Posts Tagged Tiny Home

Tiny House Storage Ideas That Make The Most Of A Small Space

Tiny House Storage Ideas That Make The Most Of A Small Space

tiny house storage ideasLiving in a tiny house means you need to take advantage of every square inch for your tiny house storage needs. Having a solid plan for storage and organization in a small home is key. So today, I wanted to share some clever tiny house storage ideas for organizing your own home.

NAVIGATION

storage tipsStorage Tipsstorage ideasStorage Ideasstorage hacksStorage HacksbookshelvesBook Storagecloset storageClosets

Tips For Storage In A Tiny Home

Tips For Storage In A Tiny Home

Take it from me, having lived in 150 square feet for close to a decade, it isn’t just a matter of clever ideas — you need to shift your way of thinking too. Spaces like this are just too small to not have a plan and if you don’t seriously adjust your relationship with your possessions, it’s not going to work.

Come To Terms With Your Possessions and Buying Habits

Come To Terms With Your Possessions and Buying Habits

In a consumerist world, it can seem like it’s normal to buy things, but over 80% of everything we buy will never be used after 6 months. Even today, I catch myself buying things I don’t really need. A really helpful exercise was doing a no-spend challenge, which I was crazy enough to do for a whole year. You might consider trying for a month to start.

Stop Things From Coming Into Your Home

Stop Things From Coming Into Your Home

Before you organize you need to declutter, and before you declutter, you need to stop buying new stuff. It’s really simple: if you get your tiny home nice and tidy, but keep bringing new things in, you’ll never be organized.

how to stop shopping

Declutter Before You Organize

Declutter Before You Organize

Many people’s response to a messy space is to try to better organize the things they have; this is common and also the wrong approach. You want to first reduce the number of items you have, then organize what is left. Too often organizing makes a lot of clutter tidy, but doesn’t deal with the fact we have too much stuff to begin with.

Design Your Tiny House Storage To Suit Your Stuff

Design Your Tiny House Storage To Suit Your Stuff

It can be hard to conceive of this, but you want to figure out exactly what you’re going to have in your tiny house down to the very last fork. When I built my own tiny home, I actually staged all of the possessions I was taking with me into my tiny home in a spare bedroom. This allowed me to define what I needed to store, then build my storage around those needs.

When I built my kitchen, I custom built my cabinets around the can sizes of the food I buy. When I built my clothes closet, I built the drawers around the dimension of how I liked to fold my shirts. All of my storage was meticulously planned.

designing yout dream tiny home

Tiny House Storage Ideas

Tiny House Storage Ideas

Once you’ve figured out what you need to store in your tiny house, it’s time to get some storage ideas for your tiny home. Think about what you need to store, where you’ll want it located and how often you’ll need to access it. A rule of thumb is to keep items you use the most accessible and near where you’ll need it most.

Tiny House Stairs With Storage

Tiny House Stairs With Storage

The stairs in your tiny house are an obvious place to pack a lot of storage into. If you’re forgoing the ladder to access your loft, stairs are nice but they take up a lot of space. Tiny house stairs with storage built in is a great way to maximize this square footage.

Stairs With Storage in a tiny house
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tiny house stairs

Tiny House Under Floor Storage

Tiny House Under Floor Storage

You can create a lot of extra storage space if you tap into unused space under your floor. In-floor storage systems can give you a great place to store tall or long items that wouldn’t otherwise be able to fit in a normal cabinet. Storing items like skis, fishing poles, snowboards, brooms, ironing boards, and other long items are perfect for these out of the way spaces that you don’t need all the time. You can access these with large hatches or have roll-out under floor storage drawers to get at things more easily.

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Hidden Ceiling Storage Options For Tiny Houses

Hidden Ceiling Storage Options For Tiny Houses

Making space in your ceiling between the rafters is a great way to use space that is often untapped. I did this by building in some shelving for my dishes that let me tuck things out of the way. Here are some options for storage that can drop down.

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Bench Seat Storage Ideas For Tiny Homes

Bench Seat Storage Ideas For Tiny Homes

Bench seats are a great place to pack a lot of storage into your tiny home and maximize space. Having a kitchen table with a built-in bench seat that opens up for storage is good for things that you don’t use that often, but still need to keep around. This is also a great place to store longer items like brooms, skis, snowboards, mops, fishing poles, etc.

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Fold-Down Tables And Pull-Out Counters

Fold-Down Tables And Pull-Out Counters

In a small kitchen or work space, you might need some extra surface area in a pinch. For this, consider a kitchen table that folds flat or a desk that tucks away when not in use. Fold-down tables and desk are ideal for making the most of your space.

fold down table in tiny house
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pull out kitchen counter in tiny house

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Shoe Storage And Clothes Closet For A Tiny House

Shoe Storage And Clothes Closet For A Tiny House

One thing that I forgot about when I built my tiny house was where I should put my shoes when I take them off. I don’t have many shoes in my minimalist wardrobe, but I do have a few pairs that I need to tuck away.

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Tiny House Storage Hacks

Tiny House Storage Hacks
Here are some great ways to get just a little more storage out of your tiny house with simple tips and storage hacks.

Wall Storage Get Items Off Your Surfaces

Wall Storage Get Items Off Your Surfaces

I always say that everything in your house needs a place and everything should be in its place. If you find things cluttering up your surfaces like counters and tables, it’s most likely because it doesn’t have a proper home. One way to give it a home is by using wall storage.

