As of late I have seen many new faces on at The Tiny Life, 8 months ago I started this blog and could never could have imagined that there would be so many folks interested in Tiny Houses!  I am excited to see that I was wrong, so today, I wanted to introduce myself to everyone and once you are done reading, please introduce yourself in the comments section.


Untitled-1 My name is Ryan Mitchell, I am 26 and run The Tiny Life.  It has been an interesting journey to where we are today.

It all started by getting fired, yup, that’s right, fired.  About a year ago I found myself facing layoffs at my job; I was a recruiter.  That is when the economy took a turn for the worst.

I found myself with no job, no car, had to move home, newly single, was uninsured and didn’t qualify for unemployment.  It happened so fast that I could barley believe it; That is when I found Tiny Houses.

After spending a few hours looking for jobs that day, I was surfing around the web and came upon a photo of a Tiny House.  I thought they were kind of neat, I had always had this affinity for alternative housing, but there was something different about Tiny Houses.  To be honest I didn’t think too much of it until later I found myself on Jay Schaffer’s site.  That’s when I had my a-ha! moment.

Here I was realizing that the system I was taught to go by, had essentially failed me, I had done everything “right”.  I went to High School, was awarded Boy Scout’s highest rank of Eagle, I had a impressive list of extracurricular activities, which got me into college.  Four years later, I graduated with my bachelors and was awarded the Research Scholar’s award.  I was quickly accepted into a Masters program, which I did well in.  I landed contract after contract, making way more than I should have right out the gate.  But what did it really amount to?

I was looking at Tiny Houses not just as a downsized living space, but as a lifestyle which circumvented the pitfalls of the typical framework.  I began to realize that it was not about material things.  It was what mattered: Relationships, Time, Freedom, & Self Sufficiency.  You must love the life you live.  You must love those you live it with.  You must have time to be in the moment.  Finally, in the end, it’s up to you to look out for you and those you hold dear.  I realized my initial approach was flawed, it did not support what truly mattered.

Canada Road Trip 09 082So that’s how it started.

I researched Tiny Houses, drew literally 100’s of floor plans, talked with builders, bloggers, dreamers and skeptics.  I took a trip to Canada with a friend, timed it so I could meet Jay Schaffer and toured his Tiny House. While there I met Jay and many other Tiny House folks.  We stood in this Tiny House for 3 hours talking about our passions and ideas.  It was nothing short of inspiring.  It was there that folks urged me to start a blog, a blog that talked not just about Tiny Houses, but Tiny Living.

Tiny Living Encompasses:

  • Tiny Houses
  • Life Simplification
  • Environmental Consciousness
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Sound Fiscal Plans
  • Social Consciousness

So today I speak to you, employed in a job I love, in a life I love, with a future that I love.  I work for a local non-profit that tackles Charlotte’s biggest social and poverty issues head on.  I have come a long way, but have still have a bit to go, but now it is with purpose.  So I invite you to join me in this journey and share in it.

How This Blog Works

So typically I post Monday through Friday.  Here is the rough schedule I will start following very soon, once the spring is here.  The big thing I will point out is the “Tiny House Live!”  This is a pretty new feature to our blog where I do a live show on Thursday, typically at 8pm, times will vary and I will let you know the day of, the exact time.  What is neat is that not only do I get to talk to you, but you can talk to me too!  We will have a topic, but feel free to chime in with any questions about Tiny Houses, Tiny Living etc.

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Help Me Out

I try my best to post every day, what really helps me is if you all have interesting stories that you want to share.  You might find a neat video or article, you might have a Tiny House of your own.  I would love to hear from you.  This along with comments make for a great blog.  If you think of something that you would like to see on here, no matter how crazy, let me know.  Regardless, I love hearing from my readers, because I want this to be a community.

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If you haven’t already, join in the conversation at these places:


Well that’s about it.  Enjoy the blog and I thank you for checking it out.

