Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Three Years In My Tiny House!

I can’t believe that it has been three whole years since I first moved into my tiny house full time!  Life has flown by and so much has changed.  Let’s start with where I was three years ago and where I am now…

Where I Was

About four years ago I was still working full time at a job I didn’t love.  I didn’t hate it, but it was just okay.  Knowing that I was about to make the move into my tiny house, I took a chance, I left that job and went on to do my own thing, making the leap to self employment.

first dinner in my tiny house

It was kinda scary, but I had a lot of things to get done so I just buried myself into the work to the point that I didn’t have time to worry about it.  I moved out of my apartment and into my tiny house and my new life began.  It was odd in a way, I remember sitting in my chair and feeling very much at home.

One thing that I learned is that it is better to have your house 100% finished before you move in, I had several things I needed to get done and honestly it was years before I finished it all.

 

Where I Am Now

Today I’m still working on my own, having built two companies and sold one of them very recently.  During my tiny house journey I’ve landed two book deals, writing the number one selling tiny house book to date!

I’ve traveled to many countries: Croatia, Hungry, Bosnia, Belgium, France, and a few others.  I also have been able to take some extended trips here in the US: Pacific North West for 2 weeks, New England for 2 weeks, twice went to Portland for 6 weeks, St. Louis, New York, Grand Canyon and spent several weeks at the beach.

I’ve also had a chance to spend more time with my family and friends.  It’s been really nice to take time when friends or family have the odd day off.  My sister is a teacher, so its great to spend time when she has random vacation days.  I can take extra time to go see my brother or go spend time with my parents on a random Friday.

friends and free time

The funny thing about working on your own and living the tiny life is you have a lot of free time, but most people have normal schedules and spend a lot of time at their job.  The irony of it all is I end up keeping a semi normal social schedule because that’s when everyone else is free to hang out.

Some other ways that my life has improved is that I get to have a solid night’s sleep almost every day, between 8 and 9 hours.  Despite not having to be anywhere at any time, I still set my alarm to wake up at 9:30 am, I get up, shower, shave, get dressed and make breakfast.

There is something very important about that ritual, it helps me not laze around the house.  I will go somewhere to work: one of my favorite coffee shops, a coworking space, or other place to get my work done.  I do my work until I am done for the day; sometimes its a full day’s work, sometimes it’s 45 minutes of work.  After that I try to get out and do something.  Often I go for a walk, get groceries for that night’s dinner, or work on a fun project or hobby.

Lessons Learn

I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I like and what I need.  Below is a random stream of consciousness of things learned over my three years.

If it’s something you are going to use daily, don’t skimp, splurge.  Great examples are my sink, my stove, my pans, my couch, and my mattress.  For example, when I choose my stove, I was shocked to find the one I liked was close to $500 for a two burner, but now I’m so thankful that I spent that money.  My sink was $250 plus $200 for the faucet, they are super well built and work perfectly in the space.

Don’t park your tiny house near trees, I’ve had many trees almost hit my tiny house, if I could do it all over again I’d clear the trees before my house was brought in so if any fell, they couldn’t reach my house.

Spend the money on a cement pad to set the house up on.  Make it 2 feet bigger than you need it in both directions. Make sure it’s perfectly level and getting your house on blocks will be much easier and much safer.

When you’re leveling your house, spend the money to buy treated 2×12 boards, cut them into 12″ x 12″ squares, have at least 30 on hand to level your house.  Again, much safer.

tiny house solar panelsOn your solar panel system, figure out what you think you need and then oversize the system by at least 30%.  Make sure your system can scale several times its current size.  Also make sure you can put in a propane/natural gas generator that has auto start and an inverter that supports it.

Always keep 1 year’s worth of propane on hand.  Have both 20lb tanks and a dozen 1 lb tanks.

Have a back up for everything: a shower, cook top, generator, batter powered lantern and head lamps, Mr. Buddy Heater and a battery powered fan.  I talk about off grid living misconceptions here.

Make plans in your house to have a serious pantry.  I thought I had enough space, but I really didn’t until I added something in my bathroom.  I’d suggest a space that’s at least 3 feet wide, 1 foot deep and 6 feet tall for all your food items, toiletries, and other house hold stuff.

