I Live In A Tiny House Yet I Don't Consider Myself A Minimalist
So we have been living tiny for over a year now and the word "minimalist" is almost an everyday word in my little world bubble. A lot of the time when people find out we live in a tiny home they say something along the lines of "Oh are you like a minimalist?" It really started out when I got rid of the majority of my possessions and packed down to live tiny and thought "Oh, I'm a minimalist now" which is true but also not. I would be viewed by the majority of people as a minimalist compared to the average consumer, but to me, the word just didn't ever sit well. It’s almost overused and too extreme for me.
It took time to realize it, but I would classify myself as a realist more than a minimalist. I'm not even sure if that's the right word but that just sits better with me. I have everything I need, and a bit more, truthfully. There's always fat on the bone but it just depends on how lean you want to get. Now I am not talking about too many shoes ( I don't even have a set of athletic shoes at this point. #floridasandlelifebruhhh) But do I really need a Nintendo Switch? Nah, not really but I still enjoy the odd toy or gadget to help kill some time in my head. I have a realistic amount of things in my life rather than an excessive amount.
I feel that in life there are so many spectrums on so many things and this hot word "minimalist" gets thrown around and I fell for it in a way and said you're this or you're that. But taking a step back and seeing that spectrum, I fall somewhere in the middle of that while living tiny. I like nice things (I mean look at Tiffany 😉 !) and I acquire things from time to time yet rarely impulse buy or have doubles. Except things like underwear, 10 days worth to be exact.😂 I am constantly trying to consider things I can get out of my life. There's also a strategy to my purchases. I know more things are acquired based on function in my life more than ever.
With this new land we bought I find myself collecting things. Nothing close to the amount I used to own but just a slight increase. I have a need for everything and I am definitely putting it to use such as yard tools. I found a $500 11ft Cantilever Umbrella in the free section of Craigslist. Nothing wrong with it, in good shape. I picked it up since there is no shade where I will be putting a picnic table. In a way I felt bad after because it was something else I really don't need, but is functional. Then I thought realistically if I have guests over they will want the shade to chill and drink a beer. I picked up a couple pallets to make a woodshed to help keep wood dry. It's something I guess I don't need but I would like to have more fires outside the tiny house when we get on our land, something I am unable to do now.
The other part of the way my brain thinks is why did I buy everything new? I would hunt for a good deal but it was always the big box stores or online maybe eBay if I was feeling lucky. 75% of the "new to me" things I acquire are used now. That Nintendo switch? Used for two weeks from the seller. Got the upgraded bundle with extras and two games for $150, a fraction of the cost. Used yard tools are the best. DIY dad, in dad jeans, bought a Ryobi weed wacker to save money on the lawn and ended up just getting a landscaper. Used for one summer, cost me $20. Find me a better deal!
It's incredible the impulse buys we make. We seem to have this mindset of buying and tossing. After hauling the 4 truck bed loads of trash from the purchase of Shellmate Island, I had my first landfill experience and it opened my eyes. First off, tons of wildlife near the landfill, so strange. On four separate trips, I saw things people threw away that even I wanted.
There was this one occasion I saw a mountain bike in the trash. I knew it was a good bike from the rookie knowledge I have on bikes from my friends that do that regularly. I asked the guy overlooking people dumping their trash "Hey man you probably see some crazy stuff thrown out, like that mountain bike is perfect." He started laughing and said "You couldn't imagine what stuff we see here. That mountain bike is from a local bike shop in town that can't sell them out of his store. He takes trade-ins, tunes them up and tries to resell them. He told us its easier to get it out of the store if they aren't moving than have it sit there and not make any money on his inventory. He comes once a month and unloads his inventory of ones that are not selling." My mouth was on the floor at this point. A. Because I want a bike now that we will be in biking distance from the store and Siesta Key and B. Why aren't you just giving the bikes to a cause or someone that simply can't afford one?!
No matter what anyone says there is too much waste going on and we all do it from time to time but I will try my best to find things used that I can now, even if that means waiting for it to come around. I’m making an effort at a more realistic approach to buying things now. For the new Tiny House on Foundation that we are building for Shellmate Island, we are focusing on using things from Craiglist free section to show how much great stuff is available on there, while keeping the intake of new things to a minimum.
The overall lesson I am learning is that while I'm not a minimalist by the extreme standard, I have a more realistic approach to the things I own. I'm not a minimalist. I don’t think living in a tiny house automatically makes you a minimalist. It’s much more than that.