Judy comes to us with 36 years of experience as a custom builder and remodeler, with a passion for well-appointed, smaller living spaces. We'll dive into her expert advice on maximizing functionality without sacrificing style and comfort, and explore her journey from a 4,000 square foot dwelling to her favorite 1,100 square foot home. From Murphy beds to curated maximalism, Judy is here to share her wealth of knowledge on living intentionally within our means. So get ready to learn from Judy's inspiring experiences and practical tips on downsizing your space, but not your life.

In This Episode:

  • Simplified living 🏡: Judy shares her journey of downsizing and creating a simplified lifestyle by decluttering and being intentional about possessions.
  • Maximizing small spaces 📏: Designing small living spaces that are functional without sacrificing style or comfort.
  • Decluttering impact 🗑️: The negative effects of clutter on well-being and relationships, providing strategies for effective decluttering.
  • Minimalism vs. living small 🤏: The distinction between minimalism and living small, stressing on the value of personal preference in arranging living spaces.
  • Multi-functional furniture 🛋️: Judy highlights the importance and benefits of furniture that serves multiple purposes in tiny homes.
  • Sentimental clutter 💌: Advice on managing sentimental items, encouraging repurposing, donating, or letting go rather than keeping out of obligation.
  • Organizing principle 📊: Tackling one space at a time and organizing one zone at a time instead of trying to do it all at once.
  • Space reclaiming 🚀: Judy introduces “resizing” as a way to reassess and clear out home spaces, making room for what truly matters.
  • Consumerism trap ⛓️: The common mistake of buying organizing tools before actually decluttering.
  • Book recommendations 📚: Judy recommends books for design inspiration and discusses her own book, “Bigger Living, Smaller Space.”

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Judy Granlee-Gates

Judy Granlee-Gates

Judy has been an award winning custom builder and remodeler for 36 year, and seen the housing demands of the public for more space, yet she advocates for living smaller, without sacrifice. Her book, Bigger Living, Smaller Space: Resizing for a Clean and Cozy Home was released in January of this year and helps people declutter, simplify and live a live of greater freedom: Financial, Emotional and time.She is a construction industry blogger, owns a popular Vacation Home Rental in Central Washington, avid note writer and sender, an active philanthropist, and artist.


More Photos:


Judy Granlee-Gates 0:00

To live simply, you don't have to live as a minimalist. It's about knowing what you have, having what you need. Managing that, you know, when things come in, things go out. And just being really aware of what you're bringing into your house and how much crowding you're doing to your life and your space.

Ethan Waldman 0:21

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 292. With Judy Granlee-Gates, Judy comes to us with 36 years of experience as a custom builder and remodeler with a passion for well appointed smaller living spaces. We'll dive into her expert advice on maximizing functionality without sacrificing style and comfort and explore her journey from a 4000 square foot dwelling to her favorite 1100 square foot home. From Murphy beds to curated maximalism. Judy is here to share her wealth of knowledge on living intentionally within our means so get ready to learn from Judy's inspiring experiences and practical tips on resizing your space, but not your life.

Alright, I am here with Judy Granlee- Gates. Judy has been an award winning custom builder and remodeler for 36 years, and has seen the housing demands of the public for more space. Yet she advocates for living smaller without sacrifice, or book 'Bigger Living Smaller Space Resizing for a Clean and Cozy Home' was released in January of this year and helps people declutter, simplify and live a life of greater freedom, financial, emotional and time. She is a construction industry blogger, owns a popular vacation home rental in Central Washington is an avid note writer and sender and active philanthropist and artists. Judy,welcome to the show.

Judy Granlee-Gates 2:03

Thanks, Ethan. I'm glad to be here.

Ethan Waldman 2:05

Yeah, glad. Glad to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about your journey from going from 3400 square foot house downsizing down to 1100 square feet?

