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Ten Things I Keep Outside Of My Tiny House

When it comes to living in such a small space or living a minimalist life, it’s very important to think about your possessions.  Minimalism doesn’t inherently mean not having stuff, it’s about being intentional with the things I do have.  Part of that is recognizing that there are things I will own that don’t have a place in the home, or shouldn’t be in the house even if I have the space.

These are items that you need, but don’t use much.  They could be things you need keep separate from your main space to maintain a balance in your life.  These are things that I want access to, but don’t want to see.  So here is a list of 10 things I own, but don’t keep in my house.

1. Internet

This seems crazy, even to me.  For those that know me, know that I’m a unapologetic nerd.  The internet is an amazing thing, filled with interesting, informative and hilarious stuff.  But, I don’t have internet in my house.  What this affords me is a work life separation.  The truth is I love my work, it’s amazing.  I just love working and there lies the problem.  When I go to work I am almost always hyper focused, a tad intense and get sucked into the work in a very big way.  Not having internet lets me disconnect and take a break.

2. Bulk Storage

I always like to keep a year’s worth of every day items on hand, I store this in my enclosed trailer that I setup like a storage building.  Things like shampoo, TP, propane, batteries, etc. It is an odd habit I started a while back when I decided to try an experiment and track everything that I used for an entire year.    When ever I run out of something, I have another on hand, I buy a replacement and put the newest at the back, grabbing the front one which is the oldest.  What I’ve found is that after an initial stocking, it doesn’t cost you any more to have.  I find this helpful because I’m never out of anything and when life gets crazy, I can focus on the task at hand, not the fact that I ran out of TP and suddenly need to go to the store.

3. Composting Toilet

This is another odd one, that I think I’m alone on (maybe?).  When I first moved into my tiny house, I was trying to figure out tile for my bathroom, so I just put the composting toilet (bucket) outside.  It’s been two years now and I think I actually prefer to have it outside.  I live on a large plot of land, so none of my neighbors can see my house.  As a result, I just put my bucket where there is a really nice view.  I don’t ever have to worry about smells, flies or the like, plus I have extra space in the house where the toilet would have gone.  I’ve gotten so used to it, that I can climb down my ladder, go outside and then get back in bed without really waking up.

4. Work Materials & Home Office

Being self employed meant that for a long time, I didn’t have an office.  I used to work from home and venture out to various coffee shops.   That changed about a year ago when I opened my coworking space and splurged by giving myself my very own office space.

I still operate out of my backpack for most things, but I now have a place to keep a few books and an extra computer. I keep items for the Tiny House Conference in the office storage space.  I think the best thing I like about having an office space outside of my house is that I now have a white board, there’s something about laying out strategy on a whiteboard that I love.

5. Laundry

You all know this about me, I hate folding laundry with a fiery passion.  I long ago decided that I was going to have a laundry service here in Charlotte called 2ULaundry come and handle my laundry.  For about $15 bucks a week, someone comes to pick it up, wash/dry/fold, then brings it back.  The best money I’ve spent all year.

6. Tools

This is an obvious one, you don’t want to drag all the saw dust into your house, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  Many of you know that I keep an enclosed cargo trailer for things I want to own, but not keep in the house.  My power tools from building my tiny house take up a good bit of room, I like to do small projects of fix things and I don’t want the mess inside the house.

7. Camping Gear

When it comes to camping gear, I’ve been very careful to keep food smell away from them.  When you cook in a tiny house, the whole house fills with the delicious scents of your cooking.  That’s fine for cooking, but you don’t want your camping gear smelling like garlic chicken or soup.  For that reason, I keep all my gear in plastic containers in the cargo trailer.

8. People I don’t want to host

It’s the ultimate excuse, “oh sorry, my house is too small, guess we’ll have to have it somewhere else”  It means I don’t have to deal with having people over unless its a really small group of close friends that I really like.