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Get Custom Storage Solutions

Get Custom Storage Solutions

There is a whole host of items on Etsy that can help you get organized with your everyday items. Keep your drawers tidy with custom-made drawer organizers, special holders, and dividers.

kitchen drawer storage dividers
custom storage solution using colored baggies
custom under desk storage solution

 

Get Things Off The Floor With French Cleats

Get Things Off The Floor With French Cleats

You can make it easier to clean your tiny house when things aren’t sitting on the floor itself. French cleats are a great way to securely mount storage on your wall and keep your floor space clear.

hanging a storage cabinet with a french cleat
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Have A Landing Pad

Have A Landing Pad

A landing pad is a space right inside your door to keep important items like your keys, wallets, mail, and jackets. This is a great way to manage often misplaced items because most of us don’t have a designated spot to drop these things.

landing pad for keys and coats
landing pad for coats keys and shoes
place for hanging keys
coat hanger near front door
space to place keys by door
key hanger and shelf by door

 

Use Storage Walls Or Storage Partitions In Your Tiny Home

Use Storage Walls Or Storage Partitions In Your Tiny Home

A storage wall can be great to add additional space to keep things while becoming a partition between spaces or an accent piece in its own right. Consider how you can use storage to define the spaces in your tiny home.

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Add Storage Up High

Add Storage Up High

Take advantage of vertical space to maximize your storage. Make yours closets tall, add open shelves up high, and put shelves or cabinets in places you have extra space like above doors, below stairs, and more.

storage up high in a tiny house
high up storage in a tiny house

Free Up Space with Pocket Doors

Free Up Space with Pocket Doors

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can save a lot of space by having pocket doors instead of traditional swinging doors. A pocket door will typically fit right inside normal 2×4 framing, but you have to make sure there aren’t any pipes, wires, or other things that will get in the way of the door cavity.

tiny house pocket door

Double Up On Beds With Tiny House Bunk Beds

Double Up On Beds With Tiny House Bunk Beds

Bunk beds for kids in a tiny house is another way to get more sleeping space. Using a ladder to access the top bunk will take up less space but might not be as convenient, where as steps are much easier, but take up a lot more space. If you go with steps, be sure to utilize the space underneath for additional storage.

tiny house bunk beds
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Hide Your TV

Hide Your TV

I did this in my tiny home because I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies. I think it also signals something to the people who live in a tiny house, because a TV can too easily become the focal point of the room. I always try to have a TV option that is available to use when needed, but hidden when not in use. Projectors or drop-down flat panels are a great option for this. I’ve even seen barn doors that slide to hide the TV when not in use.

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Have A Pull-Out Sink In Your Tiny Home

Have A Pull-Out Sink In Your Tiny Home

The plumbing on this might be tricky for your drain, but a sink is something you definitely need in your space, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Having your sink in a drawer means it’s there when you need it, but otherwise it tucks away to free up space.

pull out sink in tiny house
tiny house plumbing

Tiny House Bookshelves And Reading Nooks

Tiny House Bookshelves And Reading Nooks

If there is one thing I know about tiny house folks, it’s that they are book lovers — people are always looking for ways to have book storage in their tiny home. Whether it’s a simple bookcase, built in bookshelves, or a whole reading nook or library, people want a place for their books in a tiny house.

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Tiny House Closet Ideas

Tiny House Closet Ideas

Depending on your style you might have a big closet. I personally wear a minimalist uniform and left the corporate world so I no longer have to store work clothes. Building a clothes closet into your tiny house that suits you is important to making your tiny home practical for day-to-day living.

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Tiny House Elevator Beds And Murphy Beds

Tiny House Elevator Beds And Murphy Beds

One idea that is constantly being thrown around is elevator beds that lift up into the ceiling when not in use. Murphy beds are another popular and practical tiny house bed option when you don’t have a lot of space.

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Other Tiny House Storage Ideas

Other Tiny House Storage Ideas

If you’re looking for more storage ideas to build into your tiny home, here are a few to help maximize your space.

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Your Turn!

  • What storage ideas are you going to put in your tiny house?

Off-Grid Internet: How I Get Wi-Fi In My Tiny House

Off-Grid Internet: How I Get Wi-Fi In My Tiny House

off grid internet for a tiny house or homestead

NAVIGATION

data requirementsData Requirementsoff grid internet optionsOff Grid Optionscell phone repeatersCell Phone Repeatersinternet availabilityInternet Availability

In a world that does so much online these days, having an off grid internet option for my tiny house was a must. My entire job is remote and online, so having off grid Wi-Fi in my tiny house that’s off the grid was a non-negotiable for me. I know many people are wanting to work from home in a tiny house or on a homestead in a rural location, so here’s how I got internet in my tiny house while off the grid.

Estimating Your Data And Speed Requirements

Estimating Your Data And Speed Requirements

A good place to start is to understand what you actually need out of your internet connection. This comes down to a few key numbers:

  • Connection type
  • Download speed
  • Upload Speed
  • Latency
  • Data usage

Connection Type

internet connection type

One the largest determining factors on how fast a connection is, how it performs, and its reliability is what type of connection it is. The list below is in order of how well it will perform, from best to worst.

types of internet connections

FIBER INTERNET: Fastest connection type, uses light through fiber optic.

CABLE INTERNET: Uses cable TV, tops out at 100-300 mbps

DSL INTERNET: Faster than dial up, slower than cable.

SATELLITE INTERNET: Uses a satellite dish. Like DSL but feels slower due to latency.

DAIL-UP INTERNET: Slowest connection. This is basically obsolete.

Off Grid Internet Download Speeds

Off Grid Internet Download Speeds

How fast you can download files is most of what we do when we’re using the internet. In general, you’re going to want at least 2 megabytes per second (mbps) at the very minimum. It’s important to note that many internet companies will sell plans of estimated speed or “up to” speeds, but the daily reality is often much less.

For instance, a cable ISP will sell a plan for a 50 mbps speeds, but you’ll typically see between 5 and 10 mbps at any given time, with the ability to spike higher if you are pulling down larger files.

