

  • Filling a cup with water while brushing her teeth, rather than drinking from her hand while rinsing and spitting. You won’t see her letting the water run while brushing, like  I sometimes do. Nope. Actually, she probably rinses her mouth out with the same water with which she rinses her toothbrush but I don’t know that for a fact. (She is all about gray water usage.)
  • Suggesting we do the same, and providing a repurposed ice cream bucket for us to put in the sink if we choose not to do the same, to save that water for watering her two huge turnips she has potted in her bay window.
  • Opening the windows, and tying back the window coverings during daylight, rather than turning on an overhead light.
  • Checking on us to  see that we have taken her suggestion of tying back the window coverings, during daylight, rather than turning on an overhead light.
  • Fervently suggesting we shower without lights, since there is a window in the bathroom-or on a cloudy day, suggesting we use only one light.
  • Checking to see if we are showering without lights, since there is a bathroom window, and assisting my daughter or me by turning off the lights during a shower, especially on a sunny day. (She is into solar power.)
  • Cooking in the dark, even on cloudy days, since the kitchen has a window. (No dimmer switch needed in this house.)
  • Always using a dish pan when washing dishes. (She’s very hands-on), and believes human hands are the best way to wash dishes, and does not want a dishwasher.
  • Keeping a flashlight on a stool by her hall closet, to see inside because it’s dark, instead of turning on the hall light.
  • Always having a dish pan in the sink, so that anytime water is running, for any reason, hand washing, rinsing, etc., it will all be contained in the dish pan for reuse for plants or washing dishes. (She really loves gray water usage).
  • Only using paper towels when it is an absolute necessity. (‘necessity’ to her being only poop). Note: Puck, or greasy stuff are  not neccesity, because, (and I quote) “for that a dishcloth can be used, and rinsed out in the water saved in the dish pan.”  Sorry if you already knew that.  True story..About twelve years ago a store here in Harrison (AR) was going out of business, and Mom read in the newspaper they had Bounty paper towels on clearance for 99 cents.  I remember that my daughter, was still young enought to be in a  toddler seat, and that we were up for a visit from Memphis.  Mom gave me $12 and waited in the car, while I went in to buy as many rolls as the $12 could buy.  It worked out to about 15 rolls…   Fast forward to last week when I was looking in her upper cabinets for something and there were those paper towels I’d purchased for her. I know they are the same rolls I purchased because I asked.  In 12 years she has only used 9 rolls. Now, that, is minimalism.
  • Toilet flushing is not as necessary every time. Do you get my drift? Oh, and you don’t have to have the light on when you use the toilet because (and I quote) “Don’t you know by now, where everything is?” And really…what can you say to that?
  • Doing laundry only when everything you own, (even minimalists like my daughter and me), is dirty.    So much so, that we have to sit around in our pjs because we own nothing else clean. And if you want to wash your sheets you’d better write down when you did it last to prove they need it!
  • Showering is preferred ONLY when doing really stinky work has occurred outside. And often we try to go swimming on those really hot days. So, using her logic, why take a shower, if you are going swimming at the river, or the pool, since the chlorine is a disinfectant, and  the river is nature.

All this to say, in her own way, my mother is more of a minimalist than I, but I am trying to be better at consuming fewer resources.

So, try this yourself this week and see how you do…

  • Turn off the lights if you leave a room
  • Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth.
  • Shower with one less, or no light on. Don’t shower everyday and spot bathe on days you know you will be getting sweaty, and don’t have other commitments.
  • Keep track of how often you wash your sheets. P.S. If you make your bed daily, you won’t have to wash them as often.
  • Try using a dish pan when you hand wash dishes. You will see, in a tangible way, how much water you use.
  • Laundry can be done less often. When you do it, use cold water, not hot. Or, wear those jeans one more time. Try airing them outdoors for a few hours to freshen.
  • Flush your toilet only when essential. You can probably figure this one out.
  • Enjoy showering by candlelight! I miss that, and I love nice-smelling candles, but candles can’t be used when oxygen is in use in a home.

My refresher course in minimalism, by living with my mom, has reminded me that others around the world don’t think this is the least bit unusual, and we in America could be much more conservative in our consumption. And are very blessed!

Thanks for reading, and if you like what you read please retweet or share with others.

A Quick Way 2 Clean Your Refrigerator Coils

Post by: Kelly MurphyBriley

Hey friends!  I discovered something powerful this week….

a time-saving way to clean the coils on my refrigerator. I didn’t do this before the move, but waited until I arrived. I’d already cleaned out the inside before I left, but gave it a swipe with a soapy dishcloth anyway.

What I hadn’t done in several years, was clean the coils. Now, if you, like me,  read all kinds of tips to save on electricity and energy, and while doing so think…  I’ve done that. Oh, I do that! Done that.. etc. ( I am sooo proud of myself, until I get to the part about cleaning off the refrigerator coils behind and under the refrigerator.) then…you need this lesson!

I know from experience it is really easy to accidentally mess something up, or touch something just enough to mess something up, while doing this because I have done it.

I once cleaned the coils under my refrigerator and knocked some hose off that I had to receive help from a very good Mr. Fix-It, (not my husband) –to get it back on. It took two hours of both of us laying on the kitchen floor, and a lot of aggravation to get it done though!  I want to help you avoid going through what I did, so here it is…
my new way of cleaning out the coils on the refrigerator.

~take the front vent off at the front bottom of the refrigerator. You can clean it later.
~using a wrench, take the cardboard back near the bottom with a frig, off. Clean it off and set aside.
~using your blower that you use in the yard, (Yes, you heard me correctly)  turn it on and aim it under the refrigerator and wherever you see “stuff.”
~Make sure you have anything near the refrigerator that would fall off or blow away, put up or in another room.  This part may take a bit of time, but it is still less time than it would take to crawl around the floor trying to suck out all the dust with a vacuum cleaner.
~And it is a good idea to aim all the stuff that will come out from under your refrigerator toward the back door or open a window, or just let it fly and vacuum it up when you have completed the blowing.

~ It’s later…. so wash off the ventl from the bottom front of the frig, and put it back on.

I know this is a very weird idea, but it took me 5-10 minutes vs. 30 minutes to an hour of trying to vacuum the coils without getting my hands cut up. Just be sure your frig is unplugged when you are blowing!

Good luck! Let me know how it works @akellygal@yahoo.com, or leave a comment below.

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