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Posts Tagged Minimalist

How Minimalism Can Improve Your Life

Before I discovered minimalism, my life was a mess. I was in debt, my house was full and cluttered, and I was the most unhappy I’d ever been. I had a dead-end job and I was in a relationship that was going nowhere. I could not believe this was my life at the ripe age of 26. Now, as a minimalist, I am traveling the world and living with less stuff than I’ve ever owned. I am living my life on my own terms, largely because I found minimalism.

Minimalism has improved so many areas of my life, and can benefit you as well. Let’s look at the areas of my life that have improved since finding minimalism:

1. Work/Money

Pre-minimalism, I was working at a dead end job that paid me well, but was not satisfying. I was making more than enough money to get by, but I wasn’t saving anything. The weird thing was that I didn’t even know what I was spending money on. When I ran the numbers, I was shocked at how much was going out each month on things like clothes (even though I never had anything to wear), coffees out, snacks, drinks, etc. I wasn’t living extravagantly, but I wasn’t living frugally either.

Post-minimalism, I was debt-free and saving a very large portion of my take-home pay. I was saving sort of on accident, but I soon realized that with this money I could take some time and decide what kind of job I wanted to do. I became financially free, and it was an amazing feeling.

How to start: start keeping track of where your money is going – write it all down. At the end of the week, review your list to see what was necessary and what wasn’t. Cut out those non-necessities!

2. Home

Pre-minimalism, I was living in a very cluttered home with another person. I just dealt with the clutter, or tried to organize it a bit. I constantly had piles of laundry to do on the weekends, and I spent at least one full day every weekend doing chores like cleaning the house, washing the car, and trying to get through some of that laundry.

Post-minimalism, I am traveling the world and living out of a backpack. I have visited over 20 countries and have never felt more free.

How to start: declutter! Tackle a small area each day, and soon you won’t have any non-necessities left.

3. Time

Pre-minimalism, my calendar was always packed full. When I wasn’t cleaning on the weekends, I was attending someone’s birthday party, bridal shower, etc. Some of the events I went to were for people I never even spoke with; they were just friends of family. Post-minimalism, I have reclaimed my time. I now only go to events that I want to go to. I manage my calendar based on how I want it to look, not what I got invited to.

How To Start: decline invitations to events that you don’t want to go to.

 

4. Relationships

Pre-minimalism, I used to go out with friends and be on my phone, waiting for a text from someone or a message to come through. I was always preoccupied and never  truly there.

Post-minimalism, I’ve become a much better listener and friend, and I’ve learned to appreciate the time I spend with others and truly be in the moment. Life is so much better when you aren’t stressed about getting to your next meeting.

How to start: give yourself time between meetings. This way, you can put your phone away when you’re spending quality time with others and enjoy the moment.

These are just four of the many ways that minimalism can impact someone’s life. Minimalism has had such a positive impact on my life and I can’t wait to hear how it’s affected yours!

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism changed your life?
  • Have you noticed any unexpected changes since going minimalist?

 

What Defines A Minimalist

What is a minimalist? The tricky thing about minimalism is that there isn’t an exact definition. I consider myself a minimalist, but you may not consider me a minimalist. I live out of a backpack, but I don’t own less than 100 things. There is a lot of confusion around what it takes to be considered a minimalist. To help clarify the term, I’ve come up with a few common values that most minimalists have in common.

1. They don’t prioritize things

Minimalists prioritize values over things. This means that they might choose to spend their day working on something they love (for me, it would be photography or hiking) over a day spent mindlessly shopping or engaging in some kind of consumer-related event.  When I began the journey to minimalism, I stopped focusing on buying a new Audi and started focusing on my passions and what I want in life.

2. They live intentionally

Minimalists use their time wisely and intentionally, focusing on what brings the most joy and happiness. Before I discovered minimalism, I would spend my weekends catching up on laundry and dreading the coming work week.

Once I started the journey to minimalism, I began focusing my schedule around doing things that I enjoy fully, instead of just trying to fill my time with something to do. I became so much happier and more fulfilled.

3. They are focused on freedom

A core value of minimalism is the ability to be free. This can mean something different to everyone, but to me it meant getting out of my dead end 9-5 job. Becoming minimalist helped me save enough money to quit my job and pursue my dreams of traveling. I now feel completely free, and I know that if I ever do have to work a typical job again, it will only be temporary. I no longer have to work to live, I now live to work.

4. They invest in quality

Living a minimalist lifestyle means choosing quality over quantity, every time. I would rather have one black tank top that is good quality and will last me years than five black tank tops which will get holes in a few months. Purchasing quality items means that you will need less, and will create a more minimalist and simple wardrobe.

Minimalists don’t just value quality in physical items. Focusing your time and energy on creating quality work, nurturing quality friendships, and preparing high quality, healthful foods are all an important part of the minimalist lifestyle.

5. They are accidental savers

Before minimalism, I was never able to save money, no matter how hard I tried. I missed out on so many trips throughout the years because I was unable to save money. I made enough money to put at least a little aside each paycheck, but without fail, every time I got paid, my last paycheck had already been fully spent. I usually couldn’t even tell you where the money went. I was spending money unintentionally – just picking up things here and there, mostly on impulse.

After my transition to minimalism, I had saved about $15k in five months. I was just living according to my priorities – I was spending my time hiking outside, writing, spending quality time with my family. I wasn’t focused on my bank account, and I wasn’t spending time at the shopping mall or out to expensive dinners anymore. My life became so much more simple, and it felt amazing.