In general, you’ll want speeds in these ranges for different types of internet usage:

0-5 MBPS 5-40 MBPS 40-100 MBPS 100-500 MBPS 500-1000+ MBPS
Checking Email Streaming video Streaming HD Streaming UHD All Uses
Streaming music Video calling Online gaming Fast Downloads
Web Surfing Simple Gaming Large Downloads Best For Gaming

Off Grid Internet Upload Speeds

Off Grid Internet Upload Speeds

Uploading speeds are often an overlooked metric and if you’re a professional that needs to move large files up into the cloud, push something to a server, or other work with large files, you’re going to want to pay attention to this.

If you’re a casual user that will do some web surfing and sending emails, an upload speed of 2-4 mbps for attaching small files to the internet and other upload tasks is sufficient. If you’re going to do any online gaming, you’ll want 5+ mbps (with a very low latency). Finally, if you’re a creative professional that needs to move large files, 5+ mbps is good, but you want as much as you can get.

Latency With Off Grid Internet Solutions

Latency With Off Grid Internet Solutions

This gets a bit into the technical side that most don’t concern themselves with, but latency is a measure of how much time it takes for your computer to send signals to a server and then receive a response back. You ideally want this to be as low as possible, but it can never be zero.

Anything under 100 milliseconds (ms) is considered “acceptable,” but you generally want to have it be somewhere between 20 and 40 ms, particularly for gaming or video calls.

Data Usage While Living Off The Grid

Data Usage While Living Off The Grid

Data usage is just how much data you use, often measured in megabytes (mb) or gigabytes (gb). When I do my daily work, I’m most often surfing the web, writing emails, or using web-based apps. Very little of my day-to-day work involves video—I either use phone calls or voice-only Zoom or Skype calls.

For that kind of work, 2-3 gigs per month is more than enough for my use. When I get into streaming videos, like watching YouTube or Netflix, my data usage balloons to a lot more.

Netflix Hulu Disney+ Amazon Youtube
Low 0.3 .65 0.7 0.8 0.3
SD 0.7 1.3 1.3 1.4 0.5
HD 3.0 2.7 2.0 2.0 1.5
UHD 7.0 7.2 7.7 6.0 3.0

All numbers are Gigabytes per hour.

Off Grid Internet Options

Off Grid Internet Options

In a world that does so much online these days, having an off grid internet option for my tiny house was a must.

When I moved off grid for the first time close to a decade ago, the land I was on was pretty close to the city. But because of the size of the land, local internet service providers wouldn’t run cable internet out to me. I’ve since moved out to the country and getting internet on rural land is even more difficult.

Rural Internet Service Providers

Rural Internet Service Providers

The good news is that there are quite a few initiatives connecting rural communities to internet because it can open up so much economic opportunity for working remotely, online education, and much more. In a weird twist of fate, it looks like my town in the mountains will get fiber internet before I could get it in the big city, because if a municipality is going to install internet infrastructure, it’s almost the same cost to put in fiber vs cable or DSL.

I wanted to start here because I think it’s important to bring some attention to the fact that the US Government makes funds available to rural communities for internet infrastructure build outs. In many cases, a town can apply to start their own internet service as a utility. These programs have seen a lot of success for towns that decide to pursue it. If your local government hasn’t already pursued this, take some time to discuss it with your elected officials.

Projects like this can take years to come to fruition, but you can start the process and shape the future of your town while relying on some of the below options for off grid Wi-Fi.

Starlink – Elon Musk’s Satellite Internet

Starlink satellite internet

150+ MBPS download 25+ MBPS upload 20-40 ms latency $99 per month

We are about to enter a golden age of off grid internet connectivity, and with recent COVID concerns, we are finding more and more employers are allowing people to work remotely. Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet is a major step forward to that end.

At the time of writing this, there are 485,000 concurrent users of Starlink and the initial real-world tests are very impressive considering there are only 1,000 satellites of the 12,000 satellites planned to be placed in orbit. People are consistently getting over 100 megabytes per second while downloading and at least 25 megabytes per second in upload speeds. Those numbers are not company reported, but what actual end users are seeing during their daily use.

pro tipStarlink’s dish uses a small heater to keep snow and ice off the face. The heater and dish can use about 150 watts maximum, with an average power of 100 watts continuous when it’s cold out. If you’re living on solar with battery backup, you’ll want an extra 366 amp / hour in your batteries to cover this.

Starlink’s dish uses a small heater to keep snow and ice off the face. The heater and dish can use about 150 watts maximum, with an average power of 100 watts continuous when it’s cold out. If you’re living on solar with battery backup, you’ll want an extra 366 amp / hour in your batteries to cover this.

This is all possible because Musk owns not only the satellites, but the rockets to deploy them en masse as well. And because of his reusable boosters, he can deliver those satellites for 10% of the cost of other competitors.

From talking with people about their Starlink experience, I’ve only heard resounding praise from people. They note that it was pretty easy to setup, connection was done via their phone, and their internet is very fast. The service charges a $499 setup fee which includes all your hardware, then $99 a month from there.

At this time, there isn’t any data cap, which will be something I’d watch closely for in the future. While fast speeds are key, having data limits would be a major blow to what might otherwise be the perfect solution.

Project Kuiper – Amazon’s Satellite Internet

Amazon Satellite Internet

150+ MBPS download 25+ MBPS upload 20-40 ms latency TBD per month

I wanted to include this so people are aware of this option in the future and I’ll update it as more info becomes available. While details are very sparce now, we expect that Jeff Bezos’ satellite internet provider will be pretty similar in performance and specs to Starlink with one major exception.

Right now, they are aiming for around 3,336 satellites, which is about 65% less that what Starlink will have. At this point I’m speculating, but I’d assume that they’re going to first focus on the US regions and China, and then later Europe and South America. They may back off of China given that their government is already making statements against these options as it would allow citizens to have internet access outside the Chinese government’s control.

At some point, it becomes a math problem of too many people per satellite, but what it will do is bring competition to the satellite internet space. That usually is a good thing for us as the consumer.

