Living Large in Small Space!

by on June 7, 2012
in Uncategorized

What happens when a grown, single (no children at home) husband and wife move into a small space about half the size of my classroom?
Having only lived in our camper for two weeks, we are not aware of all the changes we are going to make; however, we have learned several lessons already.
One: Gary’s questions before purchasing any item used to be, “Do you need it? Can you afford it? Do you have a place for it?”
Now we completely understand the wisdom of those simple questions in a deeper, more fundamental way.
Yes, I like shoes! I have shoes for special occasions, walking, working outside, shopping, riding horses, walking in mud, going out, teaching, going to church, and on and on. I have flip flops, heels, and flats.
But there is room for about five or six pair of shoes. Which do I choose?
Yes, I like variety! I have t-shirts I love to wear to work when it’s melting hot outside, blouses that go with dressy slacks, school teaching shirts, going to visit kids tops, old shirts to paint in, and on and on. I have short sleeve, long sleeve, and sleeveless.
I have jeans for working in the yard, dressy jeans, school slacks, dressy slacks, and Capri pants.
But there is only a limited space for hangers in the small closet—which do I need the most?
Yes, I love to read and books have been my friends all my life! I love mysteries, historical fiction (not romance, though), nonfiction, science, science fiction, poetry, short stories, plays, murder mysteries, scary stories, and on and on. I have Southern literature, current literature, and light reading.
But there is only a limited amount of cabinet space to hold books and magazines. Which do I really need to use as reference, or how-to, or comfort?
Two: Clutter will kill you! Gary and I have found over the years in our married life, while we can function in comfortable “lived in,” we cannot function in cluttered chaos!
When you live in a very small place we have learned that your eyes, and brain, and ears get overloaded very quickly. There has to be “blank” space where you can rest your gaze. There has to be a place of peace. There has to be a place of silence.
With stuff cluttering and reminding us it needs to be put up, put on, or put out to the trash can— we can’t rest. Plus the small floor space means every inch counts and is important for navigation!
So everything in the little space needs its own place. We both need to be able to find whatever we are looking for. When we use something, we need to put it right back in its place. Don’t leave it on the table, the counter, or the bed. Soon, like a magnet, all sorts of loose objects will be attracted to that site.
When finished with the glass, wash it, and put it away. After a meal is over, clean up quickly so the chore will be done, empty the dish drainer, and reorganize the kitchen. When you finish using the hair dryer, put it back in the closet, not hanging on the edge of the counter. Don’t procrastinate. Common sense; what our mama’s said over and over.
Three: Multipurposing ! I used to think I had to have all the right size, right kind, and right color dishes for serving meals in. I used to think I needed all those different kinds of baking dishes, frying pans, and utensils. I really had to have all those various sizes and styles of pots and pans, electric skillets, food processors, and mixers! To have the best result, to be the best mom, to be the best wife, to turn out the best product—a multitude of kitchen utensils, stirrers, beaters, dishes, and cookers were needed.
But there is only one small shelf under the sink for pots and pans and cooking things and a little storage over the refrigerator for storing choppers and cookers.
I can use my basic utensils, pots, pans, and skillets and get the job done; then I don’t have a storage problem. All those cute, clever, fancy, cooking-chic extras aren’t necessary and don’t make the food taste any better!
We have lived in large and small places, but this is the smallest by far. Minimal, I suppose. But we have all we need.
Cleaning is a breeze! I can vacuum, mop, dust, clean glass, and put things away in a very short time! We can easily heat or cool the small living area, kitchen, bath, and bedroom.
Losing my first husband in a car wreck, selling the first real home Gary and I had purchased thinking we would live there forever and raise our children, going through a flood, and facing Mama’s memory loss — all have made me know that God is all there is that lasts, God is the only one who will always faithfully be there, and God is the only one who can fulfill my heart’s desires.
Physical and material blessings are great, but temporary. Spiritual life is eternal.
Don’t you love the way Paul could express the deep truths of the Christian life? In Philippians 4:12 Paul says: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I would never compare anything I have gone through to Paul’s, but I am learning his secret.
Have you?

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