9. Living Space (some of it)

Part of living in a small space is extending your living room to the world outside.  Right when you walk out of my house, I have an outdoor living area complete with tables, chairs, fire pit, grill, pizza oven and much more.  When the weather is nice, I’m outside.  Beyond that I extend my need for a guest bedroom to a local hotel, my dining room is at the best restaurant in town, and other needs to the best that my city has to offer.

10. Formal wear

I wear a suit once every couple years, which means that instead of owning and storing a suit, I just rent one.  The best part is that it always fits me well because they size it for you, plus I can match the formality of the event I’m going to.  It also means I don’t have to worry about storing it or cleaning it because they take care of it.  For women, they have online dress rental services where you can find lots of options in style that you can rent for pretty affordable.

Your Turn!

  • What things are you thinking about keeping outside your house?
  • What things are you going to outsource?

Compact Appliances

Living the tiny life does not have to mean forgoing those modern comforts and conveniences. Today’s manufacturers are creating some incredibly small, dual-action appliances that can work in a small space and allow modernity and tiny living to go hand in hand. Here are some of my favorites!

The Summit 1.8 Cu. Ft. Combination Washer/Dryer is tiny! At 24″ it could fit right under a counter top, conveniently tucked away. Wherever I lived in my tiny house, I had friends and neighbors who would let me use their washers and dryers but it’s great to be more self-sufficient in your needs and not have to rely on anyone when it comes to doing your laundry. I don’t mind going to the laundry mat but for those folks who want the modern convenience this product could very well meet your needs!

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I really like the Eva-Dry Mini Dehumidifier for it’s compactness and very low use of electricity. It is practically maintenance free and easy to use. Living in a tiny space that is well-insulated can lead to mold issues, especially around windows, so anything you can do to reduce humidity is helpful to maintaining a healthy environment in your tiny space.

mini dehumidifier

The LG 9000 BTU Energy Star Single Zone Art Cool Mirror Mini-Split is one of many mini-splits out there. It’s boasts the ability to cool, as well as heat, up to 400 sq. feet. I feel that, after living in the South in a tiny house, it is well worth the investment in a mini-split that will save you space, be energy efficient and keep you comfy. This unit also features a dehumidifying mode that will shut off the system before a space gets too cold. Top that off with a built-in air purifier and you’ve got a unit that covers the gamut of air quality and temperature control in a small space.

minisplitairconditionerSo the Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Party Pub is not a necessary item by any means but I really want a kegerator at some point! They are just so fun and drinking beer is a totally different experience when you pull it from a tap! This one can fit 2 mini kegs and even has a shelf to cool your pint glasses! Some people want cappuccino machines, others can’t live without a dishwasher, but I have to admit that if I was going to splurge and get something I totally didn’t need it would be one of these!

kegerator

The Fagor Energy Star 24 Inch Fully Integrated Refrigerator has a unique system that reduces condensation helping to lower the humidity and eliminating the need to defrost! It’s also energy efficient and at 24″ wide has a neatly compact quality with tons of storage! For the size of the unit, it packs an organizational punch. My next tiny house may very well have one!

fridgemini

Your Turn!

  • What appliances can’t you do without?
  • Have any favorite mini-appliances to recommend? Please share!

Via

The Things I Miss Most

There are all the good things about living the tiny life and then there are the things that I miss most. Of course, you don’t have to miss these things! It all comes down to design and what you deem necessary to your well-being and happiness in your living space. After nearly two years living the tiny life, here is what I’ve started to pine for.

aofuro1. Long, luxurious soaks in the tub. Yes, I’ll admit it. I love to fill up a huge tub with water and just lay there. At a Permaculture workshop I attended we played an icebreaker game of confession where everyone in the class went around and fessed up about their most non-sustainable guilty pleasure. Mine was a bath.  I know it’s wasteful and most certainly a luxury but I can’t help but crave those relaxing times spent in steaming water surrounded by bubbles! Any time I house sit, the first thing I look for is a tub. I actually looked in to the Japanese ofuro, a traditional soaking tub that you sit instead of lay down in, but I was told it wasn’t a practical addition to the size bathroom we were building. I think it’s a plausible addition to a small space if planned for early on in the design and I would love to see such a tub  incorporated in to a tiny house!

