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Stop Treating Shopping As A Hobby – A Rant

Macy M2 comments1542 views

I was recently approached to share my tips about storage in a tiny house by a big name publication. Five years ago this sort of outreach would have been amazing. I would have likely been thrilled. It was so disheartening though, the tactics have changed immensely these days. They only reached out to try to sell unnecessary things to their readers. It was painfully clear.

I’ve literally designed a lifestyle about NOT mindlessly spending hard earned money. What they want to know is how to accommodate a lifestyle of consumerism within a lifestyle that intentionally avoids consumerism! Actually, I don’t even think they considered it that much. They just want to coat-tail on something that is popular without any regard for WHY tiny homes have become popular.

The request

Hello Macy, 

Your blog is so much fun! For my upcoming article Clever Storage Hacks from People Living in Tiny Houses for [Big Name Publication] online I’d like to quote you. I’ll link to your site in the article and I’ll send you the link once it publishes.
I’d like to get your best small space hack or hint. It would be great if you have one or two sentences to share about this. If possible, please send it along by 3pm on Monday, 10/21.

-[Big Name Publication]

Storage?

Hi [Big Name Publication]! 

Very nice to hear from you! I love [Big Name Publication]! 

My best small space hack/hint is probably over simplified but I think it is the most critical part to make small spaces successful. It’s simply to stop treating shopping as a hobby. One of our personal values is to have a minimal ecological impact, easier said as ‘using less stuff’. It’s the main reason we live tiny. By having minimal storage space, our house supports our goals when our fortitude fails. We focus more on experiences and are very particular about what we even bring in our home. The clutter mostly stops before it ever hits our door. I don’t think I have any fancy quips, just support for a lifestyle of less stuff.

I’m not sure that fits in with what you’re working up but hopefully it’s in a similar enough vein.

-Macy

Hi Macy

Thank you for sending this. I really like what you wrote. In addition is there a storage hint/tip/hack you might be able to share?

Something for one or two of these, like: fold out hanging to use as needed without taking up space when not in use? Or under bed storage? Or hanging baskets? Or adding shelves over a door frame? Or hooks? 

If you have a sentence or two about storage that I can include that would be awesome! 

Thanks a bunch,

-[Big Name Publication]

I have a hard time with these sorts of requests. Sure the ‘exposure’ is good (or is it?). Readers could definitely find my blog via [Big Name Publication]. And I would reach more eyes and generate more income (probably) because of it.

…But…

Clearly the article is already written, she just wants a name to put to her topical ‘fixes’. It makes the tiny house community seem shallow and easy to me. These ‘fixes’ completely bypass the meat of ‘why live tiny’. It seems so…’who cares’ to me.

I mean, is the question how can I fit my 2,500 s.f. house in your tiny house? Why? The real answer is that I just don’t have a lot of stuff and I have made myself ok with living on a different metric of value… That part is hard. Fitting my sewing machine and art supplies in a cupboard is easy, and also just the same as everyone else. (Guys, my storage is exactly the same as every other house.)

What would you do?

Respond with a nope, no hint/tip/trick. Or say sure, all those things you said are great, write them in and stick my name by it…

(This is why I suck at blogging… Probably this just doesn’t matter but but this feels like yet another empty article but one with enough viewership that it would give me ‘exposure’ which is a good thing, right?)

I couldn’t do it

Hi [Big Name Publication]
I’m racking my brain here. I have to say no, I don’t have any tip/trick/hack that doesn’t feel extremely topical. I apologize for that. Honestly, my house’s storage is very typical. It’s cupboards, shelves and magnets – very similar to what is in more standard houses in America. In fact, I started out having fold out furnishings (like our dinner table) and multi-use items (like a drying rack in my shower for clothes). I thought they would be necessary. Those items were quickly broken or taken out because we just didn’t use them. In my experience, multi-use items seem to be of lesser quality in a lot of cases and so break quickly. I opted to have quality items for single, defined purposes. I don’t think success living tiny has anything to do with how I store my stuff.

I think the real trick to living tiny is learning how to live by different metrics of value. I think it’s about learning about yourself and not trying to keep up with ‘the Jones’s’. I don’t think there is any way a person will be able to go from the average (2,687s.f.) home in America to a tiny house without a lot of self exploration and a shift in priorities. It will definitely take a lot more than some crafty storage to be successful in a small space. 

