If that kind of stuff bores you, feel free to skip this post, but for those of you who likewise enjoy the domestic detail of simplicity, here are some photos of our house.
I love tiny houses — they intrigue and delight me — but they are only one way of doing simplicity. Another way (and, in all honesty, I think it may be even more frugal and cost-effective) is sharing, which is what we do. There are five of us — six, up until Christmas, but one of us moved out — but we need only one bath (we do have a shower too), one furnace, one TV licence, one freezer, one fridge . . . whereas if we all lived separately we'd need one each. Plus we source much of what we acquire online (for instance, I buy many of my clothes second-hand on eBay), so it helps that there's nearly always someone home when the postie comes by. I work from home, and the rest of us work some of the time from home, some of the time in other places. Actually, I believe in a home having what I call a house-angel (someone who is there). We can even act as a kind of parcel depot for our end of the street — many of our neighbours are out at work all day.
In our kitchen, we each have a stack of crockery on the shelves.
Mine is the top left stack. It's mostly enamel, because I have floppy wrists and it's lightweight, but also because I can cook with it and freeze food in it too.
Here are my things.
Two flat pie-dishes that make good plates, two pudding basins (good for freezing soup, that can then be de-frosted and go straight on the hotplate to warm through), a cereal bowl, and a tiny dish with a lid good for saving left-overs — and equally good for snacks. I have a knife and fork and spoon (charity shop purchases) that I keep in a sweet little jug made by a Hastings potter, Judith Rowe.
We have a big butler's sink, handy for handwashing.
It doesn't have a draining board, but we find a plastic tray works fine. On the left is our compost bucket, and on the right are our big Champion juicer and next to it our food processor — great for making coleslaw but has the irritating feature that every time you use any of it you need to wash up all of it. The juicer is an integral part of my daily life, though: every morning I juice three carrots and two apples, and add the pulp to my oatmeal (rolled oats, Oatly, a good pinch of seasalt). It's delicious.
Next to the kitchen is Alice's and Hebe's studio, from which glorious works of art emanate, but next to her store of glass (she is a stained glass artist among other things) Alice has let us stash Fi's shelves that we couldn't get up the attic stairs, and it's become a handy kitchen overflow store.
There are spare storage jars at the top, and the eggs we all share because I can get them cheap from the garden gate next to our chapel; then Fi's food is in the middle shelves, some spare bowls and Hebe's equipment for painting the lettering onto coffin plates under that, and my food shelves at the bottom
Here are mine. One.
I have a box of food in the freezer as well, and two shelves in the fridge. I'm lucky — I have the basket at the bottom of the fridge.
And then this one higher up.
I stopped eating bread through last year, but I ate a lot more nuts and dried fruit which are expensive, so I've gone back to it again to save money. I'll see how I get on.
Oh — while we're in the kitchen, here's our much loved Berkey water filter. See it? Just in the middle in the window?
We collect our water from the spring — we have a chalybeate spring just down the hill from our home, and the water is wonderful. The world is very polluted now, so we run it through the filter just in case.
Then above our freezer is that vital piece of kitchen equipment — a clock — and my oats and fruits and nuts on the left and our Tony's breakfast cereals on the right. The cupboard above is very high, and has things we don't often need — kitchen scales, a vase, and big teapot and whatnot.
Are you bored yet or do you want to visit my own little room? It is very small, as you know, but there is always space for changes!
I am childishly pleased with a recent change. After Marie Kondo came on Netflix this January, she inspired us all over again. I love her Shinto-rooted approach to life and home and belongings. She really is a delight. I'd been storing my clothes on hangers for a while, but finding them a bit oppressive — looming over me like vultures — so I wanted to pack them down à la KonMari (you know, it was Julie B, who comments here, first mentioned Marie Kondo to me).
I wanted boxes in a particular size to fit my shelves after I moved them bodily up into my wardrobe. Tony (the Badger — my husband) made both the wardrobe and the shelves for me. I spent a long time looking at boxes online and concluded I could spent one heck of a lot of money buying something that wasn't quite right. And then — ting! I had it!
Down the garden in Komorebi, I keep the fox's food. I don't throw the boxes away but use them to put kindling in (fir cones, sticks and other gathered bits). So I hoofed out all the kindling into one big box, brought up the fox food boxes and stuck gaffer tape round the top and — Bingo! KonMaried clothes!
Can you see the boxes?
So very pleasing!
There they are. And down on the right is Sticky Buddha — once I realised wall decals are a cunning way of acquiring statuary, my room got a whole lot bigger.
Sticky Buddha is just next to the foot of my bed, which our Tony made for me at the end of the summer last year. It's brilliant. I like it better than being on the floor.
I sit on it to work, and sometimes sleep there. It has a futon mattress so it's not too soft, and a double duvet that means I can sleep on one half and have the other half over me and lose the faff of tucking in sheets.
Under the bed I store things.
On the right hand side are the boxes (re-purposed packaging, see here) where I keep my socks and underwear, and behind them a lettuce box with my out-of-season clothes. On the left hand side I have a box containing the baby Jesus for Christmas events, and a box with my Supper With Jesus eucharistic things, and my little sewing box and my stationery and komono (bits and pieces) box. Perfect.
Then when I'm sitting on my bed working, if I look up there's Himself.
Can you see him properly? Here he is, look.
At the head of my bed, I have an exciting new acquisition, made for me by my friend Kath. An embroidery.
Can you see it properly? It has a wonderful quotation on it from Hildegarde of Bingen — "Feather on the breath of God" (it's what she said she was).
It is very, very beautiful.