Americans Opting for a “Less is More” Way of Life:
While this a not a trend for everybody, there is no denying that many Americans are choosing to simplify life by buying less, using less and keeping less. This goes hand in hand with the tiny house movement. Movement is an appropriate term since a lot of these homes are designed on flat bed trailers. Could you do it? Don’t know where to start? You have come to the right place!
Step One – Assess what you own.
This is one step you will probably have to revisit many times which is really a good thing to do. Disencumbering oneself of posessions can be a shock to the system. Baby steps will help you to get to where you want to be. Start with what I call “taking out the trash.” If it is broken, throw it away. The same if something is outdated. There is no point in keeping an old VCR when you have Netflix or a Blue Ray player. If you have two of something, give one away. Have some furniture stored in a garage or closet or cluttering a room? Put it on Craigslist.
If you have not worn it, used it or looked at it in a year or more then in all likelyhood you really don’t need it. Keep items that are basic or can serve more than one purpose. Declutter and organize everything.
Step Two – Develop New Habits:
In your transition towards life in a smaller space, you will need to learn some new habits. Food preparation, bathroom activites and hobbies will be affected by your new lifestyle. For starters, start shopping your foodshed. *** “The term was coined in 1929 in the book How Great Cities Are Fed by W.P. Hedden, who was at the time, Chief of the Bureau of Commerce for the Port of New York Authority. Hedden described a ‘foodshed’ in 1929 as the ‘dikes and dams’ guiding the flow of food from the producer to consumer (Peters, 2008). ”
Shopping locally ensures you are getting foods that are the freshest and you support local economy. I have always loved the way Europeans shop, they market daily buying what is fresh and available on the day. This has recently been described as a healthier way of shopping in my local news. Since most people interested in living tiny are also focused on sustainable living practices, this appeals because you require less refrigeration. A small undercounter cooler should suffice when you start shopping daily. Plus, many foods that we refrigerate do not need it. Fruits, veggies, eggs and butter are better kept out of the cooler. Use your refrigeration unit for items that MUST be kept cold such as milk, certain cheeses and meat. Modern Kitchens are even being designed with this concept in mind.
The bathroom poses several challenges. Not all tiny houses are designed with running water and fully functioning facilities. This will depend on your choices and needs. Toilet options include a composting toilet, solar toilets, camper toilets or using an outhouse or campsite facilities. Jay Shafer, Designer of Tumbleweed Houses and known for getting the Tiny House movement rolling, used a container of water in his loft with a hose into the bath area for his shower. You could go with an RV shower/tub insert, a wet bath where the entire room becomes the shower stall, you need a a shower curtain or waterproof cabinet to keep water from splashing items that you wish to keep dry, or use facilities outside of your home. Some people spot bathe rather than immersing themselves in water which saves on consumption. Sunshowers and portable sunshower stalls can be set up outside of your Tiny House. Obviously, closely populated areas will not be suited to this approach. Your water source may be self contained or a hookup to city or well source. Use green and clean toiletry products to reduce contaminants. If you set your Tiny House up in a permanent or semi-permanent location, use your grey water for irrigation of a kitchen garden or landscaping.
If you are like me, you will need a hobby or two to stay occupied. I can’t stand sitting without something to work on. Many hobbies are small and portable. Stamp and coin collecting, knitting or lace making, beading, jigsaw puzzles, painting, scrapbooking, etc can all be done with careful consideration given to storing your materials and USING the materials you have before acquiring more. Tiny Houses are built smart with storage being thought into every nook, cranny and piece of built in furniture.
Step Three – Redesign Your Wardrobe:
The easiest way of approaching this is to think of packing for an extended vacation. Layers, wrinkle resistant, double duty and well thought out accessories.
Your career will be a major factor in this decision. For men, it may be a suit or jeans and khakis. Two suits and several shirts and ties will cover most needs. Add a few weekend and after hours tees, shorts and a pair of basic jeans. A man that has more out doors type of work will need 3 or 4 pairs of jeans and/or khakis, tee shirts, shorts and a lightweight and a heavy jacket, if living in colder climates.
A woman can do it, too. There are great fabrics that resist wrinkling and are perfect for this lifestyle. A business woman can use shells for a touch of color with a suit. Mix and match styles are available virtually everywhere. Scarves, costume jewelry and hairstyle can set the mood for the day.
Step Four – Practice Living in a Small Space:
People that are about to embark on this lifestyle change often give it a trial run before committing to it. Set up a room or a garage as your Tiny Space and begin to live in it just as you would your tiny home. See what adjustments you might need to make. It is also possible you will find that this is a way of life that just not work for you. Even if this is the case, the experiment is not a failure. You will take away some new mindsets, and if you use any of the new ideas to change your way of life to a more streamlined and more sustainable one, then you have succeeded in making a change.
Practice may also include staying in an RV or camping for a month.
Where to park your Tiny Home:
Did you know you could buy Real Estate on eBay? I have done it. I am the proud owner of a beautiful 1.3 acre on a mountain in Tennessee. It only cost me $1400 to buy it. It will be a perfect spot to roll in a Tiny Home.