life in a tiny apartment.

August 19, 2020
new apartment | reading my tea leaves

Tip #196: Sign on the dotted line.

In the past 48 hours I have been to the hardware store three different times. I’ve stretched the yellow tape measure and snapped it back into place so frequently that I’ve taken to hanging it off the stretched out waistband of my favorite summer pants for easy access. I’ve worried over the possibility of asbestos in decades-old floor tile and channeled my anxiety into removing, scrubbing, and rehanging thirty-five dangling crystals from a chandelier with a patina I wouldn’t dare touch.

Last week I signed a lease on a new apartment with James. My dad signed with us, a guarantor and guarantee for the landlord that we’ll pay the rent. It was a mostly symbolic, if very much legally binding, act. I earned more than my dear old dad last year, but his messy signature on the dotted line, is a stark reminder that the landed patriarchy have not lost their grip on power, that privilege is inherited, not earned, that the system is rigged.

Our new place is a mile down the road from where we are now and it has twice the space. The move is a Hail Mary. It’s a last-ditch attempt to regain a bit of normalcy or, at the very least, the ability to close a door and work uninterrupted for more than twenty minutes.

We know that more space won’t solve everything. It won’t make a deadly virus disappear. It won’t give us a government that cares about working families or teachers or children. The apartment won’t make lunch for my kids while I send emails. More space can’t teach Faye to read or help Silas to tie his shoes. It won’t begin to introduce solids to Calder. The apartment won’t do the bookkeeping, or write the blog posts, or read the contracts. It won’t teach college biology labs over Zoom or lead virtual student discussions. Still, I’m hoping against hope that it will make at least some of that easier. With doors to close and space to spread out, I’m hoping our brains can regain their open circuits and that our nerves might begin to smooth themselves out a bit.

All I know for sure is that these keys open different doors to a different place and we’re hedging our bets on that space making a difference for us, too.

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79 Comments

  • Reply Carol August 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Hurray for trying to stay minimalist. Hurray for knowing the limits of minimalism

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    • Reply Nora August 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      I wouldn’t say this move is anti-minimalist! I would have a hard time saying that the 5-bedroom former foreclosure I own with my husband could be truly minimalist but there is so much in how one inhabits a space. I know all the faithful RMTL readers are looking forward to seeing how Erin, with all her gifts, cultivates her family’s ethos in a little bit more breathing room.

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      • Reply Nora Freeman August 19, 2020 at 2:14 pm

        Ah, gee, I also think I may have missed the sense of what she was responding to! The strain on coherent thought while young children are around, it’s real!

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    • Reply Andrea August 23, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      I just cried while reading your words. I cried because I am so very exhausted of trying so hard and seeing how little actually changes. I’m so tired of seeing so many tried to then having to face these type of embedded systemic issues that are not only in place but seldom challenged and most often nurtured. I cried because I am raising 2 multiracial kids in our world and I don’t k ow how much more I can do to make this a better world for them. And I also cried because I am not ready to give up so I know that I must get some rest and continue supporting and get the support of my chosen community. Thanks for continually naming and sharing the myriad of impacts you experience while also framing these impacts through your privilege lense. It does matter what you share and it makes me less tired.

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  • Reply Judith Ross August 19, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Your feelings of frustration, disgust, and simmering rage come through loud and clear in this post because I’m feeling them too. Every Day. Most thinking and feeling people are. I do hope that the extra space allows you to take some deep, cleansing breaths and enough space and time to gather your thoughts. But, most of all, I hope that people who can, continue to take to the streets and that every single one of us who wants to live, finds a way to vote and send this administration packing — every last one of them.

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  • Reply Allison Zimmerman August 19, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    <3 <3 <3

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  • Reply Megan August 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Congratulations on your new place. Sometimes a fresh starts needs a place to start fresh. Reading this while deciding if my Braxton Hicks are Braxton Hicks or potentially the start of labor. Lots of change everywhere. Hopeful for more change this fall, and working to make it happen.

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    • Reply Nora August 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Same!

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    • Reply LB August 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      It is insane that you need your father to co-sign when you earned more. Patriarchy at its finest.

