Dreaming of a Minimalist Home

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With inflation strongly felt in my part of the world, it only makes sense to live a minimalist life now more than ever. Food costs are so high that the fam doesn’t even have enough budget to buy useless stuff or too much food.

Lately, I’m proud that the whole household is purchasing and cooking just enough food for everyone. We are slowly realizing that minimalism is the way to go. BTW, I’m staying right now at my grandparent’s house, where ten of us share meals.

During my stay here in the boondocks, I couldn’t help but think about my dream minimalist life. (And @millycf1976 keeps inspiring us to discuss such topics, eh?) This place was where I spent most of my childhood. The large backyard has allowed me to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The house is also located a few minutes away from Laguna Lake, so we always had access to fresh and cheap seafood.

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It’s easy to live a sustainable life in such a place. And I keep telling my husband that someday, hopefully, we could establish our family somewhere similar to my childhood home—in arable land, near a lake/ocean—where we could live simple lives.

Let me take you on a tour of my grandparents’ land:

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Here are some of the ornamental plants my grandma arranged on her own:

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Here are a few of the fruit trees we had since I was young:

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And here's the lovely front yard:

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I never really appreciated how large the land was until I started living in the city on my own, where everything felt cramped. For my wee family, my goal is to get a place that’s, perhaps, just a fraction of this land. Because cleaning and caring for such a vast backyard would probably break my back and take up all my time unless I have money to pay caretakers.

We’ll have just enough space to plant herbs, vegetables, and a few fruit trees like calamansi, lemon, mango, papaya, or avocado. Perhaps, I’ll add a few ornamental plants too. I love gardening and it’s what I imagine doing most of the time when my little one grows up.

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My grandparents’ house is also huge. And from experience, it wasn’t really practical. It’s hard to maintain and difficult to move around. It takes extra effort to access water and food. And honestly, it was kinda wasteful. We needed a lot of lights to brighten the rooms and many fans to cool the place. And some areas of the house hardly get lived in. So, they’ve gathered dust, rot, and pests.

Anyway, enough of my complaints. I’m pretty sure the huge land and house were the fruit of my elders’ labor and I’m happy they got what they wanted. But for me, I’d rather live in a smaller house where things are easier to manage. Also, I can always see and hear my husband and the little one.

We might go for solar panels for electricity, but I’d still research other sustainable alternatives. For cooking, I have in mind a biomass stove and wood pellets that are genuinely sourced from waste wood. Maybe, we’d learn how to make our wood pellets. The goal is to lead a life that would avoid harming the environment.

I’d prefer to live somewhere near the ocean so that we can swim anytime we want. If we have extra space in our house, I will put it up on Airbnb. What I learned from the pandemic is that life can be lonely. It’d be interesting to meet new people from time to time. But, when we’re in no mood for small talk (or there’s another pandemic), we could easily take our listing off the site.

Traveling isn’t yet in the picture for my husband and me because of our little one, and we’re still building our lives. Perhaps, someday, we’d put more thought into it. But for now, I’m happy dreaming about my little corner of the world.

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14 comments
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I always dream to have a home somewhere nearby the water but not too far from the mountain. I don't mind a big one,it's hard to maintain it but I am used to it now. I live in a crowded area and always dream to have such house like your grandparents with massive field to plant my own food. 😁 I rarely had that experience growing up (fresh fruits from the garden) and you're so lucky!

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Yeah I guess we’re lucky to have grown up here and still managed to be here to see our own little ones grow up here as well. I still dream of a place to call our own though, and hopefully I would still be able to do everything I set out to accomplish with regards to growing a beautiful garden like my grandma’s.

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Hello @laviesm,
Your dream of living in a simple way is a great one.
My thoughts on what you have are similar to Macchiata - you are lucky to be able to pick fresh fruit from trees in your backyard. I grew up doing the same. I had a wide variety of fruit trees that would be laden with fruit and it was something I admired my mum for taking pride in purchasing the highest farm quality and nurturing them in her garden. I had some of the biggest avocados with a sweet flavour, almonds, mangoes, bananas, naseberry (chica in Visayan), lots of othaheite apples (don't remember the Visayan name), limes, guavas, starfruit, Jamaican cherries (Muntingia calabura), sweetsop (Atis), and sugarcane. For my lunches, I climbed trees and picked fruit to eat, and it's something I wish I could do today.
Never give up on that dream of yours, especially since you do like gardening and growing your own produce.
Thanks for sharing this with us:)

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Hi Milly! it’s great that you have access to fresh produce throughout your life. For me, freshly picked fruits taste so much better than store bought ones esp. from the frozen ones. Just thinking of your avocados made me hungry this early in the morning. And boy do I miss guavas and atis. We no longer have them in our backyard. As always, thanks for the kiss and for inspiring us to pursue our minimalist dreams! 💋

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(Edited)

You're very welcome:)
Quick question; what's the Filipino name of this fruit?
We have a lot in Jamaica, but the texture in Jamaica is softer when ripe, sweeter, and a darker red, kind of purple or burgundy (maroon) colour...We had 3 humongous trees in our backyard that produced (Otaheite Apples) as big as Avocados...A major hurricane in 1988 called Gilbert uprooted them. I was 12 years old. I'll never forget watching that tree, the last of all fruit trees go... we thought it would be impossible for the winds to get to that root, but it did.

