As I sit here waiting for the next in an almost-ended series of people visiting my house, I’ve been feeling already-displaced and at loose ends.
While I anticipate being here for a 60-day closing period, the house already looks like it doesn’t belong to me. I’ve minimized what’s here to the extent that very little of a photographic bent, including cameras, is in the building. Musical instruments are in their cases and hidden from view. Books are in the locker, as are pretty well all my framed and unframed prints, printing supplies, desk, shelving. Clothes are all put away as well, other than a Jobs-like collection of jeans and black t-shirts. I haven’t cooked here in a week other than to microwave frozen food; mostly, I eat out. Bob the Dog is with my friend Karen Peralta and a herd of black labs. Sort of the 4 HorseLabs of the Apocalypse.
Living this sparsely has been an interesting experience. It’s going to change the way I do the next place. I like not having to step over things, and the spare environment is actually quite relaxing, not to mention easy to keep clean and organized. It also seems to clear the mind. I will be purging more as I pull things out of the locker.
It’s something I should’ve done years ago. The challenge of living here, and one of several things that prompted me to put the house up for sale, was the inability to separate work from personal life, because it was simply physically impossible in this house . It wasn’t doable with a large printer, numerous framed and unframed prints, mat cutters, training books and literature scattered throughout the place.
People keep asking if I’m downsizing, and I don’t want to. I want to better-size. That means having a space where I can put everything work-related, something that could never happen here. A finished basement would do the trick, or a heated outbuilding. I won’t be able to afford this in Toronto, but places like this are readily available and affordable in Owen Sound, Picton, and Peterborough, whose real estate listings I’ve been following for over a year now.
I followed the tiny house movement for a while, and have been considering living in an Airstream trailer and travelling for a year at least. More and more, though, these alternatives don’t work for me, and the bloom seems to be coming off the tiny house rose for a lot of people. I can see why. As much as that small and relatively inexpensive space seems appealing, many people are finding that that confined a space doesn’t work for them over long periods, particularly in challenging climates. I like the ability to move to a completely different part of my dwelling for a change of scenery and to do work. That’s not easy to do in a tiny house/trailer, particularly in the dead of winter. And some builders/proponents of tiny house living are finding the same thing and moving to larger spaces, albeit still smaller than the overlarge houses that seem to be the norm.
So, for me anyway, smaller is not necessarily better. Better use of space, though, is, and that’s something I’ll be keeping in the front of my mind as I look for the next Casa Chris.