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      • Reply Tara August 20, 2020 at 5:00 pm

        A mother or any other rich woman could also have signed, correct? It’s standard procedure here in NYC for landlords to want assurance / pay stubs to prove you can make 40x months’ rent in income or your guarantor makes 80x. NOT that it’s NOT INSANE BECAUSE IT IS!!

        I’m also curious. Am I unaware of a new definition of “patriarchy”? Also if there isn’t a new def, does it belittle feminism to call classism/ giving privilege to the wealthy “patriarchy”?

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        • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 5:36 pm

          Yes, correct! We live in a patriarchy, which is not my opinion it’s just a fact and I’m not sure why on earth anyone is in these comments annoyed that I mentioned it! My point here is to note how *systems* work. My dad being entrusted to be my guarantor despite earning less than me (and nowhere near the 80x number that gets thrown around) is an example of patriarchy in action. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t understandable for the landlord to need assurances, or that she wouldn’t have accepted a woman as a guarantor. It struck me as one particular and very clear example of how some folks—namely people like me—are able to move through the world differently and more easily than others. I am recognizing my own privilege, afforded to me not by my own hard work, but my proximity to wealth and power, however moderate. And yes, absolutely, patriarchy and class and wealth and white supremacy are all very much intertwined and saying so doesn’t belittle feminism a bit.

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          • Regine August 22, 2020 at 3:45 pm

            You recognize your privilege. Even if your father by now is earning less, he probably owns property and therefore can figure as a guarantor. Your decision to work in that freelance manner you do while having three kids is based on this privilege , your background and your husband with a steady job with health care I suppose. What about feminism to this respect ? Furthermore don’t you live in a rather gentrified ‘white’ neighborhood? Isn’t that also the reason you stayed in a minimalist space, because you wanted to stay in a “nice” neighborhood? I am following your blog because I once lived in New York with two small kids. At one point in 2000 we couldn’t afford Greenpoint anymore (wasn’t still what it is now) and moved to subsidized housing in Harlem (also wasn’t what it is now) after applying to a lottery: and that was a great experience … by necessity to get out of ones comfort zone and experience closely other people’s lives. In other words aren’t you complaining about first world problems by benefiting from that system?

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          • ERIN BOYLE August 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm

            Yes, exactly. That’s the point here. I’m not complaining at all for my sake! I’m acknowledging my unearned privilege, how the system is rigged *in* my favor. How the system rewards the patriarchy and privilege and proximity to privilege. What about feminism? There are lots of reasons why we live in this neighborhood and this apartment, among them being that here we are not gentrifiers, pushing local folks out of their communities as driving up rental prices.

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        • Reply Deb August 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

          Erin covered that a woman could also be accpeted as a guarantor & I agree that patriarchy is fact & goes along with classism/privilege. I would also note that generally, given similar circumstances, that a man, especially an older man will have a higher credit rating. I have been the primary earner for our family for over 15 years. We qualified for our mortgage solely on my income, all of our bills our paid from joint name, yet my husband, who is a few years older always has a credit rating that’s slightly higher than mine.

          • ERIN BOYLE August 22, 2020 at 5:49 pm

            Often true! My credit score is nearly perfect, but again, that’s also all part of the same rigged system, the same unearned privilege !

        • Reply Lindsey August 25, 2020 at 10:59 am

          I think patriarchy and capitalism go hand in hand. My husbands mother has been our guarantor for several years. Has she EVER paid our rent? Absolutely not. It feels terrible when needing a new apartment, the proof that we’ve paid our own rent for 8 years in nyc isn’t enough to give us a lease on our own. And what about people who don’t have guarantors? The 40x is complete bullshit, this is nyc, most people spend over half their income on rent.

  • Reply NICOLE August 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Congratulations to your family! The new nest will hopefully make you feel rooted so you can continue fighting the patriarchy and spreading the message that simplicity matters!

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  • Reply Stéphanie August 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I’m excited for you, I hope the new place helps you get through this season of life more comfortably. It won’t change everything, but it’ll help you to feel less claustrophobic, to work, and to have space should the children end up home from school again this coming winter. I hope you all settle in quickly and make it feel like home.

