A Month in the Yurt

This weekend marks one month of yurt living. I’ve figured out my systems and routines for this little place, but even more, I’ve decorated and started to meet some neighbors, so now it’s feeling like home. The skylight is still my favorite part, though there’s a ripe fig that’s taunting me. I’ve managed to enjoy many other figs since moving into the yurt, but this big, ripe purple fig is hanging overhead, visible through the skylight but just out of my reach. So alluring and so alluding!

Now that the weather is getting chillier – it was 38 degrees last night – people have been asking me how it’s going, living in the yurt. I tell them it’s been great! I have noticed the dropping temps, but so far it’s been very comfortable still. I lived in Eastern Washington for ten years and experienced the four distinct seasons there, so I feel myself bracing for the long weeks of below freezing temperatures, hoar frost, and snow. But it’s nice to know that although it will continue to get colder, I do live in a very mild climate and it won’t get dramatically colder. I joke about how Portland has four seasons, too – warmer, cooler, wet, and wetter – and they can occur at any time of the year!

After confirming my building science with Derin of UrbaNest who does home energy auditing, I’ve made a small step to address the cold weather by reversing the insulation layer. It was set up for summer so that the reflective layer was facing outwards to deflect heat so I switched it so it’s now reflecting heat back into the space. It’s a thin insulation layer so it doesn’t do much for conductive heat losses, but it should help a little bit. I also closed up the windows for the winter. I miss having the view of the fig tree right outside, but I’ve noticed it is quite a bit warmer this way. I will be take a few more steps to weatherize the yurt. So far I have only had to turn the heater up to the third notch out of ten notches. I’ll keep ratcheting it up a notch as needed. I figure if I’m still chilly by the time the heater is running full-tilt, I’ll just add an extra sweater and be glad my Crockpot Does Double Duty!

Home, Sweet Yurt

Just before I ran off for my interview with Portlandia’s The Real Portland, a few of my friends from school helped me move my 198 things into the yurt. (Check out My 200 Things Challenge). I’m not yet settled, but I love it already. It was so nice to sleep under the stars in my glorified tent. And although it’s a small space, I have big plans for it! I think my two most useful strategies will be to use the vertical space and to take advantage of the lattice walls providing lots of spots to hang things. I stacked my dressers just as I did in the tiny house. One dresser is dedicated to my clothing. The other I’m using to store my art, craft, and drafting supplies, my electronics, and my toolbox. I’m using the space under the bed to store outdoor gear like my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and backpack as well as my summer clothes. I plan to find a tall cabinet to use for My Kitchen Cupboard.

I’m so excited to be closer to campus and the happenings of inner Portland. The location may be my favorite thing about my new place. The dome skylight oculus is definitely my favorite part of being in the yurt. I’ve considered putting an overhead skylight in the vardo I want to build for myself. Living with the dome skylight for just a couple days has convinced me that it’s a great idea. The quality of light from overhead is different and really lovely!

As I settle in and begin unpacking, I realize I’m now surrounded by the things I like best. Downsizing from a Tiny House to a Tinier House was not as difficult for me as my initial downsizing from a two-bedroom house to a yurt. As I moved into the yurt with my belongings I became especially grateful that I've embarked upon My 200 Things Challenge, too. I am, without a doubt, less materialistic than I was a year ago. I am better able to appreciate items for their functionality and the pleasure they bring me.

Downsizing from a Tiny House to a Tinier House

I’ve found my next tiny house and I’m trilled about it! I’ll be living in a yurt in inner Portland. I’ve wanted to try out yurt living for several years, so I’m glad to have a chance now. I feel especially excited about this one.

My Home, Sweet Yurt is tucked in a sweet little garden space with a climbing rosebush growing over the arched entryway. Through the dome skylight one can see the top of a fig tree, bamboo shoots, and a nearby maple tree. After falling in love with the skylight in the sleeping loft of Brit’s Bungalow, I’m delighted I’ll be able to sleep with a view of the sun, the moon, the stars, the rain, and the clouds again.

At 114 square feet with no loft, the yurt is even smaller than the tiny house on wheels I lived in last year. So I’ll be downsizing from a tiny house to an even tinier house. I’m looking forward to the smaller space because it’s going to help enforce My Things Challenge and a simple lifestyle. Stay tuned for more tiny adventures!