Minimal Me…Living Without

by Tania Ginoza on January 27, 2013 · 23 comments

I’m an introvert and love to nest, a homebody at heart. My home is my mini castle and it is not unusual for me to spend the whole weekend in. As the years have gone by, my perspective has changed on what is a nice to have and what I can live quite happily without.

Entryway


Household items, furniture and transportation we deem necessary is dependent on where we live, our lifestyles, the size of our family, our careers and interests. Here’s my list of things I can live without.

Things I used to have but am now living without

  • Dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Landline
  • Cable tv in the bedroom
  • Oven
  • Dining room table
  • Toaster oven
  • Double kitchen sink
  • Bedroom door
  • Double bathroom vanity
  • Bathtub
  • Garage
  • Extra bedroom
  • Dining room table
  • Buffet
  • Coffee table
  • Stereo equipment with a radio and CD player

I line dry my clothes, purchased the Mercedes of dish racks for hand washing, bake in a combo convection/microwave and enjoy my meals on a counter stool at the kitchen island. My very deep but single kitchen sink can accomodate my biggest dish and crockpot but takes up very little valuable counter space. My bathroom is teeny tiny with a small shower because I hated the thought of an area of my home I use for maybe half an hour a day (at the most) taking up too much real estate and cleaning time. My ottoman becomes a little table with the help of a tray. The bedroom is separated from living and dining by a long walk in closet with no doors taking up valuable floor or wall space.

Dryers do fluff up towels and make clothing with stretch bounce back to shape so I do miss having a dryer a little bit but not enough to buy one. I also love looking at pictures of round midcentury tables and sometimes feel a twinge of regret for not giving up a bit of island space to have room for a table, but only for a moment.

Things I have but less of

  • A rice cooker
  • A salad spinner
  • Pretty dishes and glassware
  • An electric kettle
  • Fridge

We often see rice cookers on non-essential lists but in Hawaii steamed rice is a staple for many of the local Asian and Pacific Islander residents who grew up here. Potatoes and bread are eaten occasionally, while rice is served at every house party and almost every meal. Five cups and larger were pretty standard at one time but I’ve downsized to a three cup cooker.  My salad spinner is a smaller version by Oxo and it stacks easily right in my colander for easy storage. If I see a pretty bowl or glass I’d like, I buy just one piece. There is no need for a full matching set of dish ware and there is nothing wrong with drinking sparkling water out of a gorgeous wine glass. While I do miss my large Tiger airpot, my smaller scaled kettle is working just fine. My fridge is not quite as narrow as an apartment fridge but is a bit smaller than most.

I’m not a minimalist or even frugal by any means and still have way too many clothes, accessories and lunch bags (don’t ask, you don’t want to know) but as I wrote out this list, I was surprised at how many things I have easily learned to live without.

What items have you lived without?

On my FB page, I asked my friends what household items they have lived or are living without and the most common item was a microwave. My fellow Mauians also mentioned dryers. Landlines, electric can openers, tv and coffee tables were also on the list. Many felt the dishwasher was a keeper.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

another jennifer January 28, 2013

I suspect geography makes a difference in this list. During the winter in Maine, I don’t know what I’d do without a dryer or my garage. I don’t think we could live without an oven either, but most of the other things I can see living without. We haven’t had a landline in years. I am always trying to get rid of stuff we don’t need. Typically, once we get rid of the extras, we don’t miss it!

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

Geography absolutely makes a difference. The area I live on Maui is not too humid, has very little rain and a good breeze which is an ideal situation for line drying. I am also doing laundry for one person (my boyfriend does his own laundry) so it’s quick to hang. If I was washing clothes for say four people, I might feel a bit differently.

Many people on Maui also have carports instead of a garage. Our cars get incredible dirty just on the road due to all the open ag land so a garage wouldn’t help much and it’s not cold here, I would imagine you don’t want to immediately step outside in the winter.

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Shalagh Hogan January 28, 2013

What does the man complain about not having? His absence of mention is suspicious. Reading this makes me feel like a maximalist.
Love Ya’,
Shalagh

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

The man is why we still have cable tv in the living area and why I have two tvs in the first place :-) He needs action, car races and martial art moves. A sweet little indie is not going to satisy him. Although I’d miss Extra Virgin, Selling New York and a few other shows that aren’t shown on streaming.

