Updated: Aug 21, 2020
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Homesteading is all about living a simple, back to basics life. Part of that is reducing debt, "stuff" and just living a more stress-free life. This is where the tiny lifestyle comes in.
What is a tiny house?
Technically a tiny house is under 400sq'. "Small houses," which are part of the tiny house movement, are under 1000sq'. Then, there's micro-houses, which are under 100sq'. Other branches of this movement include R.V. living, van living and the shed-to-house movement.
The point of the tiny house movement is to live a more minimalist life, with less clutter and less of the things we don't really need. Less clutter leads to less stress and less stress leads to a healthier life, both physically and mentally!
How can someone live in such a small space?
The simple answer is by de-cluttering and designating a space for everything in their tiny home. We went from a three bedroom house, to living small with a large outside storage full of stuff, to tiny, with limited outdoor storage. The key to this was designating a space for everything. In our tiny space, I utilized hidden space, like under the bed. I also utilized space above the bed as storage.
Organization is the second key to this. Everything is where it should be. There's bins to separate things, all labeled. Sewing supplies are in a small tote, labeled clearly. I keep extra fabric scraps in a bin close by, again, clearly labeled. In the same cabinet, I keep my sewing machine. This keeps everything together and in one place. This is especially helpful in the kitchen with organizing food.
In our kitchen, I keep the food we plan on eating over the week in the pantry. I I keep small containers for dry pasta, rice, sugar and flour and refill them as needed from the bulk. I buy groceries in bulk, so I "grocery shop" from my bulk supply for what we're eating during the week. For bulk-food, I actually store all of it underneath the T.V. This is a fairly large built-in cabinet, so this utilizes a space that would otherwise be used for a box of movies and random wires.
Why a tiny house?
Want to become self-sufficient? Want to live off-grid? Want to live the simple homestead life? Here's 4 ways the tiny house movement can help you with that:
1. It's easier to clean.
It's no secret that the more space=more stuff. Over time, all of this stuff becomes clutter and a mess, which means more cleaning and de-cluttering. Who wants to do more cleaning? Not me. Who likes to de-clutter? Not me.
2. A solar system.
A tiny/small house uses significantly less energy, which means a smaller solar system setup. If being completely off-grid or cutting out utility bills is a goal of yours, the tiny house movement may be for you!
3. Stay out of debt by building your own house.
Several people have built their own tiny house, with little outside help. With a larger house, there typically needs to be more equipment brought in or a contractor needs to be involved. By building your house yourself, you could use your savings, instead of taking out a huge mortgage with the bank. Build out of your own pocket, over time and for a quarter of the price.
4. Only buy what you need.
With less space, you'll be more conscientious about what comes into the house. Only buy what you have space for. Now you'll think twice about those impulse purchases. This also means no more never-ended lidless plastic containers. That's a plus in my book.
Isn't such a tiny, minimal space boring?
I don't know about you, but I love a cute centerpiece on my kitchen table. Even though minimalism is kind of the key here, there's nothing wrong with a little decorating. There's nothing stopping you from having a pretty table centerpiece, a warm throw blanket, wreaths, or even a Christmas tree in your tiny space.
I keep my decorations to what can fit in a 20-gallon tote, for each season. So, Christmas ornaments and winter decor are in one tote, spring and summer decor in a second one, then fall decor has it's own tote. These go underneath the bed, with space to spare for seasonal clothes. So, no, a minimal space is not boring!
A little tip for decorating tiny: buy decor that can be re-used and "changed up." For example, small faux pumpkins can be used in a lot of different ways. Put them in a basket, in a centerpiece or even on the table. Neutral baskets or even your own home-grown gourds can be used throughout several seasons!
Cons of a tiny house?
Tiny living is not for everyone. Some people, especially families, just need their space and that's OK. There's other ways of becoming self sufficient, even in a larger house. Could a small house be more your style? What about a lofted-style house?
Larger families need more room, so sometimes a small house is a better option. It all depends on what your goals are, family size and how much space you may need!
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