We’ve been fortunate here on Whidbey to meet a lot of cool and interesting people who moved here for more or less the same reasons we did: a more laid back place to raise a family and run a business — and over all, just to live a more simply. Enter Janae and Kelly who just happen to be awesome woodworkers as well! Do yourself a favor and visit their site, Turnco Wood Goods, or check out Food52.com or Beam and Anchor to buy.
Cutting Board with bark edges – super cool!
Wanting to live and work in their own space on their own property, Janae and Kelly moved to Whidbey Island from Vancouver, British Columbia, bringing with them a love of mid-century design and the skill to make super high quality items.
Turnco Woodgoods Jar and Salt Cellar
As you all know, living in a small space requires being clever with your home items — multi-use tools and smaller sizes of essentials like cutting boards are a joy — when you can find them. But we haven’t found a lot that are also really high quality. And it’s just a bonus that they’re made by people down the road from wood they procured from the neighborhood. You should really give them a shout if you’re on the island and see about stopping by the studio. (Above: These jars have suctioning tops, so you can put them in the cupboard when you’re on the road and things won’t fall out.)
The World’s First “Sized for Airstreamers” 13 inch wood Rolling Pin!
The item I love the most (so far) is my rolling pin made from local Madrona wood. It fits perfectly in the silverware drawer and is a dream to work with. We’re so impressed with the work of Kelly and Janae that we’re not stopping here — we’re talking to them about making us a wooden table for the dinette. I think it’s going to be beautiful!
We took the 100 Things Challenge when we moved into the Airstream in 2011. However, we didn’t count the things we had in storage (that’s probably cheating, right?). Still we each had under 100 things on our list, so we felt really good about it.
Over the last 2 years we got rid of everything in the storage unit, but gained a lot of other things as we moved to a different city with a different climate. We’ve had a few conversations with folks in the last month that made us realize we haven’t really taken a good inventory lately, so we decided to do an update.
As I’ve been commenting about this task on Facebook, the best comment came from Dave who said he admired our “liberal accounting” in tallying up the numbers. It’s true, we’re not counting every little item (we have about 300 Qtips alone) but more like counting things that take up significant space. For example, we have a binder that holds video games, so we count the binder, not each game. But we do count every shirt and pair of pants, each toothbrush and each rug.
Overall the numbers are about the same — we had 170 total 2 years ago, and we have 190 now. We accumulated more things out of necessity (dishtowels, shoes, flashlights, compass) and added a few luxury items (snowshoes, pillows,
spice grinder) but got rid of a lot of redundancies (we didn’t really need all those flashlights after the blog post, and I certainly didn’t need 5 pots and pans).
Here’s a look at some of the changes:
The french press made way for the Nespresso.
My Sanuks were replaced with a pair of Toms.
Our hand mixer was given away, and we got a spice grinder instead.
Snowshoes, bikes,tents, sleeping bags, a hammock
and a generator came onboard, but the tank tops and shorts we needed in Texas were donated. Deke got rid of a lot of shoes, but gained those slots back in hoodies.
I thought we’d piled on a lot more than we did, and I’m sure I missed a few things. Overall, we’re pretty happy about keeping it on the minimal side!
We have too much stuff. Again.
That might seem odd considering how we live, but it’s true. It’s hard to stop collecting things or buying shiny objects, but when you have a small space, that “stuff”, and the space it takes up, is really amplified.
Two years ago when moved into the Airstream fulltime, we took the 100 Thing Challenge, and we’ve definitely tried to keep that pace (if we buy a new pair of shoes, one has to go), but as we moved to a climate with seasons, we needed to add more clothes, and we needed things like a generator, several umbrellas and more blankets.
Not to mention the snowshoe equipment.
I think we’re over the original list we wrote on March 4, 2011, but we’re excited to compare. We’re also doing an inventory of things we don’t really use that much, so we’re selling our bikes.
While the bikes are awesome and easily stowed, we just don’t really use them enough, and we can use that space in the truck for other things. Recently we also got rid of a few bags (we don’t really fly any longer so we certainly don’t need two suitcases and two carry-on size bags) which prompted me to make this list of What’s In and What’s Out.
- Pendleton Wood Blanket
- Microsoft Surface
- Dyson Hot/Cool
- Mini Prep Food Processor
- Snowshoe stuff
- Camping equipment
- 2 Bags
- Bikes (as soon as we can sell them)
- 7 Books that I’ve been keeping around but never look at
- Various kitchen pots and pans
We’ve learned a few hard lessons while traveling with products packaged in glass. In Laramie, WY (after Alumafandango) we opened the door while parked at a gas station to find broken bottles of Chiloula, hot pepper relish and olive oil all over the floor.
