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Minimalist Book Reviews: Incredible Reads To Guide Your Minimalist Life

Minimalist Book Reviews: Incredible Reads To Guide Your Minimalist Life

minimalist book reviews

Reading minimalist books can reach deeper than simply selling your possessions. It can lead to a shift of the mind — a habit of intentionally analyzing the noise that you allow in and out of your life.

It’s easy to look to the classic Instagram aesthetic for what minimalism is: crisp white walls, wooden baby toys, glass tables, empty living rooms, hanging plants, and the likes. But minimalism is not about a uniform aesthetic or particular visual look. Applying minimalism to each area of your life means understanding the why behind the actions.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I found minimalism at a time when I was looking for a way to reorient my life toward what I care about most. I am definitely a bookworm myself. I try to regularly read books about things that will help me grow new habits.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

I hope this minimalist book list inspires you to discover what aspects of minimalism fit into your growth-minded life.

Minimalist Books About Decluttering

minimalism books about decluttering

First up, we’ll cover books about the process of decluttering your belongings to gain order and control over your own life. Sorting through clutter was the first thing I did when I began my journey toward a simple life.

Whether you’re looking for tips or a deeper understanding of the minimalist view, this list has you covered.

The LIfe Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

You can’t really talk about the minimalist movement without mentioning Marie Kondo. The phrase “Marie Kondoing” your life has gained attention since the premiere of her television show, Tidying Up.

Marie’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains the famous Kon Mari Method for decluttering and minimizing what you own. She also includes a wealth of philosophical insights and practical tips for going through your belongings and parsing through what truly adds value to your life.


Goodbye Things

Goodbye, Things:

The New Japanese Minimalism

by Fumio Sasaki

Getting rid of so many items at once can feel huge. Follow Fumio as he devotes an entire year of his life to getting rid of things and talking about what that process feels like. As he undergoes this revolutionary journey for himself, he provides valuable steps, tips, tactics, and wisdom for going through the minimizing process in your own home.


Decluttering At The Speed Of Life

Decluttering At The Speed Of Life

by Dana K. White

I know firsthand that life can quickly become noisy, chaotic, and overwhelming. This read delves deeper than the mere process of minimization — it’s about what that process can do for you.

Dana elaborates on the reasons why decluttering can often feel difficult. She writes about the ways our emotions get in the way of creating a clutter-free life for ourselves, and ways to combat these mental roadblocks. Dana uses humor and relatability to work through obstacles and help the reader declutter their living environment.


The Minimalist Way

The Minimalist Way:

Strategies To Declutter Your Life And Make Room For Joy

by Erica Layne

The Minimalist Way is chock-full of practical strategies for decluttering your life. Erica teaches readers to apply the minimalist philosophy to each aspect of their life and emphasizes the fact that tidiness goes beyond your physical belongings. It’s a helpful read to discover the ways that decluttering can apply to how you think about your home, career, relationships, family, and money.


The Minimalist Home

The Minimalist Home:

A Room By Room Guide To A Decluttered, Refocused Life

by Joshua Becker

I met Joshua in my hometown of Charlotte when he came to promote this book. We got to talking about decluttering your space and life to make room for what’s most important. Joshua emphasizes that the concept behind minimization is not merely to create space in your house or to get rid of your stuff, it’s to turn the place you inhabit most frequently — your home — into an epicenter for a higher quality of life.

Minimalist Books To Keep Your Home Organized

Minimalist Books To Keep Your Home Organized

Not only is getting rid of your stuff a great tactic for feeling freer and more in control, but it also plays a huge part in the journey towards peace of mind. When I first started to downsize, looking at the piles of mess in my apartment without any organization strategies felt overwhelming. These books will help you sort what you need into organized, aesthetically pleasing categories to help your sanity.

Real Life Organizing

Real Life Organizing:

Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day

by Cassandra Aarssen

Organizing doesn’t have to take years. Cassandra breaks down the process of organization into easy, manageable, 15-minute chunks. This quick read will take you through Cassandra’s tips, tricks, and secrets to a clean and highly organized household.


What’s A Disorganized Person to Do

What’s A Disorganized Person to Do?

by Stacey Platt

Stacey defines organization by comparing it to its opposite. She walks the average person through the common problems of disorganization, like how to keep from misplacing your wallet and keys, how to pack for vacations effectively and stress free, or how to most effectively sort and organize your refrigerator.

By going through the mishaps of disorganized people with helpful solutions, Stacey gives you practical strategies to organize your life and your stuff and bring less stress into your daily experience.


The Complete Book of Home Organization

The Complete Book of Home Organization

by Toni Hammersley

Toni’s book on organization is kind of like the bible of organization strategies. It’s basically a humongous list of tips and tricks to organize your home in the most effective way possible, with step-by-step instructions, visual illustrations, and checklists to help you out along the way. With over 200 tips and tricks, you’ll be a professional organizer in no time.

Books About Minimalist Clothing

Books About Minimalist Clothing

Managing your closet like a minimalist is one of the first things people think of when they start looking into the movement. Closet decluttering, personal uniforms, and capsule wardrobes are simple but effective ways to begin your journey as a minimalist.

Project 333

Project 333:

Proves Less Really Is So Much More

by Courtney Carver

Project 333 is a famous minimalist fashion challenge made famous by Courtney. The challenge invites participants to wear 33 items only for 3 months. In this process you are encouraged to keep track of what you wear, how you use it, and how many pieces make you feel good. Courtney’s skills can help you design a minimalist wardrobe that works with your lifestyle.


The Capsule Wardrobe

The Capsule Wardrobe:

1,000 Outfits from 30 Pieces

by Wendy Mak

Wendy is a pro when it comes to capsule wardrobes. She will enlighten you with hundreds of diverse and creatively styled looks from a wardrobe of merely 30 pieces. Capsule wardrobes make life easier by reducing the clutter in your closet. Wendy can help you maximize your decluttered wardrobe to get the most out of each piece.


The Concious Closet

The Conscious Closet:

The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good

by Elizabeth L. Cline

This book focuses on the destructive industry of fast fashion and ways you can minimize your closet in order to serve the environment. The Conscious Closet presents you with tools to declutter your wardrobe, keep up with fashion trends without hurting the earth, live with less, and buy clothing from ethical brands.

Intentional Living and Mindfulness Books

Intentional Living and Mindfulness Books

Living intentionally is all about giving thought to your habits, your decisions, and what you let in and out of your life. The trend towards mindfulness has really gained a strong foothold in the last few years, as people have collectively begun to analyze each element of their life and crave quality in their daily experience.

These reads give strategies and advice for cutting the excess noise out of your life and focusing on what’s truly valuable to you.

Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism:

Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

by Cal Newport

This read focuses in on a huge culprit that distracts us from being present in our lives: media exposure. Throughout, Cal applies the idea of minimalism directly to the amount of digital media we consume.

Cal explains why this push towards rest and quiet in an era saturated with digital demands is vital and gives the reader strategies to unplug and stay present in the real world.


Soulful Simplicity

Soulful Simplicity:

How Living With Less Can Lead To So Much More

by Courtney Carver

Soulful Simplicity is about the purpose behind a minimalist life. Courtney explains that the goals of mindfulness and minimalist ideals is to create space, time, and love in our lives by eliminating the excess. She encourages and teaches the reader to evaluate their lives deeply, define what’s really valuable to them, and settle into a simpler life.


The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

by John Mark Comer

This one is a pretty strong social critique that is worth engaging with for anyone who likes what minimalism preaches. John’s testimony of spiritual enlightenment has begun to combat hustle culture relentlessly and encourages others to do the same.


The Charge

The Charge:

Activating The 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive

by Brendon Burchard

Brendon explores what it truly means to live an intentional life and identifies ten core “charges” that drive the human spirit: control, competence, congruence, caring, connection, change, challenge, creativity, contribution, and consciousness. If you are looking to discover how to create an intentional life that satisfies these core desires as opposed to living your life on auto pilot, this is your book.


Wherever You Go There You Are

Wherever You Go, There You Are:

Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This one is about the power of being present in your own life. Jon explores the connection between the brain and the body in terms of true mindfulness. A weird truth of life is that you are where you are, wherever your physical body sits, you are in that moment.

You may as well learn to be fully present. Jon provides intentional thinking and breathing strategies to direct your full physical and emotional attention on each moment.

homesteading book reviews
tiny house book reviews

Minimalist Philosophy Books About The Movement

Minimalist Philosophy Books About The Movement
The core idea of minimalism — living with less to improve the overall quality of your life — is not a new idea. The core philosophies behind minimalism come from various schools of thought that have been around forever, like stoicism and essentialism.

These philosophies serve as the core inspiration for the modern minimalist movement and are still talked about today. This list touches on minimalism as a way of life, the ways these philosophies inspire the current practices of minimalism, and the mental reasoning behind the movement.

Essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

Essentialism is a systemic habit and philosophy that encourages eliminating all the things in your life that are not absolutely essential. Greg introduces the reader to the specifics of the essentialist movement, what it means to live on necessity, and invites you to make these changes in your own life.

