My little corner.


img_0009Just the other day I realised it’s been almost a year since moving to this house and I still haven’t managed to sort out a space for organising onebag headquarters. How very remiss of me, tsk tsk it’s been a year, really?! Yes really.. So now is the time to get things moving to that minimal heaven, expect shots of arty desk, subdued lighting and trendy tech! Hmmm maybe not, anyway. It’s funny looking back over pictures from my work life over the years (which I was doing the other day whilst auditing my photos) to see how my desk life habits had changed over the course of time and even when I knew nothing about the minimal living movement I was seeing changes going on that subconsciously I was completely unaware of. Growing up and having a Dad who had been in the merchant navy I rebelled against his constant mantra of everything has a place and a place for everything, if that’s the correct saying, with a barrage of chaos and disorganisation. At what point do we assimilate our parents behaviours as I now find myself thinking and acting exactly as my Dad would have done and strangely I now find peace in the fact that I do know where things are and don’t have those gut wrenching moments when one can’t find the car keys or remember where the passport is as it all has its place. Maybe it’s some universal order to the universe, unseen but always constant but maybe that’s getting a bit to deep and analytical it’s just a desk space! But a tidy desk aids an organised mind, why did I fight it for so long. Anyway the point is I’m getting there.

So the next question is whether to buy or make. Obviously tootalling off to IKEA for a load of office furniture would be the easy way out but in my desire to hold on to the resources I have I am going to build what I need from as much free stuff as possible. Now this encompasses many methods of acquisition such as Freecycle, gumtree and my local scavenging friends and maybe a but of skip diving. On a side note one of the things I have wanted to do for a long time is learn how to weld and that would be very useful for making the desk frame and many other ideas I have in the back of my mind. Actually the whole make movement is fascinating to me but that’s a whole other topic. However this will extend out the time to complete my workspace for sure and in the desire to get things sorted and ticked off the list I may settle for a wooden frame to start off with. I have space in the garage once I have managed to re-stack and repack a lot of the stuff that came from the old house so that I can make a mess in there. Like just about all garages around here I have seen into, no one uses them for there original purpose, i.e. parking their cars in, that would be a photo project, to go round clicking the nations garages. First off then is to decorate the room and then plonk new home made furniture in and hey presto. The only thing. I need to buy is a chair and unfortunately I won’t be getting a Herman Millar chair like my last job, oh the comfort! but I hear the Amazon Essential Office Chair is ok for not a bank or back breaking price.

In keeping with the year of minimal I vowed that if I was to buy anything I would need to sell something to pay for it, that way not just adding to the mound of possessions that I am trying to rid myself from but to also make sure that I really needed the new thing and that it was not just a whim. The exception to the rule is Freecycle. This on the face of it seems like a unlimited supply of stuff if one is prepared to go and pick it up however I have managed to stop myself from rushing to get a compound mitre saw and a load of shelves already as they would either not be what I wanted really or replace something I already had, thus just adding to the pile of unnecessary. Again it is freeing not allowing the feeling of being compelled to get things just because they are there.

This post is to partly shame myself into some activity and a record of the state of this space at this time but also to document a home built workspace that doesn’t need to cost a load of cash to do and once finished I can restore order to my desktop once again! That includes getting rid of the rats nest of cabling and drives stacked up on the current setup.

Till next time..

Minimally moveable

It’s been a bit of a struggle to get this post out a couple of days after I had planned to and the first real blip in the onebag blogging efforts. I knew it had to happen at some point. I am surprised I have managed to focus this long and kept it going. However the show must go on as the saying goes and that leads me nicely into the topic of conversation this week, or was that meant to be last week..

Last Wednesday I journeyed south to the Camping and Caravanning show at the NEC centre near Birmingham and the reason for my visit was partly down to the fact I won a couple of tickets thanks to Alde UK in a Twitter competition, on the whole I don’t win things and so with the benefit of free entrance I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out some minimal mobile living spaces. With the cost of housing both in the buying and also the rental markets skyrocketed in the last decade alternative cheaper forms of dwelling are being sought by many, not just those priced out of a roof over their heads but also people interested in living more intentionally and not get sucked into the consumerist dream. I have been giving a lot of consideration to the different forms of mobile living from camper vans, van conversions, caravans, canal boats and also although not quite mobile short term rentals and things like house sitting. But having ones own space however large or small is still ones own space and the joy of coming home is something that most of us take for granted. But looking at these alternatives makes me think what would it actually be like to live in a tiny space for an extended period. There are plenty of van life stories of sun drenched lifestyles, waking up to glorious sunrises and going to sleep with beautiful sunsets but to me the reality seems more like walking up in lay-by with lorries thundering by on a rainy winters morning and what about high winds and many other thoughts? Yes this may be my rather un-educated view but the reality is only something that can be lived to be experienced.

Back to the show and the the vans in all there formats that peaked my interest. As someone who knows virtually nothing about touring or caravanning or van life as have always flown to my holidays but now considering a mobile home it is amazing to what is on offer, not just the manufactured models but also the conversions. Now I also understand that these moving palaces are really aimed at a weekend wanderers or traditional get away breaks and may not necessarily be aimed at the full time live-aboard traveller. However with a minimal mentality space would not seem to be a problem with even the most compact of vans that I saw. Then there is a question or what is suitable for ones needs and the relative user requirements that can be summarised in good video by Andrew Ditton. But the fact that all these vehicles can be hired in some way and can be experienced to help

Then there is the van conversion market and browsing around Youtube will show you many examples of the amazing ingenuity of there builders. So the premise of picking a standard commercial van and slapping a micro flat inside depending on the model is certainly build for more rugged use. However the technologies and materials are readily available through the mature market of the caravan and motorhome suppliers. So many of the the amenities found in modern caravans are now easily purchased for a van build. Alde is case in point, on visiting their stand at the show I got a plumbing and heating catalogue with all their products which effectively brings a home heating system into a van, in fact theres nothing you can’t find to make your own little space comfy, clean and warm.

So finally some quick pics of some of the vans I took inspiration from. There is however a lot to be said for being able to change the scenery with the day.