Tag Archives: tiny house

Tiny House Film & Furniture

27 Apr

I’d almost forgotten the allure of being on a film set; the butterflies the night before Day 1 (I could never get a decent night’s sleep for fear of sleeping through my alarm and missing my call time), the build up to “Action” and then the silence as the camera rolls, the beauty of a finished film that took dozens of individuals and often years of hard work to bring to life. All wrapped up in a seemingly neat little 80-120 minute package. It’s been over 18 months since my last real film project and I haven’t really missed it. I’d been scarred by narratives too many times and decided to go industrial/corporate for a while. Oddly enough I’m now on set three days straight working for friends in LA.

When I posted my Tiny House Plans on my Facebook page I got a very warm reception from friends and family, found out an old acquaintance was also planning to build her own tiny house and even got a few offers from friends to help out. I was very surprised. This combined with the fact that all my friends are creative types, mostly filmmakers, and all will probably want to document it at some point, I figure…why not just go ahead and do what I do best: Produce a movie.

Work is good, income is great, working on projects I care about…Priceless. So with that in mind I have some plans in the works to bring my love of film and my obsession for tiny houses together. I have a lot of meetings to schedule to make this project go so more on that later.

Lucky for me in the midst of all my busy-ness I have a MLHP unposted entries backlog. The post below is from Friday the 13th.

Yesterday was a long and tiny day. I did admittedly spend all day creating floor plans on Icovia, researching furniture, fixtures and appliance sizes…really just trying to get all my measurements down so I could settle on a general floor plan. I also have a few pages in my idea journal devoted to tiny house add-on & efficiency ideas: hidden storage and storage tips, ladder designs, skylight ideas, multi-use interior design aspects, furniture, etc.

Speaking of furniture…I found a lot of awesome seating options along the way…and a couple really great blogs. The first blog, Small Space Living, is now defunct but still has all the old content up, including the 3 designs below, and is a really great resource. The other, Ikea Hackers, has great ideas about how to mix & match, modify, etc. to create exactly what your space needs and not just what the catalogue dictates. Two thumbs up.

I was introduced to cubed furniture yesterday through my blog surfing and two designs really caught my attention:

The first one is a tad big, about 28 x 28 x 28 in. if my approximate measurements from the picture are correct. Since it’s only 3 furniture pieces and all seem to be geometrically straight forward a properly equiped & patient DIY type would be able to put this together in a couple long weekends. Plywood, wood glue, nail gun & compressor, jigsaw and your other run of the mill tools along with a steady hand could get this done no problem.


The second is smaller, more efficient in its design size to seat capacity ratio and way more complex. Would be much harder to recreate and probably worth simply buying. It would also make a great ottoman in its constructed form if you have a cushion for the top. If my math serves I believe it’s just small enough to go under the square ottoman covers that Ikea sells.

At the end of the day I probably wouldn’t use either but it was interesting to consider. Now here is one that I think is actually worth a serious look. Pretty great.

A word on couches. I found a lot of places selling day beds, futons, convertible couches…but none seemed to really fit what I was looking for. In this video you see a tiny house with a bathroom on one side and kitchen on the other (which makes for a more narrow hallway). With a typical shower stall on the left that makes the left wall space 36+” deep which when a couch or bench is introduced in the main area you dont feel like you lost any space because the couch, typically 34-38 deep, is flush with the hallway wall. In my design (bathroom on the hitch end, 24″ deep kitchen on one side & 24″ deep storage on the other a typical couch or even a “wall hugger version” seemed a bit obtrusive. So an idea for a convertible couch popped into my head. I dont think it super unique but I haven’t found one like it yet and certainly not in the size I want. 30″ max from wall, 6 ft wide. It would convert to a queen sized bed. And a second design popped in my head earlier this morning that would be very easy to assemble with some welding knowledge and scrap metal and still convert to a queen sized bed…so I looked into classes and there is a workshop a few miles away that does evening classes at a reasonable price and has open workshop days. AWESOME! This may actually be my first successful tiny house project since I’m still in search of a building location (interior or exterior) and gathering funds. I wonder what else in my tiny house I could weld…wall sconces for the interior, porch light housing for the exterior…maybe the railing on my porch can be a custom design or reworked ornate fence pieces instead of wood….ohhhhhh! Good idea! All this can be made from scrap metal and lots of elbow grease.

