Understanding what you do in your home and work is an important step to designing any space for the perfect place for you. The greatest thing about living The Tiny Life is that you get to design your space and your life from the ground up. Today we’re going to focus on our physical space and what need in a built environment that sets the stage for our best life.
In some cases understanding your needs will show you that all you need to do is tweak a few things in the space you’re already in. It may be the case that more drastic changes or starting from scratch may be required. You may also be looking towards building a new space anyway so it’s time to consider what that design will be. It’s important to understand that to live The Tiny Life, you don’t necessarily need to live in a tiny house and what you have right now may be adapted.
The first step in understanding what your space needs to have in it, you need to understand how you actually use it already. We often have ideas of what we would do if… or if only I had ____ I do more of this one thing. It can be easy to fall into the trap of future planning so let’s focus on what you do right now.
To do this I use my Room Tracking method: to start, gather a bunch of pens and some post-it notes. Go around to each of your rooms in your house or apartment and close every door. Put a post-it note on the door and a pen on top of the door frame of each door. When you go into a room, write down what you are going into that room for and estimate how long it will take. On your front door (or your main door) put a post it note on it and write things down that you leave your house to do with time estimates. Do this for a week.
This will create a comprehensive list of what you actually do in your home, not just what you think you do in your home. You can even re-purpose this exercise for your work space. Take all the post-it notes and combine them into a list.
Once you’ve compiled a list of what you do and how long you do it, start estimating the amount of space you’ll need to do that one thing. You can even rank your activities by which you do the longest and ask yourself, “Are the things I spend the most time on the most important to me?” Just think about that.
What can you outsource?
With your list consider things that could happen outside the home. A gym membership is one example. Instead of having a home gym, would a gym work just as well or even better? Or if you haven’t stepped foot in your home gym in several months, do you even need it at all? For me I realized while I was effective at working from home, it was lonely; so I started working at a coworking space.
What things can you cut out all together?
I realized that I really didn’t read a book twice, so keeping books was often a waste of space. So, I replaced my bookshelf with a kindle. I did keep about 10 books that were more reference books, but the rest went.
What things can pull double duty?
Think about things that are on your list that can happen in a single area or what things are important enough to have a dedicated space. For me I knew I wanted a work space that was just for work, but my living room could serve as a place to read, to watch TV, to hang out with friends, and to setup a table for meals.
Whittling down the list
Consider the above questions and think critically about what you really do need. Avoid what you “hope” to do, but focus on what you actually do. With this you can come up with a solid list of activities that can help you design your space more effectively.
- What was your most important activity in your house?
- What other tricks have you used to determine your true needs?