Whether you call yourself a minimalist or not, it’s impossible to deny the benefits of living a more simple lifestyle. Focusing on your passions, concentrating on relationships and activities that bring value to your life; this is what defines a minimalist to me.

Your Turn!

  • How would you define a minimalist?
  • Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

Happy Holidays From The Tiny Life

This week I’ve been winding down for the holidays.  I have been doing some last minute shopping before I head to my folks house.  With tiny houses you don’t always have room for a big Christmas tree, but I actually ended up getting two trees!  The first was at my coworking space that I own, each year we have a holiday party and a real tree.  Here it is:

I also got a really small rosemary shrub that has been grown in a Christmas tree shape.  This is great because it’s small, but still has a great smell.  Plus I love rosemary, the last one I had, I planted it outside and it took off like gangbusters.

For gifts this year I held back on some purchases I had wanted to make, so I could share them with my family if they needed ideas.  I have been wanting a headlamp for around the house.  I live deep in the woods and it’s always really dark outside the house.  For those nights I need to turn on the generator, grab something out of the trailer or car a headlamp is great to have.

I also asked for dish towels, as my old ones were ready to retire.  Finally I asked for credits to Audible, the website that I get my audio books from, which download to a phone app; I love audible and read 34 books this year (down from last year’s 41).

That’s all I have to report this year, I hope to see you all in the new year!

Five Easy Minimalist Habits That Will Make Your Life Better

There are many things in this world that are competing for our attention.  We are bombarded with ads, over extended in our work duties, and have too much going on in our lives.  So today I thought I’d share 5 simple habits or tricks that can make life much better.

five easy hacks to a minamalist life

Turn Off Notifications On Your Phone

This was a big one for me.  Every time I looked at my phone there were little red badges all over the screen saying “look at me! You have things left undone!” It wasn’t healthy and when I considered turning off the notifications I was actually getting closer to my goals in life.  I’ve come to realize that email is a convenient way to organize other people’s priorities, not your own.  Every phone is different, but you can switch them off; then I began telling my friends, if you need to get in touch right away, call me.  My phone should work for me in the way I want it to, not to better server others.

Don’t check email or socials before bed or first thing in the morning

This was a tough one for me.  For my job, I have to monitor over 15 social media channels and it’s daunting.  Worse, spammers are always posting on my sites and pages because of the reach I’ve built, so it’s a constant war.  I have been tempted to remove my phone from the bedroom all together.

Cancel one thing on your calendar this week and do nothing!

We always overbook, we are always overstressed, and there will never be enough time in the day.  Look through your calendar and choose one thing and cancel it.  Take that time to just chill out, read a book, go get a coffee, or go for a walk.

If you see something you want in the store, wait.

If you’re going through a store and see something that interests you, instead of buying it right then, wait until you’re in that store next time.  More often than not I find that next time I see it in the store my desire for it will have disappeared or I will have forgotten about it all together.  If it’s really important to you or you truly do love it, what is the likelihood of you forgetting it?

Flip your hangers

Go into your closet and hang your hangers all in one direction, preferably in the direction that is most awkward to unhook.  Once you do that, you’ll be able to tell what things you actually wear and what you don’t.  Go through in spring, summer, winter and fall, then look what you haven’t touched in a year; those items will be a prime candidate for donation.

Your Turn!

  • What have been your easy habits that help you live a simpler life?

Versatile Storage In The Tiny House

In the past two years tiny house designers and builders have gotten quite clever at their inclusion of storage space. With minimal square feet of actual house space it is important to utilize every possible inch of a home. From toe kicks that reveal drawers and stairs made of foot lockers and drop down baskets and wire shelving to closet inserts that hide your dirty clothes, the tiny house is fast becoming the leader in inventive yet practical storage. Perhaps though no tiny house has quite the aesthetic as well as the extreme functionality of storage space as the 215 square feet Tel Aviv studio apartment designed by Israeli architects Rannan Stern and Shany Tal.

multifunctional overviewThe closet and wall piece are made of white birch (often called blonde wood or utility ply in the states) as is the flooring which is covered in brighter birch tiles. For the record white birch is a renewable resource and induces a welcoming feel by allowing the room to appear larger than it truly is and offering a sort of design ambiguity. As explained by the architects the concept of the store is to house a “varied family and personal collection of 2D pieces dating from the 1940s to today.” The pieces themselves are organized and ordered according to groups, sizes and artistic connections which allowed the architect to design drawers and cabinets specific to its content. Not stopping there different areas were designed and built for showcasing and displaying work, tools, and materials; often considered art by those fascinated in a medium. Several of the smaller compartments can also be removed from the larger units and then placed on a table for ease of access. 

Bed out multifunctional

easel

An interesting concept presented in the multifunctional design is the use of front paneling as display. It brings to mind a potential tiny house kitchen hack, a “home office” need, an art gallery, and more! It shows the unique ability to transform what would be non-functioning and rather boring panel into a pegboard or storage board.

When fully closed up one still can’t shake the notion that the space is small. The storage quite simply allows for more stuff to be lived with in a tiny house without taking up sacred real estate. Does it encourage the tenants of downsizing, minimalizing, and living responsibly or does it simply aid in the covering up of unneeded housewares?

Whatever the case it offers some great suggestions for storage while still adhering to both a modern and intelligent design.

Your Turn!

  • Is modular or concealing furniture part of your tiny house design?
  • Would you live in a house that “transforms?”

 

 

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