Speaker 1 2:19

Yes, I'd love to. So we you know, like most Americans, and we're builders, you know, we would get a house, we would live there for a few years. And we would move. And one day, we found ourselves living in an over 4000 square foot house. It was gorgeous. And clients loved it, they would come and tour it and go, Oh, we want you to build our house. And I thought this is crazy. This is a really big house. So we downsize to 3400. We lived there for about 12 years, our daughter was in high school and I looked at my husband one day and that, you know she's going to go to college. And we're going to be living in this big house that we really don't even use the main floor 1500 square feet. We had a property that needed to have a house built on it for a zoning issue long story. And I said to my husband, let's build a small house, let's just build a house like when we were first married. And we'll live there for a while and then we'll figure it out. So we kind of set out to draw this. I jokingly refer to my house is a real person's tiny house because even most people couldn't live in my square footage of 1131 square feet. And we designed the house. So we decided, okay, here's what we're going to do. We're not just going to build a house, we're going to build a really cool, really cool, tinier house, right? And we had had a lot of family members pass away. And I'm kind of the family historian and keeper of all the family information. So what happened was we had a lot of stuff. Yeah. And we started going, you know, room by room, through our house through the garage through all the storage, and getting rid of some stuff really seriously being like, Look, we're not going to do what our parents have done and leave all this stuff behind for everyone else to manage. There's always going to be something right, some was more than others. Let's just get rid of it now. Right now, not to say we still have plenty of stuff because stuff, stuff just multiplies. But we moved into this house about seven years ago. It is 1131 square feet. And it is by far our favorite home of any we've ever lived in and we've lived in some pretty nice houses. And we're the happiest here we've been because we don't spend so much time on our house and our stuff. You know, we have time to do other things. We have money to do other things. We have the availability to not have to do all the maintenance and repairs and upkeep and management. And it's been a really great, great adventure for us. Awesome. So, in your experience,

Ethan Waldman 4:53

how does clutter impact people's lives? How did it impact your life?

Judy Granlee-Gates 4:58

Clutter makes people crazy. Now I'm going to just say I'm not, I'm not skilled here. I'm not educated here. This is not my I'm not a therapist. I'm not a researcher. But I've done a lot of research. But I watch, I have watched family members that have had clutter problems. And just general people I know, clients, you go to a client's home, and they're like, I just need 300 more square feet. No, you cannot see a horizontal surface in your home, you need to figure out what you have and what you need. Right. And I think that clutter makes people a little bonkers. And I think I am a firm believer that our home is the where we reset and recharge, right? That's where we go to get our energy back and to get reinvigorated. If you're going home every day, to a crapshoot of stuff everywhere. It's tough. Yeah. Now I say that from a room that's very, very busy. This is a this is this style. This is not clutter. This is why it's called maximalism, it's one of my favorites. And this happens to be my office art studio. So it's not the best example. This is a creative space. But when you're in a space where nothing has a home, everything strewn about, you can't find anything. It's very stressful for people and there are so many studies about the negative impacts of depression, weight gain. Just poor relationships. It's crazy. How clutter impacts people.

Ethan Waldman 6:35

Yeah, well that was the I was going to ask you about that and and most people won't be able to actually see the video but your your studio you've there are beautiful colorful paintings, mixed media things all over the walls from from as far low down as I can see all the way up to the ceiling. I see art supplies on shelves. It's it's a different aesthetic. And I think that it's nice because not everybody wants the like, Instagram minimalist aesthetic of like, yes, white everything and like hardwood and white. Yeah.

Judy Granlee-Gates 7:10

Yeah. As a builder. I can't tell you how sick I am of white and hardwood. Yeah. And I think that it's really like, you know, I am an artist as well. So I love a lot of visual stimulation. But I'm not a minimalist. I live in a small house, but I'm not a minimalist. I like my things and I but I manage them. I know where they are. Everything has a home, I can generally find everything. Yep, yes, even I have moments of clutter. But I think it's just so important to have a space that makes you feel good. And let you rest. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 7:43

Yeah. And that's I like that distinction. Can I'm hoping you can say more about that kind of distinction between being a minimalist and and what you're doing.

Judy Granlee-Gates 7:54

Yeah. So I minimalist, in my view. And I don't know a lot of minimalist, I shouldn't really say I know, I know of Marie Kondo, and everyone says, Oh, you're like Marie Kondo? No, I'm not. My toilet brush does not spark joy. But I am not going to clean the toilet with my hand. And so I'm gonna have a toilet brush, right? So if you think about all the things that you own, most of them don't bring us a lot of joy. They have a purpose. And I think that the difference for minimalists is the few that I know like, they have very minimal everything, like they might have a few pairs of pants and a few shirts, single digit numbers of clothing items. Yeah, I would lose my mind. I wear more than that in a week. And so I like variety. But a lot of people mistake the few they think that we'll minimalism will just create a simpler life. Well, no, just simplicity creates a simple life. We add a lot of things on whether it's social things, or work things or just our own self imposed how things have to be. And I think minimalism is one of these things, people are kind of doing to kind of like just shake it all off and see if that fixes it. I just think it's too stark. And, and I don't want to have to go borrow scissors from the neighbor. Right? Rather, I rather own my own things. So I think the difference really is the way I live is more intentional. You know, yeah, I have five or six sets of scissors. A minimalist would only have one, right? Because they could do everything. They would just have one pair that would work for everything. I don't believe in that. I need five pairs because I have a lot of different things I do with scissors just as an example. And I think it's really important for people to understand that. You don't have to like to live simply you don't have to live as a minimalist. It's about knowing what you have, having what you need, managing that you know when things come in, so means go out. And just being really aware of what you're bringing into your house and how much crowding you're doing to your life in your space. Yeah, yeah. Well, I've,

