Tag Archives: housekeeping

Old Habits

7 Apr

Last week I emptied my refrigerator. I’ve been needing to do this for weeks, months even. I had stuff in there from my mom’s visit in late October and other food that was gifted to me for Christmas. Yikes! One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am forgetful especially if I don’t have a specific place to file stuff in my brain. If I didn’t personally buy it, need it and make meal plans for it I forget it’s even in there. Sad but that’s just how my brain works…I’m getting use to it.

A few posts ago I spoke about passion, preferences and habits. So there are a few I am adopting. Some for the planet, others for myself, and some I even practice or at least use to but not regularly enough for them to make a significant impact. Experts say it takes a certain amount of time to integrate new habits and that you should never try to integrate more than one at a time. But then again I could never keep my car clean until I had an accident, went through the entire buying process on my own and bought a new one. Now my car is always clean. My point is I don’t think it’s the multitasking that makes new habits not stick but rather that there isn’t a dramatic enough change in environment to jar the old habit loose and reinstate a new one. So out with the old in with the new:

#1. Give Away Food

When I go to Trader Joe’s and get a great deal on the biggest bag of tiny oranges that I couldn’t get through in 2 weeks if I tried I will hand them out to the homeless that I pass at traffic lights. I did this once when I had a bag that I couldn’t eat all by myself and thought it was a much better idea than giving away money. And everyone was super happy and grateful. There is also the quandary of “do I really want to get the rest of this to go when I know that tortilla is gonna be soggy and disgusting by morning?” I HATE leaving food on the plate at restaurants so I always get it to go but some stuff simply wont last even in a fridge…wet burritos are one example or anything starchy that is gonna have to sit next to something liquid. You get my drift. So I feel like this might be a good opportunity to give it to someone on my way home. Instead of asking for money I’ve been asked to buy stuff by people waiting outside a fast food place so I think this is similar. The food, although cold at that point, is still fresh and hopefully good quality and a decent portion since it came from a restaurant. I will have to figure out the utensils though. Plastic? :/ The dollar store sells 4 stainless steel forks for a dollar. I may get a pack or two just for this as a test. Same goes for stuff in my fridge that I know I just wont get around to. Better than it going to waste in a dump.

#2. Let the Toilet Flush Itself

Go with me here. You can skip to the next habit but if you can tolerate it I would say this is worth reading. So I had to pee in the middle of the night a while back but didn’t want to wake my roommate so I didn’t flush. I come back in the morning and it’s like it never happened. I thought to myself…hmm, that’s curious. I know most things don’t evaporate that quickly so I assumed it just made its way down the drain over time somehow. And then a strange thing happened. My toilet started to run. Most new toilets run every few hours on their own. That cycles a good amount of water through the system in addition to the water used for each flush (mine is 2.5 gallons/flush) and does in fact work exactly like a regular flush just with very little force. So I’ve been “not flushing” liquids for about a week now and it totally works! I still come back to an empty bowl every time (except for the paper). I have a couple friends who go by the rule “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” regularly. I think it’s worth a try just as an experiment if nothing else. If your toilet runs at random times give it a shot. Of course #2’s are treated as toxic waste and should be flushed. Now I will admit still always flushing on the rare occasion that my roommate is around. Even though we don’t share a bathroom I don’t want her to think I’m unclean. I may have a conversation soon with her explaining my findings.

#3. Stuff Exchange (for accumulation elimination)

A lot of people who practice voluntary simplicity shop by this rule: “buy one, give one away”. A friend of a friend is taking her daughter shopping for clothes this weekend because she gave away two bags of clothes to good will last week. Like I keep saying I don’t buy that much so I think my best and easiest way to integrate this is with food. I finish a box of cereal I can buy a package of pasta. Crude example but you get the picture. Even though I want to eat everything I buy sometimes my plans for consumption don’t quite line up with how long things last in the fridge and I end up wasting it because it went bad a few days after I opened the package. I am only one person so this means a lot of trips to the store and eating a lot of the same thing for a few days straight. I kinda already do this so…no change there. I just want to be more conscious of the timing of my purchases so that I don’t waste things simply because I couldn’t eat it fast enough. I also have a Macy’s gift card I want to make good use of so this is the perfect time for a closet cleanse.

#4. 15 Minute Daily Cleanup

When friends visit, when my mom’s in town or when it’s hot or cold enough that I want to let some air circulate by leaving the door open my room is immaculate. Otherwise there are clothes piles. And shoes piles. And luggage. I have a habit of not ever completely unpacking. If I’m going to live in a tiny house or downsize at all I’m going to have to consistently keep my room clean. I had a 15 minute daily cleanup routine that got away from me a while back so I’ll be reinstating that. The great thing is, if done daily it doesn’t take but a few minutes and the rest of the time I can organize, wash dishes, etc. And the main culprits are clothes so I think getting rid of the useless 2/3 of my wardrobe and moving the remainder of my clothes from one side, behind my desk chair and far from my bed closer to the door where I get dressed anyway will make me more likely to hang jackets and belts up immediately and anything else I can wear more than once instead of putting them on the back of the chair. Shoes are one issue though. Door/closet shoe hangers aren’t cute but they work. This may be a solution to look into. Overall, clean is sexy and I won’t have to stress about cleaning up for an impromptu houseguest so…I think this one will do me a lot of good.

