Oh those small spaces <—-click there.
I have visited NYC twice, neither time left me with a feeling of connection, rather the exact opposite, both times I was ready to get the heck outta dodge. Too big, too crowded, too expensive, too dangerous, too impersonal, too not me. However, one thing that does continue to draw my attention, is the not so uncommon degree of emphasis on “small spaces”. If one reads about the prices of real estate in NYC, it becomes obvious that there is a huge price to pay to live in that part of the country. I suppose that there are many folks who do not share my negative view of that city or the prices of real estate would not be so outrageous. That said, even though squeezing into a crowded city is not my cup of tea, the actual use of small spaces does make perfect sense. I rather believe that when we as a population of 300 million and growing exponentially each generation come to terms with what this means in the larger picture, we might do our future generations a little favor if we take time to rethink our present attitudes toward our bigger is better, especially in regard to living spaces.
I have lived in many small spaces; most of my life I have been an apartment dweller, but when I moved from T-town and ran into economic hardship, I really had to decide where to place my priorities regarding how much living space I could actually afford. Initially scaling down was not easy, it felt like shedding skin. Over the years I had become a “pack-rat” and even when space was not available inside my home space, I would rent a storage shed and keep it in there. I did that for many years. I wasted lots of money, I learned storage space is really the waiting room for the dump. Many times I would store things for a while and eventually break down and just throw away junk no long useful to me, and donate the other stuff to places like the salvation army.
I have a few picture of places I have lived in the last 10 years.
This was my first adventure into living in small spaces and what an adventure it was. I had a decent job, but not enough income to pay a car payment, insurance and also rent, utilities, and have a little money left over at the end of the month. So I ended up locating this little doozy of a living space. It was very compact. The length was about 35 feet long, the width 11 feet wide. The reason the fridge is on the porch? It would not fit inside and also the door was too small to get it inside anyway. It had a very small and old wood burning fireplace for heat, and I had a small window a/c. It did have running water, it had a shower, two sinks, one kitchen, one bathroom, but it had a outhouse. It cost me 225.00 a month. It was on high hill in Fayetteville Arkansas which covered about 200 acres of undeveloped land. It was very private, and felt like living back 100 years ago.
Here is another viewpoint, the little small closet to the right is the privy. I must tell you it wasn’t THAT bad, once you got used to the enormous spiders (size and count) that inhabited it. There were more spiders in that little box shed than I have ever seen before. But the surrounding area of forest was so peaceful. The worst part of having a bathroom outside is going to it when it was blizzard cold and if you had to go in the middle of the night. I learned how to live that way, and learned how to work around things like that. I am a better person for it, I promise you that for sure.
One of the problems that I encounter during my stay there, was a guy who rented the little house next to me, he left me alone, but another woman who lived near me, told me she had been visited by him and that he scared her. Lucky for me he never bothered me, but one day as I was leaving for work, about 9 police officers were walking across the pasture coming into our little cove, later I found out he was arrested and put in jail for rape charges. I never knew he was THAT dangerous….The house he had been renting had no water, no heater, nor any way to cook, nothing but a flimsy wall and leaky roof, after that, no one ever moved into it again. I was glad of that.
In spite of some obvious downfalls, I still loved living there, but eventually had to move on. My next move was into my Airsteam (see next photo)
The Airstream, a 1975 model 32 feet long x 9 feet wide, it has been good to me, I loved living here, it is built for compact living, lots of closets, shelves and other ways to incorporate ones need to downsize, yet holds just enough to survive quite nicely.
Here is a little closer view of my desk space. I had it made.
This was about 10 miles outside of Eureka Springs and about 1 mile from the White River. It was so pretty out here, I paid about 300.00 a month to hook-up in this extremely private space. I only had one neighboring rv’er and he lived in Tulsa, and he only visited during the summer months, and was only there a couple of day during his visits. I was very happy here, but unfortunately I could not find work, When one lives out this far, income become a huge factor. There is a joke about living in Eureka Springs, it goes like this, what does someone do with a large fortune when they come to Eureka Springs, AR? answer; they turn it into a small fortune. I eventually found work in Branson, MO. I found a small space over in Shell Knob, MO. It was a cozy cabin about one mile from Table Rock Lake. I still had to drive an hour drive to work and back, but the rent was all I could afford, and I believed that trade-off to be worthwhile, so I stored my RV (that was added expense) moved into the little cabin. Drove my hour drive to work and back and worked at the Chateau on The Lake in Branson, MO as a Banquet Captain. Which by the way, this stately convention center covered 32,000 square feet, (not a typo) and word of warning, that type of space is not for anyone who is not in good physical condition. I never go used to walking that space, nor the tremendous stress created by that job.
Here is a picture of my front yard when the RV was parked near the White River. Amazing.
Here was my neighbors rv, he had a newer model Airstream, but it was cool that there were two Airstreams parked on this private land.
Here is my little outside space that I had when I lived in the cabin near Table Rock Lake, it was so cozy and wonderfully scenic there, I truly loved taking photos each and every day.
I got photos like this one all the time. I was in absolute heaven. I did not care what the inside of my small space looked like it was fine, but then I went outside and found views like this. It was divine~
Inside view of my cabin, it was one room and bath. The room had space for my blow-up mattress and kitchen. I did fine, it wasn’t any trouble living in the space provided me, yet once again, work was impossibly hard to find, so I had to eventually move on. Rent? 360 month all bills paid. Still with little income that amount of rent added with car/insurance and incidentals (food, etc) it didn’t take long to eat up a minimum wage paycheck.
Outside on my deck in the evening was wonderful. I loved my experience there, did some good writing, good photography there also. But be that as it may, time came, I had to move.
Now, On to the bigger picture….…
The Pale Blue Dot is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Here is a link to that photo
to view the Dot, click on photo number 7 of 8, when you view this photo notice the faintness of our planet against this immense backdrop of space. Speaking of inhabiting a small space, our planet seen from this viewpoint is about as insignificant as a particle of dust laying on the desk you are now sitting at. If you are able to perceive the incredible size of our planet in those terms, maybe you can also realize the faintness of our own personal life experience. I can for a few minutes, then of course life tugs at my apron string, and I jump back into the day to day stuff that fills my head.
Sometimes when I view life in this manner, I begin to understand those who remind me that being here is just an illusion, so enjoy this life as much as humanly possible.
The U.S. Census Bureau expects the U.S.A. population to grow to reach these estimates over the next few decades:
- 2010 – 309,162,581
- 2020 – 336,031,546
- 2030 – 363,811,435
- 2040 – 392,172,658
- 2043 – 400,527,776 (the ye
- ar of 400 million)
Small spaces in the House here…
The room here at the House is one of the best kept I have seen in the last 3 years I lived here. These two girls are incredibly organized, I keep telling them they need to conduct seminars on how to do this? I would take the course.
My next segment will be on how to declutter, because living in a small space requires one to learn how to fight off the constant urge we are programmed from youth into adulthood, which is collect ‘stuff’. After all, we are not born in the USA for naught, we are born to shop!!!! Rock on Consumer!