Living Tiny: Need to stay on top of it!

Oh no!  How did this happen?  Somehow, we accumulated a whole bunch of “stuff” and we’re bursting at the seams. 

Three years ago, we went through multiple rounds of downsizing from nearly 6,000 square feet to around 700 square feet.  We did so well with weeding out all of the stuff we didn’t need.  How did we manage to accumulate so much MORE stuff since then? Well, the bottom line is that we let some of our old habits slip back in, and now it’s time for another clean sweep.

How did our fridge get so full?

It’s so easy to accumulate clothes, shoes, papers, cleaning supplies, condiments, etc. Yes, I said condiments.  Carter is a condimentaholic.  Is that a word???  I stick to the basics when it comes to condiments.  Carter, on the other hand, likes to experiment with the Heinz mashups like Kranch, Mayochup, and Mayoque, Boar’s Head Deli Dressing, and every brand of Ranch dressing he can find. 

Our tiny fridge filled with condiments.

Our little RV fridge is half full of Carter’s condiments (and the other half is full of my cheese!).  Thankfully, he’s finally realized this, and I actually heard him say to himself as we meandered down the condiment aisle, “Stop. You don’t need this.”  Hallelujah! I didn’t even have to remind him of our current overflowing fridge situation.

Now that we’ve officially run out of fridge space, we’ve started another pantry challenge.  Check out the post we wrote about our first food pantry challenge. This time we’re hoping to go 2 weeks without buying groceries.  We’ll let you know how it goes!

What’s at the back of the closet?

The tale of 2 closets: left is Holly’s, right is Carter’s

We both fully admit we like to shop.  I like to shop for good deals on clothes and shoes.  Carter likes to shop for electronic gadgets and tools. However, we’ve had to institute a 1 in 1 out rule.  Our storage and closets were embarrassingly messy and overflowing. We went through our closets and decided to keep 10 days of clothes.  Everything else had to go. Shoes are a different story.  We decided not to toss any of our shoes.  We just organized them a little better, which helps us see what we have in there! We also built light-weight shelves and bought wire baskets to make our closets more efficient.

How many bottles of Windex do we really need (even during a pandemic)?

How did we get 2 bottles of bleach, 2 bottles of dish soap, 3 containers of wipes, 10 sponges, 3 bottles of glass cleaner, etc, etc.?  We need 1 of each of these, right???  Well, we got into a habit of buying cleaning supplies “just in case” we might need them. 

Since we’re spending most of the summer 90 minutes from the nearest Walmart and Costco, we’ve now started a more robust shopping list using the Reminders App.  This app helps us add items to our shopping list in real time, so we’re not guessing what we need.

How do we keep our office organized?

Our makeshift office!

I’ve always had a secret love affair with little notebooks.  I used to collect notebooks.  Lots of them!  When we downsized a couple years ago, I literally had ~100 notebooks.  Can we all say “hoarder”?!?!  Anyway, I kept my 10 favorite notebooks and donated the rest.  But, I always want to buy more. 😊 We travel with our printer, so we’ve started to use the scrap printer paper instead of frilly notebooks.  Much greener and cheaper, just not as stylish!

For all of the other office supplies we need, we bought a shoe organizer and cut off the bottom half of the organizer so it would fit above the table. Each compartment has a purpose: extra cords, envelopes, receipts, maps, pens and pencils, etc.  When we first got the shoe organizer, I thought we’d never fill all of the compartments.  Well, before we cleaned and reorganized, I was thinking we needed a second organizer!

Where did the back seat of our truck go?

As we started accumulating more stuff, we moved several things out of our RV and into the back seat of the truck.  At one point we had coolers, tennis bags, pickleball bags, shoes, extra blankets and pillows, toilet paper, paper towels, and a tent in the back seat.  Some of this is OK, but we were kind of cheating by storing so many extras in the back seat. 