Introduce Yourself In the Comments!

  1. Oh, I guess I should unlurk for a second. I’ve been following for awhile now along with quite a few small house/living blogs. Always enjoy your stuff!

    My circumstances are a bit different in that I voluntarily left a good paying job last year and sold my town house. Although not huge by today’s standards (it was 20 years old), it was still way more than I needed for myself and whenever I thought of changing jobs or moving, my thoughts always turned to that anchor around my neck.

    And yes, I did it in that order, quit my job, sold my house. Not for the faint of heart!

    I’ve traveled a little as planned. May some more, but I’m also thinking a lot about that next chapter. I don’t know if I am going to go full fledged into the tiny house frontier. I think they are awesome, but ultimately don’t want a house that requires a large truck to tow it. I’ve been looking a lot lately at B class RVs. The idea of a van that is my home and transport in one is intoxicating. I’m not sure I would do it forever, but I do know it would be fun. And if I get a house again some day, I want small and paid for, not mortgaged so that I’m a slave to a job.

    Anyway, thanks for the introduction, it’s nice to put a face and background to your great work here.

    • Great to “meet” you Mark!

      Just say no to lurking! lol Freedom to roam is very alluring, check out this couple that does it every day: https://www.technomadia.com

  2. I love your blog and love the concept of tiny houses. I don’t require a LOT of space but I’m a homebody. I love taking care of hearth & home, making crafts, cooking, gardening, etc. The bulk of my time isn’t spent traveling, hiking, dining out, etc. I’m home 80% of the time. Just how tiny can one get and still spend that much time there? 🙂

    Just thinking out loud…

    (Feel free to visit my blog)

    • This summer I plan to talk a bit more about gardening, thanks for the kind words! It is an interesting question you pose there, how small is too small.

  3. Hello,
    I’m on the east coast as well and have been visiting little house blogs now for months. It’s such an interesting concept and I love the idea. I currently have a house on a 1 acre lot. We have chickens and raised bed straw bale gardens. Take a look on my blog under straw bale gardening, it is perfect for ecological and organic minded folks. My goal is to build 3 small houses on the 2 acre lot we own behind our current house. I may rent the other 2 out or just use them for guest cottages when company comes. Then sell off the big house and downsize. I hope to start on the small house this coming fall. So bring on the ideas, plans and suggestions!

    • Sandy,

      That’s so exciting! I haven’t been able to win over the home owners association about chickens. I jokingly mentioned that there was nothing against raising crocodiles in the by-laws as a joke, but they took it seriously! Please let me know how things go with your tiny house!

  4. I’m glad you’re focusing on tiny living as much as “tiny houses” themselves. ‘Cause as much as I’m intrigued by those small framed houses, even they are a bit beyond my budget. I want to build as many small cottages on my few acres as possible, so I have to get optimum bang from every buck. And at this point, that looks like either cob or earthbag building. I’ll be starting my first earthbag structure (a shed) in the next month or so, fingers crossed.

    I like having my family around, but we’re all adults now and everyone needs their own space. So I’m visualizing this as a large house that exploded and blew each bedroom to a different part of the property. That way everyone gets their own living quarters, but the small size of each will encourage us to get out and enjoy the rest of the property, build courtyards and gardens and barbecue areas and that sorta thing.

    Enjoying your site quite a bit. Keep it up!

    • Chris,

      Nice to “meet” you, I love the idea of the public spaces! I can see the need for your own space, I can relate. Each house could be designed by it’s owner, give each one its own charm.

  5. Enjoy your site very much… Hope someday to have my own tiny home and no mortage to go with it.

    I visit almost every day.

    Thanks for all your work.

    • The New American Dream: a home that fits just right and debt free!

  6. Hi Ryan. I just stumbled on your blog today. It is always very exciting to see other people who are part of the tiny house movement. My husband and I are building a Jay Shafer designed house in Western North Carolina as we speak.