Cell Phone Hot Spots – Verizon, AT&T, T Mobile, Sprint

Cell Phone Hot Spots

15+ MBPS download 2+ MBPS upload 50-70 ms latency $40-$60 for 5 GB per month

The next most practical manner I’ve found is hot spotting using my cell phone. Right now, I have a 15-gig limit on my cell phone hot spot through Verizon. When combined with my unlimited internet on my phone plus calls and texts, it costs me $85 per month.

The one major downside that I find is that the signal disconnects from my computer every so often, so I have to reset it. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s not like the “always on” connection that we’re used to with other traditional sources. I find that if I stop using my computer and it goes into sleep mode or isn’t active for a while, I have to reset it.

The biggest downside to this frequent disconnection is that I can’t use it with security cameras, on an Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or to monitor my solar power with my array data tracking interface. All of these applications will work at first, but at some point, something will trigger it to disconnect and unless you’re there in person to re-initialize it, you’re stuck.

This was a major road block when I wanted to set up some remote cameras on my land to monitor things while I wasn’t there. The internet connection would inevitably reset and I’d lose my video feed without being physically present to fix it.

pro tipWhen searching for rural land, bring along pre-paid sim cards for the different cell phone carriers. When you’re actually on the land you’re considering, take the time to test each carrier on that specific parcel where you think your house will be located.

By in large, I’ve found that Verizon is most expensive, but is often the most reliable and widely accessible. There have been a few times when another network could connect better, but I’ve found from practical experience that Verizon is the best in most circumstances.

Accessing internet through your cell phone has a few major downsides. In most cases, the speeds are adequate, except for video conference calls. I’ve found that when watching Netflix on Verizon, I can watch about 20 hours per month on my hot spot with the 15 gig per month plan. Keep in mind that general surfing and email uses very little data, and if I was just doing that, 2 gigs per month would be all I’d need.

One thing I’ve been doing lately is occasionally going to a coffee shop to work for the day as a change of scenery, and while I’m there, I’ll take advantage of the download feature that Netflix and other services offer This lets me download a few episodes or a movie or two to my device, then later watch them without using any bandwidth. I’ve found this to be a really great way to keep data usage low while still watching the shows I love.

fastest mobile networks in 2020

Other Hot Spots – Karma, Skyroam, etc.

internet hot spots

15+ MBPS download 2+ MBPS upload 50-75 ms latency $50-$70 for 5 GB per month

There is a whole host of third-party companies that make hot spots that either can be used with a major cell phone carrier or on their own network. In general, I have found these to be pretty lack luster. I’ve personally used the Karma hot spot and it was just okay.

In my experience, it’s better to go straight to the sourcewith a major cell phone provider, because third party device makers have to use their signals anyway. There aren’t any features of these third parties that make them stand out from the major carrier’s devices.

Fixed Point To Point Internet

Fixed Point To Point Internet

5+ MBPS download 2+ MBPS upload 20-45 MS latency $75+ per month

There are some cases where an internet provider offers fixed point to point internet service where they have a tower with an antenna on it. If you have a line of sight to their tower, you can usually get internet. I’ve done this with a business I used to run as our backup internet and it worked phenomenally.

pro tipTalk with your local point to point internet provider, as they usually are a smaller mom-and-pop operation that can let you know if you’d be able to connect to their service before you buy any land. You may have to mount the antenna on a tower.

Your speeds will depend on your plan, but in general if you have line of sight, you’ll have a decent connection. If you do a lot of video calls or gaming, this can be a tad slow in terms of latency, but overall this is a great option.

These services tend to have an upfront cost to get connected and for equipment (and possibly the cost of a small tower on your land), and the service will be about $10-$50 more a month than your standard cable provider, but all in all, this is a decent option.

DSL Internet

DSL Internet

1+ MBPS download 500+ KBS upload 20-45 MS latency $50 per month

One possibility in some areas that have a phone connection is DSL, which runs on a wire that looks like a phone cord, but is technically different. This option isn’t great, but it is definitely better than nothing and has the advantage of being more stable than a hot spot connection.

The downside is that it’s much slower than any of the other wired connections. However, if you want to have a remote camera or monitoring for your solar while you’re away (some monitors are also all cloud based), DSL can provide the stability you need. This type of connection is usually pretty affordable and fast enough for basic surfing and emailing.

Hughesnet Satellite Internet

Hughesnet Satellite Internet

2+ MBPS download 200+ KBS upload 100+ MS latency $60 for 10GB per month

Let me make this simple. Don’t use this. I’ve talked to so many people personally who’ve used this and, across the board, said it was one of the worst experiences of their lives. Slow to no connection speeds, spotty, difficult to use, and frustrating customer service.

The data caps seem pretty generous on the surface, but their measurement methodology skews it in their favor and you’ll burn through that very quickly without doing much online. In general, anything with video or gaming is out of the question using Hughesnet Satellite internet. Between the data caps and high latency, this is a non-starter for everyone.

The service also comes with a multi-year contract that they hold people to as a way to lock them in. They know how bad their service is and if it weren’t for the contracts, people would leave.

For more information, read this reddit thread from a former Hughesnet employee, it is very eye opening.

Cell Phone Extenders And Repeaters

Cell Phone Extenders And Repeaters

Many off grid people look to cell phone extenders to get a better signal in their house. It can be the case that outside your home you’ll get okay cell reception, but the second you step inside, your cell phone signal is awful.

People who live in metal-clad houses or barndominiums will frequently have this issue because the metal sheeting on the outside blocks the signal. If you do live in one of these houses and have a good internet connection, a lot of modern cell phones can use Wi-Fi to make the calls instead of a cell phone signal.

That said, I’ve personally tried one cell repeater and it was a very frustrating experience, especially considering that I’m a very tech savvy guy. Talking with others, I have yet to hear of anyone using any of the available options that could get one to work well. In most cases, people couldn’t get the extender at all, and those who did found it to perform so poorly it wasn’t worth it.