This year we’re giving ourselves a little slack.  With COVID-19, we didn’t really know where we were headed and whether we’d be able to find paper products, etc.  So, for now, we’re just trying to keep the back seat as organized as possible and not fill it with a bunch of stuff we don’t need or use. 

The lessons learned in all of this are plentiful:

  • STAYING tiny is a constant battle and a mindset.  You can’t really let your guard down or it’s easy to slip into old habits.
  • It’s crazy important in a tiny space to stay super organized.  Everything has a place, and if it doesn’t, it needs to go.
  • You need to always follow the 1 in 1 out rule.  If we buy something new, we toss or donate something old.
  • There are a few times when rules have to be broken.  A global pandemic is a pretty valid excuse for carrying around a few extra pounds of stuff you may or may not need.

Living Simply

12 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Nice, nice report…….full of good stuff (and humor)! Judy and I may try the reminder app!….I like this format also!…….thanks! 👍👍

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    • Hi Ed! We’ve tried several other apps to help us get organized. We like the Reminders App because it’s more consistent and allows us to share lists with each other. That way, Judy can share her honey-do list with you! 🙂

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  2. Love your story! Even when you were a little girl you liked having lots of pens and papers 😁! However, you always kept your little roll top desk neat and tidy.

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    • Ah, thanks ma! Everything’s gotta be neat and tidy. I miss that little roll top desk and playing accountant and operator. 😉

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  3. I think you are my USA kids! Super enjoy your thought process, follow through, fall off and regroup. On the condiments overload, Even though I have my big home fridge, those bottles bugged me, so have gone to making some. The likes of mustard, ranch-Italian-Caesar dressings. Leaving ketchup alone…that’s Bob’s must haves. Looking forward to your next post. Stay safe kids!

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    • Hi Pat! We sure miss you and think of you every time we make overnight oats! Ketchup is a must have for Carter too. Maybe I can start making condiments from scratch too. Sounds kinda fun!

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  4. Gord is a condimentaholic too. Bottles of stuff I don’t even know what for! But, last year, with an abundance of tomatoes (cheap) in our region, we made our own ketchup for the first time. I loved it – much more flavourful and no sugar needed. Put in jars in the freezer… so I encourage you to try a few things from scratch. We haven’t bought salad dressings for years now, the various homemade recipes are so much tastier…
    and thanks for sharing your interesting observations on life in a “tiny” space. I miss you both ❤

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    • Hi Karalee! Hope you and Gord are well. We miss you guys too. Thanks for the suggestion on making our condiments. We will certainly give that a try.

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  5. Hi there neighbours!! thanks for the update!! On the rule of 1 in 1 out! We are doing great! Had 12 things go out of the yard and none in!! Lol
    The sale went great in the cash department. It hit Glenn’s High list and even a bit more! So .. do we think we will spend that cash though? NO!!
    I am gathering my stuff together as tomorrow at this time I will be rolling out of the OR and will to be with it!! Going to be weird not being functional on my own. Having to be helped to do everything for a week or 10 days. 😬😬. Glenn will still be a bit busy getting things out of the yard but I will be alright in the house. So where to next?? Close your eyes and put your finger on the map?? Safe travels!! Think of me at noon Thursday going under the knife!! 🥴🥴
    Ta Ta
    Alice

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    • Hi Alice! Hope all goes well with your surgery. You’ll be back on the pickleball courts in no time. Congrats on the sale too! You must be full of mixed emotions. We’re here in Montana for another 6-8 weeks, then we’re off to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico. Keep us posted on your progress after surgery!

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  6. Hi – you know it’s a Happy Day when I get your newest post – its almost as good as seeing you – not really 😉we miss you two.
    Your clever thoughts & solutions
    always have me looking at things differently & give me new projects to tackle. Happy trails as you journey on. Big hugs
    Be Safe 😷 Be well. ♥️♥️

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    • Hi Annette! I think you’re our most faithful follower! Thank you! Hope you and FJ are doing ok and enjoying the summer. Miss you guys too.

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