Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tiny House Changes in the Air and the Future

This seems like a good post for the first day of fall!  Happy equinox everyone.

I'm not ready to share all the details but I wanted to give my readers a heads up that within the next couple of years there would be some pretty big changes happening here at Life in 120 Square Feet.

Don't worry, the tiny house will play a major role.

In the meantime I wanted to share some of my thoughts about my place within the tiny house community.

In October I have the amazing honor of helping to run the very first conference specifically designed for women without children. Being childfree by choice has been a big part of my identity as a woman, especially as I reached 40, and I've been working with The NotMom blog for several years. We finally decided the time was right so here we are about to launch a real life conference.

The reason I mention that is because not only am I the co-administrator of the entire event but I will be speaking on a panel titled "Lasting Impressions: Philanthropy, Volunteering, and Work that Gives Back." This topic is extremely important to me. As a childfree woman I have been told, far too often, that I am selfish and shallow for taking this path in life. I think it is important to break that stereotype and volunteering is extremely important to me.

That being said, volunteering and the tiny house go hand in hand. It was because of the tiny house that Matt and I had the opportunity to visit South Africa in 2011 and work with a group to build a sustainable shelter for orphans and other vulnerable Zulu children living in the townships outside Durban.

And now we are volunteering on a more local level.

We are working with the Asheville Small Home Advocacy Committee and the city of Asheville to make small and tiny homes more legally viable. We believe this could be one answer for the affordable housing crisis that affects our city. The city is interested and we are hoping to do more in the coming years.

Right now and for the foreseeable future this will be the biggest push for me as a tiny house activist. Our tiny home gave us many opportunities and we are grateful. There are things we couldn't have done, both with our time and money, if we had not built our tiny home. Because our experience was transformative I want to help others find ways to do this in their lives.

You can read about that experience at our website

So what else is on the horizon and why do I have to be rather cryptic? Ultimately it is not my story to tell, not yet anyway, but there are things that will affect my life moving forward that will be an incredibly positive experience.

In many of our talks about tiny house living Matt and I have been asked about our relationship and how it was affected by building a tiny house. I have become fond of saying, "We've been together a long time and building a tiny house was just one more weird thing in a long list of weird things we've done."

I think that sums it up nicely.

Rest assured the next phase will be one more weird thing, but weird doesn't mean bad. It just means unexpected. Stay around to find out more.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Asheville Housing Fair September 19th

Are you in Asheville? If so, I highly recommend that you swing by the Asheville Housing Fair on Saturday, September 19th from 10am to 2pm.

It's free!  

I will be there, along with my friends from Wishbone Tiny Homes and other members of the Asheville Small Home Advocacy Committee to share information about making tiny homes more legally viable in the city limits.

From 10am to 10:30 Matt and I will be outside the house that Wishbone is showcasing at the site answering questions about living well in 120 square feet. Come by and talk to us!

The rest of the day we will be primarily representing Asheville SHAC. We even have some informational brochures that describe our mission and what we're looking for in terms of a developer in town. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 Geeky Recap

This was our 9th year at Dragon Con in downtown Atlanta. The crowds set a record at 70,000. Certainly can't fit that many people in a tiny home! 

I love general geekery. It is like Halloween, Christmas, my birthday, and everything else fun that I can ever think of all rolled into one. This year we had friends from Asheville, Atlanta, Bermuda, Seattle, Michigan, Minnesota, and more all hanging out with us. It was the best Dragon Con ever.

You may wonder why I am posting about it on my tiny house blog. Well, as this is about my life in 120 square feet it is also about my life outside of it and Dragon Con is one of my very favorite things.

So - without further ado... photos! 
(These were taken by a variety of people in our friend group)

Emily and Bill as Wonder Woman and Batman

Bill and Emily as Rockabilly Batman and Bombshell Wonder Woman

John from EPBOT as Dreamfinder and Figment

Our entire group as Harry Potter adult characters.

Our entire group plus a Hagrid and Snape that we found

Heather as Liv Moore from iZombie

Heather and Jill as Princess Daisy and Luigi

Jay and Heather as Lupin and Tonks from Harry Potter

Our Super Mario group

Slytherin Karl Lagerfeld?

Emily and Bill as Steampunk Kaylee and Mal from Firefly

Matt with Thor's Hammer. It weighed over 50 pounds!

Matt and me as Lucius Malfoy and Sybill Trelawney
We'll be back for Dragon Con 2016 so stay tuned next year for more costumes and geeky fun! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hobbies and the Tiny House: Cosplay Edition

Half a month later and I am back at the blog. I took part of the summer off from blogging here so I could concentrate on my freelance work, Asheville SHAC, and preparing for my most favorite time of the year.

Yes, it is Dragon Con again. 

Every year over Labor Day weekend we make a pilgrimage back to Atlanta to celebrate all things Geeky with 65,000 of our closest friends.

This year, in fact, we have friends coming from as far as Michigan and Minnesota to share our hotel room.

The last time I wrote about it extensively here on this blog was in 2012 when we moved into our tiny house.

So, a question we get asked often is how we store our costuming stuff when we only live in 120 square feet. 

I think a big misconception about moving into a tiny home is that you are forced to give up anything that brings you joy in life if it takes up any space at all. I think that is patently untrue and there are a variety of ways to make something work if you have a hobby that requires "stuff."

When we first moved into our tiny home we had gotten rid of a lot of our cosplay. That year I only did one costume and it was an easy one. I was Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory. With only a sweater vest, button down shirt, and a pencil skirt the costume was pretty compact and could store in my closet until we packed up for Atlanta. But after that Con I missed some of the more elaborate costumes and wanted to find a way to make that work with our new tiny lifestyle.

This year, 3 years later, I am bringing three costumes with me. It still all fits in one big suitcase. Oh, and I also 2 of my friends costumes packed in there... as well as all of my non-costuming clothes for the weekend.

So how do I store them when they're not in a suitcase waiting to go to Atlanta?

We were really lucky when we built our tiny house: we have a barn.

Just some basic supplies...
While we camped in the barn while we were building today it is perfect for storing anything that doesn't fit in our tiny home. We have two hobbies that have a lot of gear: Costuming and Glamping. These things stay stored in the barn room. We keep airtight plastic bins to prevent bugs and mildew as much as possible. Lots of the glamping stuff, like our tents and canopy, are made to be outdoors so they're fine.

Of course, this might not work for everyone. A tiny house that travels frequently may not be able to have auxiliary storage. The people who live in them probably want to keep their lives unencumbered, too. For tinies that are stationary or on foundations like mine additional storage is fine. Downsizing and simplifying is great but not if it means you can't live the life you enjoy. I wanted to have this lifestyle so I would have time and money to enjoy them.

After Labor Day I'll share some photos of our geeky adventure!