Making Sure Your Location Can Get Internet

Making Sure Your Location Can Get Internet

The last point I want to make is a big one: a word of caution. Getting internet is so critical to today’s world that it can be hard to imagine that you might not have a connection. I am all about living a simple life, disconnecting from social media, and living life on your own terms, but I also need to square that with the reality of needing a connection.

I love living simply and I want to make sure that technology is working for me and not the other way around. If you’re looking at living somewhere, buying some remote property, or just setting up on some land without an existing internet connection, proceed with caution.

If you call your local ISP, they may very well say that you’re in their service area, but then later on when you go to set up service tell you they can’t do it. It’s a story I’ve heard many times. If I were to do it all again, I would purchase land and have in the offer letter a contingency that the sale is canceled if internet can’t be established.

In my due diligence stage of buying land, I’d actually have them run the internet connection and power lines out to the site and plug in on the land itself and do a speed test. This may seem extreme and is most certainly unorthodox, but in a world that revolves around internet connectivity, it’s so crucial.

Having access to a high-quality internet connection while living off the grid or in a tiny house enables you to get a big city job that pays well while giving you the low cost and slow pace of the country life. It’s a major tool to you earning a good living and staying connected.

Your Turn!

  • How do you connect to the internet while off grid or in a tiny house?

Tiny House Tools – What I Used To Build My Tiny House

Tiny House Tools – What I Used To Build My Tiny House

Tiny House Tools

ryan tiny house and the tools he used to build itHi, I’m Ryan
I’m often asked about what tiny house tools I used to build my tiny home. Having helped build over 3,000 tiny houses, I’ve learned a few things about what tools you really need and what you don’t. There are some places where you can save money on tools and others where you want to buy the best you can afford.

So, what tools do you need to build a tiny house?


Hand Tool Recommendations For Building A Tiny House

Hand Tool Recommendations For Building A Tiny House

It’s funny how some tools greatly benefit from being powered while other hold their own despite being dead simple. There are a few hands tools that do just that — they get the job done.

Hammer: Estwing E3-16S Hammer

Estwing E3-16S Hammer

There are small cult followings around which hammer brand is the best: Eastwing, Martinez, Craftsman, Irwin. My recommendation is to look for a solid metal or composite handle that feels good in your hands and is around 16 oz. These are pretty commoditized so prices are all affordable. Expect to spend $20 to $40 on a hammer. For that price you’re striking (ha!) a nice balance of good quality without overspending.

The Eastwing E3-16S Hammer sits in the sweet spot of good value and decent quality. For around $25, you can have a good hammer that will serve you well, get the job done, and not cost a whole lot.


Ryan’s Hammer Recommendation:

Vice Grip Pliers: Irwin Locking Grip Vice Grips Set

Irwin Locking Grip Vice Grips Set

Vice grips are my all-time favorite tool. If Ductape and WD-40 are universal go-to tools, vice grips are right behind them. If you’re not familiar, they are essentially pliers that have a cam in them that locks down the jaws to hold the item tightly. You can lock it down and let it go and it will still hold fast.

I’d suggest going with the original brand, which is Irwin, and have at least a large curved jaw and a small curved jaw. These came in handy so many times when building my tiny house, let me tell you.


Ryan’s Vice Grip Recommendation:

Screw Drivers: Craftsman Screwdriver Set

Craftsman Screwdriver Set

Really any name brand will do here. You’ll want a smaller and larger version of both phillips head and flathead. Get something that seems pretty sturdy, feels good in your hand, and isn’t part of some large set. You’re shooting for something that isn’t the cheapest, but one step up. Some of the cheaper sets out there will be made of very low-quality metal and only lead to stripping your screw heads.


Ryan’s Screwdriver Recommendation:

how to build a tiny house

Box Cutter: Metal Body Box Cutter

Metal Body Box Cutter

My suggestion is to look for something that you can change the blade on, has a retractable blade, and has an all metal body. For $5 you can get a decent one, so I’d suggest whatever looks good to you. You may want to consider having a few of these lying around — they’re often sold in multi-packs.

Make sure to pick up some replacement blades.


Ryan’s Box Cutter Recommendation:

Wire Pliers

Wire Pliers

These specialized pliers were something that I didn’t initially think I needed, but as soon as I got into wiring my tiny house I realized my regular pliers weren’t going to cut it. I picked up a pair of purpose built electricians pliers and twisting and stripping wires went much faster.


Ryan’s Pliers Recommendation:

Hand Chisel

hand chisel

These were things that I didn’t use often, but the few times I needed them they were super helpful. I’d get a small set of these for the few times you’ll need to notch out a board, clean up a joint etc.


Ryan’s Hand Chisel Recommendation:

Pry Bar: Estwing 21 Inch Nail Puller

Estwing 21 Inch Nail Puller

There just comes a time when you need to tear something out. You’re most likely a brand new builder, so mistakes happen. This pry bar plus a Sawzall are the solutions to those mistakes more often than not. You really can get any nail puller. It’s just a strong piece of metal that let’s you lever out nails and pull apart boards.


Ryan’s Pry Bar Recommendation:

Pex Water Line Cutters: SharkBite U701 PEX Cutting Tool

SharkBite U701 PEX Cutting Tool

Plumbing often comes with some specialty tools, but using quick fit connectors in your PEX will avoid most of that. The cutters are really important to make sure you cut your PEX cleanly so they seat properly into your fittings. For only $13, you can have a great cutter that will make quick work of your PEX lines.


Ryan’s Pex Cutters Recommendation:


tiny house plumbing

Power Tool Recommendations For Tiny Home Construction

Power Tool Recommendations For Tiny Home Construction

Having the right power tools is critical to getting the job done. A good set will let you make more accurate cuts, prevent your arm from getting tired, and make quick work of things when it comes to building your tiny home.