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  • Reply Laura August 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Thank for your ever beautiful words of your perspective on life. I’m stoked for your family’s new place. It’s been a long time coming, I feel! It will be great; different, not perfect, but great nonetheless.

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  • Reply Jordan August 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Best of luck with this new chapter! Sounds like you made a great call, and I really relate to what you wrote here. We spent all weekend re-arranging our apartment and puzzling out how to make the space work better for us– a desk area for the kid, more floor space to play, tv out of main living space, and (because let’s be honest, I work from the couch/bed) access to plugs in the right places. It’s not perfect, or as aesthetically pleasing as my dream scenario would be, but it gave me a strange and welcome sense of optimism about the time ahead.

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  • Reply suzanne August 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    congratulations erin & family. everyone must be beyond excited. i look forward to learning more from you in your new space.

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  • Reply K. August 19, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    You inspire me. Congrats on your move and for understanding your family’s needs and making it all work. We (family of three with a 17-month old) live in a 1100 sq ft, 2-bed, 1-bath craftsman bungalow in the Bay Area (SO expensive, like NYC). I love our little nest, and I want to make it work long-term. But, I feel like we’re constantly being told that “a family is going to need more space.” Your message of living more simply is keenly felt, appreciated, and internalized. I read your blog as an antidote to the haters and external messages of “not enough, not enough.” You make me feel at peace.

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    • Reply Regine August 19, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Well, these are American standards, right?! In Europe regular City dwellers have offen less space than the square footage you mentioned

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      • Reply K. August 19, 2020 at 7:17 pm

        Regine, I completely agree. There are such different expectations around the world about what we need. Space and owning a ton of stuff doesn’t have to be the most important thing. Wish we were less focused on protecting land, personal property and extreme wealth in the US and more interested in a strong social safety net that prioritizes taking care of people.

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      • Reply Lindy August 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm

        Am I missing something here? I know most Europepeans live in much smaller spaces but Erin has a Husband 2 young kids and a baby in a small one bedroom .. the bedroom is tiny.. She has her bed in the living room kitchen. AND children home from school and 2 working parents..Is that the norm for a family of 5.? Also remember there’s childcare in Europe and school with proper lunches and medical care that’s funded and stronger safety nets. All this helps when living in too small spaces but we don’t have that

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        • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 7:10 am

          Hey Lindy, I think the comment here is in reference to the note about the 2-bedroom bungalow above. Whatever the case, though, there’s no doubt that standards of comfort and space differ widely around the world and from city to city and family to family. In my own very personal experience, navigating this space while two of us work from home without childcare has been enormously challenging—and those challenges will only grow as James begins to teach virtually from home this fall and our infant becomes a full grown and very vocal baby 😉 We’re very much looking forward to a bit more room to move and grow!

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          • monica August 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

            I think you’ve done very well to make it this long what with the new challenges that the pandemic brings and an expanded family. You are always an inspiration in terms of how you manage your living space and how that same editing skill extends to the issues and things you’re passionate about. I trust you’ll do a great job forging a new home in the new apartment, and we’ll all be along for the ride to enjoy your efforts. Curious how it feels to live in nyc these days what with the recent exodus of certain folks of privilege due to the pandemic/riots, etc. Post on that one day if you can, please. Meanwhile, thanks for the impetus to write postcards and letters to voters – it makes me feel more active in this process that would otherwise feel scarily out of my hands.

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        • Reply Regine August 22, 2020 at 9:21 pm

          You pay for childcare on a sliding scale according to your income. Elementary School is for the biggest part over at around noon. Then you can pay to put your kids in an after school program again at cost according to your income. There are very few whole day schools. Starting 5th grade school goes to 1 pm…
          Concerning health care: your employer pays half, or you are self-employed you pay accordingly. People accept health care as a given cost.
          During the lock-down people had the same struggles: home office and kids needing to follow classes. I am speaking for Germany and of course I am referring to people living in big cities where rents are high.

