How I Designed My Tiny House

Today I have a super guest post from my good friend and Tiny Transition and Downsizing student Jenn Baxter!

Jenn has been living in her tiny house for some time now, after initially starting her transition to the tiny life in the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course.

I asked Jenn if she would write about her experience designing her own UNIQUE tiny home, and she said she would love to! Not only that, but she has created a free worksheet that you can use to design your own tiny home. You can grab the free tiny house design worksheet below!

Let's get to it! I'll let Jenn take it from here. Thanks Jenn!

One of the main questions I get when people first see my tiny house is, “How did you design this?”  Well, the answer to that is actually pretty easy. 

I thought about what I need every day.

First of all, designing a tiny house in and of itself is easier than designing a traditional home, simply because of its size.  When you are only working with 100-300 square feet, your choices are limited to begin with.

Tiny Life Metamorphosis: a Guest Post by Freda Salatino

Today I'm excited to share a guest post from a Tiny Transition and Downsizing student, Freda Salatino. She's been downsizing for a long time and has so much wisdom and experiences to share with you! I hope her story inspires you to take action and seek out that freedom you desire!

The nest session of our Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course starts on June 28th, and I'd love to see you in there! This is an 8-week course that fundamentally changes your relationship with stuff and helps you de-clutter, downsize, and clear out your home and mind, in a step-by-step zero-overwhelm environment.

Registration is open for the session beginning on June 28th. Preparing to transition into a tiny home, RV, trailer or cabin? Just want to clear your space and get some sanity in your current home? This is for you. You'll be in supportive group of like minded friends and kindred spirits! Register here and join us for the next session.

I'll hand it over to Freda, who shares her story below:

Every week I prep for the laundromat by gathering my weekly giveaways. It's convenient; there's a Goodwill truck parked permanently in the Laundromat parking lot. I bring clothes to be washed, magazines or books to drop at the free book exchange outside the laundromat, and usable items that I no longer need or want, to the Goodwill truck.

There's nothing dramatic about the process, really.

It feels as natural as going grocery shopping.

Where Do You Park It? How to Find Land for Your Tiny Home or Trailer

(Before we dive into finding land for your tiny home - Just a reminder that the next session of Tiny Transition and Downsizing, the 8-week E-Course that completely changes your relationship with "stuff" and helps you get ready to live tiny, start on June 28th! You'll be in a supportive, fun group of kindred spirits on the same journey as you when you join. You can register right here!)

 

What’s one of the best things about having a house that’s built on a flatbed trailer?  The ability to up and move it whenever you want, of course. 

Want to go to the mountains for the winter?  Go. 

Always dreamt of living at the beach?  Done. 

With a tiny house, when you want to move, there’s no searching for homes in the new city while trying to sell your house in the old city.  You just hook it up and move!

But with that wondrous advantage of flexibility, comes the reality that when you have a tiny house, you don’t really have a permanent place to live.  Unless you already own some land, you will have to find a place to park it.

The requirements will vary based on the particular design of the tiny house. 

Building our Nest Egg and Starting Small: The Bespin Tiny House

Building our Nest Egg and Starting Small: The Bespin Tiny House

BESPIN TINY HOUSE: BUILDING OUR NEST EGG 

A guest post by Maggie & Seth Campbell

 

The American Dream: the idea that a better life can be obtained with more money.

We seek out higher paying jobs so we can afford bigger living spaces and more possessions to fill them.

The temptation to live beyond our means grows stronger with every “low-interest” credit card offer in the mail. It’s no wonder that one in three American’s are being chased by a debt collector – we live in a buy-now-pay-later society. And boy, do we pay.

By now, you’ve probably heard that living in a cost-efficient tiny house is increasing in public favor.

Could you be a part of this growing trend?

What if you could live debt-free on your current monthly income (or less)?

Is it possible to stop working over 40 hours a week and living paycheck-to-paycheck to support a home you spend so little time in?

We think so.

In just 8 months, we've already raised over 25% of our goal - and we're just warming up.

 

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

For many people, building a tiny house is just a pipe dream. When the idea of building our house first came to us, we spoke about it in terms like “If we ever hit the lottery . . .” or “If we could find higher paying jobs. . . .”

As per usual, we had just enough money in the bank to pay our bills for that month. It wasn’t until we took a hard look at the cost of living in a house too large for our needs (1000 square feet) that we realized we didn’t need to earn more; we just needed to have less.

Seven Steps to Simple: The No-BS Guide to Letting Go

You know you want to downsize. Heck - you NEED to downsize if you’re thinking about living in a tiny or small home!

And beyond that, no matter how many square feet you're gonna live in (because let's be honest that's not what matters), downsizing feels good. It saves you money. It gives you more time for your hobbies, family, friends, travel. More dollars in your pocket. Less stress. All that good stuff.

You know that downsizing will allow you to save more money, live the life you want to live, and have the time and financial freedom.

Maybe you’ve tried to “get organized” and “de-clutter” before. It probably felt pretty good…at first. But a few days later, your home looks the same as it did before. And the progress you’re making is slow-going. You’re stuck. You’re not sure why - because you’ve read the books and the blogs but nothing really works. 

Well, today I've got seven steps to help you let go.