With a basic welding class and a few trips to the hardware store and a local scrap yard I could make this couch frame for under 100 I think. Foam for cushions I’ll still have to research and I have a few friends that can sew me cushion covers with zippers. Or I could just give the specs to someone else and have them make it for me. But what’s the fun in that?! I build myself a house to suit my own needs but not my a couch? I couldn’t back away from such a challenge.

~ Half-Price

Tiny House Plans

20 Apr

UPDATE 4/25/2016: Interested in the tiny-house lifestyle? Self-reliance? Zero-waste? Going off-grid? Check out my new podcast, A Sustainable Mind. Listen online at ASustainableMind.com or subscribe via iTunes.

I have been prepping for the few weeks for an event that I am now out of town for so my posts have been sparse. Today I’ll post some simple fun stuff. My tiny house plans!

I made these on Icovia’s The Make Room online software and then made a few corrections/alterations in Photoshop and SketchUp. I’m new to Icovia but have learned to use the program very quickly and enjoy it for 2D drawings a bit more than SketchUp. I’ll be going 3d on these plans soon. Icovia is free, you can save several layouts, group components and copy/rename docs to create simple multiple versions.

There were a few things that were very important to me in designing my tiny home:

Able to sleep 5 comfortably

I wanted to be able to sleep a few guests comfortably without sacrificing living space when I’m awake by myself in my tiny house. As you can see I have a queen mattress in the sleeping loft (2), I have a convertible sofa (2) and the 2nd loft above the porch is obvious storage but big enough to be a very comfortable sleeping/reading loft (1). I actually think this will be my favorite spot in the house and I plan to situate the window to take full advantage of the view from there. For the convertible sofa I couldn’t find anything that fit my criteria: only 30″ deep, 70″ wide and a style that I liked so I think I’ll make my own. I’ve completed the simple design I just need to learn how to weld (LOL) and upholster 2 cushions. When laid out it will be 3 inches short of a queen sized bed…not too shabby!

Kitchen with high countertop, utilitarian sink, fridge & oven w/ hotplate

Taller countertop space (36-37″) is easier on my back and that of my family. I’m 5’6″ but am the shortest of my close family (except for my grandmas). So that was a must and actually ended up being a gift because then I can stack a 20 inch refrigerator cube and my 15.5 inch oven with hotplate on top and still be able to cover this area when I’m not using my hotplate and use this it as countertop prep space.

My one concern is creating enough space between the fridge & oven for ventilation. The oven’s feet give about 2 centimeters as is and I may add a bit. As for the sink, I’m thinking of a plain double basin turned sideways. The back basin will be a dry rack/storage for plates. I plan on having my foldable faucet extend from the wall as opposed to the counter so with a cover this can also be countertop prep space.

Open Kitchen to Living Space 

You can’t see this in these 2D layouts but there is a bookshelf in the wall between the kitchen and living area and that bookshelf is only 36-48″ high. When my friends and I get together at someone’s place we cook together and I felt like I wanted to keep this area open to encourage conversation between the two spaces. Also with a TV swing arm mount I can view the screen while cooking. The bookshelf on the couch/closet side goes all the way up to the loft and may double as a ladder if my movable one is being used in the 2nd loft.

Covered porch as interior space

The Fencl model has this but at an angle. I plan on having mine completely vertical. I got the idea from Johnathen to put my electric box here and would still have plenty of space for hanging out up there, for plants or an indoor herb garden, storage or just a shelf for some of my unnecessary but super cool stuff: statues, guitars, and whatever else I like to look at on a daily basis but don’t really use.

I spend so much time looking up fixtures and appliances and really laying out everything. I’m inviting in money, resources and a workspace to build and in the meantime I am having the time of my life getting creative with space usage…really fun.

Here is a video of something that would open up a 6th sleeping spot if I were to incorporate it and is definitely worth considering in any tiny house with multiple occupants. Long video but interesting interview. Skip to 6:30 to hear about their sleeping layout.