If you would like something more topical here are my best tries:

*Honest truth, our storage is typical. Linen closet for the bathroom, pantry in the kitchen, dresser for clothes, etc. Ours just tend to be smaller then standard houses because we have less to store.
*If you have less things to store, storing them requires less space. No magic bullets needed.
*Minimizing kitchen gadgets where possible will make a huge difference. I.E. there is no need for a banana cutter (btw, <— thats an affiliate link which means I gain revenue if you click it and buy anything from amazon in the next few days… hypocrite much? I was seeing if I could sneak one in her piece :)) when you have a knife. Things like that. Sometimes we just enjoy the challenge of going without, having to get creative with how to accomplish something without a specialized tool is kind of fun. 
*Open shelving is a great way to store kitchen gadgets. Having them on view as a part of your aesthetics will allow you to reassess what is truly worthwhile. 
*We don’t have any under-bed storage because it’s not very accessible, instead we just cut out the space under the beds.
*Hanging baskets and over the door shelving can make a small space feel more claustrophobic and I would caution folks against using those if possible.
*Having one per person on daily items (like forks, plates, cups, bath towels, etc.) requires less storage (and upkeep!).

I guess I feel like the tiny house lifestyle is so much deeper than the stuff you store. I would even say that storing ‘stuff’ is the least important part of tiny house living. Getting to the point where lifestyle and how you spend your hours matters more than storing things is the hard part. 

I’m thrilled if any of that can fit into your purpose. If not, I may not be the best person to ask for what you are trying to accomplish in this article. 

-Macy

They used it anyway

To be specific, they used “Open shelving is a great way to store kitchen gadgets. Having them on view as a part of your aesthetics will allow you to reassess what is truly worthwhile.” Right next to an affiliate link for a really impractical shelf. They don’t intend for you to buy THAT shelf, they just intend to attract your attention long enough that you click on the link so their cookie goes to your computer and you’re sent to a shopping site. They are banking that you don’t have the willpower to not buy something. Then they get a portion of the sale of whatever items you buy online next.

In this way, everything is stupid clickbait. Tiny houses are popular so they leverage that to sell you something. Anything. Most publishers have zero want to actually see into the world of a tiny house family but they want to use the popularity to sell more junk. And us Americans are buying it! The only goal is to get you to spend more of your hard earned money in ways you just don’t need to. It’s clearly not to spread what could be valuable information. Like learning to live a life you are happy and content with. Living a life that doesn’t depend on consumerism. Maybe even one that doesn’t even see joy in it. That wouldn’t line their pockets.

We’re all just pawns in the quest for the Great American Dream – debt strapped oblivion.

It irritates me. Can you tell?

Anyway, all this to just put my actual ‘small space storage hack’ out into the world. Refer again to the title if you need.

Here’s what I think can actually be helpful

100 thing challenge

No spend months/year

Don’t give things away because it’s trendy – use it up!

And for goodness sake, shopping is not a pass-time!

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Macy,
    I bet the big named publication could hardly believe that you didn’t fall for their quest to use you to sell more useless junk to their readers. Good for you. I am a 76 year old widow currently living in a 1300 sq.ft. home. I have been looking at tiny house plans and ideas for a few years now but just didn’t find any that I liked. Until I saw yours that is. What a gem! I own 2+ acres here in a rural area of Kentucky where I plan on building with some help from one of my sons, my brother and a friend. I will have water and electric from public utilities but like you I plan on a composting toilet. I will use my grey water for gardening and hope to eventually have a rain catchment system in place. I will once again grow a large portion of my food and preserve what I don’t eat fresh. I am looking forward to living a simple and uncluttered life with my dog and two cats. With some good books, music and an abundance of nature I feel I will have everything I could ever need or want. I hope to be living my dream this time next year. I wish you and your family great happiness and the best of luck in all your endeavors.
    Sincerely,
    Karen

    1. Oh Karen! That is so nice to hear! Your plan sounds lovely! I’ll be wishing you well from Idaho, enjoy the process, it’s hard at times waiting to get there but it is lovely when you make it!

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