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How to Live in a Tiny House

A Helpful Guide Through Common Challenges

So you’ve moved into your new tiny house.

The minimalist adventure has begun.  But you still may not have years of tiny-living experience to help you move wisely through this new lifestyle.

Here are some tips that will help you live large in your tiny home.

Tip #1: Figure out some of the practical stuff

First let’s address some of the logistics that may have, understandably, been missed while designing, planning, and purchasing or building your tiny house.

Two common details that seem to fall through the cracks are (1) garbage, and (2) Wifi.

So let’s look into the details.

Garbage

You will soon realize, if you haven’t already, that you have a LOT more trash to get rid of than you expected.

Not only that but if you plan on traveling, you’ll have to figure out where to dispose of all this trash.

Here are our tips on how to manage the garbage.

  • Decide where you can throw out your trash

You can haul the trash to the county landfill yourself, but you’ll have to get a disposable use permit form.

Another option is to ask a nearby family member or friend if you can use their trash cans.

If you feel uncomfortable with this, offer to pay them.

They will most likely be happy to help you out and feel respected by your offer.

Finally, if you’re staying at an RV park or campground, you’ll have the option of using their onsite trashcans.

Some parks will even pick up your trash for you each morning.

  • Go green

There are so many options on how to reduce waste.

Try to carry a reusable coffee cup (coffee shops like Starbucks will even give you a discount on your coffee if you bring your own cup!).

You can use cloth napkins, washcloths, beeswax wraps, glass water bottles, reusable grocery bags or baskets, even dish scrubs that don’t require detergent (and their bulky plastic container you’d have to throw away).

The list goes on.

The wonderful thing about these options is that not only will you be creating a cleaner happier living space, but you’ll also be contributing to the environment.

Good for you. Good for the earth.

  • Take the trash out regularly

In a tiny space, you don’t want toilet paper rolls and tissues spilling over four of the twenty-four square feet of your bathroom floor.

The trashcans in tiny houses are usually little, so make it easy on yourself and put it in your daily routine to take all the trash out each day.

Biodegradable doggie waste bags work well for smaller trash cans.

WIFI

If there’s a wire or cable hookup, you’ll be able to set up your internet like you would in a full-sized house.

However, if you’re living off-grid or will be traveling, you’ll need to create a hotspot either with a phone or hotspot device.

This hotspot will allow you to access the internet whether you’re on the road, in the Arizona desert, or on top of the Smokies.

You can easily set this up with your cell phone service providers and find the best plan for your situation and budget.

Tip #2: Routine Cleanse

Sometimes the potential cluttered messiness of living in a tiny house causes more stress than the drastic life-change itself.

A clean house can make or break your ability to work calmly through your day and enjoy living in a small space.

It’s always a good idea to carve out a small amount of time each day and dedicate it to a quick clean up.

You’ll be more productive, feel less stressed, and even, research shows, build happiness!

Here’s a simple daily checklist that can help you get started on making your tiny house a happy place to live:

  • Tidy and put away items left out
  • Make the bed
  • Wash the dishes
  • Take out the trash
  • Wipe down the countertops and other surfaces
  • Sweep the floors

Tip #3: Downsize

You may notice that, even though you’re tidying daily, things still seem to spill out over your floors and counters within a matter of hours.

If this is the case, there’s a simple solution.

You need to get rid of some more stuff.

Downsizing often works in stages, so though you had to downsize significantly to move into your tiny house, you may still discover that you are carrying around unused or unneeded things.

Here’s a good goal:

  • Try to downsize your belongings to 1-2 things of each category per person living in the house.

For example, if there are two of you living in the house, keep only two of each needed dish.

Consider getting rid of or packing away your bowls and plates and using glass travel ware instead.

This way you can double up on your dishware and travel ware and save space in the cabinets.

You may also be able to store off-season clothes outside of your house.

Try using a good-quality bin to store clothes in the trunk of your car or with a family member.

If you’re having trouble finding items (such as dishes, clothes, or décor) that you can get rid of, give yourself this prompt: Keep only what I love.

And ask yourself:

  • Am I holding onto gifts that I don’t use or like?
  • Do I have excess kitchen tools that could be replaced by one good-quality knife?
  • Do I need to say one last goodbye to a few unfinished projects or abandoned hobbies that have been cluttering my space?

Feel free during this process to push the boundaries.

A lot of tools and items can be multi-functional.

Explore your options and research how other tiny-house owners minimized their belongings in their tiny home.

Tip #4: Rearrange

What if you still just feel cramped?

You’re keeping your space clean, you’ve downsized to your skin and bones, but you’re feeling a little stressed and squeezed for space.

You’ve got this.

Tiny living is an adjustment, a pretty extreme adjustment.

And though people can make it look like a petite paradise, it can be challenging, frustrating, and limiting at times.

But there are ways to help you feel freer in your tiny space!

Here are a few tips that will help you adjust your tiny house after it is complete, which will allow for more breathable space.

  • Get some hooks on the wall.
    You can load up your wall space, but try to avoid loading up your floor and counter space. This adjustment will help you walk and work more easily in your home.
  • DIY a murphy wall bed-sofa combo.
    Most tiny houses are built with a living room on the bottom floor and a low-ceiling bedroom loft. If things are getting too tight, consider installing or DIYing a murphy bed into your living room. You can build one that opens up over your sofa and can easily convert between “bedroom” and “living room” as needed. Go to town filling your bedroom loft with all your extra stuff or creating an extra needed room in your house.
  • Utilize the fruit roll-up method
    Start rolling your clothes and towels up tightly instead of folding them. Place them in your drawers with the coils facing up so you can see each clothing item when looking into your drawer. This will save you time on folding and finding clothes and works as a space saver!
  • Find inspiration.
    Start following a tiny house blog or vlog that inspires you! These resources can give you a wealth of tips and tricks for making your tiny-house life work for you.
  • Seek out a community.
    Sometimes all we need to get us going again is a little encouragement from other people in a similar situation. A tiny house community can provide you with the camaraderie and support needed during happy and hard tiny-house times.

Tip #5: Spend time outside of your house

Tiny houses are meant to help people live life to their fullest.

They are small spaces that can be easily transported to and from beautiful places.

So get out of that house.

Explore the world outside your home.

Engaging in activities and social events that get you out of the house will help you love your little space when you arrive back home.

Winter times can produce the biggest challenge to tiny house dwellers.

It’s when anyone living any size home may become antsy and stir crazy.

Write out some ideas of activities or events you can attend during the winter season.

Or…hitch up your house and drive down to Fort Lauderdale.

While tiny houses do require a big life adjustment, they can open the door for you to live a much fuller life.

In times of frustration or cramp, remember your reasons for this life-change.

You took this brave step to rid yourself of debt.

You’re making a change to free yourself from a materialistic lifestyle.

Or maybe you’re pursuing your love of travel, and get to explore new sights.

Whatever your reasons, keep them at the forefront of your mind to help you enjoy this exciting venture.

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