It’s a “drawbridge” bed that stows away snuggly under the loft taking up zero space when stored…brilliant and totally doable.

Okay that’s it. I have a few posts in the chamber but they are unfinished, unresearched, unspell-checked…I should have more time next week.

Tiny House Interlude #3

11 Apr

I started this entry yesterday after finishing an 18.5 hr overnighter finishing up a site for a client so I was not gonna “get into too much detail on anything”. Just list a few awesome tiny house links, resources, videos…with a bit of commentary of course, and a personal update. But then again the tiny house underground is quite large and I couldn’t help myself. So, first a word on interior aesthetics. For those uninterested you can skip to the next section.

Drywall

It’s odd, I never considered having a home with an all wood interior until I started researching tiny houses. When I thought, “wood” I always pictured the faux wood paneling or the traditional log cabins…neither of which I liked very much. And then wood was pretty much all I saw for probably 100+ tiny house videos…and I never really thought twice about it. It’s probably one of the most obvious characteristics of most tiny homes…other than the fact that they are tiny of course, and somehow it totally felt right. Obviously, for those who are using recycled/reclaimed wood, building more green in general and want a more hand-crafted look this seems to be the way to go. Just recently I saw 2 tiny homes with drywall interiors. Here’s one of them. The most obvious difference: more light.

Personally, I’m not a fan of light. Odd I know. I love solar energy but to be out in the sun isn’t really my thing and it really saps my energy. Yes, I know that I live in LA. However, I’m assuming as I get older and my life simplifies I will start appreciating sunlight and lots of windows more than I currently do. I’ll just call it planning ahead.

So at one point I did ponder the possibility of drywall inside a tiny home but the main utilitarian purpose of drywall is as a fire barriar which…in a tiny house…good luck. (Jay Shafer did say in a video that his bedroom window, which was pretty tiny, was big enough for him to crawl out of in case of emergency. Good thinking Jay.) So then it must have other benefits, right?

Con’s

-It’s not green. And if you are a less experienced builder/DIYer and you break the pieces poorly you will probably notice all the fiberglass inside.

*Further research: Drywall is usually paper-faced or fiberglass-faced. Fiberglass-faced is more mold resistant so it’s sometimes used in basements, hurricane territory, per local building codes I assume…the restaurant I did construction on used it in parts of the kitchen and bathroom…(in my experience you know it when you see it because the face is green or blue/purple instead of white [you see this in a lot of unfinished basements] and it costs more but reading the label is always good to be sure.) Then there is ‘monolithic’ drywall (disperses cellulose throughout the gypsum so I guess no facing is required). Seems to be a few select companies though and was designed mostly for under-tiling and is not the standard for walls.

-Not so hand-made looking. Although if you like a contemporary feel this is probably the way to go.

Pro’s

-Cheaper…unless you get sustainable/eco-friendly drywall which costs the same as the non-eco, high end stuff: $14-20 per sheet according to some sources in 2008.

-Light weight in comparison to wood which would be good for hauling weight (this is assumed, i still have to research it).

*After more research I found that drywall is about 3.4 lbs/sq ft and pine interior paneling ranges from .75-1.75 lbs/sq ft (per various current manufacturer’s specifications)

-Reflects light better inside if painted a light color. Even darker colors I think would reflect light rather well because of the smooth surface.

-Repairs are easier when you can just cut a hole through and cover it up seamlessly. Repairs in wood are a bit more difficult and take preplanning if you want to allow access to main utilities throughout for future maintenance & repair.

-It can be painted or given a textured finish.

For all the positive attributes I still like the idea of a wooden interior but it seems a bit busy, visually too much for me to handle long term. And that’s a lot of material to use to decide in a few months that you don’t like it. All in all I need to see one in person and then the lighting and eco issues will guide my decision.

Another thing about this house…great storage options. Look closely at some of their photos (1, 2, 3, 4) to see what I mean.

Laundry

I’m really lucky to have laundry on the other end of my building but after yesterday and last night that was the last thing I wanted to do…in the rain. It reminded me to look into this. A mini washer, no electricity or plumbing needed. It has a warranty & money back guarantee which makes me feel a bit better but the reviews are great so…definitely something to look into.

