Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Hello To Our New Readers!

As of late I have seen many new faces on at The Tiny Life, particularly with our recent coverage in the New York Times, so I wanted to say Hello!  Over two years  ago I started this blog and could never could have imagined that there would be so many folks interested in Tiny Houses!  So today, I wanted to introduce myself to everyone and once you are done reading, please introduce yourself in the comments section.  I will try to say hello back to everyone that intros themselves in the comments!


Untitled-1 My name is Ryan Mitchell, I am 28 and run The Tiny Life. It has been an interesting journey to where we are today.

It all started by getting fired, yup, that’s right, fired. About 2 years ago I found myself facing layoffs at my job; I was a recruiter. That is when the economy took a turn for the worst.

I found myself with no job, no car, had to move home, newly single, was uninsured and didn’t qualify for unemployment. It happened so fast that I could barley believe it; That is when I found Tiny Houses.

After spending a few hours looking for jobs that day, I was surfing around the web and came upon a photo of a Tiny House. I thought they were kind of neat, I had always had this affinity for alternative housing, but there was something different about Tiny Houses. To be honest I didn’t think too much of it until later I found myself on Jay Schaffer’s site. That’s when I had my a-ha! moment.

Here I was realizing that the system I was taught to go by, had essentially failed me, I had done everything “right”. I went to High School, was awarded Boy Scout’s highest rank of Eagle, I had a impressive list of extracurricular activities, which got me into college. Four years later, I graduated with my bachelors. I was quickly accepted into a Masters program, which I did well in. I landed contract after contract, making way more than I should have right out the gate. But what did it really amount to?

I was looking at Tiny Houses not just as a downsized living space, but as a lifestyle which circumvented the pitfalls of the typical framework. I began to realize that it was not about material things. It was what mattered: Relationships, Time, Freedom, & Peace of mind. You must love the life you live. You must love those you live it with. You must have time to be in the moment. Finally, in the end, it’s the choices you make in life that allow you to realize all of this. I realized my initial approach was flawed, it did not support what truly mattered.

Canada Road Trip 09 082So that’s how it started.

I researched Tiny Houses, drew literally 100’s of floor plans, talked with builders, bloggers, dreamers and skeptics. I took a trip to Canada with a friend, timed it so I could meet Jay Schaffer and toured his Tiny House. While there I met Jay and many other Tiny House folks. We stood in this Tiny House for 3 hours talking about our passions and ideas. It was nothing short of inspiring. It was there that folks urged me to start a blog, a blog that talked not just about Tiny Houses, but Tiny Living.

Tiny Living Encompasses:

  • Tiny Houses
  • Life Simplification
  • Environmental Consciousness
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Sound Fiscal Plans
  • Social Consciousness

So today I speak to you, employed in a job I love, in a life I love, with a future that I love. I work for a local non-profit and follow my passions. I have come a long way, but have still have a bit to go, but now it is with purpose.   So I invite you to join me in this journey and share in it.

Do I Live In A Tiny House?

Not quite yet, I made two key decisions from the get go:  1) I wanted to be debt free before I got into a Tiny House 2) I wanted to save up for my house and land to pay for it with cash, in full.  This isn’t any small feat, but I have been able to make some huge steps.  To date I have reduced my student loans by 50%, I found a job that I love, but it also tripled my income, and I moved into a home where I house sit long term and pay no rent.  The money I would pay on rent goes to debt, then saving for the Tiny House.  I am so close I can taste it!

How This Blog Works

So typically I post a few days a week. I am open to anything that is related to Tiny Houses, Tiny Living, or environmental concerns.  If you ever come across an interesting article, video, house etc, email me at the below email address!  Have a knack for writing?  Passionate about Tiny Houses?  Have a great story to share?  What to talk about your Tiny House?  Email me, you can be a guest poster on the blog!  I have 100’s of thousands of people come to The Tiny Life, have your voice heard!

Help Me Out

I try my best to post a few times a week, what really helps me is if you all have interesting stories that you want to share. You might find a neat video or article, you might have a Tiny House of your own. I would love to hear from you. This along with comments make for a great blog. If you think of something that you would like to see on here, no matter how crazy, let me know.  I am happy to have guest posters share their story and their passion!  Regardless, I love hearing from my readers, because I want this to be a community.

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If you haven’t already, join in the conversation at these places:

Where We Have Been Featured

Well that’s about it. Enjoy the blog and I thank you for checking it out.

Introduce Yourself In the Comments!

  1. We’re close in age and I must say that I echo some of your feelings. I wouldn’t say the system failed me so much as the culture of it all is such a lie.
    So I’ve spent the last 7 years or so making a huge shift in actually truly from the heart wanting a simple lifestyle. I’ve always believed in it but my feelings weren’t always in line with what I knew in my head. Marriage and kids complicated the issue. Downsizing a house/car/life/expectations/possessions is attainable for anyone but if it isn’t done with joy and with a strong purpose, a person will always feel like a martyr.
    I’ve felt like that more than a few times over the last 11 years of living in an 800 square foot house. I have to shut out our culture and that voice inside me that says I deserve “more”. It’s a lie.
    And that’s why I appreciate bloggers like you! The more places I have to come to that share my ideals, the less I hear the world pleading with me to consume. 😉

    • Yeah failed is a bad word choice, it gives the connotation of entitlement, which I don’t like, but I think that those who have put in the time and effort should have the opportunity to live a modest happy and healthy life.