You’re a mama with a beautiful family who probably has a bigger home than I do and cooks much more. I’d expect you to need certain things more than I do either for time or comfort reasons. You know how they say you only use 10% of your closet? Well that’s me now and it also applies to my small kitchen appliances. I have a crazy amount of stuff and I barely cook just because I tend to be aspirational when it comes to gadgets. One day I’ll work on that too but if I showed you a picture of inside my kitchen cabinets, it’s pretty overwhelming.

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Shalagh Hogan January 28, 2013

You just outed yourself. And you were sounding so then until then. I like the part where the car race loving boyfriend does his own laundry though. And cooking is a passion of mine. Ship me your stuff when you’re done with it. Except I got rid of cabinets so I am a minimalist in the kitchen. Maybe not.
Love,
Shalagh

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kathy @ vodka and soda January 28, 2013

simplicity is best!

we rarely use our dishwasher, i line-dry all of my clothes even though we have a dryer, i never take baths so i could do without our tub.

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

I used to have a big tub and tried to do a soak a few times but didn’t find it all that relaxing and it took forever to fill up! I’d much rather have a hot tub outside ;-)

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Kelly Ospina January 28, 2013

I’ve found myself moving in the opposite direction, but not necessarily by choice. Ten years ago I owned only my jeep and our clothes (my son and I) and that was perfectly fine by me. When we moved out of my parents house and into a shared apartment we acquired things like beds, plates, linens and the like, but we still had only the basics. To this day I still stir pots when cooking with a chef knife because for many years it was my only kitchen utensil.

Now, however, I seem to be awash in stuff. I hav boxes of “something” in my attic – I’m not sure exactly what, only that I never unpacked whatever it is after the last two moves we made. We are also awash in toys, toys and more toys and the girls could fill a warehouse with their clothes and hair accessories. Babies also seem to require a ton of paraphenlia. He’s got diapers, pull-ups, wipes, creams for his hiney, little plates, forks and spoons sized for tiny hands, and the list goes on. Yet despite all this “stuff” that seems to be bursting out of everywhere, we don’t have a dish washer, a garage or a back yard. I would give my eyeteeth for all three!

I don’t know where we’ll be going from here, but I do know one thing: when we go, most of this junk we’ve accumulated is not going with us.

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

I read a post somewhere about someone whose kids didn’t have any toys! I definitely think kids in general do have more stuff now than our generation did (or is it selective memory? I vaguely remember a barbie head, a light saber and a hula hoop, that’s it).

I have to say I do love dishwashers even though I chose not to have one. Do you read my friend’s blog, SoPupuka.com? She has one baby and another on the way but she’s in the process of clearing out stuff and has an interesting approach on what is really needed for kids.

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lisacng @ expandng.com January 28, 2013

Love to hear how minimal you really are! I can’t imagine not having a dishwasher (even though I didn’t have one as a child and hand-washed dishes up until last year when we did an experiment and found using the dishwasher saved us water and electricity). I can say that about our dryer and microwave too. Though, if put into a circumstance where those luxuries aren’t available, I’m sure we’d be flexible enough to adapt.

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

I like that dishwashers get the dishes so clean! It came down to space for me. I still have to have a rack even with a dishwasher and preferred to have that undercounter space for storage instead.

That’s exactly right what you said about adapting. I was kind of miserable without a dryer at first and had planned on buying one but now I don’t mind at all.

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Sarah P January 28, 2013

Love this post – We are ever trying to simplify. While I currently have a dishwasher and a dryer I don’t use either. I lived for the last 7 years in a little old house that had no dishwasher and I got very used to handwashing, so I keep that up. We hang our clothes to dry them too…the Hawaii Power Bill is killer otherwise! My kitchen is also pretty lean for a foodie: no mixer, no toaster, none of the extra gadgets like breadmakers and such. I did, however, buy a rice cooker when we moved here :)

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Tania Ginoza January 28, 2013

I love that you bought a rice cooker! I think you should start making chicken katsu and loco moco too ;-)

Fuel costs are very high in Hawaii so yes, the electricity bill can be crazy here.

I think you’d have a field day in my kitche cabinets. I’m kind of an aspirational buyer. I rarely cook, don’t bake goodies but have everything you could think of in terms of small appliances. I got rid of all the excess cookbooks but still have multiple cake stands, a food processor and all sorts of platters (I don’t entertain much either and if I do it’s usually me a few other ladies standing around the island eating chips and drinking flavored vodka).

