Sporty and I thought it would be really interesting to shine a spotlight on other minimalists to see what their lives look like.
We came up with a set of 10 questions (the last of which we believe to be the most important) and we’re asking everyone we feature to answer them.
Same questions, different answers. It can only make for interesting reading.
Previous episodes (so far there are only three, so I can still list all of them) include a housesitting duo from Canada (eh!), a hilarious Brit with a peanut butter eating sausage dog and an intentional living daily vlogger from Minneapolis.
They all arrived at the idea of living a simpler life in different ways, but I think it’s safe to say that all of them are enjoying the many benefits of downsizing.
Spotlight On: Two Cup House
In this edition of Spotlight On we introduce you to Claudia and Garrett from Two Cup House. The couple downsized dramatically when it dawned on them that they were spending more than they earned to buy stuff they didn’t have time to use. Sound familiar? Sporty and I can certainly relate.
But wow, what a turnaround they’ve made. They’re giving debt a serious ass-kicking, they’ve started a side-hustle, they ditched their palazzo in favour of what has to be one the cutest ‘lil houses I’ve ever clapped eyes on and they’re leaping and bounding towards financial independence. Read and be inspired!
Two Cup Tiny House (super cute, right?!)
What Was Your Tipping Point?
What prompted you to say, “Screw it, let’s just sell everything!”?
Garrett: With respect to paying off debt, we realized in 2015 that we were spending more than we were making on stuff that we didn’t have time to use.
Claudia: It was a month before my 30th birthday when I said enough was enough. We struggled to get our finances in order because we spent more money than we made. Surrounded by our stuff, I felt trapped by past mistakes. I wanted to get rid of all the stuff immediately in order to start living the life we aspired to live.
How Do You Earn a Living Now?
Is it different than to your pre-minimalist days?
Garrett: I have the same full-time job I did before minimalism, but we have a side business now.
Claudia: Before minimalism, I worked a part-time job at a non-profit organization. After embarking on the journey, I decided to take on a full-time job in a for-profit business that proved to be a better fit for my skills and personality as well as our financial goals. We also have a side business that we are striving to turn into the way in which we earn a living in the future.
How Much Stuff Do You Own?
How much of it do you travel with?
Claudia: Compared to life in the big house, we own about 20% of what we used to own. While we work full time for the next few years, our travel is limited. We have plans to travel around the US and abroad when we’ve met our financial goals. In the future, we’ll travel with a subset of the 20% of stuff we kept when we moved to the small house.
Is There Anything You Regret Getting Rid Of?
Garrett: Nope. I don’t even remember half the stuff we got rid of.
Claudia: Definitely not. In fact, I still look for things in our small house that we could donate that we don’t use often! Just last month, we donated dozens of shirts and pants that no longer fit us.
Small house, big life. Yip, that’s what it’s all about.
What Are You happiest About No Longer Owning?
Garrett: The big, 1,500 sq ft house
Claudia: Other than the big house? 🙂 I never liked lamps, so I’m glad we don’t have any in our small, 536 sq ft house.
Ang: I’m so with you on that one Claudia! Our current apartment has lamps and they’re annoying, they’re always in the way.
How Do You Handle Gift-Giving?
For each other, friends, family, etc.
Claudia: We don’t give gifts to each other or anyone else. Everyone we know has all the stuff they could possibly want or need.
What’s Your Debt Story?
Do you have? Did you ever have? How did you deal with it?
Garrett: In the big house, we were keeping up with the Joneses, living above our means, which meant credit card debt and buying “things.” Ultimately, this resulted us in having more than $200k in debt. Downsizing our life meant questioning everything–every expense, every item in our lives.
Claudia: When I graduated from college, I started retirement plan contributions immediately, but I never saved anything else. I spent well beyond my means, which was something we both struggled with. Fortunately, we started to figure things out. We downsized to a less expensive home, which also cut our taxes and utility payments. We’ve been working on the side since 2015 to eliminate the rest of our debt. Today, we have a mortgage on our small house, which we will pay off this year, and a few remaining student loans.
Max T Cat approved the tiny house plans. Whew!
Sporty and I Eat a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet.
Is this something you could see yourself doing? Tell us about the kind of food you enjoy.
Garrett: We tend to eat a diet based on the seasons. Summer is a lot of raw vegetables since they’re fresh and because we don’t have to cook them (cooking indoors heats up the small house quickly).
Claudia: I could definitely see myself eating a vegan diet. I’d say our diet is 80% vegetarian, 20% conventional. Compared to last year, we are much closer to a vegan diet than we were before. We participate in a CSA, which helps us make plants in our diet a top priority.
What Does the Term ‘Carbon Footprint’ Mean to You?
Garrett: Carbon footprint is the amount of waste you put back into the world. We’re harvesting resources to create things and then lock up those elements in things that eventually become waste products.
Claudia: Carbon footprint is an ever-present thought in the back of my mind. When I’m consuming, I’m contributing to the greenhouse effect, which bothers me tremendously. I go to great lengths to try to offset our carbon footprint, everything from the energy we use in our home to the transportation options we choose to eating more plants.
Do You Like Peanut Butter?
Garrett: Peanut butter is awesome protein! Great snack.
Claudia: Yes! I can’t live without peanut butter.