Impact Driver

Impact Driver

If you’ve never used an impact driver before, let me introduce you to your new best friend. Next to my miter saw, my impact driver was the one power tool I reached for more times than I can count.

If you’ve only used a drill before, an impact driver is similar, but with a lot more torque. A normal drill will have around 400 foot pounds of torque while an impact driver will have around 2,000 foot pounds of torque.

Impact Driver bitsSo what does that even mean? It means that you can drive in screws without pre-drilling holes and you can drive in much larger, structural screws that replace the need for large lag bolts. I’ve been able to drive home 10” high shear screws without any fuss, whereas a normal drill wouldn’t be able to get them an inch in.

Why does this matter? Because with this one tool alone, you’ll cut out the need for pre drilling in all your rough carpentry, meaning 50% less operations. When we’re talking about build a whole house, 50% less operations is a big deal!

My suggestion here is to buy brand new, have at least three batteries, and buy a major brand name. This is a place you want to splurge because you’ll be using this all day, every day. These are often sold as a combo pack with a drill, charger, and two batteries which will get you setup nicely. Plan on spending $200 to $400, and instead of getting the cheapest tiers/price points, I’d suggest buying one or two steps up.

You’ll hear people be dogmatic about their brand, but if you buy DeWalt, Milwaukee, or Makita, you really can’t go wrong. It’s often best to stick within one brand for battery-powered tools so you can share your batteries among them.


Ryan’s Driver Recommendation:

Battery Powered Drill

cordless drill

A drill is another really great power tool to have. Like I said above, you’ll be using your impact driver a lot, but a drill comes in handy for drilling holes, which you’ll later sink a screw into with your impact driver.

Drills also have a smoother, more consistent spin to them, making drilling holes with a bit much easier. Think of a drill as the tool for drilling holes into wood, while impact drivers are used exclusively for driving screws into wood.

Having two tools — a drill and an impact driver — means you can pre-drill a hole when needed and then without changing bits, drive the screw in. This will speed your work up a lot and is just plain convenient.

My suggestion is to figure out what impact driver you want, then look for a combo kit that includes both the impact driver and drill. The drill included will be pretty evenly matched in quality and the kit should include both tools, a bag/case, a charger, and often two batteries.


Ryan’s Drill Recommendation:

Power Tool Batteries and Chargers

cordless drill batteries

Extra power tool batteries are usually pretty expensive, but having a good battery is key. When it comes to NiCad vs. Lithium Ion, Lithium Ion is the way to go for weight, performance and it’s ability to hold a charge. There are many brands with cult followings, but any of the major brands will suit your needs. If you don’t know, these batteries use a proprietary connector, so you’ll have to use the same brand of batteries that your power tools are.

The cheapest way to get batteries is when you buy them as part of a kit. I will often figure out what tool I want, then go find it in a combo. Tools sold as a “bare tool” or in these combos typically include a case and extra batteries.

My suggestion is to have three batteries between your drill and impact driver. This allows you to have a battery in each tool and a third on the charger at all times. Again, this just helps you be efficient in your work. You’ll also make your life easier if all your tools can fit any of your batteries (e.g. the same brand).

For my tiny house build I found that the charger included with the drill and impact driver was enough for my needs. They do sell multi chargers, but I found that if I had one in my drill and the other on the charger I never ran out.

Driver Bits

Driver Bits

While you’re at it, pick up some impact driver bits. These are a little bit higher quality than standard bits because of how much more force is involved. These use a universal connector, so for the bits, any brand will fit in any other brand’s impact driver. If you’d like a suggestion, I’d get a set of 2” long ones for every day (like these 2” impact driver bits) and then a few longer ones (like these 6” bits) to have on hand. I also like to use screws with a Robertson (aka square) drive for less slippage, so if you use those, here is a good option for Robertson driver bits.

The last thing to know is that branded bit sets come in boxes that will neatly store in the tool’s case, so I bought this driver bit set and it fits perfectly.


Ryan’s Driver Bits Recommendation:

tiny house building checklist

Drill Bits

Drill Bits

You’re also going to want to have a set of bits for your drill. Many brands make small kits in a nice case that will cover all your needs. Figure spending around $20 to $40 for these sets.

Any brand of drill bits will fit in any drill, but one think to consider is the boxes they come in. If you buy the same brand as your drill, some of them are designed to fit in their own hard cases. For example, this DeWalt bit set fits perfectly in their hard drill cases. It’s a little thing, but it makes it very convenient to fit two tools with batteries, a charger, and a bit set and driver set all in one box.


Ryan’s Drill Bits Recommendation:

Spade Bits

Spade Bits

If you’ve never seen these before, they allow you to make certain size holes from 1/8th of an inch up to around 2 inches. You should really only use these for rough carpentry because they can be hard to control and result in a rough hole.

That said, they are super useful when it comes to running wires or other smaller hole needs where precision isn’t necessarily the goal. For these, I’d get something with good reviews, but you don’t have to spend a lot for your needs.

This budget spade bit set will cost you about $16 that should suit your needs. For myself, I decided to spend a little bit more for a spade bit set that came in nice hard plastic box. I just find that a storage box keeps things organized a bit better as it jostles around in my toolbox.


Ryan’s Spade Bits Recommendation:

Hole Saws

Hole Saws

These are circular saw bits that cut larger holes with your drill. A spade bit is good for making holes up to about 1.5” to 2”, but beyond that you’ll want to have a hole saw. The main use for these is cutting holes for shower and toilet drains in your floor, your mini split passthrough in your side wall, and vent fan wall connections.

They sell some budget versions that come with a lot of different sizes. I just waited until I had a need for one andbought the size I needed. Lenox is the main name brand, but you don’t need to spend a lot here because you’ll only need to cut a few larger holes during your entire build.


