As we wrestle through the issue of what to do next regarding housing, I find myself returning to what I call My Little House in the Big Woods Fantasy. I’m smart enough to know that life for the Ingalls family was not simple. It was hard work to do all that they did in Little House in the Big Woods. I have no illusions of having a cow and making my own cheese. Rather, it has to do with the idea of living in such a small house and having less stuff.
Sometimes when I watch the television series Little House on the Prairie or read to Caroline from the Little House pictures books, I wonder what it would be like to be able to be content in a little house. What would it be like to be content with just a few dresses?
Now maybe the Ingalls family would gladly trade places with me. I’m sure they would love our central heat, comfortable carpet, indoor plumbing, and seemingly endless clothing options. I do, too, and I’m not giving those up.
Getting Rid of All the Stuff
But I still have this question of what would it be like to be able to just get rid of all this stuff and live very simply? I mean really simply.
Here’s my reality check.
The other day I was thinking about how many mugs and cups and saucers we have in this house. We have currently:
- 6 winter mugs in the cupboard that we use pretty much daily
- 2 tall mugs we use year round
- 8 Christmas mugs that match the Christmas dishes
- 8 cups and saucers that go with our everyday dishes
- 6 cups and saucers that go with our good Lenox china
- 12 cups and saucers that go with my Grandmother’s china
- 12 cups and saucers of various pansy designs (which I collect and display most of them)
- 2 cups and saucers that I saved from some previous dishes because they are cute
- 4 clear cafe style mugs
- 8 clear Christmas tree mugs packed away
- 24+ Christmas mugs that go with Christmas dishes for a crowd
- 12+ mugs of various designs that are in a box marked “mugs” in the basement that we switch out each season
- 4 fall mugs in the box of fall decorations
- A few more mugs scattered here and there packed away with teaching mementos and such
That is over one hundred and eight mugs and cups and saucers in this house.
For two adults who only occasionally entertain.
Mary and Laura shared a single tin cup because they only had the one cup for the two of them until they received their own individual cups from Mr. Edwards at Christmas in Little House on the Prairie.
So back to my fantasy.
Living Without a House Payment
My fantasy is to live somewhere so simple we have no house payment. Seriously. I absolutely hate the idea of taking on house debt again. I was only partially joking when I made the comment the other day about becoming debt slaves again. And yet I can’t figure out a way to do what we want to do and still have enough room for the essentials and not driving the three of us bonkers because we are constantly on top of each other.
And yet for many, many years people lived that way. If you look at houses even build fifty or sixty years ago, the bedrooms are tiny and people shared one bath. But they happily survived and were glad for the central heat and not having to shovel coal each morning. Seriously.
Ack. It’s just hard.
We look at these nice houses that would give us so much room and I calculate how many hours we will have to work for the next x number of years to pay for it and all I can think is I want to live in the Ingalls house on Little House on the Prairie so I can sleep in, read a book, and watch the sun set. I don’t want to work that hard just to pay for a house.
Which leads to the next idea of having to live up to the house you buy. But that’s another post.