A lot of people in the minimalist community love this book. When I read it on my own, I personally found it to have a lot of filler stories and words, which felt ironic for a book about essentialism. I wasn’t a huge fan, but many recommend this one so I chose to include it on the list to let you form your own opinion.


The Paradox Of Choice

The Paradox Of Choice: Why More Is Less

by Barry Schwartz

Decision fatigue is a major issue that minimalist philosophy is working towards removing from people’s lives. In The Paradox Of Choice, Barry delves into the psychology behind why having increased choices can reduce the quality of your experiences and increase stress in your life. He walks the reader through several ways to reduce the sheer magnitude of decisions in our daily lives to get closer to peace.


The Book of Hygge

The Book of Hygge:

The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection

by Louisa Thomsen Brits

The Book of Hygge addresses the importance of pursuing comfort. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortability, reflecting feelings of wellness and contentment. One beautiful aspect of minimalist philosophy is the pursuit of comfort and enjoyment in your daily existence. This manual teaches us to notice little things to appreciate, find pleasure in everything, and integrate comfort, warmth, and enjoyment into our lives.


The Stoic Minimalist

The Stoic Minimalist

by Jacob Martin

Minimalism was born out of stoicism. Stoicism is a Hellenistic school of thought born out of Athens, Greece. The philosophy is centered on not allowing pleasure and pain to run your life. Both stoicism and minimalism are two sides of the same coin, removing excess from your mind and your life, leaving space and energy for things of deeper value. This book about the minimalist movement teaches strategies for integrating both philosophies into your life and touches on the ways they are interconnected.

Books On Eco Minimalism

Books on Eco Minimalism

When people first think about minimalism, they usually think about organizing their physical belongings to create a less cluttered physical space and a chaotic life. But minimalism isn’t just about how your stuff affects you, it’s about the way your stuff affects the world around you.

Eco minimalism focuses on rewiring the way you view consumption and reducing your ecological footprint. It’s minimalism with a purpose much bigger than you.

Stuffocation

Stuffocation:

We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever

by Dr. James Wallman

This book on purging your clutter has grown increasingly popular in the last few years, so much so that mentioning the word “Stuffocation” amongst experienced minimalists will likely be understood. James writes about the way we view what we own, claiming that society’s obsession with consumerism has grown out of hand. He also lays out that the way back to peace is get rid of the clutter that’s suffocating us and focus on experiences.


Sustainable Minimalism

Sustainable Minimalism

by Stephanie Marie Seferian

This lifestyle encourages minimalists to live in an entirely sustainable manner that does not create waste for landfills. In my own life, I’m not at 100% zero waste yet, but I’ve cut back significantly in the last few years and have learned a lot doing so.

Sustainable Minimalism
addresses the societal propaganda that makes it difficult to adopt a zero-waste life, simple ways to integrate the habits into your life without creating lofty goals, and a blueprint toward overall sustainability as a household.


The Zero Waste Solution

The Zero Waste Solution

by Paul Connett

This book is primarily focused on why the zero-waste movement matters. Paul uses his platform as a scientist and activist to write about many meaningful zero-waste initiatives around the world.

He shares the stories of activists, planners, and entrepreneurs that have helped to reimagine the ways their communities handle waste. This is a solid read on sustainable living for those who want to make change in their own neighborhoods and local municipalities.


Walden

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Outside of my own tiny house in Charlotte, there is a small pond that looks exactly like Walden Pond. I like to read and reflect by that pond sometimes, and channel Thoreau. A classic you may have seen on a syllabus or two, the musings at Walden Pond align deeply with eco minimalist philosophy. This book might be classic literature, but people also categorize it as a minimalist manifesto due to the ways Walden claims that humans do not need very much to be happy.

The book criticizes those that cling to wealth and possessions for fulfillment and pushes an agenda for simplicity in all elements of one’s life.


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

by Annie Dillard

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard hones in on themes of minimalism and essentialism. Annie observes interactions in the natural world at the creek by her childhood home. As she does this, she makes claims about what it means to truly see and be truly present where you are. She asks questions about the animal kingdom and is inquisitive about what we can glean from their simple, basic forms of interaction.

The book criticizes those that cling to wealth and possessions for fulfillment and pushes an agenda for simplicity in all elements of one’s life.

Minimalist Books About Money

Minimalist Books About Money

Financial freedom is a core aim of the minimalist lifestyle. A huge element of your relationship with consumerism relates to the way you spend and manage your money. In the last few years, I’ve done a lot of rethinking when it comes to my finances.

These helpful books will encourage you to rethink the way you spend, save, and interact with your finances to set you up for financial freedom and peace of mind when it comes to money.

Your Money or Your Life

Your Money or Your Life:

Transforming Your Relationship with Money

by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

The FIRE movement toward early retirement has become recently popularized and was specifically inspired by this book. Your Money or Your Life presents readers with nine simple steps to reframe your thought processes when it comes to spending and applying financial wisdom to your budget and bank account.


The Minimalist Budget

The Minimalist Budget:

A Guide On How To Save Money, Spend Less And Live More

by Simeon Lindstrom

The Minimalist Budget is all about managing your money through the minimalist lens. A vital thing to note when learning to budget like a minimalist is that the thought line isn’t about deprivation or restriction. It’s the opposite.

Simeon gives advice about budgeting, expressing ways that discipline does not restrict, it frees. He also expands the definition of budgeting to address the fact that your emotional, behavioral, social, and even spiritual capital are things that can be budgeted, and tips to manage all kinds of capital in the day to day.


The Power of Passive Income

The Power of Passive Income:

Make Your Money Work for You

by Nightingale-Conant

This financially minimalist book is centered on the idea of not making your source of income your life’s focus and on making your money work for you instead of working for your money. If you are looking to escape the nine-to-five rat race and continue to earn a steady stream of cash while living a life you value and look forward to each day, this is the book for you.

Minimalist Books About Raising A Family

Minimalist Books About Raising A Family

Is it hard to fully adopt minimalist habits while raising kids? It can be, but these books will help to provide you with specific strategies to help your children and family get on board with a minimalistic lifestyle.

Clutterfree with Kids

Clutterfree with Kids

by Joshua Becker

My friend Joshua’s book on going minimalist while raising kids stands out as one of his best. Joshua writes about ways that keeping the house clean, organized, and debt free is easier as a single adult than it is as a family with children. As a dad himself, he understands the challenges that raising minimalist kids can bring and provides tools for integrating minimalism into your family’s household.


Minimalism For Families

Minimalism For Families:

Minimalist Living Strategies to Simplify Your Home and Life

by Zoe Kim

Zoe also understands that minimalism isn’t an easy feat when raising kids, but she does believe this lifestyle is worth it. Minimalism for Families shows you the real costs of the things you own and the toll that living with excess can take on a family unit. Zoe gives practical tips and advice for cutting non-essential items out of your family’s life and habits to create a peaceful and uplifting home.


The Minimalist Mom

The Minimalist Mom:

How to Simply Parent Your Baby

by Rachel Jonat

Minimalism with kids is easiest when you start them young. Rachel’s all-inclusive guide provides strategies for brand-new mothers to enjoy living with less. By learning how to clear the things you don’t need for your newborn like expensive cribs or rockers, an entirely new set of clothes, tons of nursery furniture, or shiny new toys, it will be easier and simpler to create a life of quality and peace with your little one.

Overall, minimalism is about filling your life with depth, value, and quality experiences. For many people, it involves learning about and developing new habits like:

The books on this minimalist book list should help you make these changes in your own life and walk you through everything you need to know to make room for the things that matter most.

homesteading book reviews
tiny house book reviews

Your Turn!

  • What are your favorite tiny house books?
  • What books have helped you change your mindset?

Retiring In A Tiny House: Is The Tiny Life For You?

Retiring In A Tiny House: Is The Tiny Life For You?

Retiring in a Tiny House

NAVIGATION

Why You Might Want To Consider Retiring In A Tiny Home

The decision to spend retired life in a tiny house has become increasingly popular lately. I can’t picture my own retired life anywhere but a tiny home. They provide locational independence, financial freedom, and simple living, which I know I’ll value even more as I age.

But retiring in a tiny house isn’t for everyone. There are many elements worth considering when trying to make the best retirement decisions for you or your parents.

Why You Might Want To Retire in A Tiny Home

Why You Might Want To Consider Retiring In A Tiny Home

ecovillages retirement communityThe decision to retire in a tiny home aligns with many of the lifestyle goals people have as they enter into the later stages of their life. Oftentimes, as people get older, they want to work less, own less, and simply enjoy more. They begin to gravitate towards quality over quantity in their possessions, relationships, and daily experience.

