In 240sq feet: Real Food the Small Way
A draft of this post has been setting as just a title, an idea, since I started Life From Scratch. Cooking from scratch and preserving food is a daunting task to undertake for the first time under any circumstances. In conversations with people about scratch cooking and food preservation they often say, oh when I have a big kitchen or a bigger house, or this or that kitchen tool, I will start doing that stuff. Or they flat out say they don’t have the space, equipment, time, energy; for any of that. I would like to bring some perspective to those comments and some inspiration to use the space you do have to the fullest.
When AJ was able to get around on his own again (don’t know what I’m talking about? Read the About Us page) we started looking for a place so I could start back at college the following quarter. We had (and still have) a very very limited budget. We almost gave up and rented a room in a house instead. Finding this place was a blessing. We live in a studio apartment in a boarding stable on a rural 100 acres. It couldn’t have worked out better. We have horses for neighbors, everyone here is some level of animal crazy, we can have our menagerie and no one cares and we have our own space to call home.
The problem is, this apartment does not have a kitchen. No stove. No oven. Don’t even think about a dishwasher. The toilet is in the kitchen and there is just one tiny shallow sink.
Our apartment is 240sq feet, including everything and rounding up; I think the pictures make it look bigger than it really is. Figuring out how to fit a functional household worth of “stuff” for two people and their critters in here has been a sharp learning curve. We figured out pretty fast that wall space is valuable real-estate. We hang most of our numerous jackets and a lot of my pans and kitchen utensils. Shelves, closets and cupboards have to be organized by what we use the most and least, with the things we use least the hardest to get to. We do also have a cubby in the hayloft along the edge of the apartment where we store our canning stuff, storage crops and animal equipment. Our fridge(s) live just outside the door since there is nowhere inside for it to go.
Living in a tiny space creates some unavoidable frustrations. The floor is only clean right after it’s been swept and mopped. If you want any space to work in the kitchen (or need to get into the freezer) the dishes have to be washed and put away before the next food preparation happens. Sometimes, some things just don’t have anywhere to be but on the floor.
Living here has made me come a little more to terms with the fact that perfection is not attainable. In fact, sometimes in striving for perfect we end up strangling our ability to do any better than we already are. If you find yourself throwing your hands in the air and thinking; why bother! Check yourself. That is your perfectionism strangling any chance you have to improve the situation.
Moving in here I was worried. I didn’t know how I was going to make it work and I found myself fantasizing about asking friends if I could do big cooking and canning projects at their house. I realized I was crippling my ability to innovate; to make the best out of what we did have.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Before any innovating can happen you have to decide that it can be done; that you will figure out a way to make it work. Don’t stop to ask if it’s been done. If you do, you will get waylaid by the naysayers and never get the chance to find a way to make it work.
I really don’t want anyone to see my tiny cramped home. However, if sharing some less than pretty photos can make someone realize how good they have it and inspire them to make the best of what they do have then I can grin and bare a little shame. I will be so glad when we are in a real house again with a real kitchen. I’m just not going to let my desire for a nice, fully equipped kitchen prevent me from making and eating the good, homemade, soul and body feeding food that we all deserve.
This post is participating in the Homestead Barn hop, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesdays, HomeAcre, From The Farm and Healthy Tuesdays blog hops, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!