Ryan’s Hole Saw Recommendation:

how much does a tiny house cost

Corded Power Tools You’ll Need To Build A Tiny House

Corded Power Tools You Will Need To Build A Tiny House

There are some power tools that I prefer to have in a corded option. While I often like the convenience of cordless, sometimes a corded version gives you more power, although this has been changed a lot in recent years as battery powered tools can actually be more powerful in some cases.

One area I usually opt for the corded version is with any tool I buy for a very specific, one-time use job. For example, my Sawzall, or reciprocating saw, is corded because I rarely use it and the corded version is about 1/3 the price of its equivalent in power and quality cordless cousin.

Miter Saw

Miter Saw

A miter saw or compound miter saw is one of the tools, next to an impact driver, that you’ll use most during your build. It is incredibly useful during your tiny house build and is one place I suggest you dedicate some of your dollars to splurge on.

You’re going to want to stick with a name brand in a size that can easily cut both a 2×10 board and a 4×4 post in a single cut each. If your saw can cover those two things, you’ll be able to do most cuts easily on the saw. Plan to spend $200 to $500 here on a brand new, high-quality miter saw.

These saws come in three main sizes, is the difference being the size in diameters of the blades they use: 7.5”, 10”, and 12”. The smaller 7.5” is fine for weekend warriors or hobbyist, but is too small for the size of the project that is building a whole house. The 10” saws are ideal for 95% of your cuts, especially if the saw is specified to cut the above size lumber. While it can be tempting to get a 12” miter saw, I think it’s mostly unnecessary.

The area I might consider really splurging is on a sliding miter saw. A miter saw built on a slide allows you to cut wider boards. If I were to buy a sliding saw today, I’d opt for a Bosch glide arm miter saw because it gives you the advantages of a sliding saw without needing a lot of depth. This saves space if you’re building in a shop, and I believe we’ll see more brands come up with their own version in the coming years.


Ryan’s Miter Saw Recommendation:

Table Saw

Table Saw

A table saw is something you could do without, instead using a circular saw. I was able to find a good deal on a table saw one Black Friday that met my needs for cheap. Table saws are really useful for breaking down sheet goods like plywood or OSB.

A table saw will provide you with the ability to make the most accurate cuts on your sheet goods. You can do a lot with a circular saw, but I think you can still rely on a table saw being more accurate. I wouldn’t spend a lot of money here, but entry level saws start at around $300 and go up to around $600.

If I were to build a tiny house again, I think I’d skip a table saw and opt for the next item.


Ryan’s Table Saw Recommendation:

Track Saw

Track Saw

A track saw is essentially a circular saw that slides along a track which makes your cuts way more accurate. If I were to do it again, I’d go with a high-quality track saw cutting on the ground with a piece of foam under the plywood.

Track saws have recently really come into their own. There are several brands that made good quality saws, and prices have also come down recently. The top three saws right now are the Makita SP6000J, the DEWALT DWS520K, and the more expensive Festool TS 55 REQ-F-Plus.

If I were to buy one today, I’d go with the Makita. This saw seems to be a very popular choice that a lot of my woodworking friends have recommended to me. At around $450 with the track, it’s not cheap, but track saws in general are pretty pricey.

The biggest reason I’d suggest this over a table saw is that I find it gives you more control when it comes to cutting sheet goods. I’ve used table saws on and off for 20 years as a hobbyist woodworker, but I still don’t feel 100% comfortable with them, especially with boards being able to get kicked back at me.

A track saw lets you set your track exactly where you need it and stays put. Working on the ground on top of foam makes the wood easy to cut and, because you can stand or kneel on top of the sheet itself, your wood doesn’t move. All this adds up to being able to make very accurate cuts while supporting the piece firmly and mitigating risks like table saw kick back. It does all of this well and is much easier than I find cutting with a table saw.


Ryan’s Track Saw Recommendation:

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

A circular saw is a very practical tool for cutting boards, sheet goods, and more. I don’t use my circular saw much, but when I need it, it is great. I’ve opted for a corded version of this because I don’t use it much and often use it on the ground. A corded version is also less expensive.

The saw I recommend is very popular and pretty affordable: the Dewalt DWE575SB is a great saw that you can’t really go wrong with — and for $139, it’s a great choice. I don’t usually recommend one brand over another, but this one has seemed to attract a lot of high praise even from builders who are usually loyal to other brands.


Ryan’s Circular Saw Recommendation:

Orbital Palm Sander

Orbital Palm Sander

A sander is one of those must-have tools when it comes to finish woodworking. There are a few types of sanders out there, but the orbital style sander is really the only one you’ll need for building a tiny house. There were a fewtimes when I needed to sand away a lot of material quickly, and for that I borrowed someone’s belt sander.

The orbital sander essentially makes a random circular-ish sanding motion. This means you won’t have a sanding pattern show up in the pieces you sand, which is what you want. I’ve used a lot of them, but this Bosch Orbital Sander seems to strike the balance of high quality for a pretty affordable price. I actually have two of these and have used them a lot.

When you buy a sander, pick up a large pack of 80 grit, 120 grit, and 220 grit paper discs with a hole pattern that matches your sander. I’d also recommend corded tools here.


Ryan’s Sander Recommendation:

how to design the perfect tiny house

Router

Router

A router is a tool that will modify wood edges to make them into different profiles. It’s also used to route out channels in wood to slide pieces of plywood in for things like shelves. This is definitely a finish woodworking tool and not entirely necessary, but it is certainly nice to have.


Ryan’s Router Recommendation:

Jig Saw

Jig Saw

This is one of those tools that you won’t need to use a lot, but when you do, it will be the only tool that can do the job. It’s mainly used to cut out curves in plywood, so I’d suggest going with a budget brand here and maybe even considering used.