For me, living in a tiny house has taught me a lot about what I value most in this life. I’ve been able to declutter my tangible belongings and focus more on intangible things that make me happy, like my hobbies and my relationships. There are lots of reasons why retiring in a tiny house can give you the post-work life you desire.

patrick hiebert
“Getting older means we tend to declutter our lives. We simplify because we realize what is important in life and only hang on to the material things that matter. Tiny homes tend to be an extension of this — there is less to maintain, repair, and clean.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Tiny Housers Have A Significant Reduction In Living Expenses

Tiny Housers Have A Significant Reduction In Living Expenses

Financial freedom and the reduction of debt is something most strive to achieve by the time they reach retirement. Living in a tiny house is highly cost effective, especially if you choose to build an off-grid tiny house or rely on greywater. I decided to go off grid a while back, and doing so cut my power bill entirely and boosted my savings immensely.

Even tiny houses that do connect to the grid are financially economical. The size of the homes means there is less of everything — less space to power, less house to heat, less surface area to clean, and fewer items to maintain and fix when they break.

how much does a tiny house cost

Tiny Homes Don’t Require As Much Maintenance

Tiny Homes Do Not Require As Much Maintenance

Like I said, there is just less stuff in a tiny house. As you age, it might be nice to invest in a home that will demand far less physical labor from you or your partner. And less work is a true luxury.

I don’t have to do a ton of maintenance work on my own tiny home — not like I would if I lived in a traditional house. When things do need worked on, they’re more manageable if I decide to address them myself and more affordable if I decide to hire the work out.

Smaller Spaces Are Easier To Clean

Smaller Spaces Are Easier To Clean

smaller spaces are easier to keep cleanAnother element of house upkeep is keeping it clean. In a tiny house, there is less surface area to mop and vacuum, less counter space to wipe down, and less storage room to shove excess clutter into. Cleaning my tiny house truly takes no time at all. I can do a deep clean, change all my linens and sheets, do the dishes, scrub the floors and more all in under 30 minutes, which would be impossible to achieve in a traditional-sized house.

You Can Travel In Your Tiny House On Wheels

You Can Travel In Your Tiny House On Wheels

traveling in a tiny house on wheelsAnother aspect of getting older is thinking intentionally about how you want to use and spend your time. Lots of older people make the decision to travel with loved ones. They want to see some of those bucket list dream places in their later years.

Retiring in a tiny house on wheels gives you a locationally independent life. Your house is mobile, and you don’t have work to keep you stationed in one spot. This gives you the luxury of being able to travel as much as you want with loved ones. I’ve been able to visit 26 different countries so far in my lifetime, and a lot of that freedom has come from life in my tiny house on wheels.

Live Near Your Kids But Have Your Own Space

Live Near Your Kids But Have Your Own Space

Older folks also tend to want to live near their children and family as they age. With tiny homes, this is extremely easy to execute. You can effortlessly build a tiny home that functions as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in your backyard or on your children’s land.

Another popular solution is to have multiple tiny homes on the same property — one for you, one for your children, one for guests, etc. You can also invest in connected tiny houses to make your living experience even more shared.

Connect With Other Seniors In Retirement Villages

Connect With Other Seniors In Retirement Villages

tiny home retirement villagesRetirement villages or communities have also caught the tiny house bug. There are various tiny living communities throughout the United States and in other countries that were built to specifically accommodate retired seniors.

One major benefit of living in a retirement village is the social community it provides. It’s a truism that we often connect best with those in our own generation, who likely share in similar life experiences. Tiny retirement villages can give you a chance to be surrounded by those who are in the same stage of life as you and form bonds.

Things To Consider When Retiring In A Tiny House

Things To Consider When Retiring In A Tiny House

While there are many reasons why retiring in a tiny house can be ideal, there are also downsides that you should consider before making such a huge commitment.

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For A Couple

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For A Couple

An obvious con of living in a tiny house is that there might be less room for you to live comfortably with a family or spouse. For a retiree looking to live alone, the amount of space is perfect. However, for a couple, you’ll need to be willing to live in close quarters.

Yet maximizing space in a tiny house can be accomplished in many different ways, like opting for two bedrooms, three bedrooms, or even four bedrooms in your tiny home. You can also include features that will make your home more comfortable, like a loft, stairs, or extra storage space.

patrick hiebert
“The biggest obstacle we see is a short-term mental adjustment. The first reaction is, ‘This isn’t going to be enough space!’ But after a bit of time, people love the amount of space, its efficiency and all the benefits that come with it.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Decluttering To Move To A Tiny House

Decluttering To Move To A Tiny House

When you move into a tiny house, decluttering and minimizing your belongings is a necessity. I was lucky when I moved into my first tiny house 12 years ago because I was moving from a small college apartment instead of a huge house. This made the decluttering process less complex.

Tiny homes are typically less than 600 square feet — much smaller than a traditional home, which is 2,500 square feet on average. So when you make the decision to retire in a tiny home, you will likely have to give up a huge chunk of what you own.

For many seniors looking to retire, this is something they already want to do. But if you are someone who grows attached to their possessions, this may be a more difficult process to undergo. Keep that in mind as you weigh your options.

declutter challenge

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For Family

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For Family

While you might be able to build in features that maximize your space for you and your partner to live comfortably, it still might be a difficult feat to have family come visit and stay in your house.

If you have children and grandchildren, consider the limits living in a tiny house can place on their visits. It could be a lot harder to have the whole family over for a huge holiday meal or birthday celebration in a smaller space.

Is A Tiny House Good For End-Of-Life Care?

Is A Tiny House Good For End-Of-Life Care

Another aspect of aging is the limits it places on us physically. Choosing to grow old in a tiny house can present complications with end-of-life care. If you decide to spend retired life in a tiny house of your own, you’ll need to consider if it will be a comfortable space for that kind of care.

Will your tiny home have room for hospice workers to come in and out? Will your tiny home need to be accommodating of a wheelchair? These things might be difficult in a tiny house and are worth analyzing.

Will You Have Trouble Climbing Up To A Loft?

Will You Have Trouble Climbing Up To A Loft

tiny home loftIt may also be difficult to climb up and down stairs or a ladder as you age. The easiest way to create multiple bedrooms in a tiny house is to build a loft or two, but you have to get up there somehow. As your body ages, it could be harder to get up and down to your bed.

The good news, though, is that there are other ways to incorporate multiple bedrooms into a tiny house on the ground floor. For example, you can incorporate a murphy or trundle bed to keep both bedrooms on the main floor.

patrick hiebert
“As we get older, we get tired of climbing stairs! So the homes we recommend for retirees tend to be single story with larger main floor outdoor decks. We also make everything just a little more comfortable.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Tiny House Floorplans For Seniors

Tiny House Floorplans For Seniors

I’ve rounded up some tiny home floor plans for seniors that encapsulate specific elements of life as we age. They are single story, have more room for moving around, and tend to have more space in the kitchen and living areas for an ideal experience.

Floor Plan 1

senior tiny house floorplan

This layout has a spacious, interconnected living room and kitchen for sharing meals and camaraderie. The bedroom has room for a queen bed — ideal for a couple to share. The bathroom has a standing tub to accommodate bathing needs for seniors. This simplistic design includes most of the basic features to satisfy growing older in a tiny home.

Floor Plan 2

tiny house floorplan for retiree

The position of the laundry room in this floorplan really stands out. Its placement directly next to the bedroom would make it very easy for an older person to bring their clothes back to their room after washing. The open kitchen and living room are another major plus to this floorplan. With room for a queen bed, this layout is also ideal for couples.

Floor Plan 3

tiny house floorplan for senior or retiree

This floorplan is helpful for an older couple that plans to have children or grandchildren come stay in their tiny home, as the living room couch folds out into a full-size bed. Additionally, there is a queen bed in the main bedroom. One down side to this plan is the smaller bathroom, which might be harder for an older person to maneuver.

Floor Plan 4

tiny house floorplans for retirees and seniors

With room for a washer/dryer, standing tub, and fold-out couch, this floorplan makes room for all of the essentials that a senior retiring in a tiny house might need. The queen bed and integrated kitchen and dining area are especially ideal. I also like the walls between the kitchen and living room, which you can argue make the house feel fuller.

Parking A Tiny House For Seniors

Parking A Tiny House

The versatility that living in a tiny home on wheels provides is idyllic for the experience as a retiree. But part of building your own tiny house on wheels is knowing where you can park your vehicle.

Parking A Senior Living Tiny Home Near Family And Resources

Parking A Senior Living Tiny Home Near Family And Resources

The ability to park your home in your family’s backyard while also being able to travel in your tiny house is pretty sweet for old couples seeking the best of both worlds.

tiny house parkingMany state parks welcome tiny homes on wheels the same way they welcome recreational vehicles, which is optimal for travel. Additionally, many states allow tiny homes to be registered as ADUs, which gives you the freedom and legal permission to live in your own tiny house on your family’s land. That way, if you should need medical attention, you have loved ones nearby.

When you retire in a tiny home, you also have the freedom to move your tiny home closer to a hospital or doctor if need be. You don’t necessarily have to live near the medical resources you need to move closer to them quickly. Check out our state guide for further details on where you can legally park your tiny home.