Ethan Waldman 10:11

I've heard, I've heard of downsizing. I've heard of clutter busting. But I don't think I've seen resizing before. So explain, explain the concept of resizing.

Judy Granlee-Gates 10:24

I love resizing, and, and it comes from 36 years of building homes. So I have clients that come in, and they say, Oh, we just need a few hundred more square feet, or we just need two kitchens and living rooms, because we'd like to do football, and we don't want to do it at football parties. I'm just like, the things people come up with will blow your mind. Right? Will 100% Blow Your Mind. So the challenge in that is most of us have enough space. We aren't using it appropriately. When I go into a lot of people's homes. I was telling someone this morning, I have probably been in 10,000 houses, professionally. Wow. professionally. I don't think that I've built 1000 and remodeled 1000. So how could I not have been in? We talked to more than 10 people to get a job. So let's just say 10,000 homes I've been in and I hear people talk about, oh, this is my problem, this is my problem. And I have to be really careful because I am quick to speak. And I don't have a great filter. And I'll look around someone's home. And I'll see there are five tables in this living room. Five, like little tables. Why? And they're all covered with crap, right? Or there have lots of things. And I'll be like, well, you know, do you need? How do you use this? Oh, well, that was just my aunt Mildred's. And I inherited it. And I don't really know what to do with it. Is it special? 'No'. And so what I what I see is people have plenty of upside of space. And that's how the book came to be. I visited some potential clients. And I was like, You people have all the space you need, you just have it filled with crap. And it was kind of like the breaking point for me. So I think people get things and they feel obligated to keep them. Right. Well, I have it. Okay. And my husband's a little bit like that he grew up in a family where well, we got it, we paid for it. We procured it. So we're keeping it right, for all eternity. Me, I'm like, Well, my mom rearranged the furniture once a month, right. So she would change things out all the time. And so in my family, if we needed something to accommodate a new or different way we were living, we got a different piece of furniture, right? And a lot of people do that. And a lot of people don't. But I think resizing is really about looking at your space. Very honestly and saying, What's in here that I don't need, like, what is not serving me? Is it here because I already own it is it here because it was someone else's, and it was special to them. Resizing is just about evaluating your space, clearing out the stuff you don't need. And you would be amazed at how much square footage you can regain in a home and the feeling of change that you can have, just by clearing out some of that extra stuff.

Ethan Waldman 13:21

I believe in. I truly believe it. So have you have you pivoted away from building homes to helping people with their stuff?

Judy Granlee-Gates 13:32

Still building homes. And I am working with people. It's a slow transition. Yeah, yeah, it is a slow transition for sure. But we have a huge, huge project. We're committed on contractually for a number of years, we have another like six or eight months on. And then I'll be able to do more. But yes, I like going into people's homes and being able to say what's your trouble area, right? And then making a plan with them. So that I can write it out and say, Okay, we explain it before I leave, we're going to look at these three closets, we're going to figure out why you have no storage. And then we're going to make it so you have some storage and we can walk through that whole process. And that's super rewarding, because you don't have to move to have the space you need. You just have to be objective and willing to part with the things you're not using. That's hard for a lot of people.

Ethan Waldman 14:24

Right? Yeah. And I think that that's, you know, sometimes a trap that you can fall in is is thinking that you need to buy more stuff to hold your stuff. Yes, yes. without first trying to get rid of it.

