Hi! Thanks for stopping by. My goal is to explore the idea of cabin living in hopes of building my very own. Here you will find a sampling of all things cabin-related: downsizing & tiny living tips, inspirational photography & video, whole-food recipes, DIY projects, self sufficiency and thrifty living. Join me as I learn all about cabin living!
14 years ago, I bought my very first house. It was a 1950’s single-family ranch-style home in a sweet little neighborhood that was a mix of the original homeowners (now seniors) and young families. Initially, I spent lots of time at home due to a combination of being house-poor and needing to update the interior from its dated 1980’s style decor. I am a designer by trade, and I enjoy doing this kind of DIY work, so the house was a great fit for almost a decade. I loved the small city nearby (where I had been a renter for many years) which offered an incredible amount of culture and history in a lovely setting.
Then, as so often happens in life, everything changed. Some friends invited me to attend a bluegrass festival, and I fell in love–with the music, the people, the outdoorsy lifestyle–everything about it appealed to me. Immediately upon returning home, I picked up an upright bass, immersed myself in all things bluegrass and have never looked back.
I was ripe for an epiphany. At the time, I was a single homeowner, paying mostly interest on a 30-year mortgage that totaled one-half of my after-tax income. The city that I had so loved became better known, big money moved in, rents skyrocketed, and much of the cool art and music culture that had initially drawn me to the area was forced further and further away. I found that my friends were leaving in droves and the new folks that I met were no longer people that I had much in common with. On top of this, it became clear to me that the corporate job that I toiled away at daily was never going to offer me any kind of real path for advancing beyond where I was already. I was stuck.
But still, I stayed. As I made new friends in the bluegrass world, I was exposed to a wide range of lifestyles. Music is a great social leveler: pickup jams at festivals are based on musicality only. Socioeconomic details do not factor in. Learning about the ways that other people had chosen to live and work, I felt increasingly dissatisfied with my choice of “The American Dream.”
About a year into my newfound bluegrass experience, in a wee-hours jam at a small festival, I met the man who would become my partner in music and adventure. He lived about an hour away, but more central to a vibrant bluegrass community where many of my new music friends lived. After we had been together for one incredibly fun-filled year, he needed to find a new rental situation, and we started talking about living together.
And so, I made the leap! When I thought about what I wanted my new life to be, I knew that my key words would be “downsize, economize, and prioritize” hence the tagline for this blog. I was so tired of working my life away just to chip away at a mortgage that was mostly interest, and maintain all the things that I had brought into my life (or had dumped upon me when I got the house—houses are magnets for things!).
Over a period of about 3 months, I worked hard to pare down decades worth of “stuff” to just the essentials that I felt would support my newly imagined life. I hosted a huge yard sale. I brought carload after carload of items that didn’t sell to Goodwill, the freebie hut at the local dump (where many items never even touched the ground before being whisked away!) and my driveway hosted a number of larger “free” items that all eventually found homes. It was important for me to try to re-home as much as I could. The thought of filling up a landfill, just added to my distress about having accumulated so much.
I’m happy to report that everything worked out! I sold the house, paid off the mortgage, packed up my newly pared down belongings and hit the road.
We now rent a beautiful “rustic modern” cabin on a private pond bordered by 300 acres of conservation land. I work part time as a freelance designer/professional organizer and play in a bluegrass band. By downsizing my life, I cut my monthly expenses by two-thirds! I no longer have to work full-time, leaving me more time for music, study, healthy cooking/lifestyle, and other creative pursuits in-between work projects. And not only have I not missed any of the “stuff” that I let go, I can’t even remember what half of it was.
Photographers: Please feel free to email your “cabin in a landscape” shots to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for sharing your work! I will be happy to give you photo credit and a link back to your site if I use your image.