Budgeting For Retirement In A Tiny House

Budgeting For Retirement In A Tiny House

A major consideration when preparing to retire is protecting your finances. Is retiring in a tiny house the most affordable option for seniors when compared to traditional housing or moving into a home? Let’s compare the cost of retiring in a tiny house to other options.

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny Home Versus A Normal Home

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny Home Versus A Normal Home

The cost of moving into a tiny house is dependent on whether or not you build the house yourself or hire a builder to complete the process for you. The average tiny house costs between $10,000 and $30,000 to build yourself, and double those numbers if you hire a builder to do it for you. However, that price can vary drastically depending on how you want your tiny house to look and which features you hope to include.

When comparing this to staying in a traditional house, consider whether or not your home is paid off. How much will you gain by selling your house in the current market? Once you figure this, compare that number to the general estimated cost of your tiny home.

how much does a tiny house cost

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny House Versus Assisted Living

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny House Versus Assisted Living

The average cost of an assisted living community is anywhere between $1,500 and $6,000 per month, depending on the quality of the community and the type of care provided through membership. Multiply that by 12 and you’re looking at $18,000 to $72,000 each year living in an assisted living community.

Even though some high-end tiny homes can get up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s a one-time fee that lasts for many years, with the exception of maintenance and upkeep costs. Consider this when comparing the price of retiring in a tiny home to the price of assisted living.

Retiring Early In A Tiny House: Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)

Retiring Early In A Tiny House: Financial Independence Retire Early

Retirement isn’t only for the elderly. Imagine the freedom that retiring early in a tiny home could provide. Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is a movement of people committed to saving and investing at an early age in order to retire as early as 30 years old!

The catalyst for this specific movement and demographic of investors was the book, “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. The book presents a life-changing, nine-step philosophy for living deliberately with your finances from an early age.

FIRE encourages its followers to think about every expense in terms of the number of working hours it took to pay for it. The movement that was born from this book strives to emphasize frugality without reducing quality of life..

Nine Steps Towards Early Retirement And An Intentional Life

Nine Steps Towards Early Retirement And An Intentional Life

As I mentioned, “Your Money or Your Life” lays out nine simple steps to work toward retiring early and getting back to your life outside of work.

The Steps Are As Follows:

  1. Make peace with your past
  2. Calculate your real hourly wage
  3. Track expenses, convert to hours
  4. Ask yourself: is my life fulfilling?
  5. Chart your money
  6. Spend less
  7. Redefine work
  8. Start investing
Your Money Or Your Life

The Freedom Of Early Retirement In A Tiny House

The Freedom Of Early Retirement In A Tiny House

Retiring as early as your 30s or 40s in a tiny home can provide you with unimaginable freedom. One of my favorite things about living in a tiny house and working remotely is that my daily experience doesn’t depend on where I am.

If I was retired, that would reduce my brain capacity devoted to work entirely and the freedom would be unfathomable. The experience of living in a tiny house on wheels allows you to live mobile and park your life anywhere you can legally park your vehicle.

tiny house building checklist

Tiny Home Communities Around The World

Tiny Home Communities Around The World

The process of retirement looks different across country lines. Each nation has an individual approach to exiting the working world and entering retirement. When I have thought about my own retirement, I have certainly considered the possibility of retiring in another country, living as an expatriate while free from work. Let’s examine the reasons you might consider retiring to a tiny community in different countries.

Will A Tiny Community Meet Your Needs?

Will A Tiny Community Meet Your Needs

There are immense benefits to taking part in the social life a tiny retirement village can provide, but the truth is the lifestyle just might not be what’s best for you. If you’re looking to live a more free, independent post-retirement life, a tiny retirement village wouldn’t be the best option.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to forge relationships in a like-minded community of people with everything you need close by, there are plenty of retirement communities to be found across the globe.

US Tiny House Retirement

US Tiny House Retirement

For citizens, the obvious upside for spending your retirement in the United States is being close to home and loved ones as you age. Additionally, nearly half of the U.S. population retires at 65 or younger, meaning that a huge chunk of their life is lived in retirement.

This is why retirement communities in the United States tend to incorporate lots of elements of an enjoyable life, like group sports and games, shows, crafts, and other activities.

A downside to spending retirement in the United States is a higher cost of living. Due to the all-inclusive retirement home culture in America, it’s going to cost more to live in a retirement community or home.

According to a recent Bankrate’s study which ranked states on affordability and culture, Georgia is currently the best state to retire to in America. The Peach State is followed by Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts. There are several tiny house retirement communities in the United States that accommodate the needs of ageing seniors.

united staes tiny house guide

South American Tiny House Retirement

South American Tiny House Retirement

Retiring in South America certainly has its advantages. For one, the cost of living is drastically lower than it is in other countries, so you’ll likely be able to afford a much nicer estate if you choose to move there.

According to a study from Expat Financial, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador are the most desirable for retirees based on several factors like the cost of living, culture and social life, and immigration laws and lifestyle.

Filled with picturesque beaches, forests, and lakes throughout the continent, there are many ways to enjoy life as a retiree in South America. Another major appeal is the adventurous lifestyle many of the native citizens live. It also has a fairly stable economy and mild climate that senior citizens tend to enjoy.

Downsides to retiring in South America might include being far away from loved ones and being faced with language barriers. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a retirement community in South America. There are many communities that can accommodate your needs and help you feel at home.

south america tiny house guide

Central American Tiny House Retirement

Central American Tiny House Retirement

Central America is another continent where life as a retiree can be ideal. Upsides to retirement in Central America include year-round sun and gorgeous tropical environments. The region is also renowned for an extremely low cost of living.

Over the course of the last ten years, Central America has become one of the most highly sought out countries for retirement.

Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama top the list of most desirable countries for retirement according to a study conducted by Expat Financial. The study examined quality of life, cost of living, and the social experience of retirement in each of these five countries to get a holistic sense of what retirement would look like.

One downside to retiring in Central America is the distance from home and the language barrier that may arise for U.S. citizens, depending on the country you choose to reside in.

However, the beautiful beaches and rich social culture can easily outweigh these downsides. EcoVillages.Life boasts a number of tiny house retirement communities in Central America where you can bond with other seniors and establish a comfortable, connected life.

central america tiny house guide

Canada Tiny House Retirement

Canada tiny house retirement

Choosing to live out your retirement in Canada sounds like a winter dream. From sublime mountain ranges to rich forests to snowy tundras, there is a vast array of natural beauty in the country to look forward to experiencing. What does retirement in the Canada look like practically?

There are many cities within each Canadian province where retirement would be ideal. US news lists these ten cities as most ideal for retirement:

  • Victoria
  • Squamish
  • South Okangan
  • Canmore
  • Niagara
  • Wasaga Beach
  • Belleville
  • Quebec City
  • Fredericton
  • Mahone Bay

One huge thing to note is disparities amongst the healthcare system. Canada has a publicly funded universal health care system, which is different from the United States. This means you will not have to pay for most healthcare services as a citizen of Canada or a permanent resident, but you will need proof of residency. You will need a government health insurance card from your province, which is an entire process of its own.

There are 10 Canadian provinces, the majority of the Canadian population is concentrated near the US border. This would make travel back home more accessible than retirement in other countries around the world.

Canadian culture is also very mellow which can be a positive for experiencing life as a retiree. The country values quality time and engaging in hobbies you like cooking and sports. Overall, Canada is a laid back, peaceful country to retire in.

canada tiny house guide

Caribbean Tiny House Retirement

Caribbean Tiny House Retirement

Retiring in the Caribbean sounds beyond idyllic when you consider the serene beaches and tropical social culture around every corner. But what does retirement in the Caribbean actually look like?

Expat Financial ranked the Bahamas as the top Caribbean Island for retirement in a recent study. This was followed by the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos. The Caribbean Islands function like a magnet for retirees who are attracted to the peaceful lifestyle, affordable healthcare, and tax incentives.

There are 26 countries in the Caribbean, and each one has unique visa restrictions, which is a potential barrier to consider when thinking about retirement. You should also analyze language barriers — English, Spanish, French, Creole and other languages are spoken throughout the islands. Many countries also have their own currencies.

But Overall, the Caribbean is a lovely, tranquil choice for retired life. Who wouldn’t want to spend their final days sipping piña coladas on the beach?

caribbean tiny house guide

European Tiny House Retirement

European Tiny House Retirement

Spending retirement in an Italian villa or the French countryside sounds dreamy, but there are many details to consider when making the choice to retire in Europe.

One huge benefit to retiring in a European country is the overwhelming support systems that exist to care for the elderly throughout the continent. A study conducted by BBC news identified the UK as having the best end-of-life care in the world. The study specifically praises the quality and availability of services.

Another pro to European retirement is the rich culture that exists for the older population. Aging Europe points out the active culture throughout the continent from events to travel — the elderly in Europe are not slowing down.

A study conducted by Expat Financial cite the best European countries to retire in as Portugal, France, Slovenia, Italy, and Montenegro.

