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Efficiency Unit

November 3, 2018

When I was a little child, we lived in a two bedroom house with five children and two adults. Whaat? My family made it work by converting the garage to a bedroom for two, using a tiny travel trailer in the yard for one, and having two children share the bedroom my parents didn’t occupy.

A born introvert, I2096295273_aebc359f7d_z always wanted solitude. We were a quiet family, but seven people in about 800 square feet is going to get crowded in any case. My refuge was the hall closet. I would hide out there, drawing on the walls with crayons and denying it was me when I was caught. Not the sharpest tool in the…closet, that was me.

Ever since, I have loved tiny spaces. I feel nervous in big rooms and relaxed in small ones. I thought having a 4-bedroom suburban home was ridiculous when it was just me and Mr. Stapler.

So I feel snug and happy in Gladis the RV. I can reach everything in 3 steps. There needs to be a place for everything and everything in its place. I just haven’t figured all of that out quite yet.

Dirty laundry is a thorn in my side.  Also, I brought my stuff from the house with me in my suitcase, then forgot to take the suitcase back in the house. Now I’m constantly shifting the suitcase from my bed to the dinette to my bed. But on the other hand, I don’t have to clean 4 bedrooms, and vacuuming takes 5 minutes with a hand vac.

In Gladis small actions have outsized effects. Yesterday I spilled about a cup of olive oil. I had to move things out of the way to clean, then find a spot for the dirty things, then move things back.

It reminded me of how small acts in our lives can blossom or blow up. A kind phone call in a time of despair. A word of encouragement to launch a career. Or a sentence said in anger that can rip apart years of love.

Living in this small cozy space, I need to be mindful of everything I do, the waste I produce, the messes I make. Maybe I can start to think of my planet like I do Gladis. As it says in A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “No matter where you go, there you are.”


  1. November 4, 2018 08:41

    Wow, what an amazing adventure you are on! So many lessons on mindfulness in every action. I’m getting caught up with blog reading a bit, and I see that your mom died recently. I’m so very sorry. I know how much that can shake your reality. Also sorry about the anxiety, we have that around here as well, and it is not fun. I’m glad you are taking good care of yourself and working towards a life you can love, as you put it so well.

  2. November 5, 2018 08:15

    I felt very similar on the houseboat for the 2 years we lived there. The ideal of minimal waste and minimal possessions seemed nearly within my grasp. (It wasn’t quite, even so.) Trundling everything on and off the boat (including toilet paper) with a dock cart meant being especially aware of how much input and output was happening. I got used to eating from a rice cooker, bread machine, electric kettle, and slow cooker since only one burner of the stove worked and washing dishes was not only a pain but you’d know you were draining the dishwater right into the harbor!

    Where ever you go, there you are is from Buckeroo Banzai! It was one of my favorite things from that movie (I still go by “Doctor Lizardo” sometimes) and used to be in my .sig file.

  3. November 5, 2018 12:05

    Haha my mom lived in a 3 bedroom house with 6 siblings. And they didnt have a garage or an RV! She definitely didn’t pick up the same feelings for tiny spaces though

    • November 9, 2018 05:54

      Wow, your mom’s house must have been noisy! My introversion led me to the closet and to love small spaces. A nook is so cozy to me.

      • November 9, 2018 05:55

        Yeah I bet it was. My grandma still lives in the same house and its hoenstly hard to picture so many people there. I would have had tons of trouble with all the noise too

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