      • Reply Elizabeth August 20, 2020 at 10:00 am

        Family of 4 here in a 2 bed 54 sq ft flat in London, England. Completely normal for where we live but we’re lucky to have a balcony and a lovely communal garden. Would be a much trickier prospect if we had no accessible outdoor space.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm

          I always say that square footage doesn’t matter, but this must be 54 square meters, right! That’s a little more than what we have now, minus the balcony and garden!

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          • Elizabeth August 21, 2020 at 4:29 am

            Yes, I meant square meters! 54 sq ft would be seriously tiny : )

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          • ERIN BOYLE August 21, 2020 at 8:16 am

            Phew!

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          • Teresa Hicks August 31, 2020 at 12:42 am

            It’s the same in Sydney! We’re 4 in 55sq meters here – and we’re usually very comfortable, but I think mostly because our square footage jumps to 75sq. meters with our private courtyard -I’m eternally grateful for Sydney’s emphasis on outdoor space

  • Reply Jenna Manzano August 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    We moved last August and I am so, so thankful for the extra space we have had during quarantine. Huge isn’t necessary or even good, but a little space to oneself is sometimes so helpful for mental health, especially now. Congrats, Erin!

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  • Reply Tonia August 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    How lovely; a new place to build memories! My parents moved fairly regularly when I was growing up, so I love a house move. Weird, I know!
    Sucks about the patriarchy but I wish you well with it all. Tonia

  • Reply Hannah August 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    I am SO happy for you. The new place looks dreamy, and I can’t wait to see your life fill up the space. In my experience, finding a Goldilocks amount of space (neither too big or too small, not too much to clean, but enough space to close a door and have some privacy), is such a privilege and can ameliorate a lot of stress! Hoping that’s true for you and yours as you make this leap!

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  • Reply Kate w August 19, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Congrats! We’re doing the same. Still don’t know where we’ll land, but without many public spaces we relied on we felt we had no choice. Cheers to new perspectives and new beginnings.

  • Reply Elizabeth August 19, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Congratulations! I hope that the transition in a gentle one.

  • Reply Susan Magnolia August 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    You know better than I but any changes we make to our one bedroom apartment to utilize it’s efficiency for all the life that happens here makes a big difference. Recently papa moved to the bedroom/office to get serious work done round the clock and our living space is a more relaxed homeschooling and play area for my daughter and I. Headphones were no longer an easy solve and now we live a little differently. Living simply and creatively for the win!
    I am glad that your family will be able to stretch out and relax a bit more. Thank you for all your encouragement through the years that we can all make it work in an elegant way.

  • Reply Taylor Norris August 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    So happy for you! Can’t wait to see how you decorate and use the new space.

  • Reply Elizabeth August 19, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations on the new abode – and we’ll keep working on all the rest.

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  • Reply Jessica August 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Congrats! We too worried about asbestos floor tiles — there’s such uncertainty (both positive and less positive) in a new place! We had our tiles testing via a kit we found on Amazon, and I have literally no idea if it was legit (I think so, but who can know for sure), but it gave a piece of mind. Adventures await!

  • Reply El August 19, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you for this: “the landed patriarchy have not lost their grip on power, that privilege is inherited, not earned, that the system is rigged.” Sometimes the reality of capitalism, which is inherently arm in arm with patriarchy, gets lost in our gleeful “down with the patriarchy” messaging. Down with the patriarchy IS down with capitalism IS down with colonialism IS down with white supremacy. I appreciate that Erin keeps this visible in her writing. <3

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  • Reply Karen August 19, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    All the best to you – sending you some solidarity – as a working parent in a small space and just as a person making her way. I hope you all find a lot to love about your new home. Peace

  • Reply Laura August 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Yay!! Go, Erin!!
    I’ve also thought about how my life would be different without parents to go-sign on the dotted line. Privilege is in the paperwork.

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  • Reply Anna August 19, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Congrats! And all the best, wishing you and your family a smooth move! So excited to hear from your new space. I´m sure it will be simple and perfect as ever.