Tiny House Blogs

A few awesome tiny home blogs I’m either just discovering or just now getting around to actually reading.

Tiny Home Builders – more than just pretty pics, they have good info if you’re willing to click around for the real content

Sarana Park – Two Los Angelenos build 2 tiny homes and head north. One tiny house has wooden interior, the other drywall interior. Very nice site.

Forge Ahead – Tiny houses by Jenine Alexander & Amy Hutto. They’ve got 2 under their belt, one is rented, the other sold and Jenine is finishing the interior on a 3rd which was constructed on a boat trailer! Might be a good possibility with so many boaters here in SoCal.

Tiny Houses: Small Spaces – found on someone’s tumblr. Haven’t gotten too far into it but this site seems to have a lot of great videos.

Can A Tiny House Withstand Natural Disasters?

Video of tiny house after a EF3 tornado by Travis162002

The Compact Kitchen – Best thing since sliced toasted bread

Avanti Appliances – I saw this in a faircompanies.com youtube video and I was able to make out the logo so I visited their website. They also have countertop ovens which are the same size as or smaller than microwaves, which I dont use, so I’ll get one of these instead.

Tiny House Drafting

This free online drafting software from Urban Barn was written about in the Tiny House Blog. Much faster than SketchUp for drawing up multiple rough floor plans for comparison.

In other news…

Macy is making awesome headway on her tiny house flooring and going vertical! Congrats Macy!

My dad is teaching my cousin to drive this week…yikes. After doing one of his typical freak outs and making lots of annoying sounds in the passenger’s seat she kicked him out of the car. He sent me pics. He did the exact same thing when he tried to teach me to parallel park between 2 metal barrels.* Hilarious. 

I finished some insane WordPress site integration and tons of branding & marketing materials for a client (hence my 18.5 hr long day) who has a huge event later this month…it’ll be good publicity, I’m looking forward to new clients 🙂

I’m totally addicted to this new app, Scramble with Friends (by Zynga, the Words with Friends app people). I think I’m 3 and 7 since I started 3 days ago. I’m not great at it but it’s fast paced so it keeps me interested at all hours of the night.

*for the record I turned out to be an AMAZING parallel parker…thanks dad

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

Tiny House Interlude #2

2 Apr

The Galapagos made by Tortoise Shell Homes. All steel studded tiny houses.

I was on Think Big, Build Small: A Tiny House Community on Facebook this morning and joined a convo about “why haven’t you built your tiny house yet?” The consensus thus far seems to be lack of starter funds or still in planning phase. I happen to claim both of those as well as trouble finding a place to build it. I’ve been looking into warehouse space within reasonable driving distance of my current residence and there doesn’t seem to be much of it. At least not with a 14 ft. garage door so I can haul it out once I’m done.

Anyway, I mentioned enlisting the help of others or getting sponsorship & donations and one lady in Oregon wanted to know how I would go about doing that…you can read my responses and all the comments thus far here.

I’m hoping the strategies I mentioned there plus a few others will ultimately cut my building cost in half from 20K to 10K. That is if I stick to the traditional stick-built plan. I am also considering drawing up plans for advanced framing (preplanning to minimize lumber usage to build the same structure) and steel framing to compare the cost and incentives. Not sure how road worthy that would be though…hmmm.

Future Posts:

Traditional Wood vs. Steel Studs vs. Advanced Wood Framing (apparently steel being costly & bad for load bearing walls may not be true, more research needed)

My Tiny House scaled model! Starting it this week to work out layout ideas.

LA Housing codes…an answer once and for all

A Tiny House Interlude

24 Mar

This is a life-sized tiny house. Kidding, it's actually about 8ft wide, 13.5ft tall and 16-18ft deep, depending on the model. This is Jay Shafer at his tiny home. He is one of the main faces of the tiny house movement and has lived in tiny homes for the last 13+ years(?).

Ahhh! It’s 1:30am and I have to be up in 6 hours to attend an all day yacht racing seminar (yes!) and I am still up obsessing about tiny houses. I just can’t seem to stop myself.

