Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged tiny life

Ways You Can Live The Tiny Life Now

Many of you have been following me in my journey to The Tiny Life for a while now.  While I tend to focus on the building and design of tiny houses, what I have come to realize is that even though its fun to talk about the houses and how to build them, it really isn’t about the houses, it’s about the life you lead in them.  In an odd way, its not the house that is so great, its the life that is amazing.

Recently I was thinking about this fact as I was re-reading my book that just released (find it here) and I realized that in many ways you can still live tiny, without a tiny house at all.  So here are some ways you can live The Tiny Life right now.

Learn To Say No

ba7688b4e4a544d65380ef9bc19087a9In this world saying no is almost unheard of.  We often either get pulled into things we really don’t want to do or we say non-committal things like “Let me get back to you” when you hope they never follow up.  One thing I’ve learned is important is when there is something that I am not interested in participating in or doing, I just clearly decline and make no apologies for it.  Be willing to say no, you don’t have to be rude, but be clear, “Honestly, I’m just not interested in it” or “I don’t have the time to do a good job with this, so I’ll have to pass, thanks.”

Proactively Remove Negative Influences And Sources Of Stress

I have had two people that really shaped this rule for me in my life:  I once worked with a person who always had some sort of drama in their life, no matter how good things were, there was always some catastrophe happening.  The second one was when I found myself in a situation where I had to regularly interact with someone who frankly was just a really terrible human being; they were manipulative, easily moved to violence, and had a lot of self destructive behaviors that they inflicted on others.

It taught me a valuable lesson, there are people or situations that you must actively work to remove yourself from.  If they cause stress, unhappiness, or cause drama in your life, you need to get them out of your life.  This goes for friends too.  I will only put in effort into relationships that I feel the other person equally values me.  There have been times where I have had friends who were flaky, always late, or didn’t ever develop into a deeper platonic relationship that I just let go and let them peter out.

Thin Your Email In Box

inbox_zeroOne thing I have learned with running this website is how to handle a lot of email effectively.  I have developed a few rules that I abide by to make it easier.  I realized that I don’t want to be efficient with email, but instead I have worked hard to reduce the email volume, which I must be efficient in handling.  Spending an hour to help setup a system where people can find their answer on their own, has come back 100 fold.  Think of how you could do the same in your life or situation, just adapt it.

  1. Realize your email inbox is a convenient way for other people to organize their agenda.
  2. Always think about how you can reduce the volume of emails you get.
  3. Always to clearly define the next needed action, otherwise close the loop on that email.
  4. If they don’t ask a question, it isn’t actionable or are not clear in message, don’t respond.
  5. Set up email filters for things that you get often or as a way to segment different areas of your life.
  6. If its a newsletter that I find myself not reading regularly, I unsubscribe right away. I can always add myself back.
  7. If they ask for something I often follow up with a request to do a small task (want to talk? I ask for an agenda) this weeds out people

Define You Career By The Life You Want To Lead, Not The Other Way Around

Your job/career should support and accommodate the life you want to lead, not the other way around.  To do this you must first know what life you want.  It is easy to fall in the trap of letting your career dictate the life you lead (work schedules, vacations, soul crushing activities),

I’ve been there myself and there are times where you just need a job to pay the bills.  So if you are in a tight spot, get a income source, but once you have gained that stabilizing income, you must then quickly move to a more proactive place where you either morph your job to be what you need or start looking for / building your perfect job that accommodates your life.

I once took a job that I knew I would hate, but I realized that it would buy me just enough time (3-6 months) of income to allow me to find the job that I really wanted.  It meant that I could walk away from offers that weren’t great and hold out for a better one, at that point I really didn’t have anything to lose.

The Pareto Principle

This is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule which states that 80% of the outcome or effect comes from 20% of the cause.  For example, 80% of the happiness comes from 20% of the people in your life, because they are the most important people to you.  On the flip side, 20% of your time spent at work actually yields 80% of your income.

The trick with this rule is to identify that 20% that causes the 80% and if its good, focus on it; if it is bad, eliminate it.   So in the instance of something good, say relationships, spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your relationships.  Conversely, if 80% of customers complaints at work come from 20% of your customers, break it off with them.

Learn To Slow Down, But Be Intentional

excuseI’ve learned over the past two years that I can be far more productive if I am intentional.  I have had so many people in my professional life say to me that I always seem laid back, but get a ton done.  The truth is I do a lot less work then them, but when I do work, it is calculated.  I actively work to minimize what is on my plate instead of working longer hours to get an overloaded to do list done.  I think about what I can do that is most effective and then how I can achieve it most efficiently.  Finally anything I do more than a few times, I look for ways to automate.

So when it comes time for me to do something, I have the time to do it correctly, I have worked out the best way to do it, and then in many cases I have automated it so I don’t have to worry about it at all.

 

So these are just some of the ways you can start living The Tiny Life now, even if you don’t live in a tiny house just yet.

 

Your Turn!

  • What things have you done or do to live The Tiny Life?

 

Latest Favorite Space Saving Ideas

I’m always on the lookout for those space saving solutions that will making tiny living that much more enjoyable. After my first tiny house experience I ultimately realized that the biggest error in the design was lack of storage space. My next living space will definitely have better fold out tablethought out arrangements especially around clothing storage and kitchen/entertainment space.  First, and most important criteria in my book, is that everything does double duty!

Several of the following ideas cover plenty more than that! My magical mathematical formula for this goes as follows: space saving + storage space/innovation= Desirable. So here a few designs that have lately met with success in this equation!