Having your toilet outside is great, there is rarely a time I’ve wished it was inside.  The lug-able loo toilet seat is great and for $12, well worth the money.

When it comes to flooring, hire someone that does it professionally.  It’s back breaking work and they will do a much better job, much quicker and its money worth spending.

Tile totally works in a tiny house, I love my bathroom floor.

Standing seam metal roofs are amazing.  They look great, they are bomb proof and I wouldn’t do it any other way.  This is another place to hire someone.

 

That’s all I have for now!

Your Turn!

  • What life changes do you want to make when you go tiny?

 

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are all the rage in the minimalist movement at the moment. A capsule wardrobe includes a set amount of clothes for each season. This means that you have a box of clothes for summer, a box for winter, a box for fall and a box for autumn. If you’d like to become ultra-minimal, you can condense these into fall and winter in one box, and spring and summer in the other box.

The amount of clothes you choose to have is up to you, but the idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to create a small wardrobe in which you can mix and match numerous ways. Creating your capsule wardrobe will take a tiny bit of work and a little bit of thinking.

Why Should You Consider a Capsule Wardrobe?

Creating a capsule wardrobe will simplify your mornings, save so much stress of figuring out what to wear, and keep your home clean and tidy. Getting dressed in the morning will become so much simpler, because your closet will have less clothes, and you will love all of them. You’ll no longer have to rifle through shirts that don’t fit or pants that are unflattering.

Things to consider as you build your capsule wardrobe:

1.What are your favorite neutrals?

Neutrals are the easiest to mix and match. My capsule wardrobe is filled with different styles of mostly black shirts, with one white shirt thrown in, and a green dress. I like to wear jeans most of the time, either in pants or shorts form, so any of my tops go with any of my shorts/pants. It is important to make sure all of your clothes can match with any bottoms – this gives you so many more options. For this reason, I tend to stay away from prints, and go for solid tops and bottoms.

2. What styles suit you best?

This is something that I learned mainly through trial and error. I love wearing tank tops and think that they are universally flattering. However, there are some styles that just don’t work on me. Though crop tops are super trendy, I don’t own any because I just don’t like the way they look on me. When building a capsule wardrobe, take into consideration what you prefer, not what is on trend.

 

3. What kind of clothes suit your lifestyle?

In terms of styles, make sure that you aren’t just thinking about what looks and feels good on you, but also what will best suit your lifestyle. For example, if you work in a corporate job, most of your clothes should be workplace appropriate. If you work from home, you’ll have a bit more freedom in this area, but make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that will work for any occasion that you may need.

4. What do you do for fun?

It’s important to make sure you include clothes in your capsule wardrobe that you can wear on your occasional weekend event. I like to keep something that can be dressed up or down for this, like a simple black dress. That way you can still wear it in your everyday life, but dress it up a bit more if you need to. I like to have two options for events, so that I am not always wearing the same thing out. If you go to events often, it may be better to keep more options in your wardrobe that can be dressed up.

5. What do you most often wear?

In building a capsule wardrobe, I like to think about what I prefer to wear most of the time. I built my capsule wardrobe around my “uniform,” aka my most loved outfit. Because I prefer to live in warm environments, my “uniform” is shorts and a tank top. I own two pairs of shorts and about five shirts, all of which I can mix and match. Getting dressed in the morning could not be easier, since all I have to do is grab a pair of shorts and a tank top.

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

When I’m creating my capsule wardrobe, the first thing I focus on is what I wear most often already. I like to keep my outfits super simple, mainly focusing on black tops and jean or khaki bottoms. This works well for me because everything matches. To make my life as easy as possible, I just have a couple shirts in my favorite style (black tank tops), and a few black shirts in different styles – short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and one black and white striped top. I wear all of my clothes often, and I can pick any top to go with any bottom.

To create your own capsule wardrobe, think about what you already wear and what you need for your lifestyle. Put together a simple list of items that you can wear regularly and create a set of clothes that all work together.

Building a capsule wardrobe will simplify your morning routine. By spending less time and energy focusing on what you are going to wear that day, you’ll have more energy to focus on more important things.

Your Turn!

