Tiny Home Living Without Living in a Tiny Home

The following is a guest post by Tiffany Krezinski. Photo via Groovexi.

For me and my family, living in a Tiny Home is a dream we’re still working toward. My husband and I have our plan laid out: when our kids go to college, we’re going to take the big leap. We knew, however, that we couldn’t (and shouldn’t) wait until then to do everything all at once. So, we decided to take a few smaller steps and integrate the Tiny Home, downsized lifestyle in our humble-sized ranch.

Clothing & Clutter
We (my former self included) underestimate how much room our clothes take up, from the seemingly-necessary closet space that hogs precious square footage to a backed-up laundry room. Society tries to teach us we need the newest, trendiest designer buys to exude individual style and success, but it’s just not true and I’ve come to realize I don’t value that idea.

Rather than starting with my closet, I started with my inbox. I realized I had set myself up for failure by being subscribed to the email lists of all my favorite stores. Last Chance for 50% Off? I must! This Just In: New Apparel. Let me look! In the case of enticing emails from my favorite brands, ignorance is bliss. With the help of this awesome tool, the unsubscribing job was done in no time. No more coming down with a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) every morning. Then, it was time to tackle what I already owned. After stumbling across Courtney Carver’s Project 333, I was both curious and inspired to take the challenge: dress with no more than 33 items (shoes and accessories included) for 3 months. I donated and sold whatever was left over. I now apply this thought process to everything I allow myself to own. If it’s not a favorite, it goes. I no longer save things for special occasions; everything I own is an everyday item. Sentimental memorabilia has surfaced from shoe boxes and replaced trendy decor. I know some Tiny Homers advocate against hanging onto memorabilia, but I’m compromising on that one for now.

Creative Design
While I don’t live in a Tiny Home, I do live in a relatively small ranch. One of the elements of Tiny Homes that I couldn’t wait to steal was their knack for generating breathing room and light through innovative design. I’m lucky enough to have an experienced handyman in the family. The first project was installing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which aren’t just for books. Visible storage like this really helps when it comes to deciding what you should keep. We then knocked down the wall that separated our kitchen and living room to create more shared space. Last but not least, we demolished our garage (the place we hid stuff we couldn’t let go of) and replaced it with a small shed for storage. This was the most difficult project, but also the most liberating.

Cultivating Patience
Throughout my journey of applying the Tiny Home lifestyle to my own, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the bigger implications of it all (and the big piles of stuff I got rid of). Everything we buy into is meant to make our lives happier, easier, and more convenient. Appliances, gadgets, you name it. However, they seem to only make us less satisfied, lazy, and impatient. Ever scoff at your smartphone or computer for not being fast enough? I found myself less able to sit and read a book without quickly feeling antsy. I’d hop in the car when I could’ve walked. Not anymore. Essentially, the less “convenience” I own, the happier I am. I notice things more; I’m present. For me, downsizing has cultivated an invaluable sense of mindfulness and patience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Follow Sustainable Thought Leaders
I have found along with the tips I’ve learned, to look to leaders in sustainable livings for more ways to decrease your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.   I look to people like Bea Johnson, who cut waste out of her life complete, or Leonardo Dicaprio who wrote a compelling movie about the effect humans have on the environment.  Even Brad Pitt has teamed up with sustainable architect William McDonough to build sustainable homes in New Orleans. Not only is the material motivational, but it is fun learning about some of these celebrities off-camera.

11 thoughts on “Tiny Home Living Without Living in a Tiny Home

  1. Iz says:

    This sounds similar to my own path to tiny living. Using less of my space, buying less, keeping less – each step added to the path until I found myself moving off-grid into 120 sqft of home five years ago. Less is definitely more, and addictive in my case. Good luck!

  2. Corey Mondello says:

    I live in a very small apartment in Boston MA, though it is a “one-bedroom” and not a studio, it is less than 500 sq feet. The area I live in has all 5 or 6 story “brown stones”, actually historically recognized because having the largest section in the country. I do find living in a smaller place, helpful it keeping clutter down, but even a person like me, who is not a “handy-man”, needs a place to stash items like saws,, hammers, gardening supplies, vacuum, important papers, art supplies, etc. Just living by myself there are many “essentials” that I cant logically live with out. I have two walk in closets that are jam-packed full with the items I mentioned, and without those closets, it would be all over the place. I dont have outside space, and putting things in storage that I use weeklky or even monthly makes no sense. I just got a vehicle after not having one for about 20 years, because I dont need one, so it is a luxury, however, I have vowed not to store items in it. Though this is car could be considered a “toy”, its big enough to pull 5000 pounds, at least thats what it claims, havent tried it out yet, and its big enough to go camping and sleep two people comfortably. So maybe one day I will have a very small house that I can pull behind me. I only need my own Shower, toilet and kitchen items.

    • CathyAnn says:

      Corey, what you’re saying resonates with me. I too have things I wouldn’t give up that I use, such as supplies for my hobbies and garden tools, (although I do have a couple of hobbies I could get rid of.)

      I’m currently living in the equivalent of a studio apartment, and am finding there is a lot I can do without. Come Spring, I’m going to go through my storages and get rid of stuff I’ll never miss… and that’s just about everything.

      I have a pickup truck and am thinking about buying a 4-season travel trailer and living the RV lifestyle. I doubt I’ll ever miss any of it.

  3. Erin says:

    This was a good reminder of crossover compromise,. Until recently, I have lived in several small-living situations for the past 15 years, none larger than 400 sq ft, some quite rustic (not totally off grid, but cooking on a wood stove and using an outdoor composting toilet). Several years ago I moved to a “HUGE” 1000 sq ft house (with large garage) with my partner, and it blew my mind how quickly we managed to “fill” the space! I’m realizing that it’s far too easy to “collect” excess items of all varieties, when you have extra space to store them. At times I miss the simplicity of my old cottages, but there is potential for a wonderful balance that can be struck in a small but un-tiny home. I hope to better implement some of my old lifestyle into my new and remain mindful as establish this current home.

  4. Amy Biddle says:

    Fantastic article on the process of right-sizing your life! My path was similar (not identical) but I downsized my belongings long before I moved into my tiny space.

    When you said you knocked down your garage, I gasped. I find the idea of parking under cover still very appealing. Having spent half my life in snow-country, that’s no surprise. But I sure do see moving to a shed to minimized entropy.

    Good luck with the next parts of your journey!

  5. Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise says:

    We’re downsizing too, and are always re-evaluating stuff. One of the things that struck me- if you plan on selling your home someday, demolishing your garage may not have been a good idea. That could really affect your resale value. Whenever we do any major change we always look at resale as we know we’re going to move at some point. If you live in a real urban area with excellent mass transit it might be ok. Any photos of your place somewhere?

  6. Jeff Bronson *Kraven* says:

    Getting rid of stuff and allowing yourself the freedom to live in a smaller space and spend more time on experiences is awesome.

    I’m down to a backpack and some boxes at a friend’s house, while off traveling at 40.

    I’d love to get a tiny house on wheels sooner than later, and be mortgage free.

    It’s amazing how little we really need!

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