Just Say No!:
This is your brain, this is your brain when you have so much stuff to do that you literally can’t do it all. That where saying NO comes into play. Saying no is harder than you might thing, try it. Someone asks you to join in on some committee for a volunteer organization, your church needs a Sunday school teacher or you are asked any number of things which add strain to your life.
It’s not that you don’t want to do these things, it’s not that you are lazy, it is the simple fact that there are 24 hours in a day and at a point you are booked solid and you didn’t leave any time for you.
You need to factor in time for you, again it’s not selfish, its not greedy or lazy. It is taking time for you to take a break and unwind a bit. You aren’t any good to anyone if you can’t focus, you are always tired or you are running late to everything.
But how to determine what to say yes to and what to say no to?
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Knowing where you are going can be an immensely freeing thing. While you should always leave room for some spontaneity and sometimes we just need to let life take us where it leads us. There are times where a plan is good. We all have dreams and it’s never a bad thing to do our best to get to them. The empowering thing about goals is that from them we can determine what actions we need to take to get to them. We can change our behavior now to get to the goal later. It doesn’t mean that we drop everything, it doesn’t mean these goals can’t change or be replaced, but we only have so much time on this earth and its good to make it count.
How do you figure out your very top level, most important things to you?
If you were at the end of your life looking back, what would you want to have achieved?
What would make you a better person?
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So why embark on “the tiny life”?
The answer is found in stewardship– the wise use of one’s time, energy, fiscal and other resources.
Are you wisely using the space in which you live? Which room or rooms do you live in the most? What happens to the others? Are you bothered by all the space within your dwelling that is least occupied?
“Tiny” is the efficient use of space. Admittedly, there is much less space to “expand” one’s life—one’s possessions and one’s decorative sense are two examples. Where do we really live, though—in our dwellings or in our hearts and relationship space?
But “tiny” also means less money expended to maintain a larger space that has become for many of us an idol. In 1963, my parents took on a 25-year mortgage on a new, two-story house with four bedrooms that cost $17,500. That same home today can sell for close to $300,000.
How scales of economy have changed! “Tiny” addresses the buying power of present dollars as much as it reflects the desire not to buy into the myth that bigger is better.
Bigger is not necessarily better. For most of us fascinated by tiny living, the exploration of all things tiny imparts hope.
Stuff, we love having stuff, our culture tells us we need stuff, we need more of it and the stuff we already have isn’t good enough. When it comes to downsizing you probably are thinking of materials things, they clutter our homes and they often end up in the trash or donated to goodwill. But when I say downsizing I am talking not just materials things, but non-tangibles too! Whether they occupy a physical space or weigh on our minds, there is a balance we must reach with stuff.
What are non-tangible things? They can be things that are on our mind, that distract us. They are goals and activities we want to do, but have yet to complete. They are things that get in the way of us being the best we can be.
Some things are necessary, while others make life just a little bit easier, and then there are those things we just “need” for one reason of another. So here are some quick tips that I have used in my life to really reduce the amount of stuff.
I decided to split this up over a few days because it’s so big and so you can take time to digest each one on its own. Please feel free to share your thoughts!
This is a really useful tool that I use allot and with great success. Find a box, any box, size appropriate for your stuff of a certain area. The important thing to remember is to tackle one defined area at a time, usually you can define an area by its function. Your desk is a great place to start (then later move on to your clothes, then the kitchen, etc.). Take everything and I mean everything! Out of and off of your desk (with the exception of your computer and desk lamp) and put it into the box. No cheating now, just do it, I want every drawer empty, the desktop clear and the floor clear too if you have stuff piled up.
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Bigger is not necessarily better. Bigger can certainly be beautiful! And there is nothing inherently wrong in bigger. But bigger can be quite costly in both the short and long term and can bring with it many headaches.
It’s important to be compassionate: many of us could not but help buy into the belief that as we grew up that we, too, could purchase the type of homes our parents did– homes just as “spacious” and stately– even if we were raised in a row home or semi-detached dwelling.
But for chiefly economic reasons– many of which readers of “The Tiny Life” are aware– the purchase (and sustaining) of long-term mortgages has become less likely, less possible, and fraught with more risk.
For the sake of example, let’s suppose you and I can purchase such a home. My father worked for a corporation and was employed 33 consecutive years with that same employer before he retired. In general, such job security today, let alone with a single employer, is not the norm nor the reality for the vast majority of us.
Therefore, taking on a 20-35 year mortgage brings with it the worries of what will happen if one or both incomes become imperiled. What happens to our long-term investment if 23 years into our 25-year mortgage we lose either our jobs or our health? What if savings and the help of family &/or friends is not enough to “save” our home?
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