Off-Grid Dwellings Could Be On-Grid, Too

Off the grid dwellings seem to be a big thing these days. I’d like to see inexpensive flat-pack homes become a fad in areas near pricey cities, so that working people have more affordable housing options. What good is it to slave away all day to earn barely enough money to live near your work? People are getting stressed out by this lifestyle. If you can’t or won’t move to the more affordable sticks and learn to live on a lower income (and I’m not dissing that! It’s what we did), then wouldn’t you jump on a small, affordable place of your own near work?

How to Live Economically in Retirement

How encouraging this video is to those of us who won’t be retiring on a huge pension. Note how relaxed this man is and how he ended up doing this: sounds like it was for the joy of it, not because he’s financially limited. I love how he emphasizes the convenience of living like this. After all, a lack of housework, fewer things to repair and lower costs are all benefits of this way of living. What a great video!



Van Dwellers on the Rise

In typical Daily Mail fashion, this article about a gathering of van dwellers includes a misleading headline and quite a few photos.

The insinuation is that a bunch of hippies that live in their vans formed a town in Oregon recently. The reality is that this was a weekend gathering, not the creation of permanent parking spots for a large number of people who live in their RVs.

That said, an increasing number of people in the U.S. are finding that they prefer living in a van or RV to spending their lives on the merry-go-round of working full-time for stagnating wages while trying to afford increasingly unaffordable housing. Some young people have decided that’s not the life they want, while some older people can no longer make the math work, especially if they can only find part-time jobs in their forced semi-retirement.

The result is a large and growing number of people who live in their vans. Some of them may have been at this gathering, but according to a couple of commenters on the article, many of those who were at this event just like to camp in their RVs on the weekends, and enjoy getting together with others who feel the same way.

Regardless, an increasing number of people have given up on renting or buying housing, and are living in their vans full-time. Some of these vans are quite nice; others not so much. Anyone who decides to do this will have to downsize by giving up most of their possessions after choosing which few are essential to daily living. This trend is no accident; until stagnating wages go up, bloated housing costs go down, or (ideally) both things happen, we will continue to see an increase in van dwellers.


Clutter and Claustrophobia

I have claustrophobia, I hate clutter, and I think there’s a link between those two facts.

Not that I’ve always lived clutter-free; quite the opposite, in fact. There were many years that I had a basement overwhelmed with clutter. That was where I put it to keep it out of our living areas. I just didn’t have time to deal with it then, but the fact of its existence drove me crazy.

I didn’t learn that I was claustrophobic until I was in my 40s. Now I understand why I refuse to fly (those planes are so darn tiny inside, and the seating is so close together!), why I prefer an aisle seat at church or the movie theater, and why I like lots of space between me and the car ahead of me.

No wonder I hate seeing piles of stuff, stuff all over the floor or stuff all over the counters. I’m at peace when my desk is clear, my floors are clear and my counters are clear. When messes start piling up, I get a little cranky. I begin to feel a little…trapped.

I like space and freedom. When my basement work area is cluttered with fabric, or the remains of some craft project, I’m not happy. When the project is over and the tables are clear, my basement goes back to having possibilities: we can have the family over to eat there, we can wrap Christmas presents there, or the tables can be taken down to make a big open space for the little ones to run around when they come over.

Clutter-free zones make my little house feel larger and make me feel at peace instead of claustrophobic. I wonder how many other claustrophobic declutterers there are; we should form a club!