The older I get the more I realize that the best resources for finding information are your local library (especially with inter-library loan, if you live in a small town), advice from friends and family and the internet. To get started I’m making this list of resources made mostly of books I’ve read and websites I frequent. These should all give a good starting point if you’d like to know more about any of the topics I write about here.
- Tiny Houses
You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel – This book isn’t entirely about tiny houses but is written by a woman who lives in one. It offers some good advice for those wishing to downsize.
The Big Tiny – A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams
Tiny Homes – Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn
Tiny House Design & Construction Guide by Dan Louche – My dad read this book several times in the process of planning and building their tiny house
- Antiquing and Junking
Auction Zip – A great resource for finding local estate, real estate and consignment auctions. Auctions have always been my preferred method for finding furniture and household items.
Your local paper – A good place to look for garage and yard sales, usually listed in the weekend classifieds. Local papers sometimes also publish auction bills on one day of the week. If you’re not a subscriber you can find out what day they publish these and buy the paper just that day. Some small auction companies don’t use auctionzip and may only list their auctions here.
Your local alley – No you don’t need to pry through your neighbors’ trash, but driving through the alleys on weekends after yard sales, during moving week in college towns and on trash pick-up days is a great way to find totally useful things others are too lazy to donate or recycle. I’ve found a perfectly good guitar, vintage bicycle and the stereo speakers I still use by doing this.
Local charity shops – Of course we all know about Goodwill and Salvation Army, but your local thrift shops run by charities are also a great place to shop. Not only can you find things for cheap, but you can feel good about helping a cause. Just a tip, but some of the sketchiest looking thrift shops are where I’ve found some of the best, most overlooked deals.
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich
You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel
The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno
Simplicity Sewing – If you’re just getting into sewing, Simplicity makes patterns that are easy to follow and have a huge selection of styles and projects
Burda Style – Another resource for patterns. I like Burda a lot because they have patterns you can purchase online and print from home. They also have a section where users can upload photos of the projects they’ve made from these patterns, to give you an idea how your project might turn out
A Good Sewing Book – I don’t have a particular one to recommend as I’ve owned dozens in my life. The best ones I’ve had were vintage guides (usually fairly big books) put out buy the big pattern and sewing machine makers (Simplicity, McCall’s and Singer). The one I still have was printed by Better Homes and Gardens in the 60s. I’ve always found it helps to have 2 or 3 because each one might give different advice on how to do the same things, giving you options to find what works best for you. If you search Ebay you can likely find a few for relatively cheap.
Etsy and Ebay – If you’re like me and enjoy making things from vintage fabrics and findings, this is a great place to search. Not everybody loves 70s double-knit or atomic bark cloth though, so these sites are also great resources for those who don’t have a fabric store in their town and would like to search for not-so-vintage supplies. Sewing was a pretty common skill a few generations ago, so the amount of older sewing supplies is high enough to make them pretty affordable. If you like sewing vintage styles, my mom, who goes by SelmaLee on both sites sells a wide variety of sewing patterns from decades past.
Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland – If you’re involved in any creative pursuit and encounter frustration, anxiety or stress from the process, this book is invaluable! I have the same small worn, underlined, written in, wax burned version of this book I’ve carried around for years. Any time I get overwhelmed, underwhelmed or run up against art block, I read through this book again. Borrow this book and if it helps you once, buy a copy of it. You won’t regret it.
The Foxfire Books Series – This series started in the 70’s as a project to capture and retell the knowledge and culture of the rugged Appalachian mountain dwellers. With twelve books in the whole series, you can learn everything about beekeeping, log cabin building, butter churning, chimney building, weather signs and a whole host of mountain lore it’d be hard to find elsewhere.