However, one downside to retiring in Europe for U.S. citizens is being so far from home. You’ll also have to pay higher taxes as a permanent resident. But these downsides may not look so bad when you’re spending your final days sipping cappuccinos in France.

europe tiny house guide

Australian Tiny House Retirement

Australian Tiny House Retirement

Thinking about retirement Down Under? There are many reasons why retirement in Australia might be the move for you and your loved ones.

In Australia, the health and social care facilities offered to retirees are extremely high quality.

Additionally, Australia has a low crime rate, making it a relatively safe country when compared to other countries around the globe, though you’ll still want to take care to follow basic safety guidelines.

One downside to choosing to retire in Australia is that retirees will not be granted government or medical benefits during their retirement period. They will need to secure their own insurance policy from an Australian company on their own accord to maintain security into retirement. Another downside for U.S. citizens is again being far away from home.

However, if those downsides don’t bother you, Australia is a gorgeous and relaxing continent with a rich, vibrant culture to retire in.

australia tiny house guide

Your Turn!

  • What aspects of retiring in a tiny house would be ideal for you?
  • Where in the world would you love to experience retirement?

Tiny House Book Review: The Best Books To Help You Live The Tiny Life

Tiny House Book Review: The Best Books To Help You Live The Tiny Life

tiny house books

I’m a bit of a bookworm and I know I’m not alone in that when it comes to other tiny house folks. Despite living in a tiny house without a lot of storage space, I make sure to find space for my books. Most of the books on this tiny house book list are available as audio or ebooks, so there’s no need to install a bookshelf for a collection of tiny house books!

tiny house libraryI’ve started my tiny house book list with books to inspire you, teach you about tiny houses, and help you design your dream home. I’ve included the best tiny house building book list to help you through the construction process. But then you’ll see I’ve also included some books to help you get into the right mentality for the tiny life.

Living the tiny life isn’t just about the physical house. It’s about the lifestyle that you’re building. People see others living in a tiny house and think, “wow—it’s a charmed life! Instagram-worthy! Stress-free!” And they associate that with the tiny house itself, which trips people up because it leads some to think they can buy happiness. It’s very natural, but it misses the point.

This tiny house book list will help you get into the right frame of mind and philosophy to live a life that’s not just about “dwelling in a tiny home” but about embracing less as more and learning to find simple satisfaction in all areas of your life. Not every book on this list is for everyone—choose a few tiny house books to help you get started, maybe one from each section, and then build your library from there. Happy reading!

Tiny House Inspiration Books

tiny house inspiration books

This tiny homes book list includes all the books to help you brainstorm on your journey to living the tiny life. Whether you’re looking for beautiful photos to give you ideas about your future house design possibilities or looking for an excellent introduction and overview of the tiny life, these are the tiny house books for beginners.

tiny house living book

Tiny House Living

by Ryan Mitchell

Yes, this is my book. Not to sound too boastful, but I really do feel like it’s one of the best books to help you get started with the tiny house lifestyle. In this book, I explain the basics of tiny houses and why moving to a smaller home and downsizing your life has outsized benefits.


the not so big house

The Not So Big House

by Sarah Susanka

This book preceded the tiny house movement. The Not So Big House was the first tiny house book to propose the idea of “let’s not have giant homes. Instead, let’s have homes that are well-built, well-designed, and facilitate a different way of life.” Some folks point to author Sarah Susanka as an influential figure who added to the collective consciousness to bring about the tiny house ethos.


cabin porn inside

Cabin Porn

by Freda Moon & Zack Klein

When you have limited space in a tiny home, you probably don’t have a lot of room for coffee table books. So if you’re looking for the best tiny house book to display, my choice would be Cabin Porn. This book has beautiful photos of cabins and is pure tiny house inspiration fodder.


compact cabins

Compact Cabins

by Gerald Rowan

Compact Cabins is a top choice if you’re looking for a great guide to building a tiny house or cabin. It’s hard to find floor plans under 1000 square feet, but this book has an array of ideas for small cabins. Now some don’t quite qualify as tiny homes (typically under 400 square feet), but it’s still a great book on small living.


tiny houses built with recycled materials

Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Material

by Ryan Mitchell

My second book is a practical guide to building a tiny house using reclaimed materials. It’s the best tiny house building book for DIY-ing on a budget. You’ll find plenty of inspiration on using different materials to build an eco-friendly home on a shoestring.


microshelters

Microshelters

by Derek Diedrickson

The author of Microshelters builds these quirky, small shelters and shares them in a very unique tiny homes book. This tiny house book is a popular option for getting design ideas and inspiration and includes some practical insight.

Tiny House Design Books

Tiny House Design Books

Next on my tiny house book list are the tiny house design books. These texts will help you throughout the tiny house-building process. If you’re hoping to design and build your dream tiny house from scratch, these are the resources you need.

designing your tiny house

Designing Your Tiny House

by Ryan Mitchell

In my guide to designing a tiny house, I offer practical tips and explanations on approaching your tiny house design process. I went in with the philosophy that I wanted to write the book that I needed when I built my own home. When you’re living in 100 square feet, design is critical—every square inch matters. I’ve packed this book with practical tips to ensure your house meets all your needs.


tiny homes on the move

Tiny Homes on the Move

by Lloyd Kahn

Author Lloyd Kahn has been living the tiny life for over 50 years in one form or another. His books are truly unique and authentic. He includes real-life examples—not just filtered “Instagram” tiny living, but practical tips and insights.


tiny homes simple shelter

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

by Lloyd Kahn

Another Lloyd Kahn book, Simple Shelter, is an excellent guide to building a tiny house. Lloyd is a true “old hippie” who makes these books, prints out the photos, does the layout and copies himself, and then sends them to the publisher. Although his process may be wild, what you get is a really excellent tiny house building book.


make your house do the housework

Make Your House Do The Housework

by Gerald Rowan

This tiny house book gets more into the tiny lifestyle. If you’re looking for a tiny homes book that talks about how to take care of your small space, then this is the book for you. I listed this here on my tiny house book list because it really goes into the material choices and the design process. It explains how to design a tiny house, so it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or cleaning.

The Building a Tiny House Book List

The Building a Tiny House Book List

Now, if you’ve gone through the tiny house book list for inspiration and design tips, you’re ready to move into the building phase. There are several tiny house building books and guides that I recommend. While you don’t need every book on this list, it doesn’t hurt to do additional research before building. You can never be too informed going into the process.

how to build a tiny house

How to Build a Tiny House

by Ryan Mitchell

When I wrote How to Build A Tiny House, I tried to write the best tiny house building book possible. I wanted a step-by-step guide to building a tiny house that was accessible and beginner-friendly. Whether you’re building with your own plans or pre-purchased plans, this book is easy to follow (even if you’ve never built before). I wrote this guide to building a tiny home for people who haven’t picked up a power tool in their life—and if you ARE familiar with the building process, there are still many tips that will ensure success.


shockingling simple electrical for tiny houses

Shockingly Simple Electrical for Tiny Houses

by Ryan Mitchell

One area that tends to elude tiny house builders is electrical. Truth be told, it also eludes “traditional” homeowners, but electrical is often a fully DIY process for tiny home builders. In this tiny house book, I delve into everything you need to know to get off-grid. More importantly, I explain how to calculate your power needs, the basics of electrical, and the formulas you need to know. I’ll explain to beginners how to wire outlets, switches, panels, and all the details you need to get your tiny house electrical up and running.


cracking the code tiny house building codes

Cracking the Code: Tiny House Building Codes

by Ryan Mitchell

The other major struggle that many new tiny house builders face is navigating building codes. In my tiny house book Cracking the Code, I explain how to think about compliance (or non-compliance). If you decide to do everything above board, this is the best tiny house building book to guide you through what you need to know. If you have a higher risk tolerance and decide to roll the dice, I’ll offer some ideas on how you can work around some of the coding restrictions.


working alone

Working Alone

by John Carroll

Compact Cabins is a top choice if you’re looking for a great guide to building a tiny house or cabin. It’s hard to find floor plans under 1000 square feet, but this book has an array of ideas for small cabins. Now some don’t quite qualify as tiny homes (typically under 400 square feet), but it’s still a great book on small living.


learn to timberframe

Learn To Timberframe

by Will Beemer & Jack A. Sobon

I included Learn to Timber Frame as a wild card on my building a tiny house book list. If you want to build a timber frame or use heavier joinery as you’re building a tiny house, this book will help you figure out what you need to know about handling heavy framing.

minimalism book reviews
homesteading book reviews

Simple Living Mindset Books To Transition To The Tiny Life

Simple Living Mindset Books To Transition To The Tiny Life

As I said before, if you’re ready to explore the tiny life, it’s not as easy as finding the best tiny house building book and starting to set up a home. There’s a shift in lifestyle and mentality as you move into a smaller place and embrace a simpler life. I think this part often gets overlooked when we see Pinterest-perfect tiny house ideas. This tiny house book list will help you get into the right frame of mind.

