Tiny House Checklist

Today I have added a new menu item to the main bar, it is called “Ryan’s Tiny House”.  I am going to be covering my Tiny House build in two places:  here on the blog as regular old posts, then also will be cataloging it in the mentioned tab.   This tab will outline the details of the house build in a step by step manner and will be designed for those who wish to build their own Tiny House.

The other thing I have added to this menu is (if you hover over the link, a drop down appears) is my Tiny House Checklist.  This is my master plan – if you will- to allow me to keep everything straight in my head and in the building process. After checking it out, let me know if I have missed anything or should change anything.

Your Turn! – Join The Conversation In The Comments
  • What am I missing on this checklist?
  • Is there anything I should change?


  1. Personally, I would change “Floor Plan” to “Rough Floor Plan and Exterior Elevations.” So many tiny houses are designed around the floor plan only – with no thought given to window placement on the outside – and the house ends up with a hodge-podge of windows on the outside.

    Just a tiny bit of forethought, and planning, before it was framed, and the owners could have had a much more attractive house! But you have to consider window and door placement, as you arrange the floor plan – everything is connected!

  2. You seem a little nervous about the HVAC, but in truth, this is really easy. For a home this size, you shouldn’t need more than a “window” unit Make a dedicated space for one, perhaps on the eave at the far side from the sleeping loft, and install like any window. Double check that you’re running enough power, but a single 15 amp 120V circuit should be much more than enough. If not, you might be getting a far to large unit.

    Congrats on getting started!

    • Good point Grant, I made this list by thinking what I will be doing, but need to make it more generalizable to others.

      I really don’t like the look of a window unit and since the roof overhang on Tiny Houses is so small, many people go with awning windows so they can have then open while it rains. These style windows don’t allow for a Unit. I thought about the free standing ones that just use the plastic ducts, but again, didn’t like the look.

      So I decided to go with a mini split, which puts most of the bulk of the unit (and the noise) outside hidden from view. These systems requires a perfect vacuum to be created and then a very specific pressure of coolant to be added. A single air bubble in the system could spell disaster.

      Long way of saying I will update the list! lol! 🙂

  3. I LOVE your Tiny House Building Checklist, that is FANTASTIC idea! Very well done too, I can’t think of anything you didn’t cover, pretty all encompassing!

    • Can you think of any really important reminders that you or others might forget? Safety things, process efficiencies, etc?

  4. Shouldn’t site selection come before floor plan? For instance, I want to put a tiny house in my back yard, and lots of the plans I see won’t work because I need an entrance on the side (verses end) of the house, and because of the lack of scenery back there, I was going to have long, narrow windows almost ceiling height at the back of the house (instead of standard rectangular windows set in the middle of the floor-to-ceiling height. You can have a slammin’ house designed, but if it doesn’t fit the space … you’re back at the drawing board.

  5. I’m building a tiny house, using trailer, so selection isn’t important right now. The house will have RV hook ups as a back up but I’m working to make it as self sufficient as possible. Great blog! Thank you for the checklist! I’ll be incorporating your ideas into my own process.

  6. As much as I love the little house concept I just can’t get over two aspects of little house living that get swept under the rug every time someone brings them up. First is living in them full time. The very tiny dimensions of them that allows them to be built outside of house building codes places them as recreation vehicles at best, which means no full time living, and glorified sheds at worst which means no living in them at all. No one has addressed, that I know of, how to place them, legally and permanently, on their own land. “Not likely” is just not good enough for me. There must be a way. Second is: ironically, the size limitations for growing families. A young single person or couple could easily live in a tiny house but what happens if they decide to have a child or heaven forbid children? I have yet to see practical long term little house designs that accommodate the minimal personal space necessary for a growing child or children. So I guess what I’m saying is if there is anything that is left out of your list it is these two points. Build a little house that can be put legally on a permanent foundation and make design allowances for an expanding family (like a bed nook that can be used as office space until such time as a little one enters your lives. )

    • Hey Anthony,

      We get these two questions all the time. You’re absolutely correct when it comes to the legality of these things. I have actually written an ebook about this very topic (coming very soon) about how to navigate the red tape and make them legal to live in full time and permanent primary dwellings.

      Your second point is often a stated to me, Tiny Houses, by design don’t have a square footage attached to them in their definition. This means that a Tiny House for a family might be 1000 square feet. It’s more a function of space per person and being reasonable about the space (and your family) need. That said I know personally people who live in these houses full time for a long time as a couple, they even both work from home. I always say that Tiny Houses force you to extend your living space to the outside world. It could be outside on a patio, at a coffee shop, co-working space etc.

      Here is a family of 4 living in a small house that you could even put on a trailer: http://inhabitat.com/meet-the-tiny-house-family-who-built-an-amazing-mini-home-for-just-12000/

  7. Hi Ryan!
    I’ve just recently started seriously considering building my own tiny house and came upon your site when looking for a checklist to get started. Someone mentioned the legality of living in one of these full time, which is what I’m hoping to do and thought I could do. Where should I start to get this information before getting halfway through the build process? I’m totally in love with tiny houses and the idea of living a more simplistic, minimalist lifestyle but am feeling a tad overwhelmed at where to begin. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • I’ve had hundreds of people ask me that exact question, so we have a new-ish ebook out that gets right to this very topic. Check it out here: https://www.thetinylife.com/store/

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