      I am still working on reducing the amount of stuff I have, but still have a long way to go.

      Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to reading your comments!


  2. I just found your blog after talking with someone at a wine tasting at the Common Market in Charlotte.Yours is the second blog in the last 6 months which I have been totally inspired by…(the other is called 3 new leaves by the way)I love the fact that I am old enough to be your mother and am yet inspired by your youthful,cutting edge way of thinking and living.Hope to one day meet you…you are doing things I am very interested in and inspired by…I really resonate with what you have to say on this blog.

    • I’m so glad people in Charlotte are talking about these things…. and my blog! I always look forward to meeting my readers in person, if you ever have a group here in Charlotte that is interested in learning more I am happy to come and talk. I will be at Charlotte Clean and Green (prob talking about community gardening and chickens) and I run a meetup group here: http://www.meetup.com/Charlotte-Sustainable-and-Eco-Friendly-Living/

      • A girl named Libby is who I talked to and she goes to your meet up group.I will see if I can make it to the meet up at Muggs!If not I will find you somewhere else.
        You may want to contact Christy Shi at the new 7th Street Public Market as she is open to having speakers come and talk about sustainable living….we were vendors at the Atherton Mill Market and Lynn Caldwell is the market manager who may be interested in you talking there too.

  3. Ryan, love your website and am intrigued by your thoughtfulness and foresight. A “Tiny House” works for one person or, perhaps, with a spouse/companion. But what if you become a family of 4 or 5? Have you considered expanding your horizons to the “Not So Big House'” philosophy of Sarah Susanta (I know I have given, or shared with you, books on her approach to architecture )


    • Hello Kathy! I refer to Tiny Houses as respective to the number of occupants, I do recognize that the bulk of my posts focus on the single person houses, but there are some!

  4. Ryan, I’ve been following your blog for about two years, having run across it after losing my job late in 2009. Simple living has been a interest of mine for years, but it wasn’t until I was forced to downsize and consolidate that I really became passionate about about it. Although I don’t live in a tiny house now, I am a permanent hotel resident with my new job, through which I spend 11 months a year on the road. Much like tiny home dwelling, hotel dwelling forces you to eliminate everything you don’t absolutely need. I can now proudly say that everything I own fits in the back of my Jeep.

    Far from being restrictive, though, this kind of living is very refreshing because you aren’t burdened by all the things you don’t really need. I’ve enjoyed your articles and insights into the simple life. Keep up the excellent work, man.

    • I am glad you have found a new job! I have noticed that during this process I have been very thankful for the jobs that I have had. I have known several people in your lifestyle, take the opportunity to bank a lot of money for those rainy days and to pay for cash for everything, including a house down the road. Good luck and thanks for the kind words!

  5. Hi Ryan,
    I just found you blog, and loved reading your story.

    This may be the wrong place to do it, but I thought I would tell my/our story.

    About a year ago, my wife and I were discussing the fact that in just 3 short years I will reach retirment age. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to retire.

    I began researching and found the tiny house movement. Long story short, We are about 3/4 done with our little house on 1 1/2 acres. We will be moving from the “big house” sometime in April.

    If anybody is interested, here is a little blog I have kept durring construction:


    Tim and Leslie

    • Tim, I am extremely impressed by your construction. Watching the house go from foundation to nearly completed exterior was definitely inspiring, especially considering that you are doing most of the work alone. It looks like it will be a very attractive tiny home when finished. I can’t wait to see new photos of your progress!

    • Tim, this is great!

      I will try to plug in your story sometime soon 🙂 Thanks for sharing, good luck!


  6. I’ve been living the tiny house lifestyle for a long time, but only recently I’ve been becoming aware of ‘the movement’ and I’m happy to see so much interest in these types of ideas.
    I’m working on a variety of tiny house projects and trying to figure out how I’m going to tie them all together. I appreciate your blog, keep up the good work.

    • Glad you found the group and let me know about any interesting projects you got going on, we always love photos and videos!

  7. Hi Ryan!
    Love your blog, love your enthusiasm and wisdom about living TINY!

    My name is Mariah, I’m 21, and I’m building my first tiny house out of an old camper. The project is going to serve as an educational tool when it is all finished…I will be traveling, living in it full time, talking to people about sustainable living and having open houses/info sessions.

    Check out my project here:

    I’d love to have you write a guest post on my blog sometime, and maybe you can feature my story on yours??

    anyway, email me if you’re interested!


    • Hey Mariah!

      I had emailed you a while back, but will try again. Thanks for reaching out and commenting!


  8. Ryan,

    I like your blog it has some great articles.
    I agree with Mariah you have some great enthusiasm.
    she has a wonderful blog. Nice trailer.


    • Thanks for the kind word Larry! I can’t wait to start building my Tiny House and share it all with everyone!


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