Excessively fond of a cottage

I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to get rid of everything I own and move to a tiny house.

When we lived in Europe in 2012, I fell in love with so many of the places we stayed. They were perfectly equipped with everything you could need but were gloriously uncluttered.

I read a P&P fanfic on New Year’s Day that inspired me to try some virtual small-scale living this year. In the story, the new husband of a selfish and lazy Lydia Bennet moves with her into a tiny two-room cottage with no servants. She has no housekeeping skills, but she manages to learn how to keep her little home neat and clean. Ultimately, she learns they are actually rich and moves into their grand estate, but she manages well because she started small and built up her skills.

I decided that I am going to try something similar and start 2016 in a “cottage” of my own. It’s a slightly bigger two-room cottage consisting of our kitchen (and breakfast nook area, so we have somewhere to eat) and our master bedroom (and bathroom, for obvious reasons). That’s it.

What’s the point? Just to give myself a focus, as well as a mental break from stressing about this big house. If all I have to concern myself with is this little “cottage,” that will be easy to clean and keep clutter-free.  Besides, it’s fun! I’m still allowing myself to use the rest of the house, of course, but those rooms have new designations: the laundromat, the scrapbook store, the game store, etc. (My guest room is currently “one of those places you can take things to get someone to sell them on eBay for you,” since that’s where we’ve staged the huge pile of stuff to sell that had resided by our bed for about five years.) I’m jokingly calling the rest of the house “the village.”

I know it’s a silly notion, and I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve been smiling for the last few days whenever David (who is totally on board with this plan) talks about what we can do to fix up the cottage. It’s so much nicer to think of than “we need to do a lot of work around the house.” Semantics, I know, but hey! Whatever works, right?

Now I’m off to do the dishes and tidy up my little cottage kitchen. A place for everything and everything in its place, you know!

I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a short distance of London, where I might drive myself down at any time, and collect a few friends about me and be happy.
Jane Austen

Plan #16 – Get those photos stored safely!

Forever

Photos. They are an incredible joy; they can be an incredible pain. I have so many photos stored in so many places: On my phone. In my email. On my home computer, my work computer, my laptop. On SD cards. On CDs. Slides and negatives and prints, in boxes and bags and piles and – believe it or not – scrapbooks.

Over the years, I have been organizing my digital photos using a product I love. It goes by Forever Historian now, though it was once Memory Manager from Creative Memories. It lets you sort your photos into “Albums,” tag them any way you like, and search for them easily. It even recognizes faces after you label them once! You can rank your photos, write notes about them, edit them, and share them, all from one program. I’ve been using it for years now, and I really like it. (I’ve also used their Artisan program for photo projects for years as well. In fact, all my blog headers have been made on Artisan!)

I still have had two little problems with digital photo storage, though. First, I am not good at backing things up. I have known for ages that I should be backing stuff up online, but how?? Kryptonite? Dropbox? One of the photo services like Snapfish or Shutterfly?

Apparently the people at Forever have got our backs. They have integrated Historian with a permanent online storage program, so now all I need to do is upload the photos I have in Historian right to my Forever online account. In fact, I even got an app for my phone that automatically backs my phone photos to the storage account without my even having to think about it. I have just barely started using it, and I already love it. I’ll keep you posted as I transition the photos to that account and learn all its ins and outs. I’m totally psyched to get up to speed.

Now, if only I could get Forever to organize my future scrapbook room for me, I’d be set!

Plan #14 – Run some errands

Are you like me? Do you get “pick-up amnesia”?

I swear, if I drop something off at a local business, that thing ceases to exist for me. The pants I dropped off to get hemmed? Gone. The film that is being developed? Forgotten. The package that I am supposed to pick up at the Post Office? What package?

The few times that a fleeting thought of the item hits my consciousness, it is after midnight, the place is closed, and I wouldn’t be able to get the stuff anyway.

But November is the month of executing plans! So today I made a list of all those neglected errands and decided to knock them off, one by one.

First stop: Action Fast Photo. Got some absolutely gorgeous pictures that Quinland had taken in Europe… almost five months ago. (Disclaimer: I took pictures of these pictures with my phone. The original quality of the prints is much better. I still love them, though.)

Chiesa

Doges Palace

Next stop: the Post Office, where I picked up a pair of shoes I’d ordered from eBay a few weeks back. They put the notice on our door quite a few days ago. There was postage due (damn you, eBay seller and your claims of free shipping!) so we had to pick it up in person.

Then: the dry cleaners, where I picked up a pair of jeans I’d had hemmed for Quinland. Honestly, I can’t tell you how long ago that was. Months and months and months.

I also took back some stuff of other people’s that had gotten left at our house. I didn’t make it to Powell’s (to sell that box of books that has been sitting there since August) or to Goodwill (to return some stuff and drop off a huuuuuge box of stuff we are getting rid of, or to Fred Meyer to return some key hooks, or…

Yeah, I still have my work cut out for me. But thanks to today’s errands, we have some excess stuff out, some useful stuff in, and some lovely places to remember. Hooray!

Gondola