(Sorry, lots of people tagged in this as I respond. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's posts!)
I kept an aquarium in college also! (A 10 gallon, the biggest we were allowed.) I have made so many moves with an emptied tank and a cooler full of fish!
My familyís home was only about an hour and 15 minutes away from where I went to college, but after my first year moving in and out I learned quickly that I didnít need as much stuff as a lot of my peers wanted in a dorm. I had a falling out with my roommate my Sophomore year for partly that reason (although there were many other isses). She would always bring SO MUCH stuff. More stuff than any person in the room (we shared a 4 person dorm) and always had to have help getting it all back home (She was from Maryland, we went to school in KY.) That particular semester my aquarium had crashed, and she kept asking why I didnít just take it home if it didnít have fish in it. So I finally did, and came back after that weekend and she had moved and taken my desk because I ďdidnít need itĒ! I ended up getting a friend to help me and crammed everything I owned in that room into my Nissan Altima and I left. A few belongings didnít make itÖ I was so mad and ready to get out of there I trashed what wouldnít fit in my car (which obviously taught me I did not need something I was willing to trash in a bad situation.) After that I started thinking a lot more about what I lived with. Junior and Senior year I brought even less (I also hid my pet rats in my wardrobe closet, so that kept me from keeping too many clothes at that time as well
) I definitely have a lot more stuff now, but I still have list in my head of what Iíd pack up in my car and leave with if I had to if something bad happened.
My boyfriend and I share the closet in our bedroom, a single dresser, and then he has some stuff in one of those small set of rolling plastic shelves that Iíve had since I lived in the dorm. But we do have another closet that we have heavy winter clothes boxed away or hanging in. I donít think we would have that much clothing if our parents didnít give us clothing occasionally (which I appreciate, but sometimes itís really more than we need. I end up donating some of what mom gives me.) Sharing the space works out fine for us. The dresser is a bit overflowing but he crams some things in there that probably should go elsewhereÖ there are some shipping materials, tools, etc. I agree with you about wanting space to move around in, furniture you don't need is just a waste of space and peace of mind.
You were one of the members I was thinking of Iíd seen talk about what theyíve done with their land and their home before
I went to college with the man who manages local recycling, and I know he is really concerned about the environment and is always trying to learn more, so I trust that the right thing is being done with recycling locally but honestly there is a lot that they canít take here, including glass. After it leaves here for wherever else it has to go though, who knows? Iíve heard people say similar about the US, that a lot of recycling actually just goes to the landfill. Itís also hard to find a place locally to take electronics to be recycled when one has pooped out and you canít repair it. Kentucky really is a beautiful place, despite the stereotypes youíll hear. The land that used to be my grandfatherís farm is actually in my name, and I intend to hang on to that as long as I can despite the fact that Iíll probably never live there just so no one will be able to come in and cut the trees down. But as you drive up that mountain and are looking at the beautiful forestÖ there are still people who throw their furniture and electronic trash like TVís, washers, etc. out into the woods and valleys.
Itís hard to look at.
I will have to do a lot more research before I ever look at buying or building a home and the property itís on. Building a home seems so far out of reach right now, but I suppose if I planned carefully, building a moderate home with a few tweaks might be as economical as buying one. Many of the houses Iíve seen on properties that would suit my dream home are either very old and need a lot of work, but are small like the kind of size I would want, OR they are the big old, poorly insulated farm houses like Avna mentions (probably not 230 years old here, but the kind of houses that people who had big families and farmed actually used, but are big and boxy and have fallen into dis-repair from not being used and cared for.)
One reason that buying or building a house seems so daunting to me, is that my parents lived in a trailer for as long as Iíve been alive. When mom retired, they simply moved the old trailer, bought a new one, and placed it where the old one sat. Iíve had former friends from other states who didnít understand the phenomenon of so many people in this area living in trailers. But itís pretty common here. Itís a cheap payment to own. But they donít hold their value over time like a well-kept house does, can be more dangerous in bad weather, and often arenít well-insulated. Itís an investment that wonít last but for a lot of families itís all they can afford and all they know. We currently rent a trailer. Itís definitely not my dream home but itís small, cheap and pretty easy to heat and cool because it is so small and I feel like living there really is helping us save for whatever we decide we want to do in the future.
We built our first house ourselves (just the two of us, no contractors just a few friends helping), and we had that small eco house you want. But we could only afford a steep hill in a redwood forest (200' evergreens all around, ie dark), in California. We wanted another one of those little eco houses when we moved to Massachusetts -- buy, build, or have built -- but we couldn't find good land to put it on here, either. So we ended up with a 230 year old farmhouse instead. Not insulated worth a darn either.
I work for a community/technical college, and I am able to take a free class per semester if I want to, as long as I can work out a schedule with my supervisor to make up any hours I might miss during work. I REALLY want to take some carpentry classes, learn to use the tools and build and just things I donít know how to doÖ my dad thinks this is a horrible idea, as I will obviously ďgo and cut some fingers off with a saw.Ē I wonder how he thinks riding is a much safer hobby for me?
I am in awe of people who can just... up and build a house!
Which brings me to another pointÖ bottled drinking water. In our dry climate, the water often comes out of the tap yellow and smells like sludge from the bottom of the reservoir in the summer. So, yes, we use bottled water. Please don't hate me! But please help me find a smarter solution (did the Brita thing - still not potable).
There are definitely situations where one simply cannot drink the water out of the tap. Before a water line was run to mom and dadís property, we had to haul water to a cistern, which Iím guessing now looking back on it that it just wasnít built in a great place. When it would rain heavily, the water would run brown with dirt that had washed over into the cistern. I even remember one time as a child that I ran a bath and there were earth worms chopped up in it!
I donít know if youíve heard of what has happened in Flint Michigan in the U.S. but theyíve not had clean drinking water from the tap forÖ I donít even know how long. I feel like itís been over a year now. Itís a ridiculous situation that made the news for a while, but it didnít do much to help fix the problem.
Unfortunately I know nothing about filtering your own water
Maybe someone else will have an idea.
That sounds like a fantastic car! Brand new cars will also not be in our future for a very long time, if at all. I currently drive an Altima that's about 12 years old now and I intend to hang onto it as long as possible. I don't know if I'll be able to get such an economical on gas option when it's gone though
Living in a rural area, needing to haul hay, horse, etc. When dad is gone (as bad as I hate to think about anything happening to my parents) there won't be anyone to help with that kind of thing unless we own our own truck.
I think despite my dad's wishes, I am still going to sign up for carpentry courses where I work. I would love to be the kind of person who knows how to build and fix my own stuff. Travel is also on my list of things that I value that I would like to save for. I love my home, but I want to see more places!