My yurt dreams aside, the most important thing to learn when moving into a small circular space is downsizing. I'm not just talking about your wardrobe here, I'm talking about the whole shebang! Standard diameter for a yurt home is 24-36 feet...if you can imagine that's no bigger than most "standard" home's living room, dining room, and kitchen put together. We're talking approximately 500-1000 "square" feet if you're lucky and you also have to cram two bedrooms and a bathroom into those measurements. At least, we will have to, because we need a second bedroom for our daughter Nixie.
Some smaller yurts for single people are only 15-20 feet in diameter. That's more like tent camping with a wood stove, we're talking COZY here people. There are a lot of sustainable livers out there who will tell you the smaller your home the better, they'll also tell you we only need one acre per person to live sustainably. Logic tells us that that kind of sacrifice, as it were, is not programmed into the average American's brain. We grew up in houses of plenty eating what we wanted when we wanted it and rarely, if ever had to forage around in the pantry for something we really wanted to eat. Some life huh? We wonder why even the skinny minnies here are sometimes more out of shape than those in the "overweight" category.
So, back to downsizing. Because there won't be much food storage area inside most life-yurters will also construct a storm or root cellar for canned food/non perishable storage. Just be prepared to hit the market every other day or so if you're not in the growing season and you don't eat absolutely everything out of a can...or if you require meat and you are not into the hardcore slaughtering of your own animals.
Closet space is almost nonexistant so outside of two sets of linens for each person you should watch the amount of clothing you tend to collect. Putting clothing sealed in plastic in tubs in the root cellar is also a winter to summer wardrobe storage idea. I would suggest moving in all appliances and stationary items first then moving in bookcases/storage shelves after that...then grabbing one standard paper box of must-haves/keepsakes to display per person to put on those shelves and maybe one larger box for each person of books. Anything beyond appliances, furnishings, seasonal wardrobes, keepsakes, and books is just...well, stuff. Unless you run a business out of your home you might also limit indoor hobbies to one or two per person to save craft storage as well. Then we can add luxuries like a television and a nice desktop computer, throw in a laptop for color ;) and there you have it folks. The basics of yurt living.
Downsizing is going to be a hard one for me and my family as we are pack rat, junk hoarders. I think with a lot of narrowing down, sorting, the good feeling I get when donating, and passing along the baby stuff, we'll finally have a basis for simple, sustainable living that we've always dreamed of. Just remember not to deprive yourself or shopping trips will ultimately end badly with no where to store your new found "stuff" that you just "needed" because you didn't have it before or you accidentally donated/threw it out. Take what you need and a few little luxuries, think iPods and walkmans, laptops, anything electronic that is relaxing and serves a purpose and still manages to take up the least amount of space.
More to come...