The Batts Motel: Minimalists Without the Label

Oh Yes They Did!

I would like to introduce you to my friends, The Batts Family: Wendy, Howie, Helena and Georgia-Belle.

After Wendy’s father passed away, she inherited 6 acres of land in “the nature,” as I say.  They were renting a 1800SF home in Killearn and weren’t sure where they wanted to plant their roots. They did however know that they intended to save money while thinking about their next move.  SO, they sold/donated/eliminated 90% of their possessions (My heros!), to move into a 100SF camper on the land they now owned. They kept their washer/dryer and yard clearing tools–THAT’S IT. Five outfits for each adult (it’s all the camper closet would hold) and maybe 8-10 outfits for their teenage daughter.

This is where they lived for 8 months-Husband, wife, teenage daughter and dog.

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They eventually decided to plant roots on this land and were able to build a home with all of the money they saved.  I knew Wendy before I knew Minimalism.  I was one of the few (two) people she told that wouldn’t “judge her.”  They knew what they were doing wasn’t “normal” to most people and just didn’t want to answer a lot of questions.  Or the same question over and over again. I think being debt-free and building a house you can afford should be everybody’s normal.

Howie moved a lot growing up so neither he nor Wendy ever really accumulated a lot of stuff, nor did they hold sentimental attachments to things.  Emotionally speaking, minimizing the stuff (down to their beds and furniture) was easy for them.  They are an extremely tight-knit family who, not knowing anything about Minimalism, naturally valued family relationships and love over things. Wendy and I worked together during this time, and it wasn’t until she got a new job and left that I discovered Minimalism.  I was crazy excited with my new discovery but I was just preaching to the choir with her!

Even now they don’t fill their house with anything they don’t need or that doesn’t add value.  They said that moving into 1300SF felt like living in a mansion to them, amplified by the fact that they had no furniture!  They take nothing for granted in that house, but they also don’t try to fill with anything other than love and necessities.  I was curious what they appreciated the most about the house after camper-life. Was it all the space and room? No. They would willingly live in a small space again….just not a camper.  It was the plumbing and central heat and air! Evidently, the camper had no insulation ergo when it was hot outside it was REALLY hot inside-same with cold. I’m still forbidden to talk about the plumbing issues.

[Insert sub-story about Uncle Robert later]

When I visited them at home and asked them what they value most aside from family, Wendy said “This! This is our paradise.” The land from her father and the house they built and turned into a home by moving in and being a family.  The family bond was strengthened by their willingness to challenging the norm and do something different….living with less, but living more.

Paradise. Found…….and Appreciated.

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