Judy Granlee-Gates 14:38

Yeah, I was talking to someone the other day and she was very excited. She's like, Okay, I'm totally getting into this. But she's like, I keep stopping thinking, Oh, if I had these bins, and I'm a big bin person, container person. Yeah. And I said, You're right. And here's what I suggest. If you have some bins, start using them. Don't go buy all the bins, just grab some Amazon boxes or some cardboard boxes or some cereal boxes and cut them down so that they can make organizers temporarily, then you'll know what you need. And then if you really want to, you can trade the Amazon boxes in for something else. If the box works, cover it with paper, if you want it to be pretty. Nobody says you have to do all those things. But yeah, there that is a trap that people get into, well, I have to go by all these tubs and organizing things before I can organize or Declutter. No, you don't.

Ethan Waldman 15:29

So you mentioned that you are the family, the keeper of the family flame, so, so to speak. And so what do you do with all those sentimental items? Because, you know, the ones that you don't care about are easier. But even then, even though it's like you, so I'll give you an example. I mean, perfect. We have a box of like, Old China from my wife's grandmother. Okay. And it's like really old. It's apparently very, it's probably valuable. We never use it. I mean, like, we barely have ever unpacked it. And so it's like, right, what do you do with those things?

Judy Granlee-Gates 16:09

So those things fall into a couple different categories. And I'm a pretty sentimental person. Yeah. And so I don't ever just say throw it all away. And I never say throw it all the way. I'm a big fan of repurposing, donating all that stuff, throwing things away as a last resort. So this comes up all the time. I was at a friend's and she said, I don't know what to do with this. It was her grandma's trying to hatch with the China. I said, Do you like the hutch? She said, No, I hate it. I'm like, put it on by nothing and give it to some young couple. They'll be thrilled. Right? Or some new new newly moved out person. Yeah. So do you like the dishes? And she said, Yeah. And I said, Do you Okay, use them every day. She goes well, like, I don't really like my everyday dishes. And so that's what she did. I was talking with another person who said, I don't really like them. I like these three dishes, these three plates. I said, Okay, so then we're going to give these other dishes away. And we're going to hang these three plates on the wall somewhere, so that you get to see them and enjoy them. I think using things where you can is a big deal. But like, if it's a really fragile item, or it's not practical, you have little kids or something. I often tell people, if it's not something that you really love, consider selling it or donating it. And that's a big step for some people. Yeah, but it's it's reality, right? These are guilt items. Things are keeping because they were your grandma's and you loved your grandma, but you don't like that's a guilt item. Yeah. And and it should go. Honestly, if you love it, maybe keep one dish hanging on the wall. Right? Use it for special occasions, whatever. Right? But you don't have to keep the whole set to honor her. And you don't have to keep the whole set to feel good about it.

Ethan Waldman 17:56

Yeah, that's great advice.

Judy Granlee-Gates 17:58

The biggest chapter in my book is about sentimental items by far, because they're so hard to deal with.

Ethan Waldman 18:05

Could you share maybe? Maybe what was what was one of the harder things for you to give away? Or maybe you didn't give it away?

Judy Granlee-Gates 18:14

Yeah, I can give you some of those. Yeah, I don't like horses. I don't ride horses. No offense to horse people. I've never been a horse person. Okay, my husband cannot stand horses. But his dad was a roper. And so there are things that are in the family that you inherit, like horse gear, you know, like, nobody writes a horse, but there are things that people can't part with, because they belong to someone else. Right? Right. So those are some examples. I, I've had things of my grandmother's I tend to only keep the things I love, but I have some things I've kept that I don't love because I felt like I should. But there's also things like my grandma had a lot of really neat old costume jewelry. And I used to play with it for fun as a kid. And I wanted to keep it all and they're like these big chunky brooches and right like, no one's gonna wear those in 1995 in 2010 or in 2024 No one's gonna wear them. But you can do things with those. So I made all her brooches and things into like a little Christmas tree on a little pedestal and that the holidays, i i I could leave it out all year. But I like to bring it out at Christmas because it's super special. I only bring it out once a year, and my grandma loved Christmas. And it just makes Christmas that much more special. So you there's so many things you can repurpose in very creative ways. And if you're not creative, you go onto that lovely computer or your little phone and you type in what to do with vintage handkerchiefs or you What to do how to display a pocket knife collection? Yeah, my father in law, I swear that man had 100 pocket knives. And they went mostly to the nieces and nephews. I mean, he had one everywhere ever, everywhere. Wow. And they would be great to actually put them in a shadow box and hang them on the wall. Not just toss them in a drawer, you're not going to use all of them. But you would see it every day and think, oh my gosh, there's my grandpa's pocket watches or pocket knives, right? Or anything like that. Frame it, do something with it, use it, make it useful, make it pretty. And then you get to enjoy it.