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Sarah P January 29, 2013

You know, I just asked my friend for some of her local recipes and she’s going to oblige – I’m excited to try my hand at real Hawaiian cooking! I also just “inherited” about ten serving pieces from a friend whose grandmother passed away – they cleaned out her house into mine :)

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Tania Ginoza January 29, 2013

Chicken katsu is very easy, just buy panko and tonkatsu sauce from the oriental grocery aisle. Cut chicken into strips, whisk a few eggs. Dip chicken into egg and then coat with panko and fry. Serve with steamed rice and tonkatsu sauce. (go to Grace’s in the Market City shopping center to try katsu if you haven’t yet).

Loco moco is just rice, an egg and brown gravy (Big City Diner’s loco moco with fried rice is the bomb).

Congrats on the serving pieces, I’m sure your friend was happy to give them to someone who would get good use out of it.

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Elinor Gawel (Eli) January 28, 2013

We downsized so much it is hard to imagine more but we still don’t need everything we have. They do make apartment sized dishwashers. I had a girlfriend that had two, side by side. She never put dishes away. She just took them out of one clean to use and put them in the other when dirty. It worked pretty well.

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Tania Ginoza January 29, 2013

I’ve seen very small dishwashers on small space shows highlighting NYC or European spaces. Having two is brillant and would eliminate the need for a rack on the counter too.

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Tiffanie January 29, 2013

I AM IMPRESSED! I have things that I am looking forward to having in the future, having spent all of my 30′s and now part of my 40′s in this same San Francisco apartment (with two kids!). A dining room table is going to be like a dream. We either eat at our kitchen peninsula which has no overhang so is awkward for all of us, or on the floor around the coffee table. The day we can sit back in chairs that have backs and stretch our legs out in front of us is going to be beautiful! Also, all of this time we’ve been sharing one washer and one dryer (coin op) with the five other families in this courtyard. Down the stairs and through a long breezeway, with a kid on my back usually. The thought of having washer and dryer in the home blows my mind.

I really respect your “small living” situation, Tania! xo

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Tania Ginoza January 29, 2013

I’m very glad my boyfriend had the foresight to make a large overhang on the island (he’s a carpenter and laid the countertops, also worked with the cabinet maker to ensure the cabinet wasn’t too big to allow overhang). I honestly wouldn’t have thought of it but I do sit there quite a bit so appreciate that he was so adamant about the measurements. I do love a nice table, always have so I’m planning on working on an outdoor space. My folks put in a covered gazebo and dropped some furniture in but I’d like to design a bit more so it feels like an outdoor room.

Not having a washer/dryer in the same building was always a deal killer for me. I was fortunate enough to have one on the same floor in earlier rentals or in my unit. On Oahu, it wasn’t that unusual for even studios to have a stacked set in the unit (a property manager told me it was much easier to rent out). It is nice to have a common laundry room if there are multiple machines but just one must be kind of tough.

Thanks for stopping buy Tiff!

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Ann January 29, 2013

Love this post and small spaces! You certainly prove small can be fabulous! I love my smallish house that I can clean in 2 hours. The one hard thing is 2 bedrooms since we have a boy and a girl. My daughter is already asking for her own room : /

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Tania Ginoza January 29, 2013

Thanks Ann! It is harder to share when it’s a boy and a girl. If she can’t have her own room, is there anyway to carve out a little area for her with a desk or a reading nook? I know apartment therapy’s family section and the Novogratz show on hgtv always has wonderful ideas for kids who are sharing too. Apartment Therapy also has a ton of “little nook” ideas that they’ve carved out of unexpected places. Here’s a link to a roundup of nook posts they did:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/reading-nooks-roundup-179092

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Laurie January 29, 2013

I would love to get rid of a ton of stuff in my house, but my books would have to stay. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my husband is the same way so we are surrounded by about seven or eight large bookcases in our house. You can take my dishwasher, toaster and oven but leave me my books!

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Tania Ginoza January 29, 2013

I love books too but am quite good about letting go of them (but then I buy more!). I just did a mass clean out recognizing my interests have changed and have now filled the space with great design and photography books.

Whenever I visit friends who are booklovers, I spend some time looking at their collection. Maybe one day I’ll get to check out yours and vice versa.

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