  • Do you have a capsule wardrobe?
  • Do you think a capsule wardrobe would suit your lifestyle?

 

 

 

Establishing Your Emergency Fund

Our first step to getting our financial act together was to establish our emergency fund. We had no intention of fully funding it before we paid off our debt, but we knew that we needed a little bit of a cushion between us and life so that we could avoid going further into debt as we paid off what we already had.

Setting up a Starter Emergency Fund

Emergency Fund

Why should I have money in the bank when I’m trying to pay off debt?

Having money set aside in the bank will allow you the chance to continue to work towards your financial goals in case the unforeseen happens. Money in the bank takes the stress away if you face an unexpected car repair or medical expense. You’ll feel relief knowing that you are prepared for a little bit of life to happen while you continue to pay off your debt.

Where should I keep my emergency fund?

You want to make sure that your emergency fund is accessible without being too accessible, that way a take out pizza or a new pair of shoes don’t become an “emergency”. We have ours in a savings account that is accessible online but not with my debit card. Within 24 hours I can have the money transferred to my checking account if an emergency was to occur.

emergency fund

How much should I have set aside?

Keep in mind that your starter emergency fund is not your fully funded emergency fund. While you’re focused on getting out of debt, you want to set aside an amount that would cover most minor emergencies. For our family of four, that meant having $1000 set aside. You may not need that much if you’re single with fewer expenses, while some might feel comfortable with having $2000 or $3000 in savings.

When should I start my emergency fund? garage sale

As soon as you possible, you can never be too prepared. If you already have savings in the bank, it’s as simple as earmarking that money as your emergency savings. No money? No problem. It’s time to look around the house and start selling stuff online or gather up your goods and plan a garage sale. Perhaps you can pick up some extra hours at work or pick up some extra work. Don’t forget to take a look at that budget and see where you can squeeze to save up the money.

With any luck you won’t need to use your emergency fund, but what a feeling of relief it is to know that if life does happen, you’ll feel be for it. Your emergency fund, although just a starter one for now, will bring your one step closer to building your own personal freedom.

 

Your Turn!

  • What does financial freedom mean to you?

 

Setting Goals As A Minimalist

Setting a few simple goals throughout the year and working toward them can create some amazing life changes and give you a more pleasurable daily routine.  However, my approach to goal setting has changed over time. I used to love sitting down with my calendar and colorful pens and stickers, planning out my month and week and days, making my life look beautiful and glamorous.  Now I keep it simple and from a minimalist approach.  Here are my favorite tips for:

1. Give yourself enough time

One of my worst traits is that I can be extremely impatient. Because of my impatience, I tend to give myself nowhere near enough time to accomplish my goals. By thinking out a proper amount of time to accomplish a goal (for example, give yourself a couple of weeks to declutter the kitchen, instead of a couple of weeks to declutter the whole house), you’ll ensure that you don’t feel overly stressed or worried about your goal.

Your goal should bring you happiness and excitement, not stress! I did two to three sweeps of decluttering over six months. That worked well for me, but I was also a single person living in a one bedroom apartment with someone else, and the other person owned a lot of the stuff in our place, so not a lot of it was mine. It was still helpful to give myself time. Minimalism is a journey which can turn into a lifestyle. Enjoy the journey.

2. Set goals that are complimentary to your lifestyle

Another mistake that I very often make is looking at someone else’s life and thinking that if I want to achieve what they have, I should just do what they do. If I follow the same journey that they took, I should end up at the same spot, right? Wrong.

Your journey is unique to you, and your lifestyle will have different needs than anyone else’s. For example, I really enjoy scrubbing my face. It sounds weird, but call it a guilty pleasure. I love using my Clarisonic. Most minimalists do not own a Clarisonic, but it is something that I have been obsessed with for years. I carry it around the world with me, so that when I have a bad day, I can go home and scrub my face. It’s a necessity to me to have my Clarisonic, where most people I know would definitely not carry a Clarisonic around the world.

If you love something, don’t let it go for minimalism. I believe that the most common misconception about minimalism is that you need to get rid of all of your stuff, when in reality that is not true. Minimalism is about getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve you anymore. Keep the things that are valuable to you and get rid of the things that aren’t.

