Create a Place for Yourself

We have to live with less.  From our 36 square foot kitchen in Berlin to the what-we-can-stuff-in-the-car life we seem to be adopting in the United States, Martin and I have learned that life doesn’t get better when you have more stuff.   I won’t argue that it’s nice to have some things, especially the things you use and that mean something to you.

A while back, I started a little treasure chest filled with the things that make me happy when we live in someone else’s furnished home.  We can’t really rearrange their cupboards or get rid of things that don’t fit our lifestyle (you know, like toxic conventional cleaners).  What I can try to do is make a place that’s just mine.  

Every time I get frustrated that the silverware isn’t next to the dishwasher or the oven cooks a little differently than the last one I used, I open this drawer:


It’s filled with the little kitchen items worth smiling about.  It’s also the stuff I can’t always find in someone else’s home.  My favorites are:

  • an apron from Valentine’s Day, made by this etsy seller (upper right)
  • cloves for making homemade chai (lower right)
  • dishwasher safe silicon cupcake liners and pastry brush
  • cookie cutters from a family wedding
  • two metal tea infusers to feed our excessive tea habit

I think you have to create your own moments of happiness.  You can’t expect other people – or their places – to always create them for you.  When you feel like you don’t have control, try carving out a little space that’s just for you.  (As for me, a quick “before” picture is all it takes so I can put everything back how it was for the owners.)  A little draw in the kitchen is just right.

recycle kitchen

As it turns out, that little bit of happiness can come from one small space without much money.  My mom always told me, “Be thankful for what you have.”  What a wonderful way to create a simple life.