Tables are a real focus for me when it come to saving space but also making the most of the tablespace you have. Tables need to perform a multitude of functions without wasting valuable space and since I love anything that folds in to a wall these tables makes my list! Plus they feature innovative hidden storage solutions. Bonus!  Fairly unique tables with straightforward designs-attributes I can always appreciate.

A modern looking option with this transformative bench provides an eastern flair with low to the floor eating/seating, making this an attractive option for any tiny dweller. I truly love the simplicity of this design as well as its versatile, space saving solution. Having multiple options is an advantage in a small space where you make the most of every corner!

bench

sink drawerWasted space is to be avoided at all costs when designing a tiny living space and one spot that always seems to be neglected is around the sink. It’s hard to come up with creative ideas for those gaps where your kitchen or bathroom sink sit which is why I love this drawer design! You can really make use of all the nooks and crannies with this one piece of cabinetry. Definitely innovative!

The toilet below totally appeals to my renewable resource bent that I search for in any appliance. This one solves the problem of where to put a sink in the bathroom and uses the greywater to flush the black. I really wanted a small sink in the bathroom of La Casita but it proved an obstacle in the design and it was decided that particular element would have to be ditched. If I only I had seen this toilet sooner!

toilet

Las but certainly not least is this nifty built-in extension cord! Details, dear reader, it’s all in the details! This is just way to convenient not to consider in my next tiny house build! Now how in the world do you roll it back in there?
wall extension cord

Your Turn!

  • What are your latest faves in the world of organization and small space solutions?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

washerdryer

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

Study of New Age Gypsy Culture

A recent book released by British photographer Iain McKell looks at the life of what some in society call the new age gypsies. McKell has gypsy wagon2followed a small group of these travelers for over 10 years and has recently released a new photo book on the evolution of their lifestyle. He represents the progression of this group through beautiful images of people who have chosen to live a tiny life on wheels. He tracks the movement from petrol based, motorized vehicle travel to the now more common horse-drawn wagons that this particular group uses.

Gypsy Wagon1Although they’ve turned to a more traditional mode of travel still found throughout Europe in the lifestyle of the Romani, McKell reflects that this does not mean complete isolation from society. He makes note in an interview he did with anothermag.com that these folks are using modern technology, including solar panels, laptops and social media, to stay connected to the world while they live travelers lives in wagons. His pictures are stunning and this foray into a subculture having nothing to do with the Romani culture is fascinating to me but I feel divided on the matter.

Gypsy WagonIt begs me to questions how the Romani might feel about westerners appropriating their lifestyle and how this impacts the view society has of their culture. As a ethnic group that has been, and continues to be, persecuted how does a community of western “new agers” impact the ideas and stigmas people have around this type of lifestyle. This western group of travelers is made up of the young, old, families, individuals, poor and rich alike so it’s not just one section of society being represented and while I love this tiny lifestyle and their anti-petrol approach, I have to wonder at the cultural appropriation that may be occurring in their choice of lifestyle.

Does this hold a negative connotation or not? Is it assimilation or appropriation? I’ll put away my contemplative hat for a minute but I think it’s worthwhile to ponder and if you are looking for more vardo inspiration check out Ryan’s post on this awesome wagon built by an archeologist!

 

Your Turn!

  • Do you itch for a gypsy lifestyle?
  • Would you pull your vardo by horse or by vehicle?

Via

 

 

5 Fly Treehouse Designs

Tiny houses and tree houses go together like shrimp over grits or gravy over biscuits.(Cravin’ some southern food, can you tell?) I have to reveal that I not so secretly wish to live in a tiny tree house community. I actually visited a tree house community in Belgium that consisted of 6-10 people on any given day. They were squatting the land trying to save the last bit of woods outside Brugge. Unfortunately, they lost their battle with the developers and the trees were cut down but it was a really interesting community to visit for a few days. I wasn’t crazy about having to descend ropes every time I needed to tinkle in the night and then ascend back to bed but it was a really fun experience. I would definitely want a staircase as well as climbing equipment to reach my tiny tree house. Options are a good thing. Check out the following worthy pics for inspiration.

HA BLAD8 NTW

 If I look over and see even a simple platform for some children in a tree I get giddy. I have seriously considered hopping more than one fence to test the enjoyment of a structure in a tree. Tree houses for me imbue this feeling of childlike exuberance and whimsy. What else could you feel when you see a treehouse? Unless you are afraid of heights and then just don’t answer that question.

HA NT 200-201

I’m not an old school tree house enthusiast who may see a structure like this and balk. I’m all about innovation. How far can tree house design be pushed? How does such a structure incorporate a modern lifestyle with an ancestral habitat? I’ve got similar questions for the tiny house movement. Humans have been migrating back and forth across this planet for so long, I think it’s in my genetics to crave mobility. Carrying your home with you is how the human race lived for millennia until agriculture came along. For me, it a big reason why I’m so attracted to the tiny house on wheels lifestyle but I could be convinced to stay put in any one of these tree houses!

tree-house-designs4

Ideal aesthetic scenario: my garden starts to overtake my tree house. Ideal tree for a treehouse: Banyan for sure although probably super challenging since it’s branches grow horizontally towards the ground, not vertically from a center trunk.

tree-house-designs2

The above structure reminds me of my favorite place at Disney World. The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse attraction. I could have spent all day there pretending I was shipwrecked and livin’ it up treehouse style.

tree-house-designs

Hang me a hammock off this thing and I’m home!

 

Your Turn!

  • What kind of tree would you build your tree house around?

 

Via

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