Tag Archives: tiny house

4 Habits to Learn Before Buying Your First Tiny House

Living in a tiny house means letting go of all the clutter that seems to come with the modern lifestyle. It is a refutation of the notion that our identities are formed by the things that we own. In short, moving from a modern home or apartment to a tiny house is an extremely radical change. Unsurprisingly, people often struggle to adapt. This is why many owners of tiny houses choose to abandon their new homes, often within the first year of moving in.

What can you do to both mentally and physically prepare yourself for this lifestyle switch? If you are considering or planning to purchase your first tiny house in the near future, you need to learn these five habits before moving day:

1. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Living in an area less than 500 square feet obviously necessitates some compromises. Your home will have very little room for trash or unnecessary belongings. You need to get in the habit of letting go of and recycling unnecessary items. Not only will it help you get accustomed to living in a smaller area, it will benefit the planet as well.

Here are some best practices when recycling to keep in mind:

  • Clean your recyclables as you sort them.
  • All plastics that can be recycled are marked with a symbol and a number to indicate their composition. Learn what plastics your local recycling center can process.
  • When going through old unwanted electronics, check if items can be safely recycled.
  • If you are recycling large items, or heavy metals such as brass or copper, take them to a scrap yard — not a recycling center.

2. Buy and Sell Furniture Secondhand

Looking to get rid of some unwanted furniture, but don’t want to simply recycle it? Or are you looking for more space-efficient furniture for your new dwelling? Keeping with the theme of sustainability, you should consider both buying and selling your furniture secondhand. This a thriftier way of outfitting your home with all of the essentials, and it can further help you rid yourself of needless attachments to physical things.

As you acquire and sell furniture in your hunt for the ideal set-up for your living space, you should be aware of the true value of each item. Do your research and negotiate for a fair price. In no time at all (and even with a small budget), you can find the perfect furnishings for your needs.

3. Get Ready to Get Closer to Nature

As most tiny home owners can tell you, living in such a small space brings you substantially closer to nature — especially if your home is mobile. Because the amenities in your home have been stripped back to the bare essentials, you will be spending much more time outside. To stay comfortable, you will need the correct clothing for the outside temperature, as well as other necessities such as insect repellent and sunscreen.

If you want to get a hands-on experience with getting closer to nature before making any financial commitments, consider renting an RV. RVs have a lot of similarities to tiny houses, though they tend to be much more affordable (usually less than half the cost) and mobile. Get a feel for the lifestyle by making a temporary switch to living in an RV. This should give you a good idea if a tiny home is the right choice for you.

4. Connect With Other Tiny House Owners

If you have any questions before buying your new home, or if you have recently moved and have any concerns, you need a group of experts to depend on. Get in the habit of keeping in touch with other tiny house owners. Will your new home abide by local building codes? What is the best method of heating and cooling your home during extreme weather conditions? Regularly ask them questions about any burning issues that may be bugging you. In addition to connecting with the tiny living community here on Natural Papa, you may also want to follow other blogs that focus on tiny home living, such as Tiny House Blog and The Tiny Life.

When you’ve grown used to following these habits, you will be ready to move into your new tiny home. Be sure to recycle and clear out the space you need for your new lifestyle. Optimize your living space by buying and selling your furniture secondhand. Prepare yourself for living closer to nature. Finally, find a supportive network to assist you with any further questions. These practices will keep you content in your new dwelling, and they will change your life for the better.

By Brooke Faulkner

Image: Pixabay

Practical Furniture for Smaller Homes

Whether you have a small home or have made the plunge and built a truly tiny house, you have likely realized finding great furniture can be a challenge. The big issue for little homes is finding furniture which is aesthetically pleasing and can successfully function in multiple roles.

Many people get one of those roles right and fail entirely in the other. This is a shame because a home that is functional and unattractive is almost as bad as one that is beautiful but makes daily tasks difficult. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in the furniture of your dreams, you can take style inspiration from top furniture design manufacturers like Thomasville and then make something similar at a scale that is more suitable for your home.

Living Room

The living room of most smaller homes, and especially truly tiny houses, must be multifunctional. It may be the home entertainment center, office, bedroom, and children’s playroom depending on the day and time. Because of the varied roles the room is expected to serve, it is necessary for each piece of furniture to be carefully considered and capable of functioning optimally for many different needs.

