Time for a little conversation on tiny homes and micro-apartments

Let’s be honest, if you have the money (or time, materials, tools, reference materials, design skills and money) to use any of the easier to find, impressive and wildly photogenic storage or design hacks for small dwellings from a lifestyle website you probably could afford to live in a full sized abode. Besides being prohibitively expensive many of the hacks require remodels that a landlord would never allow so renters in tiny apartments and SROs (single resident occupancies) are left out in the cold.

The biggest reason by far for living in a wee tiny space is financial. While the tiny home movement loves the narrative of a plucky individual that wants to save money for adventures or a larger home purchase, or the lucky score of a super cheap super small but functional studio apartment for an up and coming architect or chef in a high rent city like New York or San Francisco I’d reckon the reality is a bit less optimistic for most of us.

Here in the Pacific NW there’s a housing crisis. Single rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens aren’t a great alternative to conventional housing but they do provide an alternative to being entirely unhoused if you’re fortunate enough to find one that a) still exists and b) has a vacancy.

Bring Back Flophouses, Rooming Houses, and Microapartments. (Slate.com July 17, 2013)

The first thing you should know is that living in a small space can create a lot of stress and trigger depression and/or anxiety. Make your mental health a top priority, do not wait until you have a crisis to start taking care of yourself.

There’s no single sweet little life hack that works entirely on it’s own, it takes a collection of practical actions to knock the sharp edges off the situation especially if it’s not entirely by choice and nothing is going to be one size fits all.

  1. Spend time outside when possible, even just a few minutes a day in natural light helps.
  2. Leave your shoes at the door.
  3. Make your space as fluid to use and enjoyable as possible. You may need to pare down your possessions and use all the storage tricks at your disposal to keep clutter down while simultaneously ensuring you have access to the things you need to be creative and pursue your passions.
  4. Bring as much natural light into your room as possible, if that’s not practical (for instance you work at night or your room is windowless) do your best to create a facsimile of natural light.
  5. Stretch out and exercise daily.
  6. Avoid facing the same direction or sitting in the same place for every activity throughout the day. If your bed is also your home office as well as your breakfast nook and you don’t have the space to change things around, try changing which direction you face to create a change of scenery to delineate between activities.
  7. Mind the air quality. Dust and vacuum frequently, use a dehumidifier as necessary, avoid using harsh chemicals or strong solvents without proper ventilation, air out your room as much as possible (if possible) and use an air purifier.
  8. Rearrange and redecorate more frequently than you would if you lived in a (larger) more conventional space.
  9. Invest in a few small luxuries and creative conveniences (I’ll follow up with some separate posts on my kitchen-less coffee bar, favorite gadgets and ridiculously lush floor sleeping in the near future.)
  10. Think of your tiny habitat as a work in progress and don’t be afraid to experiment.

 

 

journal page decorated with stickers printed from thermal printer

Pocket Printers are magic!

I’d almost forgotten that I went down the pocket printer rabbit-hole for somewhat practical reasons. I’d become frustrated trying to create a small scale automated inventory system and part of that frustration was trying to create unique barcodes and print them on appropriately sized labels.

Halfway through that journey I stumbled on Phomemo printers (specifically the M200 and MO2 pro) and was like “I can make super cute stickers with pictures of my cat!”

Don’t laugh. I’m not joking.

Also: Yes, I can use the apps for both printers to scan, edit and print barcodes for my automated inventory system project so my time wasn’t completely wasted researching and debating which printer to buy. I narrowed a rather wide list down to two printers based on cost, apps, assortment of papers and labels available, and dpi (these are both 300 dpi printers.)

It hadn’t occurred to me to test device apps on my phone prior to buying a device, but this time it did occur to me and that was a game changer of an idea. A few of the printers I was considering got knocked out of the running immediately because of issues installing or running the app on iPhone and even though my computer has Bluetooth it can be fussy to connect new devices.
Cute cat stickers

Here are some stickers I made of my cat using the Phomemo M200 which is a bit more geared towards making wider format labels for business purposes and slightly larger than the MO2 Pro (which is what I used to print the floral sticker in the top left corner, the design is stock art from the Phomemo app.)

Both printers only print in a single color on whatever the background is because they are thermal printers. Mostly it’s going to be black on the background but sometimes there are special papers that will print blue or red. I used fineliner markers to color the floral sticker and Prismacolor pencils to give the pictures of Figg a colorized effect.