Ethan Waldman 20:41

I like that. I like that a lot. So obviously, my my listeners, my audience are interested in tiny living. Yes. And, you know, I agree that not everyone out there is a minimalist, even in a tiny house as a home builder, or as somebody who's now has embarked on this journey yourself, you know, do you have any kind of small space hacks or kind of favorite multipurpose furnishings or things like that, that you can tell us about?

Judy Granlee-Gates 21:12

Yeah, there's a lot of things I talk about with multipurpose, you know, multi-use type of furnishings. I think everything that you look at when you live small has to do some sort of double or triple duty at a minimum double duty. Yeah, you know, a perfect, perfect simple example, are the little ottoman cubes that are storage, like a footstool. Yeah, they come in everything from very inexpensive to super fancy. And you can store things in them, right? So they also double A seating, they double as storage. They have a lot of functions. So simple things like that. Any type of if you have a coffee table, make sure it's some sort of storage coffee table, either the lid lifts up. So it can be like a dining table. You have storage underneath. Yep. There's lots of plans online, if you're handy, and you want to try to build something. But there's also a lot of readymade stuff. That's double duty dual purpose. Yep. And you can look for multipurpose furniture. Everything in my house has at least two purposes, if not more, and, and then there are a lot of things you just look for that are for small spaces. Yeah, you know, I'm a big fan of Murphy beds, wall beds. A lot of people don't love them. But they really make a big difference in a space. A lot of people take a guest room up in a regular house, you wouldn't have a guest room in a tiny house. But just for example, you could even have they make Murphy beds that you could put in a tiny house that are still a full queen size bed, and they do not take up a lot of space. Yeah. And so during the day, you're living around your house, and at night, you pop your bed down, you know, so whenever you need your bed, right? And it's just so there's so many cool things on the market. The Italians make a lot of amazing stuff, but it's still a little out of the price range. Oh boy to the Italians make some amazing, amazing small space furniture. But you know, a Murphy bed, a Murphy bed ranges anywhere from 1500 to $3,000 for a queen on up, you can certainly buy one that's much more. They started eight to 10,000 and these Italian lines, but they're they're pretty slick. Push them with one finger. Yeah, you know, they're the hardware is amazing. But I think in a tiny home, you really have to look at your builtins and like tables that slide under the countertop that slide out tables that fold down against the wallet. I mean, so many people in the tiny home industry have figured out some really amazing storage hacks and I steal from the tiny home community all the time. There's so much to learn there.

Ethan Waldman 23:54

Yeah, yeah. I always feel like the trouble with Murphy beds is that you can't block like essentially like you can't do anything in that room in the path of where the Murphy bed is gonna kind of come down. You're still kind of limited to the can

Judy Granlee-Gates 24:09

you just have to have Yeah, yeah, the footprint. Yeah. So there's there's a Murphy bed that we I call them a sideways Murphy. I don't know what they are, but they're, it's where it tips down that so a queen bed. The cabinet is only about 65 inches tall. It's the length of the bed. So when it flips down, it only flips out a total of about another three feet into the room because the cabinet is usually two feet deep. And a queen beds only about five feet across. So yes, there are different styles. You have to look for what works for you. Yep, yep. But you do have to you that is one thing I remember a few bed in my guestroom. And it's a combination guestroom, gym, other things. And when a guest comes over, I move the furniture that there's one Ottoman in there that I keep things and I move that out of there. Yeah, just pop the bed down. So you do have to be mindful of that though.

Ethan Waldman 25:05

Nice. Yeah, of course. Yeah, I have seen Murphy beds that have like a desk built in to them. Yes. It's kind of cool.

Judy Granlee-Gates 25:13

Yeah. You don't even have to take anything off the desk. The desk just flips down. Yeah. One of my favorite styles is there's one they make now that has a couch that sits in front of the Murphy bed. So there's a company I flew to Boise to look at these Murphy beds by a company named Breda beds, and they built me to and I loved them, and I've not seen very many with a couch option. Okay. And I flew over there because I wanted to, like sit on the couch. Yeah. When the bed comes down, it goes between the arms of the couch. It's amazing. So you have a couch, but you don't have to move the couch. You just pull the bed down.

Ethan Waldman 25:56

And you don't have to make your guests sleep on a pullout couch.

