December 21, 2011
To say we love this space is putting it mildly.
When Damien and I found the chalet in early October we told the landlord on the spot, "we'll take it - now". As we walked through the space together that fateful October day (indeed, it was fate or God, as we believe, who led us to this sweet cabin) we had visions of what living here might look like. So far the chalet has been everything we'd hoped for and more.
A lot of the minimalist stuff you see out there - people who whittle their personal belongings down to 100 items (huh?) and live in a white Ikea-like cubicle and eat out all the time because they have no kitchen, etc. - seems just so not family friendly.
I mean, really - we are a family of five creative and active individuals. We craft, learn, work, cook and eat at home. Every day. We make mess, all the time. How can you truly live (love, eat, create) without making mess?
In a small space this reality is simply amplified. Coming to terms with the creative clutter is one of my life lessons in this move. There is no separate studio space for sewing. Games, crafting, "school" activities, they all happen right where we live. It's truly a "living room".
What this means practically is that the dining room table never looks like this.
Except maybe at the end of the day. Often, the whole day it will be full of "life" and we'll eat our lunch at the tiny peninsula in the kitchen instead. You learn to roll with it.
Bins. Bins are my friends. I'd love to have all natural baskets in some beautiful shelf, but there isn't even any wall space for a shelf like that so we adapt. We keep bins under the kids' beds and a stack like this in their room.
All of the kids stuff is stored in bins - crafts, toys, activities. They can bring out what they need for the day or a few days but everything has a home in a bin.
If we lived in this space permanently we would arrange the beds differently. Essentially the kids bedroom has 2 double beds taking up floor space. Which is overkill for their small bodies. But this isn't permanent so we make do.
I plan to write a separate post in the new year about book storage. For now, I'll tease you with this - we are creative in how we set up bookshelves.
Our bedroom is where Damien's "office" is but the details of that are also saved for another post, probably at Toe Salad. His office takes up about 18 sq. ft. at the end of our bed. And get this... he exercises while he works.
Intrigued yet? If you ask in comments I'll give you a hint of how he does that. And no, it has nothing to do with that adult activity that is usually reserved for bedrooms (though can you imagine working while doing that? Talk about multitasking...).
In our bedroom, in the dresser and wardrobe (pictured above), is where we store most of the craft supplies. This is also where Damien and I keep our clothes. Just to be clear, there are more craft supplies than clothes. Which is just fine with us.
This is our kitchen. I love it, especially that window over the sink.
I had no idea how huge my kitchen in Maine really was. This kitchen is easily half that amount of space. Which has caused us to simplify our kitchen goods - yipee! That whole bank of cupboards above the stove is pantry space. I value food more than tons of dishes.
I keep all my herbal and soap making stuff above the fridge. I am so thankful for that deep cupboard up there.
School stuff (and some other miscellaneous craft and technology gear) is stored in the white hutch you see behind Celine in this photo below.
Next to the hutch and behind the futon is my desk and computer - command central. This is where I keep all my home management stuff. Files. Binders. My books.
I love this desk. I look out the window on the field and woods while I write. Very inspiring.
It's key feature - it's centrality - is also a pain when I need quiet for writing. One reason for getting up early. Ear plugs is also a good solution. Or, on the weekend I will use Damien's laptop and hole up for a couple hours in the bedroom.
Our shoes & boots are kept by the front door in 5 (one for each of us) not-so-pretty and cleverly stacked crates. Our winter gear goes in a chest behind the couch. Adult jackets hang on hooks by the door and the kids use a coat tree in their room.
Wow, this sounds like we're kind of (cosy and creative) minimalists.
Ha! See that black trailer out there?
This is where "the rest" of our stuff is stored! There is no storage space in our chalet. No closets, no eaves, no basement. Well, there is a "trap door" type cellar but we're not storing stuff down there.
The trailer is where we keep outdoor gear not used all the time - tents, sleeping bags, etc... In the trailer we also keep our boxes of photo & memory albums, extra guest bedding and linens (a bin or two of those), Damien's tools, our goodwill donation bags and boxes (quite a few of those), and other stuff I can't remember right now. As well as all the stuff we took out of the chalet, as it came with a fully furnished kitchen and we removed that to move our stuff in.
So, are we minimalists? I don't think so. But that's never been the goal.
A journey towards lighter living is our goal. Living in a small home in a beautiful place - adventuring, learning, working, creating together - that's the goal. And if we have to store extra stuff in a big black trailer in our driveway that's ok.
PS. The bathroom is between the kids' room and the dining room. And we are bathroom minimalists. Everything we use and need, except toilet paper, fits into one small vanity cupboard.
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