3. Have a “Why”

Why is it that people always intend to start a new diet on Monday but never do? It’s because they know that along with that diet comes restriction and discontent. And that sounds terrible. Understanding WHY you are doing something can be the key to long term motivation. Many people hold back on the minimalist journey because they consider minimalism as lacking. You don’t have enough stuff, you can’t spend money, why would you want to do that?

Once you take a hard look at WHY you want to do something, you’ll realize the benefits you’ll gain. A minimalist lifestyle has less stuff because you don’t have unnecessary, stressful clutter. A minimalist lifestyle needs less money because you are spending your time focusing on your passions instead of material possessions.

Focus on the downsides of not achieving your goals as well. This can help clarify why you are making the goal, and also give you motivation to keep working toward your ultimate goal.

photo credit

4. Focus on the Process

My favorite part of living minimally is my new attention to everyday moments. The journey to your goal is the most fun part – make sure to enjoy it and savor the feeling of working toward something. Focusing on the journey, even more than the outcome, can ensure that your daily life is enjoyable and less stressful.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a goal setter?
  • What are your current goals?

 

 

How to Start Homesteading Today with Baby Steps

Many homestead beginners jump the gun and take on more than they can handle, leading to burn out and sometimes failure. If you want to meet your goal of self-sufficiency it is important to take things one step at a time.

One of my strengths, and often one of my weaknesses, is jumping headlong into a new project. When my husband and I first started to dabble in the world of homesteading I was so excited about all of the possibilities our acre and a half afforded us.

Egg laying hens

When I first started, I talked to farmers in the area about goats, dreamed about what chicken breeds I would get first (you know buying chickens is a lot like buying pretty shoes, right?). Wait, there are ducks in the chicken catalog too; and it is even cheaper if you buy some geese to go with the ducks.

Can you see the snowball happening here?

Not only had I never raised any kind of bird, we didn’t have even one coop or fenced in yard to keep them in. Let alone places for three different kinds of birds. We ended up with birds in the garage and birds in the bath tub. It was crazy! We muddled through it all but it caused a lot of unnecessary work and stress for both my husband and myself.

We operate a lot different now. As much as I want to charge ahead and have all of the animals and every color of bean and tomato in my garden, I know that I can’t learn everything at once. Being able to devote your full attention to one skill at a time gives you a much greater margin of success and will save you from burn out. Not to mention, time to really enjoy each new skill.

There are so many skills and activities that fall under the title of homesteading. How do you know where to start?


Step 1: Know your goals

Do you want to be a homesteader in the country with acreage or are you an urban homesteader? Will you focus on fruits and vegetables or meat production? Knowing what the end goal is, will determine what skills you need to hone in on.

Step 2: Start today

There is no reason to delay your homestead journey. Learn to can, start a backyard flock of chickens, grow a container garden. There are so many things you can do in the place you live right now. Some of the most amazing homesteads have grown out of what appeared to be an impossible location. Once you get started you will see all of the possibilities.

 

Step 3: Do what you love

I love chickens! I love the eggs, their ability to turn organic matter into compost, and the way they can clear the weeds and get rid of bugs. Even more than that, I love watching them and interacting with them. Bringing them kitchen scraps and taking care of the mundane chores is so much easier when you are taking care of something that you love. Wanna learn more about chickens? I will help you pick out the right breed in this post.

Step 4: Pause

Don’t add anything new until you are comfortable with the skills you have already taken on. It is so easy to get excited and expand the garden beyond what you can take care of or add another animal before you truly understand and appreciate the daily commitment it takes to keep it up.

Step 5: Add a complimentary skill

Let’s say you started with a small garden. A natural progression would be composting. Maybe you grew a bumper crop of apples. Learn to can or dehydrate! Complimentary skills are like bunny trails – there are almost limitless possibilities. Allow yourself time to learn these skills one at a time. Biting off more than you can chew quickly leads to burnout.

By tempering my stride I have gained new skills every year. Remember the building blocks we played with as kids? Lay down one block at a time and soon you have built a homestead.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a feet first, all-in starter, or a baby-stepper?
  • Have you ever bit off more than you can chew?

 

Page 112345...Last »
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]