Judy Granlee-Gates 26:00

No. And I have an ADU. And I got one like that for my ADU. And I love it because you still have a place to sit during the day or do the night. Uh huh. And then when you want the beds, the beds very easily put together. Just pull the bed down. Push the bed back up. It's they are really pretty amazing. Yeah, that sounds great. Yeah, the bed cabinets are neat, too. I don't know if you've seen those that have the folding like segmented mattresses, they take up even less space and ah, mattress mattress technology has improved so much with memory foam. That's a game changer to it's the size of a small buffet, you know?

Ethan Waldman 26:40

Wow. And that's I mean that sounds like that would be great for a tiny house to does does Breda make those?

Judy Granlee-Gates 26:46

I have not seen Breda making those. I've seen these more, commercially made by cabinet companies. I think I saw one like on Wayfair. Okay. And maybe even Amazon, but the the mattress folds into three pieces. Yep. The cabinet is maybe four feet tall by the length of the bed and they're amazing. Amazing. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 27:08

That's fantastic. So I'm, I'm curious how this work. And this kind of line of thinking in your life has impacted the homes that you're designing and building for clients.

Judy Granlee-Gates 27:22

I've always been a fan of a smaller home. Way back. My husband and I have always said we would rather live in a small home. It's really, really well appointed, then in a giant McMansion that just is drywall and carpet. And then in the probably late 90s, Sarah Susanka became really popular about build the not so big house, and I was like, oh my god, I love this. And I think I have always been an advocate for less space. And I always ask people, do you really need this? And they look at me like I'm a psychopath. Well, yeah, I need a room for everything. I need a sewing room. I need a gym. I need a guest room. I need a you know, and so most people aren't going to listen to that. Because truly, my experience in the homebuilding world is bigger, better, fancier than your neighbor. And that's, you know, I often point out to people, we could accomplish these three spaces in one space, if you'd let me show you how right and some people will are thrilled. And other people are like, Absolutely not. It's not bigger and badder than my neighbor. So I'm not going to do it. There's a lot of ego and there's so much ego in building a home. I believe it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I can usually tell the people who are going to be flexible and who aren't. Right. People always tour my house first. And I've had several people say, could I build your house? And I've left them and be like, Yeah, I don't care. You can build this house plan. We can build it for you. Yeah, I'm not that picky. I don't and I don't have to be that unique. My house still looks very different than theirs.

Ethan Waldman 29:04

Right because of what you put in it. Personality. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Judy Granlee-Gates 29:11

Tell me about maximalism. Oh gosh, maximalism is a trend they also call it granny chic. Okay. And I've been seeing a lot of stuff on the social medias that say, maximalism is dead you know, it's it's not it's kind of a Grandma thing. But it's it's my jam it has always been maximalism is just about a lot. It's curated. Yeah. So like you said, this is my art studio. I have my own art. I have works of other artists. I collect small art 12 by 12 and smaller is my rule. And I do that our floor to ceiling on all four walls. It is people come in this room and they go oh wow. And we go to walk out and they go well no, wait, I'm not done here. You're right. And I'm like, but it's just a small room and they're like, but there's so much to look at. Yeah. And so maximalism is kind of a feast for the eye. And I like it because it lets me display a lot of things together that aren't like, you know, when you have only a few things. It's harder to display things that aren't linked, right. They have to be sort of thematic. maximalism doesn't require that. Yeah, it's also a good mixture of a lot of colors and patterns and textures. Busy would be a good way to describe it. But it's it's very comforting for a lot of people. Whereas there are other people who really like walking into a room and only seeing one couch, a table and maybe a blanket laid over the couch that makes my skin crawl. I feel like no one lives there. So I'm sure there's a happy medium, but you know, maximalism is kind of my thing. I just like the busyness and the joy of it and the color of it. It's fun.

Ethan Waldman 31:03

What does the rest of your house look like? Is it also maximalist?

Judy Granlee-Gates 31:07

The rest of my house is not as maximalist as this room. Okay. It's more classic. I have white walls in this house, which I've never had in my entire adult life. I have never had a White House. I don't have white cabinets. But it I like a variety of styles. I'm a big art person. I love collecting art. I love all kinds of art. And so it's a little more simplistic. maximalism is my jam, not my husband's. And so I have to take into account his it's it's more modern. Yeah, uh, eclectic.

Ethan Waldman 31:45

Yeah. Cool. Well, you have any advice for somebody who's just getting started thinking about working on doing some resizing?

