Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Practical Tips For Downsizing….Everything Part 1

Stuff, we love having stuff, our culture tells us we need stuff, we need more of it and the stuff we already have isn’t good enough.  When it comes to downsizing you probably are thinking of materials things, they clutter our homes and they often end up in the trash or donated to goodwill.   But when I say downsizing I am talking not just materials things, but non-tangibles too!  Whether they occupy a physical space or weigh on our minds, there is a balance we must reach with stuff.

What are non-tangible things?  They can be things that are on our mind, that distract us.  They are goals and activities we want to do, but have yet to complete.  They are things that get in the way of us being the best we can be.

Some things are necessary, while others make life just a little bit easier, and then there are those things we just “need” for one reason of another.  So here are some quick tips that I have used in my life to really reduce the amount of stuff.Herald-MESSY-DESK

I decided to split this up over a few days because it’s so big and so you can take time to digest each one on its own.  Please feel free to share your thoughts!

The Box:

This is a really useful tool that I use allot and with great success.  Find a box, any box, size appropriate for your stuff of a certain area.  The important thing to remember is to tackle one defined area at a time, usually you can define an area by its function.  Your desk is a great place to start (then later move on to your clothes, then the kitchen, etc.).  Take everything and I mean everything!  Out of and off of your desk (with the exception of your computer and desk lamp) and put it into the box.  No cheating now, just do it, I want every drawer empty, the desktop clear and the floor clear too if you have stuff piled up.

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Solar Rundown

So I have yet to really dabble in solar energy, but it is something that I do want to implement in my tiny home.  So today I am simply posting great resources for solar power.  One of the greatest untapped energy resources that exists is the sun, of course the hurtle that exists is how to take this energy and capture it efficiently and cost effectively.  I have a good feeling that the next 5 years will bring huge innovations in solar energy with Obama’s plan for cleaner energy.

First off here is some basic info about solar panels

Here is a cheap panel that can charge 90% of all your gadgets, phones etc.

The day in the life of a solar panel installer here

Mainstream of solar through Home Depot

Weekend projects you can do here

Solar Tent Structure

For those of you who haven’t caught on, I am a very big fan of ultra modern architecture.  I love the minimalist approach when it comes to many things, houses included.  One trend I have noticed over the years is designers fascination with “tent houses.”  While these are tents, they are designed to be permanent or semi-permanent, often focus on bringing the outdoors in and are designed with a modern flair to them.

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Today we are looking at the Orange Solar Tent designed by ‘Orange’.  This design has a very unique feature as the entire canopy structure has several layers of cloth so that it can generate electricity and provide a vapor barrier.   The entire shell of this is a woven solar array, which admitedly is a few years out, but is coming soon, just not soon enough.

The idea is to later integrate wifi into the cloth as well as pockets inside the structure for magnetic induction charging of small electronics like cell phones.

Check out more over at Treehugger

Tiny House Tiny Garden: Maximizing space through design

As I make my way to a Tiny Life, I have recently started a garden to grow my own vegetables. To be honest I rather suck at it but Things are growing and I have been able to make about a metric ton of pesto so far. Today I found these really neat ideas for how to maximize space and grow food also.

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More at Treehugger

Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

Bigger is not necessarily better.  Bigger can certainly be beautiful!  And there is nothing inherently wrong in bigger.  But bigger can be quite costly in both the short and long term and can bring with it many headaches.

It’s important to be compassionate: many of us could not but help buy into the belief that as we grew up that we, too, could purchase the type of homes our parents did– homes just as “spacious” and stately– even if we were raised in a row home or semi-detached dwelling.BigSmall

But for chiefly economic reasons– many of which readers of “The Tiny Life” are aware– the purchase (and sustaining) of long-term mortgages has become less likely, less possible, and fraught with more risk.

For the sake of example, let’s suppose you and I can purchase such a home.  My father worked for a corporation and was employed 33 consecutive years with that same employer before he retired.  In general, such job security today, let alone with a single employer, is not the norm nor the reality for the vast majority of us.

Therefore, taking on a 20-35 year mortgage brings with it the worries of what will happen if one or both incomes become imperiled.  What happens to our long-term investment if 23 years into our 25-year mortgage we lose either our jobs or our health?  What if savings and the help of family &/or friends is not enough to “save” our home?

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