  • Reply Mackenzie August 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Congratulations on your new space Erin! 🙂

  • Reply Anna F August 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve been following you for many years and I am so genuinely excited for you and your family.
    I cannot wait to read all about the ways you optimize your space in the new place. Those posts are always so inspiring! Lots of love to you!

  • Reply Angy Braine August 19, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Wishing you and yours so many new adventures, laughter, joy, growth, fun and love. The walls house the spirits. The spirits are all that matter.

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  • Reply B August 19, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Congratulations on the new place. Meditation might be possible in one room with a closed door. The space to openly observe. To be.

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  • Reply FD August 20, 2020 at 1:54 am

    Erin congratulations. I really have to ask why your father had to also sign the lease. Was this a request from the new landlord or extra assurances on your family’s part? Thanks for bringing this bit of reality into the light. I look forward to seeing your family in the new space.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 6:59 am

      The landlord asked that we use a guarantor because as a freelancer without a single employer and a set pay schedule, they wanted assurance that we’d be able to pay rent consistently. In this moment in particular, with an economy in free-fall and no end to the pandemic in sight, landlords are feeling particularly nervous.

      • Reply E. August 20, 2020 at 11:58 am

        That is just common business sense, not patriarchy. Any third party, male OR female could have signed on your behalf, not just your father. That was your choice.
        There are definitely situations that seem inherently patriarchal and awful, but I think it’s disingenuous to count this as one of them.
        Good luck.

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        • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 12:52 pm

          When you live in a patriarchy, common business sense is one of the first spots you notice who the system benefit. My describing this particular encounter as patriarchal isn’t disingenuous in the slightest.

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          • E. August 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm

            Do you have common business sense when it comes to your blog? Would you work for brands/vendors that show no assurance they would compensate you for your skills/time/work? I imagine you use common business sense all the time. Does that make you complicit?
            Victim hood is very unattractive, especially for cis gendered, heterosexual, married, college educated, white people such as yourself who have the freedom to make all their own adult choices.

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          • ERIN BOYLE August 20, 2020 at 3:32 pm

            Of course I do and of course I’m complicit—that’s how it works! I don’t see myself as the victim here at all; I’m explicitly noting how I have *benefitted* from the system.

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        • Reply halle August 23, 2020 at 11:50 am

          I don’t think the landlord requesting for a guarantor had anything to do with you being a woman, or her guarantor being a man….it has to do with the fact that you don’t necessarily make enough money to rent the apartment (which is in a very expensive neighborhood), that you don’t have enough cash in the bank, and that you have inconsistent salaries or work history. These are all your choices (and totally fine ones at that, I live a similar life) though I KNOW its frustrating to be made to feel at almost 40 years old like you are not a self-sufficient woman. Our (American) society is typically objective in this sense…if you don’t fit into the perfect bubble then you have to fight for the things you want. But these are things we have to swallow and own. We left NYC earlier in the year because its very clear to me now that it’s not longer really for the creative types who want to create their own path. It used to be. Now its bankers and trust fund millennials. You yourself said this was a “last ditch effort” but you should think if you even want to be a part of this system? If your dad hadn’t been able to sign…what would you have done?

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          • ERIN BOYLE August 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm

            It’s okay to recognize that we live a patriarchy.

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  • Reply Sarah August 20, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Moving for me feels like a grander iteration of the snap of fresh sheets on a bed. A restart, a chance to have everything start clean and new commitments to yourself. I hope you and your family get a little bit (or a lot a bit) of that feeling, too, with minimized logistics hassle.

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  • Reply Amanda August 22, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Erin, you are the poster person for White Privilege .
    By simply taking the time to come on your blog (eye roll) and whinge about how you must move because you and your husband work from home and simply can’t handle it with your 3 (!) children screams privilege. Seems like your time could have been better spent doing anything else.
    Have you considered going out to get an actual job or making a career change? So many Americans are suffering and do not have the luxury of simply moving to correct their issues.
    Insisting to “work” from home instead of having to actually work for an income is a privilege.
    Choosing to have 3 children is a privilege ( and extremely ironic considering your supposed minimalist/environmental concerns).
    Having the gull to ask for donations for this ridiculous blog you refer to as a job instead of a hobby is a HUGE privilege.
    Having the time/resources to doodle in your little notebook about space planning instead of thinking of where your next meal will come from is privilege.
    Having someone to ask to co-sign is a privilege – it was your decision to ask your Father instead of your Mother. Patriarchy indeed.

