Don’t tell me to stuff it!

I am catching up on the Tiny House community while I am in Hamilton and I have the luxury of a full time internet connection.

I found this interview with Dee Williams.  Dee has been living full time in her 84 square foot Tiny House (on wheels) in Olympia Washington, since 2003.

I think that she and I have more in common than having dogs named Rudi… but I have come to understand that we Tiny Housers all have things in common.  I can’t speak for us all, but I have noticed, largely, that we do not wish to participate in consumer culture, we think about what we consume and we try to lead our lives simply and sustainably.  More than once I have heard Tiny Housers speak to the issue of simplification because they want time with those who they care about, more than they want stuff in their lives.

“I think stuff is a huge distraction from your character”  Dee Williams

Categories: Environmentalism, Family, Friendship, Materialism, Off Grid, Simple living, Sustainable living, Tiny house, View | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Don’t tell me to stuff it!

  1. Hi Hazel,
    Dee is really cool – you are right. I knew about her but I had missed this particular interview which I think is worth seeing.
    I am totally on page with your concerns! She might have some pots under the cupboard? Still a single burner. I think when I put mine in there will have to be two, I like a cuppa tea with my food.
    She is a very minimal person and I am not. Art supplies, books, photos, writing stuff and also ritual things are a part of my life that I am not compromising on – (these are things I need for my well being). As well with the mild climate…. you are spot on! This is one of the reasons that I built THO a little higher. I have storage boxes under my bed. Still this is not really quite up to snuff (maybe because I am not heated and NEED a half foot of blankets on the bed). I find myself bringing home blankets and winter clothes in the spring and moving them back in the fall. When I no longer have the house in Hamilton I would absolutely want to have a large shed too. Big enough and solid enough that I can store off season clothes, snow shoes, cross country skis, gas can, motorcycle, a few holiday decorations, tools, gardening things… essentially this shed must be as big as THO in order to make the living space bearable. I find the storage of my work boots/chaps and chainsaw one of the silliest things to deal with and thus they are at a friends home (unless I am using them) until such time as I can put a shed up.
    Too, I am sure that it helps that she is a single person. If I were alone, I would shrink the size of the bed in my loft (now a king) – add a tiny desk and a tiny dresser, which could house my well being stuff that I mention above.
    I mentioned in my interview with KBOO that when my husband is there I wish for another 100 square feet. I know that there are couples who live in Tiny Houses of my size… I am just not one who could.
    xo L

    • Hazel

      Laura, it sure is a challenge to get around size bylaws but you seem to have figured it out. A big storage shed sounds like a practical idea for all those things you need but don’t use everyday. One of my plans to circumvent municipal bylaws would be to build separate 100 sq ft rooms, 2 or 3, on a big deck with covered walkways between them. Have you seen Sarana House? They use 2 tiny homes:

      When do you plan on selling up and moving to THO? The most freeing time in our lives was when we sold our family home and all our belongings after our 3 kids had left. Over 25 years of accumulation! I thought I would miss all that stuff but I just felt like a weight had been lifted. I did store some family heirlooms and photo albums at my mom’s, and the kids took a few pieces of furniture, but other than clothing and camping gear, we got rid of everything. We travelled the States with nothing but a mini-van and a backpacking tent. It was one of the best times of our lives!

      Since settling down again and building our cottage in a field we’ve accumulated more stuff!!! Thrifted and garage-saled mostly but nonetheless it’s stuff. Our son moved back home for 5 years so we used that as an excuse, I guess. He moved out this spring and we’ve had a couple of garage sales (and used Kijiji) to pare down to ‘what we use and what we love’.

      I hear you about needing certain things for well-being but I figure that falls under ‘what I love’! 😉 Things need to have a place in a small space though. Books+, birding gear, baskets, nature collections, yarn, and so on are necessary for me but just need to be kept in their place, right?

      Husbands do take up more space, don’t they? LOL Hubby and I do pretty well in small spaces though. Last year in Texas we bought a 17 ft new-to-us Casita travel trailer. Check them out: I love nesting in our WREN! We plan to travel this winter for 5 months so we’d better get along!

      It would be easier to go solo for sure. Here’s a blog of a woman who full-times in her Casita with 2 dogs:

      Anyway, I could talk simple, small living all day long! 😉 I’ll continue to watch as your THO evolves. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Hazel

    I’m so glad you discovered Dee Williams! Isn’t she an inspiration? She seems truly content living with the basic necessities in such a tiny space. She said that she likes to keep her possessions to fewer than 300 but that includes tools for her building business.

    There are a few issues with her lifestyle that wouldn’t work for me: she’s dependent on a neighbour for a space for her tiny house; she’s dependent on that neighbour for water and bathing facilities; and she doesn’t seem to cook…no pots and pans or evidence of food!

    It helps that she lives in a mild climate too. When we lived on an out-island in the Bahamas, we had a very minimal wardrobe, so simple! But here in the north we need so many different kinds of clothing (and even shoes) for all weathers. It does fill up a closet!

    I’m obsessed with tiny houses and would love to build one. I have a list of essential requirements and have made so many drawings! I check the Tiny House Blog daily for ideas. I think it takes more imagination, creativity, and lateral thinking to live in a small space. Such a challenge!

    I hope Dee does another video soon. It makes me content just to listen to her!

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