Last month, we gave you lots of ideas for setting up a tiny house on your property for use as a home office. This month, we’ll delve into living the tiny house lifestyle – using it as your primary residence.
Granted, many people won’t be able to, or want to, pare down their belongings and sacrifice their comfort level to live in a structure the size of a large backyard shed. But for adventurous souls who choose to move their home from time to time as they travel the country, or for others who simply can’t imagine being able to afford a traditional home (or maybe don’t want to), the tiny house dream is a great option.
But while television and magazine articles extol the beauty, advantages, and financial benefits of building or moving into a tiny home of your own, not everyone can live in such a small space. Check out some of the requirements we list below and find out for yourself.
- Live with items that almost all function in more than one way?
- Choose smaller sized everything?
- Adapt to working harder to accomplish many everyday tasks?
- Question your every purchase or acquisition as to whether it’s necessary and have room for it?
- Become flexible and highly organized?
Let’s look at those items we just mentioned. Many items and parts of your structure perform double-duty; there’s no question about that. For example, your coffee table might also serve as your work desk, it probably provides storage, and may even be built on casters to be used as a step stool when needed.
Since many items are stored high up on walls in tiny homes, without a rolling library-style ladder or built-in staircase to your loft areas, you might store your ladder on hooks horizontally above your doorway. In this case, a rolling table will provide the means of lifting down that ladder hung over the door.
Staircases to the loft area are commonly designed to hold many household items that need to be accessed regularly. Each stair step is constructed as a sturdy box to provide storage for tools or supplies – or whatever else the homeowner chooses to keep handy but out of sight.
Booth-style benches, like the type used in restaurants, not only are designed to provide storage within, but often provide a flat surface that can be used for an extra sleeping platform. The hinged, two-part bench top is opened flat when needed. Furniture that does double-duty is practical and smart.
Living in a tiny house demands downsizing things as much as is possible and practical. Many companies make products designed for just this type of small storage. One example of this is a set of pots that all nest within each other; they come with just one handle that’s used interchangeably on any pot that’s needed.
Bathrooms and kitchens are tiny, as well, and need to be well thought out when it comes to design. A convection oven instead of a full-sized oven, a hot plate instead of a stovetop, and a shower stall instead of a tub/shower combo are more the norm than the exception in tiny houses. In general, things are more compact than in traditional houses.
Extra effort is needed to perform routine tasks, partly because of the nature of everything’s performing multiple functions. If you end up using a second loft as both storage and as a guest room, clearing it out for overnight company might entail a great deal of work to find places to transfer those stored items to while your guests stay with you.
If you do use the coffee table as a home office, leaving your papers out every day may be fine if you’re the only one who sees it, but clearing it away when visitors come might be challenging and frustrating.
And maintaining a composting toilet, as is common in tiny homes, involves more work. This type of toilet separates liquids from solids. The liquid chamber is fairly airtight and the solids are deposited into a soil chamber which eventually recycles it into the soil. Practically odor free, these toilets are an environmentally conscious and kind way to eliminate human waste. Regular emptying of the reservoirs is required, though, unlike with a traditional toilet – and therefore, involves more work on a regular basis.
Do I really need it? We might all be better off if we ask this of ourselves each time we make a purchase, but the truth is, we often don’t. The tiny home dweller may just have to. Horizontal space is at a premium and probably already used for essentials, and vertical space is more often used for storage and design (think of the ladder over the doorway, an iron pot rack hanging from the kitchen ceiling, as well as artwork and windows). With precious little room for extras, every purchase needs to be not just considered carefully, but challenged… Can I do without it?
And finally on the list … flexibility and organization. If you don’t have room to store more than three rolls of toilet tissue, buying in bulk is out of the question. This translates into more frequent stops at the store. Your schedule needs to adapt in a way to allow for these stops.
It will necessitate a weekly inventory of household items so that there are no emergency trips in the middle of the night. Planning and organization go a long way toward successful tiny home living. If you love to entertain, then paring down on the amount of groceries you buy at any one time might be an eye-opener. Unless you installed a full-size refrigerator in your very tiny home, chances are you won’t fit more than a few days’ worth of groceries for two people.
All of these adjustments make for a successful transition to a tiny home. Not everyone will be able to do it, and of those who can, not all o
f them will enjoy it. But for those who can live a very large life in a very tiny home – and love doing so – the challenges and extra effort is well worth it. And the support from others of the same mindset provide them entry into an exclusive club of sorts – where they share everything from problem solving to household items, not to mention a very special friendship that only tiny house owners can truly relate to.
D4 Construction in Kamloops can partner with you as you plan out your tiny house. Call Mike today at 250-572-4812 and ask him for his input into your design. He can help you create the extra storage space you need, the furniture that will perform double-duty for you, and the other unique features that will turn your tiny home into your tiny dream house!