the minimalist mindset

The Minimalist Mindset

by Danny Dover

The Minimalist Mindset is one of my favorite practical minimalist books. My friend Danny Dover wrote this, not just as a tiny house book but as a guide for anyone who wants to shift to a minimalist life. Many books make a case for simplifying and decluttering, but they talk in broad strokes. This book gets into some practical tips and ideas about becoming minimalist, especially making the mindset shift.


walden and civil disobedience

Walden and Civil Disobedience

by Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau is known as being one of the original fathers of the natural, simplistic life mindset. He built a cabin on Walden pond from the ground up, and in his writing, he muses on nature and human’s connection to the earth. The companion, Civil Disobedience, is a nice tie-in, especially when navigating the rules and regulations of building a tiny house. It explores our liberties and our relationship with government, as well as our philosophy on freedom.


the littel book of hygge

The Little Book of Hygge

by Meik Wiking

I’ve been a big fan of the concept of Hygge for years. When I visited Stockholm, I got to see the philosophy of cozy, comfortable living in practice. As you set up a tiny house, this idea of bringing coziness and warmth to even a small space is essential. I like this book because it’s a nice beginner’s guide that gives a good overview of the concept and how you can live it.


minimalism live a meaningful life

minimalism live a meaningful life

by Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Minimalism goes hand-in-hand with the tiny life—to be comfortable in a small space, you need to learn to live with less. If you’re looking for a guide to minimalism, this book is it. This was written by THE original minimalists, two bloggers, who started the movement. They make a strong case for the minimalist lifestyle and offer this book as a helpful primer and introduction to the idea.


the big tiny

The Big Tiny

by Dee Williams

Although this isn’t a traditional tiny house book, by any means, I included it in my list because I think it’s great reading for anyone who really wants to get into the philosophical mindset of reprioritizing and living with less. The Big Tiny is a memoir that delves into the life of Dee Williams. One day she discovered she had a heart condition, and the doctor told her, “You could go at any time—tomorrow or years from now. One day you’ll just drop dead, and there’s nothing you can do.” It changed her perspective on the world; she moved into a tiny house and changed her priorities to focus on what really mattered to her.


logam the swedish art of balanced living

Lagom The Swedish Art of Balanced Living

by Linnea Dunne

Lagom (a great word!) is a Swedish philosophy on not having too little and not having too much. It’s about choosing a home and lifestyle that offers you what you need, without anything extraneous to weigh you down. Not only is this an eye-catching book, but it’s a lovely book to help you transition to a balanced life. It explores minimalist concepts like capsule wardrobes from this Swedish mindset.

Downsizing And Decluttering Book List to Help You Live in a Smaller Space

Downsizing And Decluttering Book List to Help You Live in a Smaller Space

The tiny life is so much more than just living in a small home. From a practical perspective, you MUST downsize and declutter if you want to move into a smaller space. I have to have a place for everything in my house, and even a small amount of clutter can feel overwhelming and disruptive. The selections on this tiny house book list on decluttering can help anyone get organized (not just tiny house owners).

the life changing magic of tidying up

The LIfe Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondō created a movement in 2014 when this book on decluttering came out. People joked about discarding items that didn’t “spark joy,” and her name became synonymous with radical decluttering (as in, “I’m going to Marie Kondō my life”). The philosophy of only keeping items that spark joy is beneficial to everyone, especially tiny homeowners. While this book is a little less analytical than some others on this list, it helps shift your mindset.


the joy of less

The Joy of Less

by Francine Jay

Like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Joy of Less is focused on finding happiness by clearing out the clutter. However, this book offers a more practical, hands-on approach to decluttering and organizing your house. I would recommend choosing one or two books on decluttering in a style that appeals to you—remember, not every book will speak to you. Some folks might like a practical approach like the Joy of Less, while others might want to delve into the philosophy of organizing as a concept.


The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

by Margereta Magnusson

Swedish death cleaning came into vogue recently after several news articles discussed the concept. In Sweden, as people age, they don’t want to leave a mess for their loved ones to clean up. There’s a culturally initiated practice of “death cleaning.” When you get to retirement age, you streamline and downsize possessions, your home, and life. I’ve seen this amongst my own friends; when someone dies, there’s emotional guilt and trauma in parting with their stuff. The “death cleaning” frame of mind assures that you aren’t leaving that burden for loved ones to bear


Decluttering At The Speed of Life

Decluttering At The Speed of Life

by Dana White

Admittedly, I’m not the target audience for this decluttering book, but I believe it’s a helpful guide for those who run a family household. There’s a lot of emotional stress keeping a home tidy for your family. Much of this book focuses on women and mothers who are bearing the weight of housekeeping. While a smaller home cuts back on some housekeeping tasks, it’s still important to organize the process, so it doesn’t fall on one family member

Breaking Free Of Consumerism Books To Shift Your Mindset

Breaking Free Of Consumerism Books To Shift Your Mindset

Ultimately, at the root of the tiny house movement and philosophy is the idea that we need to break free from the consumerism that dominates our lives. The selections on this tiny house book list are about letting go of the “buy more” mentality and helping pull back the curtain on how marketing manipulates us to purchase things we don’t need.

Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational

by Dr. Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational is another wild card choice on my tiny house book list. This book talks about how we make decisions and how those are influenced. These days, we even call marketers online “influencers”—external parties that sway our choices. Consumerism is so deep-rooted that it’s hard for us even to realize it at times. I live in 100 square feet, and I can account for almost everything I own, yet I still fall trap to these ideas sometimes.


Invisible Influence

Invisible Influence

by Jonah Berger

Similar to Predictably Irrational, Invisible Influence explores our culture of consumerism and how marketing permeates our day-to-day choices. Again, while every book on this list won’t appeal to every reader, I wanted to offer a selection of different perspectives on similar tiny life topics.


Trust Me Im Lying

Trust Me Im Lying

by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday was a marketer schooled in the art of deception and manipulation. He gives the example of paying for billboards for a client, then taking red paint and defacing them on purpose. Not only did this result in free press for the client, but it increased their business and the sympathy of consumers. This book is a fascinating read on the capitalist mindset and how marketing can be exploitive.


Affluenza

Affluenza

by John de Graff

Another similar book on the malaise and dissatisfaction that comes from the “buy more” mindset. I took on a year of buying nothing to help me move away from this mentality and prove to myself that I didn’t need to purchase anything. The year opened my eyes to how deep the programming of consumerism is. During the year, I made a list of everything I wanted to buy, and in the end, there was only ONE item that I still wanted. All of those other items would have been wasted consumption.

Debt-Free Living Books & Financial Book List For The Tiny Life

Debt-Free Living Books and Financial Book List For The Tiny Life

Like me, many people go into the tiny life because they want to save money. When I downsized to my tiny house, it was with an eye to financial freedom. I wanted to decrease my spending and enjoy a simpler but more fulfilling life. It worked! If you’re exploring the tiny life as an answer to financial health, here are some excellent books to help.

The Total Money Makeover Workbook

The Total Money Makeover Workbook

by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is one of the most popular financial writers out there. I’m not terribly keen on some of his financial advisings, but his advice for people getting out of debt is really great. The “snowball method” of paying down credit card debt, loans, medical bills, and other debts works and is simple, accessible, and practical. Dave Ramsey is an excellent place to start if you’re looking to shift your mindset about money.


I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

by Ramit Sethi

This book is a different side of the same coin as Dave Ramsey. When it comes to money, you first need to get out of debt and trim your expenses. Then you reach a point where you can only cut back you’re spending so much. Even if you give up frivolous expenses, there are still needs that will arise—gas, food, medical bills. That’s when you need to figure out the income side. At some point, it’s not just a spending issue but an income issue. This book offers practical tips on negotiating a raise, finding a new job, saving on bills, and bargaining for lower prices.


Your Money Or Your Life

Your Money Or Your Life

by Vicki Robin

This book is about what we call “F.I.R.E” or “Financial Independence to Retire Early.” Many tiny homeowners are very interested in the idea of living with less, so they can retire at a young age. The idea is to figure out how much you will need to live out your current lifestyle for the rest of your years and then save that money and put it to work for you.


The Simple Path To Wealth

The Simple Path To Wealth

by J L Collins

A similar F.I.R.E. book, this guide to financial independence offers tips along the same lines. If you want to retire early, it’s definitely possible. My cost of living has drastically lowered from $1,500 in rent per month to $15 per month. I enjoy my work on the blog, but otherwise, I have a goal to retire under 40 and to be able to continue doing what I enjoy.

All in all, the tiny life is really about finding a life you love. For many people, it requires simplifying, downsizing, and learning how to shift our mentality to a life (and home) that meets our needs without the “extras.” The books on this tiny house book list should help you make the change and guide you through everything you need to know to live a small, meaningful life.

minimalism book reviews
homesteading book reviews

Your Turn!

  • What are your favorite tiny house books?
  • What books have helped you change your mindset?

Rent To Own A Tiny House On Wheels: How Much Does It Cost?

