too much stuff

Over the past couple of years I’ve been reading (and fantasizing) a lot about small house design, cob building, yurts, earthships, etc. What I’ve found in a lot of books and reading blogs like this one is that many of these places are built out in the desert. Which begs the question: why? I understand that a lot of people prefer the desert climate, but there has to be more to it than that. Is land cheaper? Relaxed building codes?

When I fantasize about my future little cabin, not only is it in the cool green of a wood, but it is also in a place with four seasons. And the summer part of the four seasons isn’t this 100 degree bullshit we’re in the midst of in Houston right now.

I know where a lot of the small dwelling desire comes from on my end – it’s a direct reaction to feeling like I own too much stuff. If I spent my 20s and 30s amassing stuff, I think my 40s will be focused on slowly getting rid of stuff. I will keep my books, but I will get rid of clothes, kitchen items I never use, furniture that no one sits on, stuff like that.

For instance, I have two stand mixers – one from my mother and one from my grandmother. On the very few occasions that I use a mixer, I pull out the small hand mixer, ignoring the larger machines. I think I’ve kept both out of a sense of nostalgia. But, really, would moving my grandmother’s mixer from house to house while never using it be more meaningful than, say, cooking a recipe that she used to make and having that taste memory?

In an attempt to not feel wasteful just throwing things away, perhaps I’ll post a list of stuff as I go. Maybe I can find new homes for these items. Want some stuff?

8 responses to “too much stuff”

  1. Funny…I've been searching for a standing mixer on craigslist the last couple of weeks. If you would like to sell me one of yours, that would be much cooler than getting one from a stranger!!! I love you, cuz!

  2. Dude, I'll give you Grandmom's. What a perfect place for it to go! I'll bring it on Sunday to your dad's thing.(I hope it still works. I've probably had it for about fifteen years and have never used it…)

  3. Why are those alternative houses built in the desert, aside from relaxed building codes?Key words: low humidity.Also: Cool nights.Ever camp in the desert? You need your winter clothes right before sunrise.I can't imagine living in a yurt on the Gulf coast in summertime. But I can EASILY imagine living in one in northern New Mexico in summertime.Have you ever driven south on the dirt track on the west side of the Rio Grande Gorge west of Taos? A very interesting adventure in architecture.Don't throw out those old tires and plastic bottles! You may need them to build the walls of your next home! (After you fill them with sand.)

  4. Al, I've never been camping (though it's on my list of things to do). The closest I've come is sleeping in the backseat of my car in New Braunfels the night before going tubing (my friend, who I was meeting there, somehow FORGOT the tent).(Or staying in a somewhat fancy cabin in Big Sur – Deetjen's. Check out their website. Pretty awesome place.)I haven't been on the road you mentioned. I have driven through New Mexico and Arizona on the way to Grand Canyon and back. Had some great food in Albuquerque…

  5. I see Al has already filled you in as to why the desert is the best climate for most "alternative" dwellings. Moisture is the key, it can be a killer. As for me, I want a straw bale house (, and those also work best in a dry environment. I'm thinking the Hill Country might be dry enough, though I'm not sure if that's true.

  6. Conn, straw bale is cool too, and I think it's a lot easier to do than cob building is. The low humidity makes sense, but I likes trees and grass…

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