Dreams Of Small

Off topic from the usual FoodRadical chatter, I want to share something that has been my focus recently.  I am learning affordable, efficient ways to utilize my small space.  I’m also testing the waters for a new direction in my writing.  FoodRadical may evolve into something different and I might decide to create a new blog with a new focus.  For now I enjoy the ease of sharing here where I am settled and established.  So, thanks for following me as I venture into uncharted territory.

I still have large house overflow in two friend’s basements and I’ve been working on downsizing my belongings with a minimalist attitude.  I realize it’s essential for small home living.  Tiny house living has had incredible appeal to me for years.  I have wasted spent hours reading articles and eyeing enticing pictures of charmed, simple living.  I dream of having my own little house on a piece of land somewhere.  Never has the dream been so close in reach than where I am now on my path.  However, the reality of that process requires a firm commitment that I am still not ready to make.  I have other places to experience and live before I decide on where that piece of land will be, therefore the tiny house will wait.

Truly, I have been practicing small house living in my little studio this past year.  Much like a mother-in-law house, my independent space is attached to a larger home that sits in a residential neighborhood of single family homes.  My private entrance is on the opposite side of the main home creating a sense of separateness.  The interior barely reaches the 400 square foot mark in size.  My home is a stilt house that sits on a hillside so I also have a large covered deck that acts as a living room extension, accessible by the gorgeous french doors that bring in plentiful light.  It’s a lovely feature; the best in my opinion.  The views I enjoy are phenomenal.  I digressed a bit!  I couldn’t help myself!

I have made considerable adjustments, coming from my previous home of over 1,700 square feet in addition to a tremendous stretch of outdoor space.  I can say I now have a solid understanding of the term “stir crazy” having lived the experience as I learned to adapt.  Yet, I now revel in the comfort of my cozy little haven.  I realize I am finding peace of mind and calmness of spirit as I let go of unnecessary stuff that has metaphorically weighed me down for years.

In a space this small with limited storage, it is essential to have a place for everything.  In my last post about the awesome Dollar Tree finds I mentioned that I would show you how I utilize their products.  As I went through my place taking pictures, I discovered I use a lot of Dollar Tree products!  There are many items useful to small space living.  My recommendation is to use your own discretion with regard to quality.  I inspect each potential purchase to determine if it will hold up well with the use I intend it for.  I try, try hard (I’ve caved a time or two!) not to buy something without a set intention for that item.  With few exceptions at this moment, I am using every Dollar Tree item I have purchased.

Additionally, I have wisely purchased furniture pieces that will give me extra storage.  I have found this to be absolutely necessary.  Never before have I so thoughtfully planned out my space or used furniture in ways I now do.  Visualizing an item for it’s re-purpose value has become rote.

I’ve attached pictures of my best and most useful purchases to date.  Enjoy what you see and I wish inspiring thoughts for you on your own organizing journey!  If you’ve made it this far, I thank you again for reading and sticking with me.  I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this stray from convention.



Hold On. This Is Different.

This is quite a different kind of post for me.  I love writing about food and sharing my special diet recipes, but I’ve got something else I really want to share.  As I work toward the goals I have created I find myself seeking out more ways to be frugal, being conscious of my spending so I can save as much as I can while still getting my needs met.

Before I started working at my current job and when I first moved to my place where I now live, there were some essentials I needed.  Since my move was sudden,  I was underemployed and all my money had been taken by my ex “M”,  I was low on cash to get these things.  My landlady suggested I go to the Dollar Tree, which was just down the street from my house to see if I could find the items I needed.  I let go of the issues I had with quality, manufacturing practices and their environmental footprint.  I really needed some things to make life in my small space more livable.  They were simple things like over the door hooks, a bath mat, organizing baskets and such.  There was comfort in these things that let me put my life back together and made my traumatic transition more manageable.  That was such a horribly rough time.  I paid $17 in total, happy that I was able to meet all my needs at such a low cost.  This is fifteen months later and everything I purchased is still in use, except for the bathmat.  I think that’s a bargain!

I have never really been interested in the Dollar Tree as a place to shop.  I have occasionally stopped there to pick up a thing or two that I would have normally picked up elsewhere at a higher price.  I have two Dollar Tree stores convenient to me so it’s not out of my way.  However, it has not been the first place I would think to shop until recently.

When I began my job,  I learned very quickly how to utilize this store to meet the needs of my many onsite activities.  I have a decent professional budget, but to stretch my finances through the fiscal year, I now shop at the Dollar Tree regularly.  I spend a lot of time planning my art and socialization classes, workshops and events.  I regularly check out on line ideas and discovered Dollar Tree hacks.  Have you heard of this?   Oh my goodness,  I have found so many fabulous ideas!  You know how it goes getting sucked into cyber world…well, my clicks led me to YouTube videos about Dollar Tree hauls.  People actually record their shopping trips to this store and then share their purchases in a YouTube video for all to see.  I’m hooked.  Yes, I admit that I am.  These YouTube videos have become my “zone out” time when I need an evening to just veg out.  I’m so fascinated with the things people find.  My trips to the Dollar Tree are now my place for personal quests as well as the fun items I find for work activities.

Quality is on my mind when I inspect something I think I might purchase.  It is only one dollar, but I still want my product to perform.  I know, how much quality can one expect for a dollar, right?  Check out some of my favorite finds.   I’ve attached pictures below.  I don’t know how long that steering wheel cover will last, but the tissue box is pretty sturdy.  And, those dog toys?  Oh my goodness!  My furry little one absolutely loves these toys.  I spent some big bucks on quality name brand toys when she first came to me and she wanted nothing to do with them.  I bought one toy from the Dollar Tree just to see what she would do with it.  Anyone who has met my princess knows she cannot greet you without one of these toys in her mouth.  These are a must purchase item!  I don’t know how long dog toys last for others, but they tend to last about three months for her with regular use.  There are three around the house at all times so none get exclusive use.  .

In past posts I’ve made reference to some lofty goals I’m working on that require me to be mindful of my finances, prudent with my purchases and work within a strict budget.  I have become quite determined to meet them within the time frame I have set for myself.

When there are things on my list that I will purchase at a store anyway and I know that I can get the same things at the Dollar Tree,  you can guess where I would purchase, right?  So far, I have only returned two things that broke immediately upon use.  I have been quite happy with all of my Dollar Tree purchases.  I know I am saving money and I am getting my needs met.  I do like knowing that the Dollar Tree does provide usable, affordable products as this is many people’s only shopping option.

Coming up in a future post:  How I actually utilize Dollar Tree products.  It’ll be my very first DIY thing I post publicly!  FoodRadical is branching out!!