Ryan’s Jigsaw Recommendation:

Oscillating Saw

Oscillating Saw

Rockwell is the brand to beat in this category of tools. When I first saw these come on the market, I dismissed them as some useless tool that was sold to weekend warriors who had no clue what they were doing with more money than they had sense. Now I’m an unabashed convert and I own this oscillating saw kit for $133.

These tools are great for making square plunge cuts into a face of wood. Outlets are a great example of this. Oscillating saws are one of those tools that can do a few things well, but they aren’t going to replace any other tool in your toolbox. This is very nice to have, but not required.


Ryan’s Recommendation:

Sawzall / Reciprocating Saw

Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

A Sawzall is another one of those tools that shines when you need it. I referred to mine as “the problem solver” — when I made a mistake, it took care of it. These really come in handy when you accidently nail something with a rink shank nail (which are nearly impossible to pull out) and need to cut them out.


Ryan’s Sawzall Recommendation:

Measuring Tools For A Tiny House

Measuring Tools For A Tiny House

Being able to measure and cut accurately is something that seems easy, but to do it consistently is easier said than done. Here are the measuring tools you’ll need for building your tiny house.

Speed Square

Speed Square

A speed square was one of those tools I hadn’t used much before my tiny house build, but which quickly found a place on my toolbelt. I was constantly using it to extend my marks across boards, as a saw guide for straighter cuts, and for rafter cutting.


Speed Square Recommendation:

Combination Square

Combination Square

A combination square does a lot of the same things that a speed square does, but has some other features that make it useful. Because the ruler slides through your shoulder piece, it’s great for measuring depths, setting blade and router bit heights, comparing depths of two cuts, and more.

Its main use is for more complicated joinery in your finish work, but I found myself using it throughout my build process.


Combo Square Recommendation:

Spirit Level

Spirit Level

A level is critical to making sure things line up and stay straight. Make sure you get your tiny house trailer totally level before starting and continuously check it along the way. I’d suggest buying two levels from your local big box store: a 24-inch version and a 6-foot version. Don’t cheap out here — I’d recommend purchasing the best you can find.

Carpenter’s Square

Carpenters Square

A carpenter’s square is for checking right angles. Get a big one so you can quickly check how accurate your 90-degree angles are over more than a few inches. It also makes quick work of putting down cut marks on your sheet goods when you’re breaking them down. I went with a 24” model and that’s what I suggest you get as well.

Carpenter’s Pencil

Carpenters Pencil

This seems like a simple thing, but a carpenter’s pencil is something I recommend to a lot of first-time tiny house builders. They have a flat side so you can more accurately and easily draw along a board surface. The flat side also means they won’t roll away if you put it down on a table, they’re great to use as a spacer when doing deck boards and the likes, and they make scribing easier. I’d get a big box of them — I often started my day by tossing a few in each area I was going to work so I always had one at hand.


Ryan’s Pencil Recommendation:

Pneumatic Tools That Will Make Building A Tiny House Easier

Pneumatic Tools That Will Make Building A Tiny House Easier

This class of tools was intimidating when I first started, but after teaching myself the ins and outs, I’ve come to love them. If there is one set of tools that will make building a tiny house easier, it’s these. The labor they save you is huge and means you can get more done quickly and easily.

The other thing that these help you with is wear and tear on your body. If you talk to some old timer framers, you’ll quickly learn that building a house is hard on the body. Most of you reading aren’t builders or contractors and that means you’re not used to this kind of work. Do yourself a favor and get these tools — you’ll thank me for it later.

Air Tool Combo Kits

Air Tool Combo Kits

This is a great way to get started and, if you’re building a tiny house, it’s all you really need. I was worried that this 6-gallon pancake compressor wouldn’t keep up, but not once was I left waiting for it to catch back up.

These kits are great and I’d suggest one to anyone wanting to build a tiny home. The only additional things I’d suggest are a palm nailer, an extra hose, and a framing nailer; more on that next.


Ryan’s Recommendation:

6-Gallon Air Compressor

6-Gallon Air Compressor

The heart of any pneumatic system is the compressor, which makes pressured air that will power all your tools. A standard 6-gallon pancake compressor is all you’ll need. Just make sure you get a name brand and consider buying new because the combo kits are so affordable.


Ryan’s Recommendation:

Finishing Nail Gun

Finishing Nail Gun

A finishing nailer uses small 16-gauge nails that have a very low-profile head. These are only to be used in finishing work, as they aren’t suited for anything structural. The narrow head means the nail will make a very small hole in the finished piece that you can either fill or leave as is.


Ryan’s Finish Nailer Recommendation:

Framing Nailer

Framing Nailer

A framing nailer is what you’ll use when doing anything structural. The nails it can drive are much larger and heavier, specifically 3” .131 ring shank nails, which you’ll be framing your tiny home with. You could use a hammer to drive these, but a framing nailer, which can be had for $86 brand new, is too affordable to not use. Plus as I mentioned earlier, this will save your body a lot of pain.


Ryan’s Recommendation:

Palm Nailer

Palm Nailer

A palm nailer is a neat little air hammer that fits in the palm of your hand. For tiny home building, I used it for two main areas: nailing in siding and nailing Tico nails into joist hangers and tiedowns. Both those applications can be done with a one-off specialty nail gun, but since we’re not professional builders that will use them over and over, a palm nailer is the perfect solution.


Ryan’s Palm Nailer Recommendation:

Air Hose

Air Hose

If you get the combo kit I mentioned above, it will come with a low-quality hose that I found to be quite serviceable for my build, but I also did go out and buy a second hose. These hoses have universal connectors, so you don’t have to worry about mixing and matching brands.

At the start of my day, I’d set up my work station and tools, then would run one hose to my house for my nail gun and a second hose to my cut station with a blow gun to blow off dust as I made my cuts. Not necessary, but definitely helped make things go a little faster.


Ryan’s Air Hose Recommendation:

how to build a tiny house

Other Tools You’ll Need To Build A Tiny House