Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged house

Three Reasons You Won’t Be Happy In A Tiny House

When people dream about living in a tiny house, they idealize the life a fair bit.  It’s something we all do, heck, I even do it even today.  There are of course many reasons tiny houses aren’t the best, but I thought I’d share some thoughts on things that leave people unhappy in a tiny house so you can avoid them.


You started with the design, not with the function

There is a adage: form follows function.  Many people fall in love with a specific house or set of plans, then try to make it work for them; this is backwards.  The most successful houses start with what a person needs, then a design is spawn from that list of needs and functions.  You need to play anthropologist, taking an objective eye when you look at your life and what your house needs to support.

You didn’t take the time to get in your own head

I see this all the time, people move into a tiny house very quickly without going through the deep self reflection and understanding required to make it work.  The biggest thing that will make you settle into your tiny house for the long term isn’t the design, the size, the amenities, it’s your coming to terms with what makes you happy, with a departure from gratuitous consumption, and a break from status symbols.

It’s easy to say you don’t buy a lot of stuff or that you don’t need things; it’s an entirely different thing to be deprogrammed of consumer culture and when someone shuns you in a social situation that you can be okay with the fact your house isn’t large or that you only a few things.

You think its about the house

Time and time again I say this, living in a tiny house and The Tiny Life has nothing to do with the house, it is a lifestyle that you adopt that will change your life.  While tiny houses have a great aesthetic, they are appealing and cozy, when someone successfully lives in a tiny house long term it is not because of these facts.

A tiny houser is committed to making a change in their life to a magnitude that most people are willing to.  If you live the tiny life, you could live in any size house because it’s not about the house, it’s the commitment to your priorities and to doing what needs to be done to live your best life.

Your Turn!

  • What things are you thinking about when it comes to making the leap?
  • What are you worried about moving to such a small space?


Determining The Needs Of Your Space

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, what do we 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 require.  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.

room-trackingThe 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.  Now when you go into a room, mark 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.

What this will do is 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 combined them into a list.

I put together this free worksheet to help, click here.

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 have you not 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; I then started working at a coworking space.

What things can your cut out all together?

For me I realized that I really didn’t read a book twice, so keeping books was often a waste of space.  It was then that 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.

Your Turn!

  • What was your most important activity in your house?
  • What other tricks have you used to determine your true needs?

Frank’s Tiny House

We have a new tiny house coming to the Tiny House Conference!  Frank is a carpenter and cabinet maker who travels for work.  He built this tiny house so he can take it with him while he is on longer jobs away from his home in NC.







Have you got your tickets yet for the Conference?

Our holiday sale ends soon!  Use code: TINY2013 for $50


Paul’s Wofati

Some of you know I’m a little bit of a permaculture fanatic, so I like to interject some of these concepts where I can.  Today I wanted to share a neat project going on over at permies.com’s forum.  It’s called a Wofati house and essentially it is an wooden structure that uses post and beam techniques that is then mostly buried under dirt to provide thermal mass.  The big concept here is that the house is optimized for solar gain and uses a large thermal mass to keep things cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  The design was inspired by Mike Oehler’s design and is touted to be pretty inexpensive.

Photos by Kristie Wheaton from Permise.com











Tiny House Workshops – Online

micro-workshops-logoWith the roll out of Tiny House Craftsman (see the post here) we are also adding to the line up our Tiny Workshops!  You might have noticed a new link on our menu – “Events” – which will bring you to where you can sign up for them.  Our online tiny workshops are a quick way for you to learn everything you need to know about tiny houses, how to build, what the life is like, and much more!

Each session is 30 minutes long on a specific topic and you can get all your questions answered.  Our first session will be an intro to tiny houses where you can get a lot of your burning questions answered.  Followed up by that we’ll get down to the nitty gritty and focus on particular topics.

Let me know in the comments if there are other times/days that people want, if we have enough I can add a session!

  • Intro To Tiny Houses – Nov 16th 10am EST
  • How To Design Your House – Nov 23rd 10am EST
  • Choosing A Trailer – Nov 30th 10 am EST
  • Water, Power, Toilets, HVAC – Dec 7th 10 am EST
Sign up!

Your Turn

  • Let me know if there are other times that people want, if we have enough I can add a session!
  • What topics do you want to see in future Tiny Workshops?


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