Jack of Many Trades


Originally posted: 2022-10-27

We're all covid-negative now, though P's got a nasty cough settled in. Usually I'm the one who gets a cough that stays all winter, so it feels a bit weird.

The appraisal for the HELOC was yesterday and seemed fine, I'm waiting for the update. Organizer comes on Halloween. I got a little bonus from work and found some nice fixtures on sale so the electrical guy is coming next week to update some of the light fixtures too.

Been writing. Joined the Discord server for justcreate for body-doubling, so we'll see how that goes. I'm in an art server a friend of mine runs and I've actually enjoyed drawing and sharing with one or two other people as I do it. I'm still writing with P but I'm also thinking I'll do NaNo this year. (I haven't completed it since Bug was born aside from unofficially doing it as a tag-team last year, but hope springs eternal.) I also re-joined the Discord for the local NaNo group. More body-doubling can't hurt, right?

I upgraded my tote bag to be a little more protected when I'm carting the tablet around and this has turned into a handsewing binge. I watched a couple of videos and feel like I've finally learned how to use a thimble, which is... I mean, I've only been doing this thirty five years, why would I have picked that up before now? But anyway, it's satisfying handwork while I'm working or reading fanfic.

(A reminder that Tyler is what I named the Intrusive Thoughts Voice, he is not an actual roommate or anything.)

Okay so we are currently a family of three in an 800ish square foot condo. I'm fully aware that that's like three tiny houses, lots of people do more with less all over the world, we're lucky to be able to own at all in this market, etc and so on.

I've hung around the minimalist community for ages, there's lot of judgements there. One of the biggest when you're talking about the amount of STUFF Americans have is a) the size of houses and then b) the number of storage units in the US per capita or whatever. And they're not wrong! Lots of people have storage units for lots of different reasons, some of which seem ridiculous or wasteful.

But we've taken up camping as a family, and that was really the final straw.

Our condo is pretty well laid-out. There's closets in both bedrooms, a linen closet, and a laundry space off the bathroom that I also use as a pantry. I use underbed storage. Bug's bed is lofted to give her more playspace. I built my own closet storage for our bedroom to fit our specific use case.

None of it was enough to make us not frustrated with the space we have. All three of us are crafters. We have a sewing machine and a cricut, yarn and fabric and fiber stash, paints and paper and bookbinding supplies, collections, Bug's toys, my toys... it's a lot, it absolutely is. On top of that, we source clothes Bug hasn't grown into yet. And then we added camping gear.

We were talking about the cost-benefit analysis of selling some furniture we really like and trying to re-buy when we get into a real house and then the subject of staging came up and we realized we'd need to get a storage unit at that point and then the question became... what if we just got a storage unit for now, for things we do use but don't use all the time?

I fought with Tyler, justifying it in my head a lot. Would we pay an extra $50 to rent the storage if it was in the basement? Yes we would. Would it cost more to try to source or rent camping gear every time we wanted to go out for the weekend? Heck yeah it would. Was it worth it to have somewhere to store Girl Scout gear and reference books I don't need at hand all the time but wouldn't be able to replace if I got rid of them? Would I keep them if we had a slightly bigger house?

It's about $50 a month, and it's offsite, and we've been slowly moving over stuff like Christmas presents and the camping gear and a few pieces of furniture and my god, I like this condo so much better. The closet is no longer completely packed with storage. The living room is no longer lined with things that have a use "soon" but not yet. The dining room table... is still covered in stuff that got set down on it, but it's progress.

But it still feels shameful to admit it somehow? Partly the financial privilege of being able to pay for it, and of having this stuff in the first place. (Though having the stuff is a result of being frugal and buying things secondhand when I can rather than new on-demand.) The sheer privilege of being in a position to worry about it! Partly the minimalist urge to declutter everything and be responsible for nothing. Paying for storage is peak Useless Capitalism, Tyler says.

Well, paying for housing is fucked up to begin with if you think about it too hard, and if the housing market wasn't so shitty we'd be in an actual house so... existing within a broken system. It's a thing. And yeah, it's weird to think about it, and maybe it would be great if I did have less stuff, and maybe we'll decide it's not worth it eventually but right now it's really, really helpful. And for $50 a month, I'll take that and tell Tyler to fuck off. Part of that means saying it out loud instead of feeling like it's a weird secret or something so here I am saying it out loud.