We've been reading this book, enjoying the stories of various cabins throughout North America that are 1,200 square feet or less. I love how the author defines a cabin - it has made me rethink the way I want to live in my own home. Roughly paraphrasing:
Cabins are connected to the outdoors. They are a part of their landscape and the boundary between outside and inside is relaxed.
Cabins are about family. These intimate shared spaces bring families closer together, and are often decorated with family memorabilia that has been collected over the years.
Cabins are small. Space must be used creatively to display these beloved items and store everyday essentials.
Our cabin certainly is small. And because we're lucky enough to call it home year-round, we definitely need to get more creative about how we use the space. My lightbulb moment: We need to live a real "log cabin life", and our clutter is getting in the way! So I came up with a way that will make clearing out the excess stuff we've accumulated easy. One simple question:
Would you pack this item if you were going on a cabin getaway?
The logic here is very appealing to me - why not live every week like a vacation at the cabin or cottage? You'd only have the bare essentials, only the things you need to keep you clothed, groomed, fed, and entertained. In other words, you'd set up your house as if you were staying at the family cabin for the week. What essentials would you need to feel happy and comfortable during your stay?
Think about it!
The closet would only contain your favourite clothes. The cupboards would stock just enough dishes and pots and seasonings to make your meals. You'd have just enough craft supplies to work on the projects you really want to do "during your vacation". You'd jump up and go for a bike ride, or a walk through the woods, because you wouldn't be overwhelmed by the clutter of your "real" home.
This makes me wonder - what if people go on vacations just to get away from their stuff???? What if making your home as close to a vacation home as possible is the key to having a vacation mindset all year long? Of course, home represents the ultimate in comfort to just about everyone, and most people actually look forward to returning home after being on vacation. But what if you could combine the familiarity of home with the freedom of the cottage?
Day-to-day life might get much simpler, much cozier and much more fun!
For instance, if you were vacationing at the family cabin, what would you do after the week is up? You'd replenish the pantry foods that you'd eaten, and replace the sheets and towels. You'd gather up the laundry that you'd worn that week and wash it. And then you'd do a quick clean-up. None of this would stress you out. After all, you'd only have to put away the few things that you'd brought along with you. Sure, the cabin might get a little dusty and the bathtub will need cleaning, but you'd just be shining everything up for the next people who were going to stay there.
And those next people would be YOU! Doesn't that sound like a peaceful way to live?
I'm going to do my best to have this authentic "log cabin life", and let you know how it goes! So far, we've attacked our bedroom and donated everything we don't wear. We have a tiny little closet, not much more than the above "pegs and chest" set-up that was so popular in the 1600's!! But now we don't think it's too small. It's all we need - because we'll only be here for the week, you know! ;)
***Illustration above by Eric Sloane, from the book American Yesterday.