2. Stability in my living situation. We’ve moved our house 3 times in 2013 and while mobility was a plus when we built La Casita, I never saw us moving quite so much. While it is much less of a hassle than moving in or out of a regular home, it definitely has it’s challenges and feeling settled can take awhile.

Acraftroom3. Craft space/room. Not only for working but also for material storage. We don’t have the space in 98 square feet to meet this need. I really pared down my art materials when we moved in to La Casita and while one solution could be to rent a separate space, that’s not a financially viable option for me right now.

4. Comfortable sleeping room for guests. I miss having a space for friends and family to stay when they visit. We used to host people all the time in our other homes but in La Casita folks either have to sleep on an uncomfortable bench downstairs or camp. With winter not far off in Vermont, camping won’t be an option for much longer. Sure, there are nice B&B’s and cozy hotels for folks to stay but it’s just not the same. I love waking up in the morning and making coffee for guests and a plate of popovers! It’s the best!

5. Having huge potlucks in my living room. This was my favorite activityapotluckpicture and what I miss most about living in larger spaces. I love filling a kitchen with delicious food and cheerful, hungry people! While I have found other outlets and friends who enjoy doing the same in their homes, I miss being able to offer that hospitality.

While all of these needs have creative solutions, which I’ve explored in various posts, I still find myself daydreaming of bubble baths and bright, expansive indoor spaces for shared meals and guests. Perhaps it’s just the American in me trying to break free or maybe this is a normal process of living the tiny life. Once in a while you are going to wish for things you don’t have. It’s only human right?

Your Turn!

  • Is there anything you miss most living in less square footage?

Book Nooks For Small Spaces

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15 book nooks for small spaces or your tiny house aka reading nooks

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The Golden Elephant

I’m back in Charleston for the month visiting friends and family and recently went to visit my friend Zach at The Golden Elephant! No, it’s not an Indian restaurant it’s his tiny house! He’s about half-way through his build and I was really curious to see the progress in person and talk about his approach to building a tiny house. Here are some of his insights!

Golden Elephant

What inspired you to build a tiny house?

I was originally inspired by the shed that Cedric re-modeled in to a living space in the backyard at our apartment. It was the perfect set-up. I was attracted to the minimalism of the lifestyle as well. Plus, all the resources and time to do it were there.

What freedoms do you hope to attain living the tiny life?

Time, I want my time back. Time and flexibility in life. I feel like you have to pay that ahead though. Truthfully, I don’t want to work as much. I also really appreciate the mobility the lifestyle offers.

Why is it called The Golden Elephant?

Cedric and I were hanging out at the house and we were discussing names at one point. We got to work and then he turned to me and said it was going to be called the golden elephant.  I think the name fits. The cantilever of the house looks like a big trunk. It’s one of the largest tiny houses I’ve seen so far and the outside of the house is a golden color from the cypress.

Golden Elephant1

How has community impacted your build?

I’ve met so many awesome people through this thing and it’s made me form stronger bonds to my community. It would not be possible without my friends. You can’t really do it without help from your community unless you have that skill set already. Building I had help with the sheathing, siding and installation of the roof.  I have had help figuring out where systems are going to go, talking about ideas and how I’m going to approach these things. A lot of help has come through talking to people who have done things like this before and going over what I plan to do.

What are your methods for getting rid of stuff?

The formula that I’ve adopted is if it’s not serving a purpose or I haven’t used it in 30 days, I try to get rid of it. The exception to this is tools and camping gear because you’re not going to use them all the time but it’s difficult and expensive to replace those things. At minimum, I do four major purges a year. I will take full inventory and clean everything that I own. I will touch everything that I own in my house and if it doesn’t serve a purpose or I don’t need to own it, it’s gone. That’s what keeps me sane because I don’t need to own any more of this stuff. I’ve never been let down by not hanging on and you just have to really decide what you can and can’t live with.

Golden Elephant4

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