Posted in Debt-Free, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Young and Mortgage-Free

Some commenters on this article about a young man who built a very nice home out of truck trailers focus too much on the fact that he had a place to park his new home, and not on the fact that he has found a great way to save a fortune on rent.

Today’s economy is forcing young people to be creative like this. How much better to build your own home on your folks’ land instead of wasting away in their basement!

Posted in Clutter, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Photos and Memories

Today a catalog arrived in the mail. It was filled with nostalgic items for people of a certain age…like me. When I got to the page where you can buy all sorts of candy that was available when I was a child, the color photos of the different packages of candy brought back good memories.

And that reminded me of what I did when we downsized and gave up so many of our belongings: I took photos of the items I loved but couldn’t keep. When I look at those photos, all the memories linked to those items come flooding back, and it’s lovely.

So if you dread decluttering because you have a hard time letting go of sentimental items, remember you can just whip out your phone and take a photo of each beloved item. You don’t have to hold something in your hand to bring back memories: a photo will do, and it takes up a lot less room.

Posted in Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Can the Tiny House Movement Last?

Some people like tiny houses because they’re more affordable than average houses; other people prefer them for the statement they make about sustainability, or having a smaller footprint on the earth. When I read articles like this one, I have to wonder how long the enthusiasm for tiny houses will last. I suspect it all depends on whether or not the economy improves.

My adult children all live in houses or apartments bigger than the house I live in. I really don’t picture them downsizing unless they experience job loss or some other financial setback. But for (ahem) older people like me, small is beautiful!

Posted in Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Nomads for a Reason

This isn’t just another story of a family that sold everything so they could travel. This family lost their little girl a few years ago, and are dealing with their grief as they travel the world while homeschooling their remaining children. They make it clear that home is where your family is, not where your McMansion stuffed with smart TVs and high-end furniture is.

We found that to be true after the last recession forced us to downsize and move away from our large family home that we built and that was paid off. We lived in rental housing for four years before we found the lovely little town we now live in, and the sweet little house we now call home. Even when we were in rentals, and selling off most of our belongings via garage sales and Craig’s List, we knew that as long as we were together, we would be fine, and we were.

My heart goes out to this young family.

Posted in Debt-Free, Small-House Living

Young and Mortgage-Free

I feel sorry for young people these days. Most of them don’t earn nearly enough money to pay for rent or a house payment, because housing prices are ridiculously high compared to incomes in many places.

But limitations spur creativity, as Thomas Edison used to say. This young man has come up with a way to have his own space without spending a small fortune on housing each month. More power to him!

Posted in Clutter, Personal, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Yes, Dear, We Did Buy This Once Before


grocery cart

This jumped out at me from among the hundreds of photos used to advertise a local estate sale online.

I subscribe to emails from a few local estate sale agents because I love to go to estate sales. I try not to buy anything that will clutter up our little house, but there are certain things I need or want and I find that older items are often much better made than modern ones. For instance, I buy almost all of our linens and towels at estate sales, because I love getting vintage linens and towels, often still in the package, at a fraction of the price of modern linens and towels. They hold up forever!

That said, I wanted this specific toy grocery cart because there is a certain adorable little girl who is just learning to walk, and I want her to have this toy to play with. Many years ago, we bought a grocery cart just like this one for her mother’s first birthday. We got rid of it after our youngest child outgrew it.

My husband doesn’t like the rare occasions when I buy something we used to own. His logical thought is, “Why did we get rid of it in the first place if we were just going to buy another one?”

My response is, would you have preferred to trip over it all these years, or have it take up valuable storage space, say in a storage unit where it would pick up that funky odor that outdoor storage units seem to create on stored items?

One of the advantages of the Internet is that you can find just about anything you might want to buy, even if it’s old or dated. So you can get rid of most things knowing that if you do ever need them again, you can buy them online. In the meantime, your surroundings remain uncluttered. Works for me!

Posted in Debt-Free, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

Get and Stay Debt-Free While You’re Young

This 68-year-old woman had a good income and assets, but thought she was rich and lived like it, buying stuff like there was no tomorrow. She ended up in bankruptcy court. The native Californian ended up moving to the Midwest, where the cost of living was cheaper than it was on the west coast. Now, she finally has a handle on her finances, and sees hope for the first time.

But had she become debt-free back when she had decent money coming in, she could have had a much easier time of things as she approached her old age. This is why it’s so important to work toward debt freedom while you’re young.

We became debt-free at age 44 when we paid off our mortgage. A few years later, a failed business (our main source of income) forced us to sell our house. The proceeds paid for a small house in a cheaper area, and left us money to live off of while we figured out what we would do for a living in the future. I don’t like to think what would have happened to us if we were not debt-free before the business failed.