For example, when choosing a chair for a small home, you don’t want to select the first attractive and comfortable piece that catches your eye. It of course should be both, but it needs to be more. A chair that might be purchased for a larger living room only needs to be useful as a place to relax. But if it will also be part of an office at times, it should fit comfortably at the desk. If it will be in a playroom, the upholstery should be stain resistant and water repellant.

The accompanying ottoman cannot be simply a place to rest one’s feet at the end of a long day. It needs to be large enough to serve as a coffee table or have hidden storage where toys can be tucked away when play time is over. Ideally, it would be able to function as an ottoman, coffee table, and storage all-in-one.

Kitchen

The kitchen takes up a lot of real estate in most homes, but it doesn’t have to. You can dramatically reduce the amount of space used by switching from traditional cabinets to open shelving. This visually and physically opens the area and provides more functional storage space.

Appliances can also be purchased in apartment size or smaller that have many of the same amenities of their larger cousins. They are also available in energy saving models, which wasn’t always the case.

As for the furniture in the kitchen. You may have wanted a kitchen island and realized it would make the room feel too crowded. However, there are moveable islands that can be used as a taller extension of your counters that can be moved to a more convenient location when needed. This gives you the comfort of a kitchen island with a footprint that makes more sense for a smaller kitchen.

Bedrooms

Many people don’t realize the many ways in which bedroom furniture can be selected to optimize the space. Beds are large pieces that typically take up more than half of the room. This is to be expected, but all that room doesn’t have to be wasted. Some manufacturers have created stunning units that have bookshelves as headboards or which feature drawers that provide additional storage underneath the bed frame.

Nightstands are another piece of furniture that can be completely impractical if they only take up space to hold a lamp or charge your cell phone. While simple tables are an option, it makes more sense to maximize the floor space they occupy by choosing a unit that has shelves or drawers which can be used for storage. If the room is big enough, you might even choose to have two small desks on either side of the bed to serve as his and her office space during the day.

Your closet can be outfitted with carefully designed units to triple the amount of storage they can accommodate. If you have a minimalist wardrobe to match your smaller home, you can use this for storing items which can’t be accommodated elsewhere such as holiday decorations, luggage, or other seasonal goods.

Practical furniture doesn’t have to be unattractive, overly expensive, or boring. With careful consideration, it is possible to have a gorgeous and highly functional home filled only with items that are beautiful and supremely useful.

About the author: Katherine Smith (Kat) is a San Diego based freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of fitness and entertainment topics. In her free time Kat enjoys the beach and playing volleyball with family and friends.

Important Life Lessons Learned (And Taught) By “Living Tiny”

While the tiny home/tiny life certainly isn’t for everyone, it comes with more benefits than simply “it costs less than a full-size home,” or “I prefer living simply.”

While there are a multitude of reasons why changing to a simpler lifestyle is more appealing — there exists some emotional, and mental reasons, as well. Not only can you learn to live with less there to distract you, you learn to appreciate the simple things in life, and how, in a lot of ways, it trumps everything else.

Lesson #1: “Avoiding a materialistic life means avoiding a stressful life”

I think for a majority of people, myself included, the more stuff I have, the more I feel like I have to worry about. Whether it’s cleaning up after myself or someone else, keeping track of chores that need to be done, broken things that need to be fixed or replaced — honestly, the thought of having to only worry about the bare necessities is one of the many blessings available to inhabitants of tiny homes. They don’t have to set aside different days for taking care of different rooms (at least, not in the same way the owner of the previously-mentioned 4-bedroom would have to), they don’t have to worry about losing something within the mess, and the only time they’ll ever have to worry about organizing clutter is during the “preparation” stage when transitioning into a tiny home.

That sounds pretty good to me.

Lesson #2: “You don’t need a ‘house’ to have a place to call ‘home’”

“Home is where the heart is,” belongs in more places than cross-stitch patterns and in frames over beds in hospital rooms. A home is wherever your consider it, whether that’s a 2-bedroom apartment, a tent in the woods, or the front seat of your car. It doesn’t carry the burden of only being allowed to be a 4-bedroom ranch house in a suburban subdivision.

