This is our first home as a married couple. And we are loving it. Side effects of simplifying my life – priorities that stay priorities. We wanted to live on a mountain. We have a forest and a stream closeby. We run into horses from time to time. The trade off of picking a place like this comes at the cost of being cut off from the city, commute, price and above all space. To afford living in this place, we had to forego square footage. Downsizing from 1000sft to 470 sft is not an easy task. We did it. I am holding on to my many many shoes hidden in a box in the corner for now. We plan to move to SFO next year where we may have to fit into an 400sft space. I know that the shoes have to go, one day soon. We are preparing for the challenge. 

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It was an innocent Saturday. He took me to see a “cottage we wont live in”. And it was love at first sight. He waited it out to let my emotions act themselves out and soon, I agreed to move. There was wilderness, trails, creeks down that little hill. Vines all over the cottage and a tiny space that is perfect for two people who need to live in close quarters at all times.

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But move in meant quite a bit of downsizing. 1000 sft worth furniture and household items need to be reevaluated. Over the years, we hunted down what we call “treasures” to make our living spaces warm and comforting. Books filled with letters. Wisdom of Julia Child and Tamar Adler. Maps from every place we visited. An antique treasure chest from India. A couch he bargained for. Cast iron and copper cookware. My shoes… you know, the things that typically reside in a home.

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Then, the reality dawned in. I had to let go of a lot. Embrace the tiny space. Beyond the initial days of coziness, the lack of multiple appliances and modern kitchen set up bogged me down. The closet space made me donate stuff I didnt want to let go. Having friends over made me nervous. Cooking for 10, was approached like a scheduling job in a pipeline of a factory. Where do all the electronics go ? Tiny house movement ? Why are they romanticizing it ?

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Today marks 5 months in this home. And its been good. I do not miss anything I let go. What to see what our tiny home looks like ? Here’s a sneak at it. This is our kitchen-dining-living room.

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We started spending more time outdoors. The position of the tv doesn’t matter. We eat dinner outdoors on the steps out looking the valley. I look at pinterest less. Props disappeared and I dont craving the Scandinavian white space full of nothings. Dresses and shoes – donated. We try to get very creative in our little kitchen and eat well. Our friends grab whatever seating they can find when they visit us, and they haven’t stopped dropping by. Thanks guys ! Means a lot to us. It wasn’t easy. It is getting easier. But it’s a challenge that I find more and more enjoyable. We are urban camping our way through life. I am going through a process of unlearning lot of needs.

“ You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries, they only asked one question after a man died, ‘Did he have passion?’ “

When frustrated, this is my personal mantra. I do feel the deficit at times but all the reading I do has been helping me. Victor Frankl writes about how the ones who have a bigger purpose, don’t live for pleasure.  Thoreau wrote ‘The Walden‘ while in a meaningful relationship with the nature around him. Although I don’t see myself running off into the woods, living in a shed and growing my own beans, I see how easy I have it.

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Kitchen was the hardest to downsize. So I didn’t. Chaitanya asked me, “You have everything. But where is it ? Where is your panty ?”. I don’t know. It’s all in there somewhere. Now to the complaints. We don’t have an oven. Two burner stove slows us down when cooking. Our bedroom is like a black hole with no windows == no natural light coming through. We get a really good nights sleep but often wake up late if we hit the snooze button on the alarm. Animals run into our home when we leave the doors open for more space and ventilation. When we fight, it’s very annoying to be in such close quarters. But we are learning to live with it during our stay. The pros outweigh the cons. It takes 20 minutes to clean the place. Or 2 hours to deep clean. We can resist buying stuff because we don’t want to clutter this beautiful space. Its becoming easier to let go more. One day, I want to be able to pack up everything we own in less than 4 hours and be able to leave. I would like to have such mobility and a life with lots of travel.

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Extras. Our landlords have a cat ( cinco ) and a dog ( ombre ). We get to pet and play with them without the responsibility of owning a pet. I think the pets really like us. This cat is the most curious living being I ever met. I see him walking on rooftops and climbing the tallest trees. I have newfound respect for cats. And this guy is a celebrity with our folk.

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I, by no means am complaining about my home or circumstances. I know how good I have it. I blog about my downsizing – closet, books, activities, … etc. Downsizing a home was bound to happen. Its the best thing that ever happened to me. I have lots of mental clarity and time these days.  We are looking at this as a learning period before we move into a smaller place in SFO ( next year ). I know my big box of shoes needs to be put to the test of downsizing in the future. I am preparing for it. Another big step we are working on is becoming a zero waste household. We are slowly phasing out the plastic and the disposables. We are learning about compost and starting a small home garden. I am going to blog about it all.