#5. Inspirational & Educational Audio

Hot talk radio has been around forever; less political and way more edgy and comedic than regular talk radio but usually still hitting on the big news topics of the day. I’ve been listening to Heidi and Frank (Frosty, Heidi and Frank) for about 4 years now and I haven’t missed a show in well over 3 years. These days they’ve created their own network online where they broadcast live each day and they have on demand podcasting so I listen to old episodes all day and sometimes go to sleep with it on. I am a devout fan but I will admit it’s probably one of my worst habits. It’s not the listening that’s inherently bad but more the topics they talk about. Not only is it hard to get stuff done because I’m actually trying to actively listen but their topics aren’t always the most uplifting. They are self-deprecating, everything and everyone is a target for a joke and their events are pretty much a kegger combined with a live radio show. I love you HF but you are no good for me. I won’t stop listening entirely but for working hours it’s probably for the best. Technically, classical music is the way to go but sometimes I need a bit more substance especially if I’m doing mindless work. So I’ve started listening to TED Talks instead. Most are 10-20 minutes each and are educational and inspirational. They are equally as distracting especially because I’m learning something but I figure it’s helping to balance out whatever negative energy HF puts off. I also listen to the 4-Hour Workweek, The Secret, and interviews from Niurka or Michael Bernard Beckwith. As cheesy as The Secret is I am the most productive when I listen to it. I’ve heard all of these so many times they are no longer distracting but just background noise so I am still getting the benefit of the topics and the tracks are wordy enough to keep me interested.

So that’s it. A little bit of everything. I’ll report any interesting findings.

Breaking the Law

5 Apr

I have a long day ahead of me but I didn’t want to go another day without making you all aware of a few things. Let’s start on a serious note.

There is a petition at WhiteHouse.gov that, with enough signatures (25K by April 27th) will require states to reform the 1000 sq. ft. minimum zoning laws for “homes,” or should I say houses. I read on someone’s Pinterest board yesterday, “Home is what they can’t take away from you”. Anyway, Jay Shafer has been big on this issue since before he started his own tiny house journey in the 90’s. You can read for yourself what Jay Shafer has to say. He’s far more eloquent than I on this issue.

But before you get too far read the other side of the story. Hontz, who commented on my last post (thank you Hontz), has his own blog False Division and his latest is about this issue precisely. He offers a different perspective and a few very valid points. Again his words will speak for themselves.

My opinion is this:

Challenging or changing these laws COULD mean much more affordable housing for anyone and everyone who’s income or lifestyle preferences call for it. The fact that a legal home MUST be a minimum of 1000 sq. ft. is ludicrous and I think there are a TON of people who want to own a home and simply don’t need the space nor want to spend that much money. I’ve read several stories/blogs and watch many videos of 3 & 4 person families living in tiny homes so obviously families who want to live in 300-999 square ft permanent homes should be able to especially if that is the financially & environmentally responsible thing to do and it’s their choice to do so.

On the other hand, per Hontz’s points, tiny housing IS an underground thing. Done by necessity by some, by choice by others and to rebel for the rest and any intrusion by the government could mean a lot of regulations forced on what is now relatively free and new territory. It’s like taming the Wild West. It had its pros and cons which I won’t go into but I don’t quite like the idea of that for tiny house culture.

There are people who don’t want to build their own tiny home. They have no interest in building, designing or even necessarily having a small environmental footprint. They simply recognize that they don’t need that much space and don’t want to spend 30 years paying for it. Or they don’t have the know how or time or money, or they don’t even know that tiny houses are a possibility. Either way there are few options next to traditional apartment living where annual rent could pay for the building of an entire tiny house. It’s for those individuals that I wonder how this petition will pan out. For tiny house enthusiasts, a group I am feeling more a part of each day, it’s a lifestyle sometimes nearing what some might categorize as obsession and I don’t necessarily believe this petition is for them but rather for the masses. < please DO click the link

Possibly having tiny house pocket neighborhoods or compounds is the way to go. With tiny house companies and non-profits acting as “developers” people can move in their own tiny home, build one there or pay others to build it. They can even rent if one is vacant and they don’t have the seed capital to own or build. This is one idea I am VERY interested in especially to help LA with it’s homeless issue. Not every homeless person is a beggar on the street. Some live in their cars or trailers but still have jobs to go to and children to raise. Some could certainly afford to rent a tiny home if there were the opportunity to do so. Anyway, if anyone is interested in this issue in particular PLEASE drop me a line at hp@mylifehalfprice.com or leave a comment. This is a non-profit initiative that I am very motivated to explore.

Wow…should have left that for it’s own entry…anyway…

For those of us who are in the know, have done the research, have built it (or ARE building it) with our own 2 hands…and for those who can’t or don’t know how…once educated take it upon yourself to sign or not sign. Thanks.

On a lighter note…I swear I have gotten an email about the article “The Magic of Doing 1 Thing at a Time” in my email about 3 times this week. I initially stumbled upon it surfing the Harvard Business Review and browsed it but I was too distracted (multitasking issue #1) by whatever the hell I was there for originally, which I can’t remember anyway (multitasking issue #2). Do you think the Universe is trying to tell me something?  I will read it later today after a very (hopefully) productive day…hmmm…actually maybe I’ll read it before I start my day…

Speaking of procrastination (multitasking issue #3) here is an article about how to simplify your wardrobe Right Now! Again, I will do this later. I have client deadlines to meet…yet here I sit writing a blog. I’ve got so much to write about if I let it build up any more I’ll just about explode. That’s my excuse (multitasking issue #4) and I’m stickin too it.

Lastly, I wanted to put a few videos out there that some of you might be interested in or inspired by. Enjoy.

Should I attend a Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop? LiveAlternativeGirl thinks I should.

Young people build tiny houses too. Tinyhouser Kendall Ronzano addresses the masses at TEDxYouth.

Dee Williams, a relative figurehead of the tiny house movement does a TED talk. One of the most inspiring TInyhousers I believe.

-Half-price