“House” was left in quotes within the title for a reason — tiny houses are certainly houses, for all intents and purposes, but perhaps not as the majority of people would see them. While, yes, they’d smile and share Pinterest links with their friends, plenty of people would never consider a tiny house to compare to that of a real house. The aforementioned house with 4 bedrooms and two bathrooms.

A home is what you make of it, and I think a lot of people have a hard time understanding that a tiny home offers all of the same necessary amenities of a large house, only more compact. You can still customize every aspect of a tiny house to your liking, you can change the wallpaper, utilize crafty lighting, the carpet or hardwood floors– it’s still all under your command, only you don’t have such a large renovation bill at the end of it all. Most people even suggest using outdoor features like in-ground ponds or patios to help the place feel a little more homey, without adding to the square-footage of the house itself.

Lesson #3: “With less to clutter your surroundings, there’s less to clutter your mind”

As previously mentioned, materialism may contribute a few good conveniences to our lives, but for the most part, it seems as if they’re only there to get in the way, make a mess, or, as this section is titled, “clutter” our minds.

With living in a tiny house comes the need to declutter and purposefully organize the things you absolutely need, cutting out any of the extra background/white noise that might exist otherwise. You learn not only to throw things away without attaching unnecessary significance, you learn how to avoid buying things you otherwise wouldn’t need, and you take care of what you do have.

Lesson #4: “Being ‘alone’ doesn’t automatically equate to being ‘lonely’”

For some unknown reason, people who choose to go out to eat, or go to a movie, by themselves, are seen as “strange.” Or “lonely.”

The problem with this assumption is, however, the implication that being alone is bad, and unwanted. The truth is, despite humans being naturally social creatures, we also crave time alone with our thoughts in order to clear our heads, take a breather from the real world and interpersonal obligations, etc.

Whether it be to the movies, or somewhere out in nature like on a hike, the stigma against being alone is uncalled for. And living in a tiny house doesn’t automatically mean you have to be a lone wolf– not only are there grander tiny homes that allow for a scrupulous family to live in, but tiny home neighborhoods might soon be just as common as common suburban ones are!

Lesson #5: “Living tiny allows you to return to nature, without the constant hassle of a tent”

What better way to go back to the roots of simply being a human mammal than by staking your claim of a small plot of land out in the country, the forest, the mountains? Except, this time, you’ll be there for good to enjoy the scenery, rather than only temporarily on a camping trip before eventually having to pack everything back up to go back to work on Monday.

Of course, while larger homes exist in nature in this manner, their costs are much greater than a tiny home would be, particularly in insurance costs. And so, with everyone eager to move to the mountains to live their dream of being a mountain-man/woman, chopping their own lumber and living off the land, a tiny house seems like the ideal choice to me.

By Brooke Faulkner

Small House Design: Seattle Tiny Homes Offers Complete Tiny House On Wheels Plans

tiny house on wheelsIf you’re interested in building your own small house, or having someone build you a tiny house, one of the most important elements is the plans, especially if you’re not a builder by profession. Some people that work in the building trades can frame up walls and a roof in no time, without much guidance, but those of us who have more enthusiasm and willingness than we do skills and experience will benefit from working off of a detailed tiny house plan.

And while it’s completely possible to build a small house on either a temporary foundation or a permanent pad, one of the awesome benefits of a tiny house is that it can be built on a trailer, which essentially gives you a house on wheels that can go anywhere you go. The tiny house plans now offered by Seattle Tiny Homes are designed to do exactly that, and these comprehensive plans aren’t just small house building plans that can be put onto a trailer without any regard for standards, as the Alki plans meet the standards used by the RV industry, so you can rest assured that the resulting tiny house build will be not only safe but may allow your tiny house on wheels to be certified as an RV. Is another option different from the normal regular houses, although if you want something more permanent and affordable you can consider the burnaby condos for sale to make your living plans a reality for you and your family.

tiny house design

The plans for the Alki tiny house, which is the most popular model offered by Seattle Tiny Homes, were drawn up in collaboration with Saul Rip Hansen, an experienced architectural designer and the founder of the Collaborative Tiny House Project. And the plans aren’t just for the framing and structural components of the Alki tiny house, but also include complete framing, electrical, plumbing, propane, and HVAC plans, of course for this you will need all the gold coast plumbing  materials that you can get all in one place at Black Jade Plumbing. Also you will get step-by-step building guide, pro tips from the Seattle Tiny House building team, a list of the necessary tools, a materials list, and the appropriate schematics, cutaways, and perspectives necessary to build a tiny home yourself. Click plumber to see my personal recommendation for our plumbing system. The purchase of the 88-page set of plans also includes a $300 credit towards a Seattle Tiny Homes trailer, which is another incentive to get started building the tiny house on wheels you’ve always wanted.