    I definintely plan to be an active reader here. Keep up the great conversation.

    • Laura you are in my back yard! I saw your post on Asheville, I lived there for 5 years and can’t wait to get back. We need to “sit down” some time and talk about your house!

  7. Great candid article Ryan- I’m an Eagle Scout myself- small world….
    Keep it up!


    • Eagle Scout! Deek, man of many talents and surprises 🙂

  8. Ryan,

    I am not a comment poster, but I want you to know how much your site along with other’s has encouraged me to live differently. We have 4 kids and I am interested in small living for a family. We downsized from 3,000sq ft to 1500 and can go smaller with the right design. I have never been more at peace with the future than realizing that the American Dream is a big joke. I am curious to know if you read anything that moved you in this direction. I am 32 and have been reading about these things for 12 years but just recently had the guts to live differently. All the best!

    • Trying To Simplify,

      I can’t really say it was one particular thing, I think it was my situation (unemployment/no money/economy), talking with Tiny House people, I started watching the TED talks (www.ted.com), I became involved more actively in volunteering, learned about new urbanism, and started growing a garden. Most importantly I had time to think, I generally am a pretty introspective person, I am very scientific in my thinking, I analyze things to death; After thinking about what is, what was and what could be, I developed this approach.

      I have talked about this before and I call it “the solution” basically it is a living document that I tweak constantly, it is almost like a wiki for approaches to life. You might be able to access it, see it here: https://www.thetinylife.com/the-solution/ It isn’t perfect but it is a work in progress.

      They say to live life, you must do something everyday that scares you. I am glad you were able to find the personal strength to make the leap. Welcome!

  9. Your site is so informative for those of us who are joining the small house movement. I am loving that this movement is spreading. Keep up the good work.

  10. Love your small efficient homes.
    My husband and I live in a 600 sf condo. Perfect!
    No clutter-just that which we consider useful or beautiful. After living in a series of larger homes we finally realized all our energy went into upkeep.
    We began with turning our property into a natural landscape, National Wildlife Foundation certified yard, with wildlife and birds galore! It was beautiful and helped to sell the home.
    Now we have a 8-12 patio covered with blooming potted plants and herbs-the hardest thing is keeping them watered in the Florida sun.
    A quick dust and dry mop of the floors and we can enjoy our time. And at 60 and 75 years of age time is very important.
    We only wish we had known about your small houses before we purchased our condo. One of your houses would have suited us just fine!
    Good luck-keep up the good work.

    • Got photos? Story? I’d love to see them! ryan112ryan [at] yahoo {dot} com

  11. I know this post is from almost two years but I feel compelled to respond. I’m 25 years old and I just got married last May. I was working at a very successful law firm and my husband was quickly moving up the ranks at a police department. We weren’t well off by any means but we had money to take occasional weekend trips away together, go to concerts for our favorite bands, and make month donations to our favorite charities. However, we were living states away from our both of our families. My father has an advanced form of prostate cancer so we decided to quit our great jobs, give up our health insurance, and leave our amazing apartment to move back home and spend more time our loved ones. We moved in July and my husband still hasn’t been able to find a job. He has a B.A. in Homeland Security and experience as a police officer and still can’t get even hired anywhere! I was trouble finding a job as well so I decided to go back to Nursing school since there is such a demand for nurses. However, I’m now having to work so much between a part-time job and school that I actually speak to my family less than I did when we lived states away! And it’s still not even enough to pay the bills. We pay $800/month just for rent at a place where the vehicles get broken into on a regular basis and someone was just shot last week. We are having to live off credit cards and when I’m finished with school will have a total of almost $100,000 in student loan debt between the two of us. Every time I read these blogs about the Tiny House movement I cry b/c I know this is the answer to my prayers! It’s going to take some time but eventually we’ll have a tiny house of our own and will finally be able to start crawling our way out of debt. THANK YOU so much for sharing this information and this movement!!! Please keep up the amazing work!

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