Judy Granlee-Gates 31:55

Yeah, I think the first thing to do what I always tell people, when you're going to declutter, or you're looking at resizing, or a move, or any of those things, is to just pick a space and start there. And someone sent me the funny, funny meme this weekend, you've seen it, where the woman's sitting on the floor of her closet, all her clothes are all over the place, the hangers are piled up, and she's got a bottle of wine. And she's like, Well, I started decluttering. And then I found all these things I didn't remember that I had. And so now her room is all blown up, and she doesn't want to put it back together. Right? Don't blow up a room, right? Don't blow up a room. When you go into a space. There are zones in every space. So in let's just say a guest room. Guestrooms always end up being crap catcher. Yep, the room of doom, the Doom room and the room of doom, we call it. So pick a spot the closet, I'm going to start in the closet, right? Then I'm going to look under the bed, then I'm going to go through the dresser, then I'm going to look at everything on the walls. Don't think you're gonna go in in one day and bang that out and be done. It doesn't always work that way. And then people get frustrated and disappointed and they're like, you know, it's not working. When you're going through space. If you're staying, I always tell people just pull this stuff out, you don't want as you see it, just throw it in a box for now, right? Just get it out of there. If you want to be really organized, have a couple boxes or bins the giveaway, you know the giveaway, donate that this goes to a relative or friend. And this goes somewhere else, right. So you can just throw into the bins. And then as you move through that room, you can keep doing that. Once you're done with the room, get all those things that you put in the bins out of your house, donate it, give it to the people you are going to give it to or the family, get rid of it. Don't let it linger. Don't let it pile up. Don't leave bags in the hallway, that just adds to your frustration and you feel like you're not making progress. And then sit I always tell people sit in that space and enjoy what you've done. Like look around and say wow, this feels so much better. You know and appreciate the effort that you made too many times we just move on really quickly to the next space. Yeah, if you're moving, you can start packing stuff like hey, I'm not going to move for a while but I don't need my spring clothes or my summer clothes, you know whatever it is right? I don't need these photo albums right now. So for if you're moving you you know you can start packing some of that as you go through. But at a minimum pull out the stuff you know you don't need or doesn't belong there.

Ethan Waldman 34:36

Nice. So tell tell us about your book. Well,

Judy Granlee-Gates 34:40

the book was born after visiting a client a prospective client that I that I did not that I how do I say that? I did not fire the client. I told them we were not a good fit. I had been the keeper of all the grandmas you know when the grandmas was all downsized. Yep, I was involved in the downsize. A couple of the grandmas downsized a couple times they went from the big family home of 50 years to the senior apartment to assisted living. We downsized every time and a few times in between. And after doing that, I kind of I sort of became like the go, oh, call Judy. She knows how to do that. And after I visited these clients, I was like, Okay, there's, there's seriously a book here because these people were spending every waking hour trying to figure out how they could add two feet here to feet their two feet here. That is the most ridiculous way to remodel a house. Yeah, it's so expensive. And they didn't need it. They just needed to manage their stuff. So yeah, the book was just born out of sort of frustration, I think, in going to home after home after home and hearing people that just didn't want to listen. They just didn't want to hear what what was going on in their own home. And it's it was really fun to write. It was, you know, my favorite topic is really the sentimental stuff. Yeah. Because I think there's so much cool stuff you can do. And I'm super crafty. I don't do it myself, always. But I like to I'll Google it. You know, what do I do with this? I sent a dozen handkerchiefs off to a lady on Etsy. And she made them look like little Barbie dresses. But she didn't cut them. She just sewed them and gave them to all all the girls in the family for Christmas. And they were like, we all have them hanging in our houses. And instead of being stuffed in a drawer somewhere, we're like, Well, hey, that was Granny's. I love that I get to see it every day. So yeah, you know, that was that's part of the fun. And, you know, I like talking to people about the book and about like what they can do in their own house, because it just always surprises me how people just can't really think outside the box. A lot of people have a hard time, I shouldn't say can't have a hard time thinking out of the box when it comes to their things. You know, and I think it's because you paid money for them. And you know, we work hard. And we're like, well, now we have what we need to keep it forever. And I just want to shake that up a little. And I really think in this climate, economically that we're in. I don't see that changing. I mean, I'm 60. So if I look back over my lifetime, and I see Well, oh, on my first job, I made $3.25 an hour, you know, and my rent was this. I don't see affordable housing becoming an option ever. And I don't see pricing changing. And so we are going to have to figure out new ways to live. Yeah, so that we can live well, we can live comfortably. And we can live within our means. Not very many people do that. I meet a lot of people who have are borrowing every penny they can. And still spending more on credit cards with oh, we wouldn't want to make this change we want. Yeah, but your budget oh, here's a credit card. It's It's just crazy. So that, you know, the really the living smaller without sacrifice is a big part of my message in the book. And yeah, will probably become a bigger part of my message. I'm actually thinking about a second book on, you know, how to build or remodel or just manage your home for smaller living for optimum, you know, results?

