Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Small space living

There's a lot of talk out in the media these days about living in small spaces.

Check out this link to a CNN story about people around the country 'dropping out', living in small spaces frequently off the grid, in cities and in the boonies. One thing they seem to have in common is that they don't have mortgages or utility costs, or the associated stresses that go with earning enough money to pay for these things. They all have incomes -- none are living off the government -- but they need much less money to live and they enjoy the freedom to provide their own food and be self sufficient.

Solo retreat in Vermont, from NY Times article

I could get into that. My needs are few and I'd love to be without the stress of making ends meet each month. It's not likely to happen with me at this stage of life, but it would be doable, certainly. In fact, it would also provide me with my own long-term solo retreat, such as described in this NY Times online article. I'd love to do one of these, too.
It dawned on me yesterday that I have happily lived in a really small space. My apartment in Eugene was small -- 575 s/f. But even smaller than that was a houseboat I lived on for awhile in the Oakland Estuary, off San Francisco Bay. This wasn't a houseboat built for mobility -- it was a simple wooden houseboat built for living aboard. It was moored in a marina across the estuary from Jack London Square, where my lullaby was the quiet whisper of water slapping against the hull and dock, and the tinkling of sailboat rigging tapping against masts. The movement was constant, but gentle. Wonderful for sleeping!

I don't remember the dimensions or square footage -- it's been many years. But, it was tiny. I'd guess about 10 feet wide by maybe 20 feet long. The bedroom, at the rear of the structure, was only wide enough for a double mattress (wisely built, marine-style, high atop plenty of storage drawers), a door and some space on the other side of the door.

In the middle of the boat was a tiny U-shaped kitchen on one side of a walkway [behind the wall from the narrow end of the bed], and a small bath on the other side. The front portion was living space -- again, tiny, but sufficient. I hung a big double-size rattan swing from the rafters, piled it with pillows, and spent much quality time lying there reading, swaying gently with the motion of the water. Decks and docks and water provided outdoor space. It was peaceful, easy living that appealed to the water sprite/sailing enthusiast that was me in those days.

The kuti huts I've stayed in aren't a lot smaller, although lacking in such things as running water and electricity that I'd want for long-term living. I do like a few modern conveniences -- a shower, a toilet, a tiny kitchen. I could live without an internet connection, but don't think I'd like it -- especially if I were out in the boonies all alone!

Who knows what my future will bring -- not I, certainly! I can make plans, come up with ideas, but I can't control much of anything. I can only be open to whatever changes happen, and 'go with the flow'.


  1. Remember, I lived on a 30 foot sailboat for eleven years and again on a 36 for almost seven... No problem. LOL

  2. Yeah -- that's the ultimate in small-space living!