I’ve been reading about Jonathan’s tiny house build over the last week. He did a wonderful job with an alternative layout to the Fencl, one of Jay Shafer’s designs: split kitchen with bathroom in the back (hitched end), definitely something to consider, and took LOTS of pictures which I appreciate. What to do…What not to do…I didn’t even know I had to do that! The list goes on. And he has a cute dog, Barney. I’ve actually read almost every single post from mid 2009 through late 2011, still a few posts to go.

He was having an issue with coding in a county where he wanted to buy land (huge bummer) and then somehow I got linked to Macy’s blog. She wrote a reaction post to his land situation and the tiny house community’s issue in general of where to set up shop (or a ‘homestead’ I suppose is a more appropriate term). So then I got turned on to her blog and she is in the midst of her own build. Yet another wonderful tiny house project that I can stay up all night reading from the beginning. Like a good tv series…you have to go to the beginning for full effect. Anyway, I am just really inspired to become a part of such a supportive and growing community and have added a place for my fellow tinyhouser’s (term I borrowed from Macy’s site – hope you don’t mind Macy, “tiny house builders/owners” is a bit wordy) links. She has a great page about WHY living in a tiny house is so attractive to her but I think those reasons go for a number of people who choose this lifestyle. Either way it’s a good read.

I also got linked to the Think Big, Build Small: A Tiny House Community on Facebook through Jonathan’s blog. Cool little spot where I asked a question about nails vs screws for framing and finishing…I’m anxiously awaiting opinions and advice.

Anyway, guess I should get some sleep. I’ve noticed my heart gets a lot softer when I talk about tiny homes. Not the way I am writing about…well…everything else.

-Half-price

Identity Crisis

16 Mar

My father was in town for business about four weeks ago. We talked about everything from politics to religion, philosophy to web applications (like father like daughter)…and of course money and work. I came to a point in the career portion of the conversation where I basically expressed that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working for a company whose values were not congruent with my own; that I didn’t want to waste my time, look back in 30 years and regret it.

Now I don’t really believe in regret. Everything I’ve done including my major, MAJOR mistakes make me who I am in this exact moment and that person is a pretty cool, good hearted person with a lot to offer…and my feeling is that his sentiment is the same. So it surprised me to hear him say that he spent the last 30 years working as a programmer, mostly for large corporations, who made it their job to screw the little guy. I’ve always known what my father did but I never thought about how those programs effected the masses. For many years his company’s main client was a major corporation and somehow, even though everyone in my family is a customer of this Goliath and know how ridiculous and lame they are I never made the connection. Ignorance is bliss and I suppose my parents did a good job at sheltering me from some things.

Anyway it seems like a simple thing but in the moment, hearing his exact words and the look on his face…kind of broke my heart. It’s like superman saying that every time he saves one person, there are 2 more people that died. Well maybe not exactly like that but my dad is my hero. Most brilliant guy I know. To hear him say that hurt a lot and has made my last 4 weeks enlightening…and painful.

So. What’s it mean to me? Of course by the end of the conversation he simply said, “Find what you will do for free, then find someone who will pay you for it”. That’s always been his work advice but this time it hit me differently. So I did a little self-reflection and sent in a few applications for 3d design jobs by the end of the week. I, of course, do not have an architectural design degree but I do make a mean custom green home in SketchUp. Actually, I would say I’m better at that than most things I’ve done…and they actually pay people to use that program specifically. My portfolio was enough for an interview however I emailed yesterday and the position has since been filled. I started with architectural design firms, then to green home design, to solar energy and after that its been a brain scrambling spiral into…all of these issues that I didn’t realize I cared so much about.

Super-consumer culture
Fossil fuel peeks/renewable energy
Super-cheap super-sized food/food monopolies/buying local
Homelessness/mortgage crisis/bigger-living-is-better-living obsession

…There are a lot of things I care about and a couple non-profits I wanted to start eventually but those seemed way in the future and required a lot of resources to get done. And knowing me I probably made it more complicated than it needed to be. However these four issues not only are so immediately crucial but also they are things I can do my part to change right now. Habits I can incorporate today.