M02 pro next to M200I prefer the M200 app (PrintMaster) over the app for the MO2 Pro (Phomemo) but both are perfectly serviceable. I did download the Windows app for the M200 and have played around with it a little, however I haven’t successfully connected the M200 to my computer. The Phomemo app has more clipart to use and many of the same tools as PrintMaster however it feels less intuitive. The M02 Pro doesn’t connect to Windows computers at all. Neither has a great selection of fonts but both allow for images to be imported so that’s not a huge limitation if you don’t mind the extra step of creating your design in another program.

 

Fine, everything is just fine

It has been a minute since my last post and since I had to renew my SSL Certificates I figured I might as well pop in and post an update. I use ZeroSSL, and if you follow the link you’ll be clicking on my affiliate link and helping to support this site if you use a paid plan. I highly recommend that you try the free option first, see if it works for you and then when you renew you have the option of using a paid plan.

It was a rough summer, this whole year sucks so much. My bright spot has been the wildlife.

This whole summer we were practically plagued with bunnies and had a sharp increase in the number of hummingbirds at the single feeder hanging at the front of the house. Because hummingbirds are so aggressive with each other we bought four extra feeders  and spaced them out under the porch awning and the eves. I think right now we have six or seven regulars, about an even split of Anna’s and Rufus but there might be more.

Stop rewriting what everyone else has written

While researching for a personal finance post I came across the same advice, phrased in slightly different ways on maybe a couple dozen blogs and websites. Since I wasn’t exactly in the position to follow the advice to the letter, I tried it by skipping a step. And guess what happened? I got the desired results without needing to follow what is heavily inferred to be that crucial first step.

What does that mean?

It means that good research for writing is not just doing a quick search, picking the most effective keywords and rehashing the same information. Continue Reading

Break the Ice: Write don’t Freeze

You’d be more productive and your career more profitable if you could just sit down and write. Instead you agonize over the title. You write and delete, start over. You do a little more research on your topic. You play with your phone, text, clean your desk, read emails. After you’ve returned phone calls, scheduled meetings, rewired the electrical in your entire office and patched the drywall you realize you never got around to writing an actual post or article. Then you realize you really never forgot to write it. The task hangs there, unfinished. Continue Reading

Blogging, ‘Expose Yourself’ Edition

Due to the Covid19 pandemic career paths shifted significantly although not entirely unpredictably. Pop-culture mentally prepped us for a world deprived of technology filled with hand-to-hand combat and dog-eat-dog competition for resources like clean water and secure undisclosed locations.

Then reality rolled in all casual and was like, “Nah y’all. Stay at home, drink lots of water, work online and wash your hands.” Then it rifled through your fridge, ate the leftovers you were planning on having for dinner and crashed on your couch without asking. Continue Reading

SEO and You

In this post I’ll explain why SEO matters and how to implement good SEO practices.

Your website is Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Your target audience is Demi Moore. Demi can’t see your website, she doesn’t even know where to look but she desperately needs to know what your website has to tell her. Your website needs to get Whoopi Goldberg on board. Whoopi Goldberg is a search engine. This metaphor is strained but my point is your website needs to get the search engines to pay attention to it before the search engines will tell your target audience about it.

Otherwise it’s just another angry poltergeist in the subway. Continue Reading

I was busier today than I planned to be

One of my old domain names became available and I was able to register it last night. I promised myself no new domains, but this isn’t really a new domain is it?

Back in olden times, I dipped my toe into the freshly formed blogging pool by starting a knitting blog called PointySticks. It was hosted on Blogspot. I poked around different platforms for a bit before deciding I was a WordPress woman. I ended up with dot-net top level domain because some other web savvy knitter was more forward thinking and had registered the dot-com. Continue Reading

Not feeling good about Upwork

Upwork is a rescaled and rebranded eLance.

Upwork is a platform for clients and freelancers to find each other, collaborate and trade money for (deliverable) goods and services. They have a desktop app, iOS and Android apps, website and community support forum.

Upwork provides a variety of useful services to freelancers. Freelancers can set their own hourly and flat fees, offer projects and deliverables and respond to work offers. Upwork verifies users identities and payment methods, acting as an escrow between parties. Continue Reading

Real Company, Fake Job

There are real data-entry jobs. Data-entry is a real thing. Online data-entry work is a real thing.

Unfortunately, recently it feels like 90% of the ads for online data-entry work actually lead to grind (I still love you mTurk) or survey sites.

Now there’s a wave of hiring scams that are targeting data-entry, clerical, and transcription workers with the promise of freelance work from home. The story is pretty slick, the ads are varied and look official and they present as a big corporation that needs to adjust to the current pandemic. This scam is extra cold because it targets people recently laid off or unemployed trying to be industrious. Continue Reading

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