“At 24 feet long, it’s just the right length for most people. We’ve designed it to be full of light, and the first thing people say when they step inside is, “Oh, I didn’t know a tiny home could feel so spacious!”

The Alki has a full kitchen, a full bathroom, and even space for a washer and dryer. You can sleep in one of the two lofts, or you can sleep in a convertible bed on the main level in the great room. It is one of our most versatile and practical models.

With clean, contemporary styling, the Alki is eye-catching and beautiful.” – Seattle Tiny Homes

“Build your tiny house with the most comprehensive construction plans available today. Seattle Tiny Homes is now offering building plans for our most popular Alki model, a moveable micro home. See your dream become reality as you follow intricately detailed documents that take the guesswork out of installing your home’s most complicated systems (like electrical, plumbing, propane, and HVAC). Few things are more satisfying than building your own tiny home, and these plans give you the best possible opportunity to succeed.”

The Alki tiny house design features a light-filled living area, two lofts, a full kitchen, a full bathroom complete with a tub/shower combo, and room for a stackable washer/dryer. The main level of this small house is 192 square feet, with 80 square feet in one loft and almost 50 square feet in the other loft, with a 9′ 6″ to 10′ 10″ ceiling height (lowest to highest) and a standard height (6′ 8″) door and 6′ 8″ clearance from the floor to the bottom of the lofts.

tiny house interior

The tiny house plans are designed to include an apartment-sized refrigerator (10 cubic feet), a 21″ range, a 24″ wide stackable washer/dryer combo, a composting toilet (or other toilet options), and either a gas or electric tank or tankless water heater.

This small house on wheels design, when completed, measures 24′ long (plus the trailer tongue), 8′ 6″ wide, 13′ 6″ high, and will weigh in at approximately 10,500 pounds (depending on materials and finish). The completed tiny house can be easily towed by a 3/4 ton truck and will be road legal in all 50 US states.

The comprehensive Alki tiny house plans (copyrighted) are printed on easy-to-read 11×17″ pages, and are currently available to be shipped free of charge anywhere in the world. The special launch pricing on these complete small house design plans is $695.00 right now (full price is $895.00), but can also be ordered ‘a la carte’ as just the tiny house framing plans ($395), the electrical plan ($135), the small house plumbing plan ($175), or the propane and HVAC plans ($95 each).

5 Reasons To Consider A Shipping Container Home

shipping container houseWith the worldwide explosion of the Tiny House Movement, more and more people are looking for innovative methods to create their dream minimalist living space and reduce their footprint whilst staying within the boundaries of their respective country’s planning laws. To that end, many prospective owner/builders are opting to recycle and re-purpose a steel shipping container in what is proving to be an increasingly popular and effective way of creating the perfect tiny home. Here are 5 reasons to consider this method yourself over other methods of construction.

Cheap, Cheap, Cheap!

With brand new 20ft shipping containers available for as little as £1500 and second-hand examples coming in at well under £1000, they provide what is probably the cheapest pre-built structures on the market. And as there are literally millions of containers lying idle around the world and not exactly in short supply, it is very much a buyer’s market. The fact that they’re intended use is not for habitation is immaterial, as with a little imagination, inspiration and some specialist assistance, they can easily be transformed into a desirable living space at a considerable saving on other forms of tiny house construction.

Kind to the Environment

By opting for a cargo container construction method, you are essentially recycling an existing entity that would otherwise be sat in a shipyard somewhere deteriorating. By the very act of repurposing the container you are preventing its component steel from going to waste and negating the need for reliance on fresh materials to construct your new home. Container homes also lend themselves nicely to off-grid living, with the integration of solar, wind and water recycling systems further reducing your carbon footprint.