Throughout the years my mother has replaced the lost fruit trees with different ones:)


photo source

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It's called macopa here. I think we still have one in the backyard. The one we have usually have pink fruits but I remember seeing dark red ones when I was younger. The ones I've tasted here in the Philippines are not very sweet but they're very juicy and refreshing. Awww it's sad seeing trees get uprooted.. Maybe, you can plant it where you live now?

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Yes, I read that the Philippines are two different textures of the fruit. There was a lady who lived a few houses from me who had macopas that looked similar to yours. I always wondered why they were so different.

I live in the UK now so I don't think they would grow here. It's a tropical fruit, and I've read that it's in some parts of Africa too:)

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This house is definitely a beauty and thanks to how big ten people can live in it without any problem, how nice that your grandparents were able to achieve that, today in very few countries people can choose to have their own homes, either in houses or apartments.

That garden has an enormous amount of plants my mother would be happy there, but as you point out it requires a lot of care, time and effort.

On the internet there are great ideas in which you can see how to take advantage of small spaces, I go crazy watching, so there is less to clean I always think about that, women never stop even if we have work outside the home, I think we work more at home than outside.

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Hi @actioncats, thanks for stopping by and leaving your lovely comment 😁 I agree, having too many people in the household can be chaotic. But, I guess, over the years, we’ve learned to live with that. And we’re not always 10 anyway. My little one and I, for instance, are just staying here for the meantime but we still go home to our house near the city once a month.

My grandparents were lucky to have acquired lands when they were still cheap. And most of what they got were in the province. These days, lands are so expensive.. I’m not sure when my husband and I will get to afford one from the fruits of our labor 😅

And I feel the same way about working at home too. Staying at home takes a lot more work for us homemakers than working at the office. 🥲 I remember crying a lot in the first few months of managing my own household and taking care of my baby. I kept messaging my Mom how difficult it was and wishing she could be there to help me.

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(Edited)

Hi Lavie, I'm sure you've made a lot of memories in your grandmother's home, probably afternoons running around in the garden? It's a beautiful property and I agree, that it's not easy to maintain a large house. The upside though is that you've seen what it's like and would be able to implement what's necessary and ideal in your dream minimalist home.

We grew up in a tiny apartment and my Mom later built a 7-bedroom home where we eventually spent our teenage years. Hence, I spent most of my free time tidying up and when we temporarily stayed there after moving back to the Philippines, the maintenance drove us nuts. Based on experience a maximum of 80 to 100 sqm habitable floor area is manageable for us, not too small to have everything cluttered but not too big either. Setting up a rainwater collection tank in the Philippines is doable. We did it here in Cebu and were able to direct the rainwater flow in a 9 cubic meter underground tank which is used for toilet, shower, gardening, and cleaning.

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Hi Arni! Wow, 7-bedroom.. that must have been really huge! But yes I agree that a large home is also large headache. Aside from the humongous space to clean up, my grandparents also had to fix a lot of roofs, repaint a lot of walls, and replace a lot of lights, door frames, and cabinet doors every few years. It's too much for me..

I haven't lived yet in a place around 80-100sqm but I guess it probably really is the ideal size of a home (if I don't wanna break my back cleaning up).. The one we have right now near the metro is much smaller than that, and it felt too cramped when we had our daughter (or maybe, I just need to learn some more minimalist hacks).

And thanks for introducing me to the idea of a rainwater collection tank. Will definitely research that.. Jus curious, do you use electricity to run the water to your pipes?

I'm really grateful that you stopped by once again here in my blog. Your comments are always so meaningful and informational. Have a great weekend, Arni!

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Hi Lavie, I came across images of your apartment in your previous posts and I think you did a great job in decorating and maximizing the space.

We had a 9 cubic meter concrete tank and a pressure pump with a built-in tank. Since there is no electricity connection in the area, we have a generator to run it and for minor electrical use like charging phones or connecting power tools.

We wanted a solar panel system for it all but decided to delay doing so since we don't use the space often. After comparing costs between having the main electricity connected (due to the distance from the main power line) and installing solar, solar appeared to be more economical in the long run because of the cost of connection. A hybrid solar system is better though.

I can't believe it's the weekend already. Have a great one too!

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