Ethan Waldman 38:32

That's a great idea.

Judy Granlee-Gates 38:33

Yeah, I mean, there's people that would like it.

Ethan Waldman 38:36

I agree. I was gonna say when you were talking about people living above their means I was Can I interest you in a tiny house?

Judy Granlee-Gates 38:43

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it's funny, we have a, we live in an old volunteer fire station. So we have a really big shop, I don't rent a storage space, because I have, I don't have a lot in storage, but our business stuff is there. But my husband and I were talking and like, it's a fire station. So we could literally build a tiny house in there. And I said to him, wouldn't it be kind of fun to build a house that you weren't out in the elements in and we have been researching, building a tiny house in the shop over the next winter? as kind of a side project for the guys nice. And I thought it would be a really fun way to like, oh, we could make this table that does this. And this could fold up and you know, just really like make it a competition amongst my guys who can do the coolest things in this little house.

Ethan Waldman 39:33

Nice. I framed my tiny house inside of an airplane hangar at this. Yes. A little airport nearby. Yeah, yeah, but we had to. Unfortunately, if we had raised the walls, it would have been too tall to go out the door. So it had to it was only the very beginning of the project, but it was kind of cool to do it at an airport.

Judy Granlee-Gates 39:55

We have 18 foot roll up doors so we can get some stuff in You're not in that. Yeah. I just like yeah, let's just get it. Let's do it. Let's try it.

Ethan Waldman 40:07

Nice. Well, um, is your book out right now people can get it?

Judy Granlee-Gates 40:13

Yes, it is. They can. It's on Amazon. It's if you just search Bigger Living Smaller Space that will pop right up. It's on Amazon. It's also, I think you can order it through Barnes and noble.com. It's on my website. judygranleegates.com. You can order it directly from me from Amazon. If you want a signed copy. They're signed copies on their website as well.

Yeah, awesome. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 40:36

And I'll put links to all that in the show notes for the episode today.

Judy Granlee-Gates 40:40

That'd be great.

Ethan Waldman 40:41

One thing that I like to ask all my guests is, you know, what are two or three books or other resources that have inspired you, that you'd like to, to mention to the reader or to the listeners, it could be about downsizing and simplicity, you know, I'd be interested to hear like, what what are your favorite books on design or building or really anything?

Judy Granlee-Gates 41:01

I you know, Sarah Susanka. I say anything she wrote because her architecture is really about quality, over quantity, not just small, beautiful, small. And I think her message is just one of such great timelessness. Yeah. And she, I think she was really, really ahead of her time. There's another book I love. I'm trying to remember the name of it. I think it's called small spaces. And it's just a it's like a little coffee table book. And it's just a collection of little small places, cabins houses ADUs. And it just gives you some really beautiful ideas about what you can do in a small space. Nice. And I'm Danish. And I love the Little Book of Hygge. Hygge you know, hygge for those who have not learned how to pronounce it. That's a hard word to say. But it's I allegedly Hygge but I love that book. It's it's about cozy, and it. It was part of the inspiration for my book as well. Someone gave me that book for Christmas. Nice. And I just was like wow, little cozy moments. I love it. Nice.

Ethan Waldman 42:26

Well, Judy Granlee-Gates, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. It was great to meet you.

Judy Granlee-Gates 42:31

Thanks, Ethan. I appreciate it. It was great to talk with you.

Ethan Waldman 42:36

Thank you so much to Judy Granlee-Gates for being a guest on the show today, you can find the show notes, including a complete transcript and links to Judy's website and book at thetinyhouse.net/292. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/292. Also, don't forget to subscribe to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. You can subscribe on Apple, podcasts, Spotify, even YouTube, you can actually subscribe to this podcast on YouTube now. When you do subscribe, it makes sure that you get every new episode of the show. And we've got lots of good ones coming up. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

powered by

Subscribe to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast: