Saturday, August 20, 2011

Excerpts from the Small House Society Yahoo Group

Just thought I would post a couple of quotes from people in this thread about someone looking for other families who are interested in minimalism and downsizing in order to keep her momentum, as she doesn't know anyone doing anything like her in real life - and sometimes that can be hard. Trust me, I know. :D

the simple life

There are many other messages here, but my favorite was Kelly's:

"It's taken me about two years, but we got rid of about 80% of our stuff. Believe it or not I have another box that is going to Goodwill. Mine is also partially motivated by economics. Hubby has had two lay offs since 2007, and his current job pays a lot less money. Gone are the days his boss would hand him a big bonus, etc. It's taught me many, many lessons. We lived in the 3400 sq. ft. house, with 2 new cars, etc. We are now in about 1200 sq. ft. and I plan on going smaller in about 2 years. We have two kids, two dogs, and two cats. So many lessons. One is that hubby has a job so we are incredibly fortunate. Another biggie is that we are not any more or less happy having less money or less things, in some ways we are actually happier. The biggest of them all is that my family, their health is number one.......not a new car or a McMansion......materialistic items mean nothing to me now. I did not think they ever did, but they must have at one point since we bought that big house.

Along the way I became a green girl, and got into the environmental movement........can't pinpoint the exact date this happened. Part of it was due to my daughter being allergic to everything and me removing all perfumes, cleaners, anything toxic, etc. out of my house and us learning to eat healthier, etc. So as I became more clear about who I was, how I wanted to live, and how we wanted to live as a family well it all started falling into place. A small house and a minimalistic lifestyle are definitely our goals here."

I kind of feel like these kinds of things are obviously the best choices (although I do understand how people can feel differently), but I love reading about how people arrive at the conclusion and all the things they do!

Then Larry responds:

"I am a Dad, not a Mom. But if you are serious about living within your means,
this is what I recommend:

1) Location, location, location. Do some research and find out where the cost of
living is the lowest, and the unemployment is lowest, and utilities and housing
are lowest, and move there. Most people are grounded/rooted in one place. Big
mistake, financially. I live in rural Kentucky. I had a beautiful house built 6
months ago on 1.5 acres of land in the country for $80,000. I feel as though we
are in heaven, with a 1000 SF house, and a 400 square foot, screened in porch
overlooking the forest. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, laminate hardwood
floors, 6 ceiling fans, low-e windows, etc, etc. My all-electric bill averages
$60/month. Water is $15.00/month. Yes, I had to buy a riding mower and it is a
lot of grass to mow. But I wouldn't live in a big city for anything.

2) Develop a budget and live within it. No magic here.

3) Don't let the kids guilt you in to buying them things. Give them the basics,
and tell them if they want better, they need to earn the money. Plenty of jobs
mowing grass, raking leaves, cleaning house, babysitting, etc, etc. There is no
better lesson you can teach them as a parent than learning to earn their own
money to buy what they want.

4) Shop at thrift stores.

5) Just say NO when they want some expensive gadget that they don't really need.
In my experience, single mothers feel so guilty there is no father around, that
they overspend to try to compensate. Ridiculous. Just say NO, we can't afford
it. Stop feeling guilty."

Wow, Larry says it so well! I'm pretty sure he's the guy I often see in the group giving epic responses to everything. Although there are over 1,000 members, so I could be wrong. I don't keep up with the group often.

Someone asked if $80,000 included the land he built his home on:

"No, the $80,000 was for the house alone. I paid $20,000 for the two acres of
land a few years ago. And, I had to pay to have a septic system put in, and to
run electric and water lines. So the total cost was closer to $110,000. But the
cheap utilities and property taxes still make it a bargain.
You are right that living in the country is not for everyone. I felt very
isolated at first. But I know some of the neighbors now, married a wonderful
lady, and our neighbors all watch out for each other and wave/honk as they drive
by. I am 12 miles from work, but it only takes me 20 minutes to get there. I
only have 1 stop sign and 4 traffic lights to deal with. Some of my friends who
live in Lexington or Louisville need 30 - 40 minutes to drive 6 miles across
town because of the traffic. I just have to watch out for deer and other
wildlife. When I sit out on my back porch, all I hear is the wind blowing the
leaves in the trees, or occasionally someone mowing their grass in the distance.
I have somewhat of a hermit personality, so it works fine for me. My kids don't
understand how I can live so far from a WalMart or Pizza Hut. It just takes
planning. We have a chest freezer and huge food pantry so we are pretty well
stocked up on food. You just have to plan out things so you have what you need
on hand. You can't just hop in the car and be at Kroger in 5 minutes." 

 I love the internet. :)


  1. I like the first quote.
    The happiness part is really uplifting considering the topic is presented in a somewhat sad light.

  2. tranks for sharing this with us
    nice post :P

  3. It's wonderful to see how people realize you don't need a huge house and 2 cars and lots of expensive things to just be happy.

    Very nice find!

  4. good advice. where you live? where Im at in vancouver bc you cant even buy a one bedroom in the ghetto for $110000 :(

  5. One day in the future I'll live like this. Maybe not out of necessity, and maybe not quite as hardcore, but I just prefer the simple things. My grandfather had his house far from the city, invested in land and constructing a two story house (for him and the rest of the family). The house was small, but what was really awesome was the back yard. There was no better garden, all his spare time went into that. That's where I learned that cranberries are actually fuzzy, that if you cut a tree at 5 feet it'll stay at 5 feet which is awesome for fruit trees, and how to make tea and coffee. That place made me happy.

  6. All you need is a Costco club card, a large pantry and a external fridge. Get that and I swear you wouldn't have to grocery shop for, like, a month or even a month and a half.

    Eurgh, I miss having a second fridge and spacious pantries...

    And hot water. Yeah. I really miss hot water on tap.

    BUT hopefully I'll be moving to someplace better in the next coupla's hopin'!

  7. Kelly's quote reminds me a maxism of Fran├žois duc de La Rochefoucauld, number 49: "On n'est jamais si heureux ni si malheureux qu'on s'imagine.", that we are never so happy or so unhappy as we suppose.