Construction Time & Flexibility

Speed of construction is a major concern when building any type of home. The longer things take, the greater the cost of labor and alternative accommodation arrangements. A delayed build can seriously inflate the overall cost of a project. As an existing structure, a shipping container design significantly reduces build time and, by extension, your stress levels. As they are also inherently room like and cuboid in nature, they offer a level of design flexibility not afforded by other construction methods. A container home can be extended upwards or outwards by simply adding further containers in a building block manner.

Durability

Cargo containers are built from steel and designed to weather the rigors of the high seas for tens of thousands of miles at a time. They are as tough as old boots! As such, they will require minimum maintenance whilst offering you better protection against the elements than any other tiny house construction method. You can also count fire resistance and natural disaster resilience among their many attributes.

Portable

The clue is in the name. “Shipping” container. These things are designed to be portable and can be easily delivered to a location of your choosing with relative ease. And should the time come that you require a change of scenery, container homes can be relocated to virtually anywhere with the minimum of fuss. Why move to a new home when you can take your home with you?

About the author: Andy Trowers is a staff writer for the popular second hand bargains website http://www.for-sale.ie/. Image: Angel Schatz

How to Start Living in a Tiny House

Tiny houses are about living beautifully, simply, and yet still with everything you need. It’s about independence from debt and getting the economic freedom to live a larger life, instead of having a larger house. If you’re seriously interested in living a smaller existence in a tiny house, you need to start changing your habits right this instant.

Measurement of a tiny house:

A tiny house is thought as those less than 900 square feet in proportions generally, although most small rooms are just 100 to 400 sq ft. The smallest yurt measures 12’ in diameter and 115 square feet and the largest one measures in at 30’ in diameter and 706 square feet.

You can argue that yurts are tiny houses. For individuals who decide to live tiny, residing in a tiny house represents more than just moving into a smaller number of square feet. There are varying stages to tiny house conversion. Some social individuals are tiny house curious, meaning they prefer to learn more about small living, but are not going to quit their current home.

Here are some methods for finding the right kind of tiny house for you and how exactly to simplify your life so that living in a tiny house is enjoyable rather than confining.

tiny-house
Image: Ben Chun

Research:

There are various types of tiny houses, defined as those significantly less than 900 square feet. Consider the tiny house designs, starting from traditional to ultra-contemporary in design. Some incorporate off-the-grid styles like rainwater collection, wind power, and composting toilets.

tiny-house-without-loft
Image: Wikimedia

Your needs:

A lot of people need a comfy, dry, quiet spot to sleep and a clean place to carry out personal hygiene. They also need a comfortable spot to sit or lie down during the whole day and an accepted place to store, prepare, and consume food for the whole day. You might want additional creature comforts such as long-term refrigerated food storage space, a whirlpool tub, a state-of-the-art entertainment system, a clothing dryer and washer,  a charged power generator, a dishwasher, personal bedrooms, wall-to-wall structure carpeting, granite countertops, workout services, T-3 access to the internet, and so on. Another option would be to get a storage unit from storage units Clarksville, IN so that you can keep everything that doesn’t fit in your house.

Benefits:

► A tiny house is less to clean

► Less unneeded clothing, broken devices,  etc.

► Lower energy expenses and a greener ecological footprint

► Newer food that’s purchased, captured, or harvested on a far more daily basis

► Additional time available for outdoor entertaining and activities

► You don’t need to sell your house when you relocate (if your tiny house is towable).

Cost:

Smaller sized areas for design are more technical. Compact appliances cost a lot more than full sized appliances sometimes.

Pare down your possessions:

We spend about 85% of our lives putting on 25% of the clothes we own. Therefore by eliminating most of that wasted 85%, your daily life becomes directly simpler: less laundry plus much less indecision in what to put on that day. A laptop computer with a TV tuner is more energy efficient.

tiny-house-interior
Image: Wikimedia

Bed Options:

Sleep is an essential part of existence, and creating a healthy bedroom should be important in any tiny house. Space is restricted in a tiny house, which is why nearly all tiny houses have a bedroom in a loft. Lofts are space savers! They are therapeutic also. A loft can become a cocoon for the body. Some tiny homes select non-lofted bed choices. To conserve space, this means incorporating convertible furniture usually. Another awesome bed option is an electrical lift-bed.

Be creative about storage:

A bed system could have clothing storage space drawers underneath. If you make an integral sofa, you may use the area underneath to store plenty of items. You can design a desk those folds out from the wall, then folds along to become a bed.

