Writer Tammy Strobel asks ‘What is enough?’ and finds answers that lead to happiness
Tammy Strobel has been asking “What is Enough?” of herself for several yeas, a means of adjustments for someone who used to “really liked to shop”, and had a real hankering for large diamonds.
“I was surrounded by people who drove BMWs and had large houses,” Strobel said. “I was striving for that, and I associated it with being happy, but it became evident that it was really making me nuts.”
Strobel told her story of downsizing to a room of about 150 attendees at the National Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree in Arlington, Texas.
They lived in a 1,200 square foot apartment exploding with stuff.
She and her husband Logan talked about downsizing, saving money, possibly view a career change and search for real happiness.
“I was like, ‘What the heck are you talking about?” she recalled saying.
But over time, she began to move in his direction. Though she had questions about its viability.
They cleaned out this room one room in the house. Made it bare and simple. Closed the door, and lived in it.
“HUH! This is kind of awesome. I started feeling better, and stopped shopping as much, and began focusing on more of less,” she said.
The couple rid themselves of unneeded items, and moved to a smaller yet apartment. That was when they saw their first moveable tiny house, in a video on the web. They had wanted to buy, but housing prices in Sacramento, Calif., were out of reach for them.
“We’re going to go for this tiny house,” she said. “We really felt it was right for us.”
How Tammy and Logan clawed their way to simplicity
She began to blog about their changes. Tammy and Logan latched on to a program called “The 100 Things Challenge” by Dave Bruno, which helped them get rid of more unneeded belongings. They went car-free and pocketed the $550 per month they were spending. And, they moved to Portland, Ore.
“It took time and did not happen over night,” she said. “But we had heard the city was tiny house friendly.”
They had saved enough to pay cash for a tiny home, and rented a backyard and moved in.
“We were able to prioritize around the important relationships, spent more times with loved ones,” she said. She learned her dad was sick, and dying. Logan’s job was in transition to Boston.
“Again, we were asking ‘What is enough?'” she said. “When I think back, having that time and space to be with my dad when he was dying, it’s the most valuable aspect of what we’ve done.”
They declined the job change, and decided to put the moveable home on the road and lived in four different places, ending up on a ranch in Northern California. Now they live between a 400 square-foot apartment, using the tiny house as a getaway.
“A tiny house isn’t required to live simply,” she said. “I love tiny house are cute. I love them, but they’re not a requirement to ask yourself ‘What is enough’.
“It’s a cliche, but less is more,” she said. “We have more money, sure, but fewer things and less stress.”