Obviously plastic is a good way to remedy this potential disaster, but the park we live in now doesn’t have recycling for plastic, and sometimes on the road you’re not really sure how long you’ll have to keep it in the truck until you can find recycling (I remember a post from Aluminum Bliss years ago where Lani kept all the pickle jars in the truck until they found recycling and there were a TON) . So I’ve been researching alternatives.
Here are a few things we’ve switched to hoping to minimize waste:
We’re huge fans of Dr. Bronner’s soap. We’ve used it in the shower, to wash our hair, wash our clothes and even wash our dog (when necessary). But the large plastic bottles were getting a little out of hand, so we switched to the bar soap. We can’t really tell the difference.
This whole search for plastic alternatives started with a visit to the Lush store. There’s a lot to like about Lush (and a few things not to like — the jury’s still out on parabens) but when I saw this deodorant in a can, I knew it would save a few plastic things from being tossed in the landfill. The packaging is really similar to what frozen Grands biscuits are packaged in — kind of a lightly coated cardboard with a metal top and bottom. You can crush it down when you’re done and I like the way it works.
One more Lush product we bought as more of a curiosity is their Toothy Tabs. Yes, they look weird and it’s a strange concept, but they aren’t bad! Toothpaste tubes are sometimes recyclable, but because they’re made out of a few different components, they can be tricky for recycling companies. Toothy Tabs are a little bigger than Tic Tacs and you just put one in your mouth, chew on it a second and go to town on your pearly whites with a wet toothbrush. And the packaging is cardboard. Also, just as a plug for using items made from recycled plastic, try the Preserve Toothbrush!
The bathroom is one place where we get hardcore with cleaning. It tends to need a little more muscle than the vinegar-filled squirt bottle we use for the rest of the Airstream. So although it’s not the most environmentally friendly, I tend to use disposable wipes for the bathroom. Seventh Generation wipes are great, but the giant plastic container is not. I found these Method wipes which contain non-toxic and readily biodegradable ingredients, plus a lot less packaging waste.
I’m sure there are a ton of other alternatives out there, but we’re loving all these so far!
A few weeks ago Anna of Glamper asked what she should pack as she drove east to pick up her new Airstream. My first suggestion is always: A flashlight. So here it is, our Flashlight Roundup!
Flashlights and lanterns are something I love. We’ve been in so many situations where a flashlight was a life saver — backing into a spot at a park that has no lights (not even moonlight), having to hitch up the trailer in the middle of the night because of a storm, losing power during a Texas tornado … it goes on and on.
We’ve tried more than a few flashlights and lanterns in the past few years so here’s a rundown of our favorites.
The Old Reliables
The Black Diamond – We got this lantern last year and it remains one of my must haves in the Airstream. It’s very bright, you can sit it on a table or hang it up and it’s lightweight. We’ve used this indoors and out.
Streamlight Stinger – Our neighbor at the Shady Creek RV Park in Texas had this flashlight, and once we saw it in action, we had to have one. It’s incredibly bright and comes with a recharger. With this flashlight, you can literally see things half a mile away.
Keep Next to the Door
We keep the Hybrid Light HL40 next to the front door because it works during any situation. It’s incredibly lightweight (haven’t we all had to hold a flashlight in our mouths while fixing something outside?) and waterproof so we can use it in the rain. Plus the shaft of the flashlight is a solar panel allowing it to run for 8 hours on one charge. It also has 2 coin batteries at the top for back up power if needed. You can read all about how they work on the Hybrid Light website.
Buy Two Of
When we bought our first Airstream, the previous owner said “go out and buy a headlamp”, so we did and it was fantastic advice. We use it all the time in those situations where we need both hands (hitching up, grilling, walking the dog in the dark…). We have the Petzl Tikki Plus with 4 settings and its perfect. I suggest buying one for each person.
I’m a light sleeper, so when the bathroom light goes on in the middle of the night, I’m up. My solution to this was to buy this Coleman Mini Lantern and hang it underneath the bathroom cabinet shelf or sit it on the counter and just keep it on at night. It’s a perfect nightlight — not very bright.
Extras To Have Around
These two lights we bought because they were different from all the others and wanted to try them out. The first two photos are from an Energizer Flashlight/Lantern combo. I can’t find it on Amazon, and I don’t know where we got it, but there are a few like it online. It’s bigger than all the other ones, but it really lightweight and if you need to be hands-free, you can sit it down on its top, which is handy.
This other one has no information on it — no name, so number, no nothing, but here it is! It’s also a flashlight that expands out to a lantern. It kind of looks like this Coleman.