Rent To Own A Tiny House On Wheels: How Much Does It Cost?

rent to own a tiny house on wheels

As tiny houses get more popular people are looking for more affordable housing options and a rent-to-own tiny house is one option to move into a tiny house today! Rent-to-own is an agreement, in which you rent a tiny home for a certain amount of time, then have the option to buy it before the lease expires.

So today we are going to break down all the key parts of a rent to own agreement and what you need to know when it comes to paying for a tiny house on wheels with this method.

How Does Rent To Own Work?

how does rent to own work

When it comes to renting a tiny house to own there are two main types: Lease Purchase and Lease Purchase.  The main difference is that with a Lease Purchase at the end of the time period you have the option to buy the tiny house.  While the Lease Purchase at the end of lease, you’re legally obligated to buy it.

In some cases when your lease window comes to an end there may be an agreed upon amount you’ll have to pay to finalize the purchase and in other cases you can make it so when the lease payments are completed, you’re the owner with no more additional money.

What Is The Cost To Rent To Own?

What Is The Cost To Rent To Own

Like many things in life, it depends.  Generally speaking a completed tiny house will cost the builder between $20,000 and $60,000 to build, with that in mind you’re going to typically see a monthly payment between $120 per month up to $460 per month depending on terms and cost of the house.

When you rent to own you’ll also be required to pay a down payment, which is between 2%-5% of the loan, so plan to put down at least $500 up to $3,000 as your down payment.  This number is often negotiable and can be worked out, but the more you can put down the better.

Tiny House Mortgage Calculator

Tiny House Mortgage Calculator

To get an estimate of your future tiny house that you’re going to mortgage or rent-to-own, you can use this mortgage calculator to get a rough idea of what you’re going to be paying for monthly.

For interest rates, figure 1 to 2 points higher than the going mortgage rate because tiny house loans often come with terms above market.  Also consider a shorter term for the loan: 5 year, 10 year and 15 year are most common, while most places won’t do more than 20 years and that’s rare.

Rent To Own Tiny House Shells

Rent To Own Tiny House Shells

A tiny house shell is another really great way to save even more money.  A shell is simply all the exterior elements (roof, siding, windows, and doors) built on a trailer.

I recommend tiny house shells to people who don’t have much building experience because it lets all the really important parts be built by a professional tiny house on wheels builder, but not going through the expense of all the interior work which really should be customized to your needs.

About a third of the labor that goes into building a tiny house on wheels is in the shell, while the bulk of the time spent on building goes into the last steps of finishing the inside.

Buying a tiny house that is already built can be tricky because if it isn’t designed for you, then it won’t meet your needs and you’ll be looking to move out.  So make sure you know the layout that you need to enjoy life and meet all your day to day needs.

tiny house shells

Tiny House Builders That Offer Finance

Tiny House Builders That Offer Financing

At the time of writing this post there are several tiny house builders who do financing.  It should be noted I make no claims on their craftsmanship, business practices and this shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement.

Whatever you do, it’s important to get a contract with a tiny house builder.  This is very much buyer beware as I’ve seen many less than honest builders.

How To Find A Used Tiny House For Sale

How To Find A Used Tiny House For Sale

Another option is to find a house that is second hand.  You can save a lot of money this way and since tiny houses are often difficult to sell, you could find a seller that will consider a lease to own arrangement.

This is really a win win for people because you can get a house that’s very affordable, below market value often, and get it on a rent to own lease.  For the seller they may have struggled to sell the house and they’re able to sell the house if it’s been sitting on the market for a long time.

Make sure you do your homework on the house before you buy it.  Get a home inspection, check to make sure they have a full title and their ID matches the name on that title, and finally request all the documentation they have for you to review. Even if you aren’t going to be doing any construction yourself, it’s really good to know how to build a tiny house, because if you understand the process, you can spot where people built the used house incorrectly.

Buying a used tiny house isn’t for the faint of heart, but you can find such amazing deals that it’s a really attractive option in my book.

united states tiny house guide

Rent To Own Storage Buildings

Rent To Own Storage Buildings

A storage building or shed can be another option you should consider.  For many of the same reasons as the tiny house shell, a storage shed is pretty similar.  The added benefit is most storage building companies very commonly do monthly payment.  Typically they have terms of 36 months (3 years) and require between $300-$1,000 down payment.

This is another great option because you can quickly get finishing the inside and start living in a shed.  These storage buildings are commonly available, a quick search shows I have over 30 companies that build and sell these in my city alone!

The one downside is that they aren’t as mobile, but they still can be moved on a flat bed or many tow trucks with beds.  Realistically this is a great option for people.

Renting Land For Your THOW

Renting Land For Your THOW

Getting a tiny house is just one part of the puzzle, you also need a place to put it!

Some things to consider when it comes to finding a place to park your tiny house is what access do you have to the property, you need a big enough space to get it on the property.  What utilities are available or included with the rental?  Where will you park your daily driving car once you live there? How will you get mail, host guest and dispose of trash?

There is a lot that goes into setting up land for a tiny house, so do your homework.

To find places to park your tiny house on wheels you should check out my article about how to find land for a tiny house post.


Tiny Home Rent To Own FAQs

Tiny Home Rent To Own FAQs

Is It Good To Rent To Own?

Rent to own is one option out of many when it comes to buying a tiny house, it really depends on your financial history and budget.  For many people there is simply no other way that they could rent.

For some it’s because they have bad credit, others can only afford so much, for some they want a smaller monthly payment.  The one downside to rent to own is you’ll typically end up paying more for the same house over the long term because it’s seen as a riskier loan to make.

Is Rent To Own Cheaper Than Renting?

At this point I’d say yes, mainly because it’s hard to find a tiny house that is done as a rental with the exception of those run as a hotel which carry a high cost per night.

What If I Miss Payments On My Lease?

Depending on your lease agreement, you could be at risk to loose it all, including your down payment.  Different lease terms stipulate different things, so know what you’re signing and make sure you understand what you’re getting into.  Always make sure you keep 3-6 months expenses saved in case of job loss so you’ll never be in that position.

Can You Rent To Own With Bad Credit?

In many cases yes, but not always.  A rent to own agreement is treated like a loan and credit scores are used to asses your financial fitness to repay that loan.  Those with bad credit should expect to have to put down more money and pay a higher interest rate on the lease.

Who Pays Maintenance During The Lease?

In most cases the person who is renting to own (the one living in it) pays for all repairs and upgrades.  Different agreements will stipulate different things, but typically it’s on you.  Any upgrades and repairs typically aren’t factored into payments and if you end up walking away, you loose all that money you put in.

design and build bundle

Your Turn!

  • What are your plans to live in a tiny house?
  • How are you planning on funding your tiny house?

 

My No Spend Challenge: How I Bought Nothing for Six Months

My No Spend Challenge: How I Bought Nothing for Six Months

This year I decided to take on a personal no spend challenge. I wanted to see if I could buy nothing for an entire year. Six months in, I’ve been successful (and learned a few lessons too).

As I’ve shared my story with friends and blog readers, many of you have asked how to take on a no spend challenge. In our world of buy, buy, buy, where almost anything is available instantly at the click of a button, a year without spending sounds daunting at first.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I could handle the challenge either. Even though I live in a tiny house and follow a mostly minimalist lifestyle, the thought of buying absolutely nothing for a year seemed tough. Now that I’ve been going on the challenge for six months, I must admit, it becomes easier when you start. It was a simple matter of setting up rules and then shifting my mindset. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying nothing in my first 6 months.

Why Try to Buy Nothing?

One of the first questions I get about the no spend challenge is “why?” To be honest, answering the question of “why” was a big part of the process to taking on a year without spending.

What it comes down to is, the no spend challenge isn’t meant to stop people from spending money because it’s somehow bad or wrong to buy what you want. There’s nothing wrong with shopping in itself.

When buying becomes a problem is when we spend money we don’t have on items we don’t need. It’s an issue when we buy items and tell ourselves little stories that aren’t true to justify our purchases. We expect our purchases to bring us happiness, friends, freedom, or other rewards they can’t possibly deliver. Ultimately, we end up less happy because those stories we told ourselves don’t come true and spending now detracts from our long-term goals in the future.

Personally, I have a lot of goals I’m working toward. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving those goals was money.

Spending money on extraneous items was causing me to delay accomplishing my biggest goals. It was creating a barrier to the big dreams I wanted to achieve. Once I realized my “why,” keeping myself focused on my no spend challenge has been much easier. No way am I going to pass up my big dreams for a temporary fix. Spending money now in lieu of a bigger, better future, isn’t worth it.

My No Spend Challenge Rules

I’m not a huge fan of rules, to be honest. In fact, one of the only rules I follow is that it’s a good idea to question everything (including the rules). I apply this “guideline” to my minimalist approach to work, as well as organizing my house.

