When Non-Consumers and Rowdy Kittens Unite

by Katy on September 24, 2010 · 6 comments

Katy Wolk-Stanley and Tammy Strobel. I'm not sure what I'm looking at, but apparently it's off in the middle distance.

One of the unexpected perks of writing a blog is getting to meet other bloggers. True, most of the meeting up is through the interweb, but I’ve actually met up with a few in person, (I know, it’s heresy) and yesterday had the pleasure of getting together with Rowdy Kitten’s Tammy Strobel.

For those not in the know, Strobel writes a blog about simple living issues, and was featured in a NY Times article last month on how she and her husband Logan ditched their traditional belongings-centric life in California for a Portland, Oregon studio apartment filled with approximately 100 possessions. So when we were setting up our meet and greet, I wanted to see this shrine to all things minimalistic for myself.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was no echo, and the belongings seemed to fit the space. Neither Tammy nor her husband admitted to missing any of their former possessions, and both seemed content with their deliberately chosen lot.

Conversation came easily, as we have much in common despite our obvious differences, (she works from home as a freelance writer and is childless, while I work as a labor and delivery nurse and am raising unruly teenagers.) We ran out of time before we ran out of momentum, which is as it should be. I look forward to our next meet and greet, and will enjoy showing her my simplisticly complicated home.

Although I have been decluttering over the past few years, I am far from completing the task. (I may possibly have 100 possessions on my coffee table at the moment.) And the remodeling of my storage space into a bedroom/bathroom has meant our bedroom transformed  from acceptable to unacceptable. (Seriously, nothing is more serene and romantic than bins of Lincoln Logs and wooden blocks.) I am in constant need of inspiration mojo, and might have found enough in Tammy and Logan’s apartment to at least get me through the next couple of weeks.

It occurred to me afterwards that choosing an extreme minimalist lifestyle is more about what you’re not doing than what you are. You’re not spending hours a day cleaning and organizing, and you’re certainly not wasting time watching TV, washing the car or earning the money to pay for said TV and car. So much of frugality is time heavy, (hanging laundry to dry, cooking from scratch, etc.) and making that choice to live simply frees up hours of mindless activity. Yes, Strobel has no children, but I highly doubt she would chuck her lifestyle even if a rowdy baby came her way.

There’s certainly lots to think about here, and even if we are unable to make the exact same choices as someone else, there can still be inspiration for one’s own deliberate life.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

P.S. Thanks for the coffee and sweets, next time it’ll be my turn to treat!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tammy Strobel September 24, 2010 at 11:56 am

Hey Katy – thanks for the lovely write up! It was great meeting you. 🙂

Just to be clear – Logan and I are both doing the 100 Thing Challenge. So together we have over 200 items. And that doesn’t include all the household stuff. 🙂

We’re not planning on having kids, but if a rowdy one showed up at the door we wouldn’t chuck our lifestyle.

Thanks again Katy! You rock.


Katy September 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the clarification. 😉



Dusti Arab September 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Hey Katy! We should meet up, too! Tammy gave me the networking bug yesterday, and I’m trying to meet up with a few more like minded bloggers. Let’s do it!




Mary September 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for the inspiring post – I enjoy reading about simple living from different perspectives.


Logan September 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Thanks Katy! 🙂

It was great to finally meet you! We’ve been reading your blog for awhile and it was a pleasure to finally put a face to the blog. 🙂 If your readers are interested Tammy took a few photos of our apartment recently.


We plan to get some edible plants and drapes in the near future to decorate more but for now the current seems to work for us and the cats. 😉



Rachel October 1, 2010 at 9:18 am

Interesting photos. How on earth do you both get by with so few clothes? I’m guessing that (a) nobody works outside the home and (b) the weather doesn’t vary significantly in Portland (??).


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