Living Large In Our Little House

Peace on Earth at Our Little House

We celebrated with friends last weekend, so we’re looking forward to a quiet weekend here at Our Little House. Dale gets a 4-day weekend, so we have some errands planned and he has some firewood to cut and split while I have my office to organize.

We’ll enjoy some time with a few movies and eating some of our favorite foods.

I’ll enjoy the last few nights of the Christmas lights before we put everything away for another year.

To all of our Living Large community that celebrates, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

What do you have planned for the holiday weekend?  

We are Losing our Personal Connections


I received over 200 greetings for my birthday on Facebook. I know, right? Wow!

Facebook makes it easy to send birthday greetings to those you are connected with by reminding you each day of a friend’s special day.

The thing is, the same thing that is making it easy to send greetings via a few clicks of the keyboard is also making it easy not to send greetings via the good old fashioned telephone. I suppose, for some people who are predisposed to withdrawing socially, it is also making it easier for them to become recluses.

Friends and family, the ones I maintain contact with in the real world, vs. my connections on social media, traditionally would call on my birthday.

One friend would always call and sing “Happy Birthday.” Another would always call me by 8 a.m. on my birthday, because she knew this was a tradition that my mother kept and she took up the baton after my mother died.


The Spirit of the Season

I was having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit here at Our Little House. It didn’t have anything to do with feeling blue; I think there are just those years when the holidays sneak up on a person.

I got out my Christmas sweater and headed out to The Nutcracker with a friend in November. While the performance was awesome and the company good, it didn’t put me in the mood. I then put the lights out on our decks and put up the tree.

Not until this week did the spirit of the season really hit. I’m now ready to finish our limited shopping and get those cards addressed and in the mail.

What really put me in the mood was to read a couple of heart-warming stories that are examples of the true reason for the season (and a gift of holiday music sent by a Living Large reader helped too!)


The Stuff Gifts are Made of

‘Tis the season, not just when the amount of catalogs coming to Our Little House increases, but the amount of boxes and cards that show up do as well.

In addition to friends and family wishing us well and sending us gifts for Christmas, I celebrate a birthday in this month also, so we typically get more cards and boxes in December than we see throughout the rest of the entire year.

The issue of dealing with gifts becomes even more of a tricky thing when one lives in such a small home.

The first year or so we lived here, I don’t think our friends and family understood just how limited 480-square foot can be when it comes to stuff.


Mail and the Role it Plays in Clutter

Since we’re on the topic of clutter, I have to share with you that after years of working to remove our names and my parent’s names from catalog mailing lists, I’m still spending time doing it.

As I’ve shared before, my mother’s mail was forwarded to us after her death and yes, after nearly 30 years after his death, we even received a solicitation for life insurance – of all things – for my dad.

As Gail commented on the Living Large Facebook page, in a small home, there just is no room for yesterday’s mail to be lying around, so we’ve done what we can to eliminate all unnecessary junk mail from our lives.


More on Stuff and Simplicity

Based on a couple of comments regarding “stuff” last week, I wanted to follow up my list of the Top Ten Reasons to Live in a Small Home.

Jessica was pretty passionate, feeling I had lied about the ease of cleaning a small home. She commented she lives in 600 square foot house and finds that she is cleaning all of the time. “It is so much harder to stay orga­nized in a small house. The big­ger the house, the more room to orga­nize and store your stuff,” she wrote.

Kathleen also wrote, “What I’ve dis­cov­ered in mov­ing from a smaller house to a larger one is this: it is eas­ier to keep things tidy in the larger house. There is a place for every­thing and I don’t mean the wan­ton accu­mu­la­tion of junk, but just the reg­u­lar amount of cloth­ing and linens and tow­els, keep­sakes and etc., within rea­son­able limits.”

My mother also said the same thing after up sizing from about 1,000 square feet to 2,500 or so square feet.

I agreed with her until we completed our own downsizing. I agreed with her because, well, I was much like her, I had too much stuff for the size of home we had.


Top Ten Reasons to Live in a Small House

When I’m being interviewed by the media about living in Our Little House, the reporter will always ask me what are the advantages of living in a small home.

I thought I would put together a Top 10 Reasons for Living in a Small Home for our community and you all are so great, I bet you will add to it!

1. Smaller Footprint on the environment: There are two people and an always-changing number of dogs, but we still don’t need multiple bedrooms, baths and space.

2. Less Room for Clutter: Our house in the city was packed with stuff. We didn’t even know what we were doing with all of that crap! At Our Little House, we have room for the necessities and only the things we love. This, of course, helps us save money on buying more stuff!

3. Lower Utility Bills: Who likes dumping their money into the utility companies. We would like to be completely off the grid, maybe someday. In the meantime, we pay a 12-month average of approximately $50 a month for utilities.

4. Less Time Cleaning, More Time for us: I can clean my house and studio top to bottom in about 2 hours. What more is there to say about that?

5. Less Maintenance: Doing yard work, landscaping, painting and cleaning gutters in our 20s was fun for maybe the first 5 minutes as homeowners. We spend a lot less time doing all of those things here, giving us more leisure time.


Mental Aspect of Holidays Sometimes Harder Than the Physical

Photo from Mother Earth News


Every holiday at Our Little House since 2007 has been about trying to establish new holiday traditions.

Some years have been easier than others, for some reason.

Thursday, I would say, was one of the hardest Thanksgivings since we’ve been here. During past years, we have either been to my aunt’s house to celebrate or gone down to our neighbors, but this year, they both left town.

As I wrote several months ago, we just haven’t made many friends in our new small town and the ones we have made have never mentioned getting together on a holiday. (Several did ask me what we were doing, but we didn’t receive an invite!)

Dale and I did plan a special dinner for Thursday. Neither one of us has ever cared for the traditional turkey and both of us have family stuffing recipes that we can’t seem to duplicate, so we planned on grilling a prime rib I bought Dale for Father’s Day (he takes a while studying the grilling methods and working his way up to the actual cook).

However, when we got up on Thursday morning, something – I don’t even remember what now – reminded me so vividly of my mother – that grief and sadness set in.