Still, when it came to the challenge, I wanted to set up guidelines and parameters. Plus, I’m a stickler for semantics so I wanted to clearly define the rules, so I couldn’t exploit any loopholes. So, these are the no spend challenge rules I decided to follow:

1. Food Is Fair Game

Everyone needs to eat and I’m nowhere close to growing my own food at the moment, so realistically food was a necessary expense. As part of the no spend challenge I cut out all fast food and only allow myself to eat out at “sit down restaurants,” on special occasions. This means I’ve cooked a lot more.

2. Everyday Consumables Are Allowed

Consumable products were another necessity–like toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, soap and other similar items that get used up over time. To make sure I didn’t find a way to exploit this no spend rule, I created an “inventory” before I started. I only allowed myself to keep those items and not add to the inventory list. These household items are super basic and have been reduced to only products I use every day.

3. Medical Items Are Allowed

If I need a prescription or an item recommended by my doctor, I can get it. I limited this to only the directions of my doctor. As a rule, this situation hasn’t yet come up, because I’ve stayed healthy. Still, health is too important to not add this caveat.

4. Only Buy What You Need, When You Need It

When an above-mentioned consumable or food is gone, I buy a replacement. This no spend rule stopped me buying items I don’t use. For consumables I use frequently or go through quickly, I set a number I’m allowed to store in my “inventory.” The rule is I can maintain my inventory numbers, but never go beyond them.

5. Fix First, Replace Second

All I really have in my house are the basics, which means if something breaks, I really need it. So, I said I had to first try to fix it, then if I couldn’t I could replace it. So far, I’ve only had to replace one thing that couldn’t be fixed.

6. Only Digital Version Of Books

I love reading and do a lot of it. One of my main goals is reading two books a month, minimum. So to do this I chose Audible audiobooks downloaded to my phone. In cases where I want a physical book, I’ve started using the library

7. Gifts For Other People

In some situations, it’s necessary to get gifts for other people. In many cases, I prioritize giving experiences over things. When a birthday or special occasion comes around, I may choose to take someone out to dinner, go to an event, take a trip, or another gift that doesn’t involve buying more “things.”

Six months into my no spend challenge, the only item I’ve purchased (besides food and shampoo) was a new bathmat. Unfortunately, the one I had mildewed and became grungy. After washing the grimy mat (following rule the fifth rule), I decided it needed replacing. When I did replace it, I bought a quality mat and threw out the old one. In six months, only spending $20 on a bathmat is a purchase I can definitely live with, so I still consider the no spend challenge a success so far.

6 Lessons You Need to Succeed at the No Spend Challenge

There are six practical lessons I’ve learned from taking on the no spend challenge. As I work toward a year without spending, these lessons have helped me more successful.

Better yet, these lessons will still apply even after the challenge is up. I would say, even if you don’t plan on taking the no spend challenge for a full year or if you set different parameters for yourself or your family, you will still benefit from applying these minimalist lessons every time you purchase.

If you want to buy less, take on a year without spending, or save money and make wiser purchases, use these 6 lessons to guide you.

1. Start with “Why” Before You Buy

As I mentioned before, when I discovered my “why,” taking on the no spend challenge became much easier. It’s the whole “keep your eye on the prize” mentality. If there are bigger goals you want to achieve, focus on the deeper purpose.

Purpose will keep you on track and give you direction. Again, the no spend challenge isn’t about getting people to stop buying for a year because buying is bad. It’s about implementing plans and purchases to ultimately make your life better. If an item doesn’t make your life better or move you toward your larger purpose, then it’s probably not worth the money.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to take on a no spend challenge?
  • What are my larger goals?
  • Why will this challenge move me toward the goals I want to achieve?

Once you’ve discovered those answers, the rest is easier!

2. Do You Have the Money?

Perhaps the most obvious and easiest question to ask is one we often overlook. Especially with credit and “buy now, pay later,” promotions, it’s easy to live beyond our means. When it comes down to making a purchase—any purchase from a steak dinner vs. ramen noodles—as yourself if you can really afford it.

If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. Plain and simple. If you’re facing a need you can’t afford, look at the other areas where you spend beyond your means. Are you renting a space that costs more than you can afford? It may be time to move. Does your car payment eat up your budget each month? It may be time to trade in for a cheaper vehicle.

A world of credit has skewed our view on what we can and can’t afford. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the money, don’t buy. It’s that simple.

3. Delay Your Gratification

When you’ve convinced yourself there’s a need to purchase something, add it to your list and wait until the next trip to the store. If you’re shopping and you see an item you want to buy (not on the list), wait until your next trip. The majority of the time the urge to buy will pass before you go back to the store.

This approach works really well with online shopping too. Whenever you want an item, add it to your cart and leave it there. Then the next time you shop, if you still want the item it’s there and ready. Chances are, you’ll find a solution to your problem without spending or you’ll discover you didn’t need the item as much as you thought you did. Waiting helps those who struggle with impulse purchases.  After doing this constantly for 6 months it’s amazing to me how often I find I don’t want something, it’s very eye-opening for a person who didn’t buy a lot to begin with.

4. Ask Yourself What You’re Actually Buying

We buy food because we need to eat. We have a biological imperative to get food. For the majority of our other purchases—clothes, decorations, exercise equipment, appliances—we buy because we’re purchasing an ideal or concept.

When you buy a piece of exercise equipment, it’s not simply because you LOVE to exercise, it’s because you want to get the end result: a healthy, fit body, more energy, lower blood pressure, and so on. You’re buying the equipment because you believe the purchase will give you the outcome you desire.

When you decide to purchase, ask yourself: What am I really buying? What do I hope to gain from this purchase? Will my actions result in the desired outcome or am I just telling myself it will?

We should always look at the stories we’re telling ourselves and the narrative we’re inserting into the purchase. I’ve seen this with people who buy RVs, only to find they wish they’d tested it out first. It turns out they aren’t really “RV people” and now they’ve made a huge purchase that’s hard to undo.

On a smaller scale, I ran into this myself last year when I bought a blender (before I took on the no spend challenge). I looked at the $500+ Vitamix blenders because I like to purchase the highest quality when possible. Looking at the price tag, I decided to opt for a $16 blender at Wal-Mart, telling myself if I used it consistently for three months, I’d splurge on the Vitamix.

Well, after a few weeks of smoothies, I discovered I don’t actually like smoothies all that much. They’re okay, but not $500-blender-level okay. By delaying my gratification and not buying the narrative that the new blender was going to convert me into a “smoothie person,” I saved myself $484.

5. Ask How Else Can You Achieve the Purpose

If there’s an item you want or need, such as clothing, books or tools, ask yourself if there’s another way to achieve the same outcome. Figure out how not to spend money, but still get what you need. Could you borrow the item from a friend? Could you somehow find a workaround to achieve the same results?

Oftentimes we purchase before we really explore alternatives. If there’s a book you want, chances are, you could find it at the library. The same goes for movies you want to see and music you want to listen to. For most tools, you can find rental options through home improvement stores.

Other items, such as clothing, appliances, and dishes are found for less at second-hand stores. You may even check Craigslist or neighborhood exchange pages to find the item for free. Barter and trade with others to get what you need without spending. Learn to create: cook, grow a garden, teach yourself to sew and do small repairs.

When we focus on the desired outcome, we may find many means to an end. A treadmill may seem to solve our desire to get in shape, but could you start going for regular walks instead? Is there an indoor track somewhere you could use for free? In the longer term, would a gym membership cost less and end up taking up less space than a treadmill? Simply buying an item won’t give you the end result you want, so you have to put in the effort. Could you get in shape without spending?

6. Ask: What Will This Purchase Replace?

In minimalism, many of us embrace the “one-in, one-out” rule. This, of course, is vital if you live in a small space. But, even if you have extra room, applying this rule will help you minimize clutter and keep excess stuff from taking over your space. Whenever you buy an item, ask yourself what you’re going to toss out to create room.

If you buy a new shirt, let go of your oldest one. New sneakers? Toss out your old smelly ones. New bathmat? Replace the mildewed one (which was the whole need for buying a new bathmat in the first place).

Don’t let yourself hold onto items that end up cluttering up your life and taking up your valuable space. Taking on a year of buying nothing will help you reprioritize and realize what really matters. What items do you buy “just to buy” and what items do you really need?

As you pare down and prioritize, you’ll discover there’s simplicity and beauty in maintaining the number of items you own. If you decide to purchase something new, toss out something old. Be sure the items you hold onto are what you actually need and enjoy—the items that make your life better and move you toward your bigger goals.

A year of buying nothing is a tough challenge, but not as tough as it may seem at first. Once you go through the process of trying a no spend challenge, you’ll be amazed at how your priorities shift. You may suddenly gain several hours a week you used to go shopping, you can now spend cooking a good meal, taking the time with your family, or going for a walk. You’ll move closer to your financial goals and build momentum to keep going.

I look forward to sharing more about how my year of buying nothing is going. I’d like to hear how you’re doing with your no spend challenge, too.

Your turn!

  • Have you taken on the no spend challenge?
  • What’s the longest you’ve gone without making a purchase?
  • What stories have you told yourself when you bought something you didn’t need?