    Simply because you put a disclaimer at the end of your post trying ever so hard to appear common/struggling doesn’t make you relatable, it makes you obnoxious and entitled. As do the strategically timed posts of you and members of the BIPOC community.

    I was directed to this post at an online conference as an example of how white privilege is so dominant in American society that even those attempting to assist are doing more harm than good, and posers are aplenty. You were and are the perfect example for the discussion that was had.

    If white privilege had a stench, you would be it.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Yes; 100% the beneficiary of white privilege in a million ways.

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    • Reply monica August 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Amanda, isn’t Erin saying she has white privilege? I think her recent posts might have been misunderstood. I don’t see her as whining, but rather admitting this very privilege. I think she is actually working hard in so many of her posts to raise awareness about the very issues you raise here – usually letting other voices/links speak for themselves. I don’t know her personally, but I feel the need to defend her reading your comment as I’m someone who has closely followed her blog for years. I take it you’ve just come to the site, hence you haven’t read the posts about the surprise 3rd baby, etc.? I think conversation is important, and we’re all learning here, but your comment feels damaging. Also, don’t we still live in an America where one can aim to work in a field of her choice? I don’t see this blog as a hobby. Who is making those determinations of what things are worth more than others? Yes, it’s a privilege to be able to work in a field of your choice and have the education to do it, especially with so many who do not have those same opportunities, as you rightly say. But I think she recognizes and states that privilege all the time. Tearing someone down shouldn’t be the goal – rather, bringing down the structures that prevent that opportunity for other people while bringing other people up should be.

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  • Reply Rita August 23, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Erin I was a bit confused by your father signing and the patriarchy. While I believe in a patriarchy I guess I’m missing on something? Couldn’t your mother also have signed it, or your sister? Apart from your father earning less maybe he has a steady income, maybe he is a owner? I don’t know, I was just confused because in my life, only once a man signed that for me, the other times it was always females? And not for a second was that questioned by the landlords ..

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      Please refer to my many other comments on the subject. This is an *example* of how patriarchy and landownership (that’s what landed patriarchy means!) allows for easier privilege and access. It’s a reference and recognition of the privilege that I have by proximity. It’s absolutely possible that my mom could have been accepted as a guarantor, or another woman, but specific exceptions to the rule don’t make the rule untrue. In general, in a patriarchal and white supremacist system, white men, like my dad, hold the money and the power and the land and move through spaces more easily than everyone else. My mentioning that here was only ever to indicate how I benefit from that by extension.

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      • Reply Rita August 24, 2020 at 7:05 am

        Thanks for answering Erin! I did have a patriarchal depressing experience related to a house in the past which I completely forgot and it came to mind when I read the term “landownership”. Anyway I was genuinely asking because it may have been the case where a male figure was asked to sign in order to get the apt, but I understand what you mean.

  • Reply B August 23, 2020 at 9:53 am

    This is heartbreaking to read. I have not agreed with everything Erin’s written, and I’ve not agreed with all my responses either, with time to reflect, but thanks to Erin I’ve learned a great deal, from her book and from her interests. It takes enormous courage to have a blog like this. It’s so easy to disagree, misunderstand and miscommunicate. The one thing I hope would be more constant reading these comments is empathy, kindness and good manners. We also need these blogs, they are a part of the transformation of the world. Being grateful to have the opportunity to read someone’s work, which gives insight from their very own, very real, personal life, is the right response, I believe.

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  • Reply RobertaLi August 23, 2020 at 11:44 am

    If you are white person of privilege why do you ask for donations? Maybe you should read some of your posts and try to understand how you come across as very much a hypocrite.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Because I’m the primary income earner for my family. Because this is a free site with a number of different revenue streams and some of those have been severely impacted from the current economic crisis. Because all privilege is relative and acknowledging the many ways that I have privilege doesn’t mean that I don’t need to earn an income or support my family. What on actual earth?

