tiny houses

The Decisions You'll Make When You Build Your Tiny Home

Tiny House Design Choices: Big Decisions


Building a tiny house differs from the “typical” homebuilding process in a lot of ways. 

For one, you’re working with a lot less space and therefore, using a lot less materials.  You only include what you really need and most things have a double purpose.

Being that I’ve never been a very decisive person to begin with, this proved to be an interesting part of the journey. 

It was exciting at times… getting to pick out fun stuff like my tiny appliances or paint colors, but challenging at times too when you find out what you want or dreamed of is not a realistic possibility.

The very first decision I had to make was: 

What do I really need in my tiny house?

That’s a pretty big decision right off the bat because the entire design of your house depends on it. 

When you’re building a “regular” house, a lot of things are standard… bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, kitchen.  But with a tiny house, it’s not that cut and dry. 

 

Tiny House Appliances: What to Use and Where to Get Them

One thing that people are often curious about in tiny houses, is what kind of appliances do you have? 

Do you cook on a hot plate? 

Do you have a regular washer and dryer? 

Do you use a window air conditioner to cool it off? 

Well, the answer to all of those questions can be yes. 

Because just like with a traditional size house… there are options.  And it’s up to you to decide what you want to have as far as appliances go.

I, personally, knew that I:

  • Wanted to cook meals so I wanted a regular oven and range,
  • Didn’t want to go to a laundromat or use a washboard, so I wanted a washer/dryer and
  • HATE washing dishes by hand so I wanted a dishwasher.

So these factors determined the appliances that I had in my tiny house.  But you can tailor your appliance set-up to match your specific needs and desires.  If you want to be totally off-grid, this will obviously have a major impact on the appliances you choose, as will your budget.

What's Holding You Back From Your Tiny Living Dream?

Right now, my life looks a lot like this:

I travel in the Honda Element for months at a time, taking breaks at rented AirBnBs for a month or two at a time, then hitting the road again for more adventures.

When we’re “home” in our hometown, we stay in the camper for a month or two before heading out on the next trip.

I live mostly out of a backpack and a small duffel bag with my clothes in it. Everything else fits neatly under the platform in the Honda Element we converted into our very own “micro-camper”.

It feels natural now. It feels….easy. It’s just my life.

But Before I made my tiny living dream my real life, I was being HELD BACK by so many unknowns.

So many questions, concerns, and things I had to figure out.

It felt overwhelming to want a mobile, simple life so bad, but really have no clue at all how to actually make that happen.

Like how to bridge that gap between where I was (living in 1500+ square feet of clutter and chaos, stuck in one place, drowning in stuff) and where I wanted to be (free in a camper that felt like I was wearing my own custom-made space suit with everything I needed!).

 

The Problem with Your 5-year Plan

The Fallacy of the 5 Year Plan

As you probably know, I’ve taught at more then 25 tiny house workshops and events over the past 2 years.

My favorite part is talking with everyone at the workshops, hearing their stories, and helping them start their journey.

Every time we teach a workshop, I end up losing my voice answering so many questions! It’s always fun to stay up late with people who share your values.

(PS - I’m hosting the first and only VIRTUAL Tiny House Workshop this weekend! You can register here and join us!)
 

 

One thing I’ve been noticing more and more while teaching and speaking at these workshops, is that people have long timelines for their tiny house journeys.

I definitely think everyone should follow their own path and work within a time frame that suits their unique situation and life story.

DESIGN/BUILD/DOWNSIZE: The ONLY Virtual Tiny House Workshop

A few months ago I mentioned that my good friend and tiny house builder Dan Louche (author of The Tiny House Design and Construction Guide, TinyHomeBuilders.com) and I were working on something really new and exciting behind the scenes.

Well today, our idea from months ago becomes a reality!


Introducing….

Design/Build/Downsize: The Only Virtual Tiny House Workshop!

 

What is it?

Design / Build / Downsize is a two-day virtual tiny house workshop that includes 8 in-depth lessons, live group chat and discussion, and a live Q + A session with Dan Louche and I!

It's two days, with two experts, and a bunch of your new tiny community friends.


What will you learn?

Dan Louche and I have created 8 lessons on everything from choosing a trailer, designing your tiny home, building methods, and downsizing. 

You can read about the entire curriculum and see all the details here >>>

These are the trainings - plus plenty of extras - that we teach at our live, in-person workshops (that normally would cost more than $500 plus airfare + hotel to attend). 



