Tiny House Part 3: The Purge

I entitled this “The Purge,” but the purge actually happened in waves.

I’d already gotten rid of much of the junk my hoarder husband had insisted on keeping, and passed several of his things along to kids and grandkids, but in March I began the first true purge. There was a charity auction coming up and, even though I knew I would still be living in the apartment for another 5ish months, I pulled out everything that I 1) knew I could live without, 2) felt would bring at least something at an auction, 3) had confirmed that my kids wouldn’t want, and 4) couldn’t possibly take in the move, and I donated it all to the auction. I knew I still had a lot to let go of, including some things I really wanted to hang onto, but this move forward felt like an enormous success! It also helped raise hundreds of dollars.

The second wave of the purge happened as our floor plan was refined. There were some things that were non-negotiable. I had a queen mattress and, though I knew I’d be buying a new frame for it, I was not willing to drop down to a smaller bed. I also had a good-sized desk my son had just given me that I was determined to keep on the grounds that I needed it and it would serve as both work space and dining table. These two things were worked into the floor plan with about an inch to spare and determined the length of the bathroom (Which is the perfect size, by the way!) I was also set on keeping my lingerie chest, which provides an amazing amount of drawer space for its footprint.

With these things in mind, it was time to get real about what I needed, wanted, and couldn’t keep no matter what. The furniture that hadn’t gone in the auction was either given away or promised to others. The massive artwork that I felt would be completely out of scale for such a small space was also handed off to some who could appreciate it. I knew I would have limited closet space, so I hard purged my closet, getting rid of anything other than special occasion dresses that I hadn’t worn in the past year. I then pulled my out-of-season clothes and packed them away; I’ll explain that later. Then I measured what I had left. I was shooting for 3 linear feet of current hanging clothing. A lot hit the floor. I sent bags of clothes out the door.

I dealt with other things in similar manner, and worked towards actually living in that apartment the way I would end up living here. By that, I mean I figured out how I would store my shoes, I kept clothing in a small area, I rearranged my lingerie chest to accommodate my new lifestyle… In other words, I did my best to start tiny home living while still in the apartment.

The third wave of purging happened in those last few weeks. I’d hung onto some things just because, but in those final weeks I was giving away, throwing away, and donating things left and right. I knew I wouldn’t be doing much more than microwaving over here, so the only baking dishes I kept were two that will fit in my microwave. It and my electric kettle are my cooking team. Oh, and the toaster I just bought because I’ve been wanting peanut butter toast and hot Pop Tarts.

One of the most challenging parts of the purge was my book collection. If it weren’t for my kindle and my ability to store hundreds of books there, I would be in serious trouble. The book purge, itself, was actually a multi-step process as I slowly peeled my fingers off the spines of some of my long-time favorites.

I should mention that I’d been offered the option of storing some things elsewhere in the building, but I’d refused. I came into this journey determined to REALLY live in my tiny house. And truly, as I’ve lived here for the past several weeks, I’ve still found myself purging. Only when I got in here did I realize things like the fact that I had a ridiculous number of washcloths for one person – that’s actually what I passed along most recently. There have been several times when I’ve left things on my sister’s bar and texted to let her know they were there if she wanted them.

I’m still settling in, still finding the best way to have things stored, arranged, and used. I’ve gotten rid of things, purchased a few (very few) things, and tweaked left and right. Most excitingly, I had a friend who specializes in reimagining spaces come in and help me get out of the box. She made many suggestions that I was delighted to act on; created new storage solutions, decor, and art for me; and restaged the place. I love it even more today than I did before she came here last.

And so we’ve set the stage for the rest of my story. As we walk through this series, I’ll share things I’ve learned, specifics about choices that were made, and lots of photos showing how I live in my tiny dream home.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

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