How to Prepare to Live in a Tiny Home
Are you prepared to live in a tiny home? Here is the story and advice given by Justine Harrington, who is a writer and storyteller based in Austin, Texas.
This time next year, my husband and I plan to be living in a 32×10 domicile in East Austin – we’re joining the burgeoning tiny house movement, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. There are a multitude of reasons why we’ve decided to downsize and go tiny.
For our small family of four (me, my husband, and our two adorable pets), living in a tiny home is what makes the most sense – we’ll be able to pocket more money, minimize our acquiring of superfluous stuff, get off the relentless consumer treadmill, and, most of all, have the freedom to live life in a meaningful way. In short, the why behind this lifestyle choice was the easy part. But, taking actual steps to building and moving into our tiny home? Well, that’s been a different story!
Making preparations to move into a small space can be daunting, debilitating, and downright terrifying. This is to be expected – whenever you’re doing anything outside the norm, experiencing a little healthy fear understandably comes with the territory.
However, this doesn’t mean you should let that fear stand in the way of your tiny house dreams! In fact, I’ve recently gotten over the initial “are-we-really-doing-this” hump and have (almost) successfully silenced that doubtful inner critic in my brain, so I’d like to share with you what worked for me. Here are the most important steps to take when preparing to live in a tiny home:
Go Spend Time in a Tiny Space
Maybe this sounds blatantly obvious to you, but if you’re considering building a tiny home, the very first thing you should do is to go spend time in a tiny home. The severely minimal lifestyle isn’t for everyone, so it’s best to find out now if that’s the case for you, rather than after you’ve started construction on your teeny dwelling. Airbnb is a fantastic place to look for tiny, off-the-grid homes – set off on a weekend adventure or enjoy a staycation in a tiny home near you!
Determine What’s Really Important in Life
Are you serious about your plans to move into a 400-square foot home? It’s time to really start determining the difference between what you need in life, and what you want. What are the most important factors that comprise an ideal lifestyle, in your opinion? Which of these factors are you willing to let go of, if necessary?
Making a list of your wants versus needs is key – when designing or buying your tiny home, this list will help to provide context for what’s truly important in your lifestyle and living space.
Start Getting Rid of Your Stuff
This is probably the most feel-good item on the tiny house preparations list – getting rid of all the meaningless junk you’ve accumulated may be an unnerving prospect at first, but man, does it feel good. Merely taking a couple bags of clothing or unused kitchenware to Goodwill is enough to make a person internally rejoice, so imagine how cleansed you’ll feel after downgrading your entire home!
Unless you’re already living the tiny house lifestyle, even the most minimalist-minded among us have way too much stuff in our closets, on our shelves, and in veritably every corner of our homes. Get used to the idea that living in a tiny home will mean living with less than half of the junk you have now, and start making the necessary shift to less stuff.
Learn to Ignore the Critics
On your journey to becoming a tiny home owner, you’ll inevitably be surrounded by some naysayers. These people will take every chance they get to question your decision to live in a small space. Don’t let them.
Instead, embrace those around you that support your decision and are interested in what you’re doing. Because, at this point in your journey, you definitely don’t need negative energy surrounding your lifestyle choice. Let’s face it – making the transition to tiny house living is scary enough on your own, without listening to someone else’s critical input.
Stop Being a Crazed Consumer
In the world we live in today, we’re often subconsciously fed the line that possessing a bigger home with more stuff is somehow equivalent to how responsible and “adult”-like we are. We live in a consumerist society, one that increasingly depends on the idea thatyou, the consumer, should buy more and more useless junk in order to carve a path to responsibility and happiness.
It’s important to not fall prey to this notion if you’re preparing to live in a tiny home. We’ve all been guilty of it, but now’s the time to realize that the marketing of material goods is just that – marketing. You don’t “need” the latest, cutting-edge products to survive or be seen as an adult. Stop being a crazed consumer, and start putting thought into your purchases. (You simply won’t have the room in your tiny home for any other line of thinking!)
Define Your Idea of Meaningful Space
In your current home, which spaces are most meaningful to you? Where do you spend the majority of your time? Which spaces could you live without?
It’s time to begin thinking about your living space in terms of what it means to you, in order to develop the best tiny home plan for your lifestyle.
Anecdotally, when I began thinking about my own concept of meaningful space, I realized that I simply wouldn’t be able to function without a semi-sizable kitchen area (I love to cook). Even if this meant paring down our bedroom area or re-thinking our loft bed, having the space to indulge in one of my passions was what meant the most to me.
Find Your Tiny House Community
It’s time to take the final, all-important step of seeking out your fellow tiny home enthusiasts! They’re out there, waiting for you, and they’re ready to dispense all the advice you need in order to begin.
Start Googling tiny homes in your area, find groups of like-minded people on Facebook, write e-mails to tiny home bloggers and authors, and ask people in your personal network if they know anyone who has experience building tiny homes.
You’re going to need viable resources – people who know all about construction, building codes, zoning, and living simply. It’s time to start outsourcing the expert knowledge you’ll need in order to start your tiny house journey!
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