*sigh* Let me get off my soap box for a second and be real. This is NOT what this blog was supposed to be about. It was SUPPOSED to be about how to live a decent quality of life without killing our pocketbooks. And it has caused me to do so much reflection, on myself, my values and lifestyle which I see now are two totally different things and on the world around me. What is the cost of cheap goods? Where are those goods made and who made them? And I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even know if this blog is valid anymore. The “Price” of this blog seems to refer less to the ticket price of something and more to the long term affects of those same products on the economy, the environment, and international relations (based on the fact that we are practically owned by China and half of the Middle East depending on your point of view).

A lot of people donate money to youth programs in the inner-city when the smog from our cars, city landfills and rabid product supply chain causes them cancer. Does that make any sense to you?

I am by no means more of a help than a hindrance. I’ve been educating myself and changing habits slowly but I am no saint when it comes to these issues or when it comes to anything. It’s hard. But now that I know that I know – because I did know…I guess I just didn’t care or didn’t think about it – I can’t stop thinking about it.

So what am I doing about it:

#1. I am inviting an increase of income in my life (I estimate I will have applied to 100+ jobs and temporary projects in the month of March alone in case you thought I was only “inviting” and not taking action). Need is no longer an applicable word really. There are people who do with so much less. But let’s get real, everything costs something: time, energy, money, or favors, and knowing that you can keep a roof over your head and food in your stomach makes room for everything else that is important to you. In my case:

#2. Shopping for the food that I want, buying local and juicing more. I believe the FDA certified organic is overrated. My family owns a farm and the land nor the animals have been touched by anything unnatural for 4 generations. Can’t get more organic than that. FDA regulations make it hard on farmers and ‘local’ often means organic in a purer sense. If you aren’t sure shopping at the Farmer’s Market will always give you an opportunity to ask.

#3. Consuming less. I’m already what I would consider a ‘low-consumer’. Outside of food I typically only buy things when what I’ve got is worn out or when I need supplies/business attire for work. I’ve never been a big shopper, prefer making gifts for family and friends and don’t have many possessions I truly care about outside of my laptop. My three big products this year thus far have been a juicer from my parents for a late Christmas gift (mine was in the $80 range and works great), a replacement phone when mine was stolen and a pair of wrinkle free sheets…they feel amazing.

#4. Gasoline alternatives…I admit that I have a gas card from one of the Seven Sisters. It does not make me happy. I thought that Diesel was the devil up until I watched a few documentaries and learned that Rudolf Diesel’s original design ran on corn oil alone. Huh? Standard Oil, who I was already familiar with, bought that patent and started marketing it as strictly a petrol engine, a fact whoever taught me conveniently left out. So now I’m considering dumping my car or altering it to a gas engine (runs on fumes only, can go for 100+ miles per gallon), diesel engine or solar electric system. This is pricey, time consuming and requires a ton of research before making a decision so I have a couple years to work on that one…

#5. Down-sizing. I’ve been obsessed with Container Homes (recycling 40 x 8 ft. shipping containers as building structures) and Tiny Homes (any house smaller than 800 sq.ft.) for a few years now. Since home design is a hobby, I already have a lot of construction experience and own a decent amount of the required tools I’ve decided I want to build a tiny home. I like living small. It’s a fun challenge, is inexpensive and my entire life thus far has always fit into about a 13 x 13 ft. space anyway. So why not dump the roommate, the landlord, and the utility companies? I want to own a home. I’d like to design and build that home myself. And with almost no space to build in LA this provides so many more options. If I build it myself I’m looking at about $20k just for the structure and basic amenities. I’ve got a few ways around this (sponsorship, recycled lumber, fundraising) which I think will cut my costs in half. The rest…well that is 1 year’s rent in a 1 bedroom apartment. Not too shabby for something that could last a couple decades.

All this will enable me to save a lot of money and use it to travel, see family more, have more barbecues with my friends and sail much more often. And all that sounds pretty good to me.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I started so many posts in the last several weeks; going on and on about my job search, oscillating between points of view on certain issues, trying to come up with topics that were applicable to my original topic without getting to preachy and complaining about the ongoing poor communication skills of a couple of my clients as well as myself (I just got my NLP Practitioner certification so I have no excuse). But all that stuff’s not really what makes the world go ’round ya know? I think this time I actually got out what I needed to say and it feels good.

-Half-price