5 Tips for Successfully Living in a {Pseudo} Tiny Home

What’s a tiny home?

From The Tiny Life:

The typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.

People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom.

What’s a pseudo tiny home?

Well, that’s where I live now: one of two people in an under-600-sq-ft-condo, organized to be as space- and cost-efficient as possible. It’s not technically a tiny home, based strictly on square footage. It does serve as home, as well as two home offices, since we both work computer jobs. It also follows the tiny home spirit of reducing the space, cost, and maintenance of the home to allow for more time and freedom spent on other pursuits.

We’re not quite Gone With The Wynns, “a couple of perpetual travelers and modern day documentarians” living and working from a boat as they travel around the world. But, we’re a step above average in terms of housing efficiency. If you’re interested in bringing some tiny home spirit into your own life but aren’t sure about living in a shipping container just yet, these are for you.

5 Tips for Successfully Living in a {Pseudo} Tiny Home

Post-22-Tiny-Home-1

  1. Know Your Home Heat Map
    • Organize spaces according to use (and frequency of use). Some areas come with this pretty much built in, like the kitchen and bathroom. However, some take more thought.  If you share your space with other people, is it more practical to have all the clothing in one place (shared closet) or to organize spaces or rooms based on person? If you have opposing schedules (early riser, night shift, etc.) it’s likely easier to have some shared spaces, like the bedroom, and some individualized, like Person 1’s office/closet/bookshelf. This system prevents, or at least reduces, constantly interrupting one another during sleep or work.
  2. Sensible Overlap: Find Dual Uses
    • If there are spaces which can serve multiple purposes, consider condensing them to maximize efficiency. For example, if you’re unlikely to host guests in the common area at the same time you’re working at your desk, an office nook within the common area can eliminate the need for more square footage. Individual items can serve multiple purposes as well, especially when it comes to storage. Consider using filing cabinets as supports for a desk, or a dresser as a support for a table top. You might be surprised how much potential storage space is wasted with typical furniture! Don’t take it too far though – bathtub-as-bed and blender-as-fishbowl are the types of dual uses that don’t work out well.

      Post-22-Tiny-Home-2
      Bamboo-in-boot (bamboot?!) isn’t dangerous, but not particularly useful either.
  3. Don’t Keep Extra Stuff
    • With the exception of buying food and paper goods in bulk to save money, try to avoid having lots of extras. A lot of appliances fall into this category. Is having a microwave, stove, toaster, toaster oven, and cake pop maker all actually useful and necessary, or is the unnecessary clutter making life more hectic? You can make a few extra dollars selling used appliances on eBay or Craigslist, but the best benefit by far is being less tied to useless, space-hogging appliances. Extra furniture is easy to pick up (hello, friend getting rid of that cute matte-painted side table with barn wood accents) but often hard to justify. If great furniture is your cup of tea, find a few pieces which serve practical purposes and look great – don’t just settle for cute and free. If you watch most of your TV/movies on a computer anyway, is it really worth it to have a big TV hogging half of the wall? And, speaking of electronics, do you have a drawer or closet with old laptops and phones in it? Sell or recycle those stat. Chances that you’ll ever need that old Nokia brick phone are close to zero.
  4. Well, Keep Some Extra Stuff
    • Don’t go so far in the “getting rid of extras” that you get rid of your winter coat just because it’s summer. You’ll be in a perpetual cycle of selling and buying and, unless that’s your dream job, there are probably other things you’d like to do with your time. Instead, find compact methods for storing seasonal-use items. Capsule wardrobes are one example of this. Do you have seasonal hobbies like skiing or fishing? No need to trip over the skis all summer and get tangled in fishing line in the winter. When organizing your storage, assess frequency of use so you’re not digging to the back of the closet weekly to dig out the vacuum. Items with the least frequent access should be stored in the back of the closet, while items you use more often or daily should be easily accessible.
  5. Make Sure Your Stuff Is Efficient
    • We already looked at space efficiency in #2 above, but it really can’t be overstated. Make sure your stuff is space-efficient! But, past that, possessions which are energy- or fuel-efficient can save you maintenance time in the long run. Replace the bulbs in your house with LEDs as the incandescent bulbs burn out for brighter light with less energy use and less frequent replacement (like, 10-20 years or more based on bulb type and use). The same is often true of larger appliances or maintenance (water heater, new shingles): the higher quality you get, the better and longer it runs, meaning less time you have to spend on it.

 

Gotta run – time to water Bamboot.

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