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 #8 – Use a hacksaw

I have been slowly turning our spare room into a guest room. Very, very slowly.

We set the room up with a bed, nightstand, and dresser over a year ago when my nephew was staying with us. He moved his stuff in, it looked pretty cool, I was feeling good about the space. But when he moved back home, the room was pretty barren.

At that point, I decided I wanted to have a dedicated guest room. (We’ve lived here ten years, and our guests have been staying in pretty haphazard conditions.) So for the past year, I’ve acquired some things to fix the room up: new sheets, a quilt, some window coverings – but I never got around to putting it all together.

The worst thing? All the unfortunate people who have stayed here this year had to deal with glaring sunshine and/or makeshift window coverings. The blackout shade and the new curtains were right there in the room, but I never managed to get them hung up.

Until now!

Yes, today I broke out the hacksaw and started sawing some metal. See, the Ikea shade I got was sort of one-size-fits-all. You use scissors to cut the shade to fit the window, then saw the extra inches off the metal rod at the top. It took me three tries to get the length right,  so I am now a pro at this whole hacksaw thing. I got to put my skills to use an hour or so later, too, as I hacked down a Goodwill curtain rod for that same window.


Shade = installed; curtains = hung. An excellent day’s work after a year of procrastination.

In related news, my arms are killing me after all this over-my-head drilling and measuring (on top of all the hedge trimming and leaf raking I did this morning). I’m beginning to wonder why I scheduled a massage for 9 AM today instead of 9 PM!

how to make money and save time on your next garage sale

garage sale sign

Every time we have a garage sale, we say, “Never again.” Apparently that phrase does not mean what we think it means.

When we moved to Portland from Tualatin, we went through every item we owned as we packed the moving boxes, determined that no old junk would make the move. Cheap plastic spatulas? No, let’s only take the decent kitchen tools. Particle-board bookshelves and $25 corduroy-and-2×4 sofa from the 70s? No, we’ve moved beyond that college-kid stuff.  We felt we’d streamlined to such an extent that the idea of a future sale was ludicrous. So, goodbye, little stickers! Adios, frantically pricing things at the crack of dawn! We’re done with that garage sale nonsense. Never again! Continue reading “how to make money and save time on your next garage sale”