No Regrets: Guest post from Troy Koubsky of Less Stuff, More Joy

Today I'm HONORED to share a guest post with you from someone very special. Troy Koubsky is a student in the Tiny Transition and Downsizing course, he was in the very first session over a year ago. Troy immediately stood out in the group as an incredible source of inspiration, motivation, and support. If you were having a bad day or struggling with downsizing, Troy was there to cheer you on and cheer you up. He quickly became a pillar of the vibrant community we have inside the course (Registration is now open for the session beginning on May 3rd! Register here).

Now, a year later, I am just completely in awe of the progress and transition Troy has made as a result of doing the course, setting goals for himself, and participating in the community forum. He keeps track of each item he donates and downsizes, inspiring everyone with his photos of progress. Troy is an incredible example of how living simply really is a lifelong process, he continues to curate and refine his beautiful life.

For the past year and a half Troy has remained an integral part of this community we've built in the course, he is an exemplary person and incredibly appreciated. I hope you enjoy reading Troy's post below.

I'll let Troy take it from here.

No Regrets, by Troy Koubsky

Stuff was controlling me, rather than me being in control of it.

This is part of my story with stuff.

I don’t understand myself sometimes and why I need things. I have struggled with the urge to collect stuff from an early age. There is no root person, and activity I feel has caused it to escalate out of control.

Make no mistake, it did get out of control.

A flood of emotion surely comes when I sit here, contemplate the hows, and whys, specifically my journey with collecting.

Tiny Home Builders Hands-On Tiny House Workshop Recap + Review

Have you ever been to a tiny house live workshop? Are you planning to attend one?

Well today's post will give you some of the details about what those weekend tiny house workshops are like!

Specifically, Matt and I help Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders teach his hands-on tiny house building workshop in Atlanta, GA. We've taught and spoken at more than 25 tiny house events and workshops all over the country, and we especially LOVE Dan's workshops.

The Tiny Home Builders' workshops are the right combination of hands-on building experience (yes, you get to use all the power tools!) and super educational trainings on everything from electrical, plumbing, how to choose a trailer, and off grid systems and sustainable design (my specialty!). It's part classroom, part workshop, and it's really effective to learn about something in depth via the presentations, then actually go over the the tiny house you're building and try it out yourself. (Plus there's a fully-built tiny house on site).

Some people attend the workshop to learn about the "systems" and more complex elements, others to get the confidence to use power tools (for many people it's their first time using power tools or swinging hammers!), and others come to network and meet like-minded friends.

How to Deal with Building Codes and Zoning Laws: Tiny Homes and Trailers

Minimum square footage.

Composting toilets and solar showers. 

RV and trailer by-laws.

NIMBY (not in my back yard!).

Living “off the grid”. 

These are just a handful of the things we need to talk about when we talk about “building codes” and “zoning laws” as they apply to living in a tiny home or trailer. 

I literally get emails and questions about this every day, but until now I have been very hesitant to write a full response on this blog.

Why?

Building codes and zoning laws are such a hard topic to talk about because they literally differ from town to town. There is no one rule I could say that would be true for all (or even a handful) of places.

I wish it were easier, but it all comes down to talking with your local building inspector and talking through the process with them. Ultimately, that person will decide. It's good to form a relationship with them and be upfront about your plans and ideas. If you go about it in an open and honest way, they are much more likely to say yes and approve your home. 

I get this question a lot, so I've done my best to put together some guidelines. That being said, it's the one thing that is nearly impossible to answer! (Figures!)...

Leavin' Home for the Open Road: Q + A with Stef and Jerimiah of American Frolic

I'm super excited to share Stef and Jerimiah's camper life story with you today. Stef and Jerimiah blog over at American Frolic.  Stef and I have been chatting over email for a while now and I wanted to ask her all about her decision to purchase and move into a vintage camper indefinitely.

Her story reminds me so much of Matt and I a few years ago. We didn't have a big plan or know exactly how we were going to make it work, but we did! If you take the leap, good things happen.

I asked Stef all about their decision to live mobile in the camper, what the biggest challenges have been as they transition into the camper life, and where they'll end up. I hope you enjoy this Q + A with these rad people!

 

COMET CAMPER: How did you guys decide that you wanted to live in a trailer? What other options did you consider? What motivated you - financial, wanderlust, ecological?

AMERICAN FROLIC: We had both decided we wanted to leave Chicago over a year ago.  We bounced around the idea of moving back to California or maybe to Colorado but knew we would have to put down a double deposit not matter where we went. 

Then we talked about maybe buying a camper to live out of and travel till we found a home wherever we went.  Then that turned into the idea of trying to see the country and find a place we would want to call home, broaden the search to everywhere we could hitch up and travel to...

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

The other day I got an email from a curious reader of this blog. Karen wanted to know:

"I was wondering your opinion on is a tiny house better or a camper? I could buy a camper now, but if I want to build a tiny house I will need to save up for a few years since I want to build it debt free. Thank you for your blog and support I always enjoy seeing something from you in my email."

Oooh, I thought, I get this question a lot. Both from clients, people I work with, and readers. So I’m addressing it head-on today. 

To start, I don’t necessarily think a tiny house or a little camper is “better” than the other - but they’re definitely different and are suited to different people with different needs and lifestyles. Today I'll give you a framework for thinking about this question yourself.

Obviously I went with a camper over a tiny house on wheels.

I chose this option for a few reasons...