The workshop is the only virtual tiny house workshop - meaning we’re delivering these trainings and lessons live, but you can watch from anywhere in the world :)

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

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. 

"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards  a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

Today we have an AWESOME guest post from a Tiny Transition + Downsizing student named Jennifer, who is having her tiny house built right now and is making tons of progress towards downsizing and getting excited to move in! In this post Jennifer explains why she was inspired to build a tiny home, the events that made her realize she couldn't wait forever, and the hardest (and easiest) parts of her downsizing journey.

In the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course, the practical weekly lessons and private student-only forum allow you to make progress at your own pace within a group of like-minded friends on the same journey. I've been told that the group is a catalyst for lifelong change. That's because we not only go through how to eliminate all sorts of crap from your life and space, but because we fundamentally change your relationship with "stuff". It has the cascading effect of positively influencing every area of your life. When you join, you get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges (lifetime access), guided step by step help, lifetime access to the private class forum, accountability, support and motivation from me and your classmates, and the tools you need to simplify your home and life. 

You can learn more about Tiny Transition and Downsizing and register here. Class starts March 1st!

I'll let Jennifer take it over from here!

I am building a tiny house because my friend doesn’t have cable TV.  Well… that might be skipping a couple of steps.  But my curiosity and excitement for tiny houses can be traced back to a random (or maybe not) night spent pet-sitting at a friend’s house in spring of 2014.

Since they don’t have cable, I ended up surfing Netflix to find something to watch.  While scrolling through the documentary section, I saw a movie called “TINY: A Story About Living Small.”  The description explained that it followed a young man and his girlfriend as they built a tiny house on a flatbed trailer.  It sounded interesting enough so I thought I’d give it a go.  I had never even heard of tiny houses beforehand.  But by the time the 66 minutes was up, my heart and mind were racing.  How had I not known about this??

The Tiny House That Grandma Built: Downsizing from 1600 to 144 square feet

The Tiny House That Grandma Built: Downsizing from 1600 to 144 square feet

Today I'm excited to introduce you to someone who I find to be particularly inspiring, Dani Moore from The Tiny House that Grandma Built. Dani is a member of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course (registration is now open for the session beginning on January 4th). When Dani started posting about her project and story in the class forum, I knew I wanted to interview her and find out more about her life. Dani's here today to share with you how she's building her own tiny house, what it's like to downsize in a major way, and how you can make major life changes no matter where you are (or your age!). If you want to be a part of the next Tiny Transition and Downsizing class, you can read more and register here.

 

CometCamper: Tell us about you and your journey up until this point - what is your motivation for building and moving into a tiny house?

Dani Moore: I was raised Bretheren (Think Mennonites in regular clothes) With a "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" attitude. We were taught NEVER to throw away anything unless you were sure that no one could do anything useful with it. Great for not wasting, but bad for downsizing!

It was very helpful after my husband died when my daughter was 2 years old. I was already disabled and we had to be really careful about our spending. We went without hot water for 9 months after our water heater died, until we could get a new one. My Husband had spent our entire marriage showing me how things worked and how to fix them. Skills I have been forever grateful for. We also built or remodeled a business and a couple of houses, So I had some basic construction knowledge as well....

A Simple New Year: Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course

A Simple New Year: Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course

Are you ready for a new year?

More importantly, what are your intentions for the new year? What do you want to be different this year?

Though I'm not much for "resolutions", I do always set some goals and make some intentions for the coming year. I find it's easier to focus and do what really matters to me when I lay it out like that.

What if this year you could...

This Couple is Living in a Vintage Trailer While They Build a Tiny House

This Couple is Living in a Vintage Trailer While They Build a Tiny House

Kathleen and Greg are a young couple living in a 1969 vintage trailer (same year as the COMET!) while they build themselves a tiny house on wheels. Kathleen and I connected a few weeks ago, and I was so excited to meet another couple who lives like Matt and I do! I asked if I could share their ongoing story here, and so here's what Kathleen has to say about their life in their trailer so far. You can read more about Kathleen and Greg and their tiny living adventure on their blog, "Tiny House, Tiny Footprint."

 

Tiny Changes

Since living in a 140-square-foot camper trailer, I have received a variety of questions. I thought it would be best to answer them here and help alleviate concerns for those who are considering tiny living. If you're nervous about embarking on a new adventure like this, I think it's important to remember that you can test it out and if it doesn't work out, you can go back to living how you were previously.