For a used house:

If you want, you can purchase a used tiny home. Additionally, there are kits available that can come with all or the majority of the materials for building the house, along with instructions. The least expensive option for small living is to get a well-maintained used travel or RV trailer. You get the benefit of having something well designed and constructed, but you have the disadvantage of not being able to customize your home to your requirements and wants fully.

Finally, if you follow these above tips, you are ready to start living in a tiny house.

Four Tiny House Myths Debunked: Why You Should Still Consider a Smaller Space

Tiny houses are taking the country by storm.

The question remains: do you have what it takes to the make the leap?

As more and more of the public embraces minimalist living through the tiny house movement, many of us can’t help but second guess our own living situations.

“Do I have too much? Could I actually fit in a smaller space than what I have now?”

Such questions are absolutely normal: tiny living isn’t often as glamorous as it’s presented on television. That being said, there are many myths about the transition into living in a tiny house that simply aren’t true and need to be debunked.

Whether you’re considering a tiny home or simply downsizing your current living space, understand the following tiny house myths and how to apply the “less is more” principle to your own lifestyle.

Myth #1: There’s No Room for Furniture

Although tiny living does require you to sacrifice many of your odds and ends, the fact remains that you can have elegant furniture in your tiny home.

For example, you can mix and match cottage-style furniture within your limited living space: you simply must pick and choose your pieces carefully. Tiny homes on the larger end of the spectrum allow you to enjoy more than a loft bed, too. Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to furnishing a tiny house: you may not be able to bring everything with you, but instead pick something new as starting point for your new home.

Myth #2: You Can’t Enjoy Modern Conveniences

Tiny houses are often associated with cabin-style living; however, that doesn’t mean you have to live without modern conveniences such as television and Internet. In fact, tiny homes are ideal for remote workers trying to embrace minimalist living and save money: such freelancers need access to wi-fi, for example, to make their living.

Simply because your space is scaled down doesn’t mean you’re cut off from the outside world.

Myth #3: Tiny Houses Aren’t Meant for Families

Obviously, flying solo makes for an easier transition into a tiny home. There are plenty of families making the switch, though, who simply employ a combination of the following to make sure everyone has personal space:

  • Moving in a larger model: a space around 500 square feet can easily fit a family versus a 200-square foot home
  • Taking advantage of outdoor space (think: patios and enclosures), ensuring that everyone in the household feels less claustrophobic and has an area for themselves
  • Sectioning the home into distinct “rooms” rather than taking a studio approach to design

Families can get along just fine in a tiny home, granted they know what they’re getting into when they make the move.

Myth #4: They’re a Novelty

Tiny homes are more than just a novelty for the wealthy. To those trying to make the most out of less and enjoy a lower cost of living, tiny homes represent a viable and valuable lifestyle change. While some tenants do find themselves transitioning back into a larger space after a year or two, tiny homes are here to stay for those able to adjust.

It’s easy to knock tiny living until you’ve seen such spaces firsthand. Despite popular belief, you can live life to the fullest in a tiny house: simply understand how to make the most of your space and emphasize what’s important to your home.

Prototype $1200 pre-fab tiny house can be set up in 3 hours

pin-up-houses-franceHold on to your wallets, because this little dwelling isn’t for sale yet, but it is a promising development in the tiny house movement.

Tiny houses aren’t for everybody, and they may not even be for most people, but if you’re looking to slim down your personal material footprint, and are comfortable getting by with a very small dwelling, a tiny home might be worth looking into. Of course, you’ll still need to find a place where it’s legal to build and live in one, and then figure out how to get water, power, and a toilet in it, but those aren’t necessarily deal breakers for the types of resourceful people who often pursue tiny house living. But two of the facets of tiny houses that can trip people up are the costs, which can be rather high for such a small home if choosing a pre-built or custom-built house, and the construction skills necessary to build a tiny house yourself, if going the DIY route.

However, there may be a solution to both of those issues if the tiny house company Pin Up Houses follows through with its latest prototype, as the folks there have been looking into the prospects of making mass production pre-fab models, and have built one of them, dubbed “France,” with an estimated cost of just $1200.

Read more: Pre-fab tiny house prototype costs $1200, can be built in 3 hours