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  • Reply Regine August 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    You advocate sustainability that shouldn’t mean to present more things to buy, even if they are well made…
    Trying to earn money by introducing products and wrapping it up and discretely weaving it into by showcasing your family life equals in my eyes duplicating the capitalist system of creating permanent desire. In my eyes political and sociological discussions are covering up the goal of earning money. Why should people donate money, lots of people had to correct their career ideas even letting COVID aside, if things don’t work out… to make money out of blogs is just very American, where every aspect is obviously thought of to be turned into money. How are blogs changing our lives, if they are solely meant to create desires?

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 24, 2020 at 6:32 am

      Experimenting with a donation or subscription model—at readers urging—is an effort for me to further extricate myself from the capitalist system that I find myself tied to. I can only hope that one day this site could be totally reader supported! As for you continuing to visit a site that you view as only existing to create desire, that’s on you!

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  • Reply Grace August 24, 2020 at 12:44 am

    I wish you could admit that your application of the term patriarchy didn’t really make sense here. We live in a horrendously sexist world but that has nothing to do with you getting your dad to co-sign on an apartment that you or your husband don’t qualify for. It just doesn’t. Wouldn’t living in a less expensive area be a smarter decision? I really, really feel for you and your family cramped in those tiny spaces but it’s definitely a lifestyle choice for you….

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 24, 2020 at 6:26 am

      No need to feel for me! We made a personal choice to move when we were able and the time was right. As for living in a patriarchy, I’ve addressed that in many times in the comments above.

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  • Reply Marisa August 24, 2020 at 1:00 am

    What on actual earth, indeed! I can’t fathom why this post has drawn such attacks. Anyone who reads this blog regularly would know you to be conscientious, principled and certainly well aware of your privilege in the world. Readers come here to learn, to gather resources, to be directed to ethical makers, and there is value in all of that. My understanding is that there were readers who asked you for ways to contribute, which is what eventually led to your gentle (and entirely appropriate and tactful!) blurb about contributions. Sheesh. Thanks for all the great work you do here. Keep it up!

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    • Reply Monica August 24, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Well said

  • Reply Aude August 24, 2020 at 3:17 am

    Haters gonna hate…
    It’s fine to have a debate, and disagree. It’s fine to have contradictions. We’re all humans, trying to navigate.
    It’s another to troll. I wish the internet was more regulated to prevent those sorts of abusive language, which people would never dream of uttering if they were face to face, rather than behind a screen in the middle of the night… Sigh.

    Erin, keep calm and carry on (I know you will, but thought it was important to write it)

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  • Reply Bethany August 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    It would be awesome if people got as upset about patriarchy and the oppression it maintains as they do about someone reminding others the patriarchy exists. Who benefits from us tiring ourselves out with debate about what patriarchy is and isn’t? That’s right… the patriarchy. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t so sad and infuriating.

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  • Reply Mullica August 27, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Congrats again on finding a new home! I also found a new home in the BoCoCa area (hahah a term my husband and I recently discovered). I’m really glad that you mentioned that you had a guarantor. Fortunately for me and my husband we don’t require one but my friend who recently left a relationship during this pandemic is in need of a new apartment and I reminded her that people of all kinds need guarantors. There’s no shame. It’s just sadly how the system works. I’m excited to see behind the scenes of what you do with this new space because while our new apartment has 2 bedrooms it’s basically our old 1 bedroom cut in two. But alas that’s NYC for you.

  • Reply Mel November 23, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Why was a guarantor even needed with 2 salaries? None of this makes sense, particularly if you really did out-earn your father, and even more so that you blame this on the patriarchy.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 23, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Probably because our salaries are pretty modest and because I’m self-employed and not salaried so our landlords wanted a guarantee they’d be paid even if I wasn’t! It really doesn’t make much sense that my dad could serve as a guarantor given his salary, until you consider that men who own property (the landed patriarchy invoked here) offer assurances by the nature of their status and relative privilege!

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