The Do’s and Don’ts of Downsizing to a Tiny Home

Sharing Downsizing Essentials: from getting rid of excess to preparing for the realities of tiny home life

Downsizing to a tiny home is now accepted more broadly as an acceptable and practical lifestyle choice by many in the mainstream. As a result, the movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Going tiny simply means consciously choosing to live in a small-sized home of reduced livable space, leading to a less stressful and more frugal way of life. 

Do’s of Downsizing to a Tiny Home (or smaller home)

Suppose you want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, reduce your expenses, or positively contribute to the environment. In that case, it’s high time that you consider downsizing your house. The exercise of downsizing to a tiny home can prove challenging, yet one can easily adopt a tiny lifestyle with the proper know-how. 

The following is a list of what to do to ensure a smooth transition to your tiny house:
gooseneck tiny home
Nicole shares how she came up with her ideal tiny house design with the help of her builder - click to watch the tour!

1) Do Have A Plan

the beginner's guide to tiny housesDecluttering your current home can be overwhelming, even more so if you've lived there for a long time. Read downsizing guides and consider taking an e-course to help you strategize how to approach this daunting task.

Also, don't hesitate to ask for help. A friend or adult child can help you sort through your belongings. Did you know junk removal can help too? Most companies offer their services, but at a fee. However, some local city junk removal services, that provide free help. For free-of-charge junk removal services, you may visit sites like and others to inquire about the available support for you. 

Planning your downsizing process helps reduce stress and the chances of making mistakes. Overdoing it can happen! But with that said, it is just stuff, after all. This will become clearer to you the further you get in the downsizing process—an exhilarating feeling!

2) Do Conduct An Inventory Check

Write down the list of items you need in your day-to-day life, those you can forego, and what you're unsure about. Letting go of things can be pretty tricky; take your time deciding and sorting. You don't need to ditch all your cherished belongings. Importantly, the key is to refine your list until you get down to the most essential.

Creating physical piles, or at least touching each thing, can help you process the personal value of all of your belongings.

Keep in mind, your tiny home most likely doesn't have as much storage space compared to your current home. It'd be best to reduce the number of your bulky belongings, such as kitchenware and clothing, to reach a curated collection—most needed and loved. Ultimately, there's no ideal number of belongings.

What you prioritize is very personal. It's ok to have a sizable shoe collection in a tiny house. You just have to plan around your priorities, which sometimes means accepting trade-offs. As an example, more available space used for storing lots of books might mean less room for other things.

Once you have your essential inventory, you can evaluate how it matches up with small space realities. For instance, your sofa may be a vital component of your daily life, but it's probably too big. So that means it's time to replace it with a smaller one.

3) Do Purchase Multi-Purpose Items

With a tiny home having minimal floor space, it's advisable to select items that serve more than one purpose. Go with a couch that doubles up as a pull-out bed or a table that doubles up as a storage space. Such an approach to furnishing your tiny house allows you to have fewer items that serve you in more ways than one.

Check out this guide on space-saving furniture for small spaces.

4) Do Try Before You Downsize into Your Own Tiny Home

You may not know what you might truly need until you've tried it out. Downsizing can be a long-term commitment that you need a lot of thinking. 

Rent out a tiny house for a night or two. Decide what you like and don't like about the place. Try picturing how you're going to live in such a reduced space for prolonged periods. Spending some time in a rental broadens your perspective of a smaller house and enlightens your choices.

You want to build or buy the kind of tiny home that will most suit your needs.

tiny house parking

Don'ts of Switching to a Tiny House

Downsizing can be a shock to many, at first. Transitioning to a drastically new way of living one's life can be challenging. To make the whole ordeal a lot more bearable and rewarding, the following are the things not to do as you downsize to a tiny house:

1) Don't Under-Declutter Your Home

There's a possibility of you still ending up with unnecessary items, even after taking an inventory. Frankly, it can be challenging to know when enough is enough. The danger of under-decluttering is that you'll lack adequate space in your new tiny home to store your possessions. In addition, it can run counter to your newly embraced simple living lifestyle and end up stressing you out.

When deciding whether to let go of an item or not, let functionality inform your decisions. Also, Marie Kondo's iconic question, "does it spark joy?"

The good news is the issue of having too much stuff in your tiny home can easily be solved with more downsizing. And you'll be motivated to do it quickly since your space will feel crowded!

2) Don't Work On Your Own

Designing and building a tiny house might seem pretty straightforward, especially so many successful do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). But, such an undertaking requires an immense amount of research & planning, and expert help can still be needed. Different tasks such as installing plumbing and electrical components and many more may prove challenging, hence the need for assistance.

With all that said, you must determine if building your own home is feasible. There are many tiny house plans, YouTube videos, and workshops available to help you. Additionally, semi-DIY options out there like getting a shell that already has the complex, critical construction elements complete for you. 

If you decide against the DIY route, numerous builders have a broad range of models and custom options for various budgets. Don't forget it preowned homes too! These can be renovated to suit you better. Check out this guide with tips for new tiny home buyers.

No matter what path you choose, consider seeking advice from those already living in tiny houses too. They can provide great insights, like tiny house maintenance, and share mistakes they've made and what to do to not repeat them.

3) Don't Ignore Locals Laws 

By-laws and zoning requirements dictate the building of small houses, which vary based on your location. Visit your local authority and inquire about the permits and possible restrictions regarding the construction and placement of foundation-based and movable tiny houses. Following the law is said to be highly beneficial for avoiding code-enforcement issues.

Watch our documentary series, Living Tiny Legally, to learn more.

You can get around these restrictions, but it is critical that you are away of what rules you're breaking, so you're not caught off guard.

In addition, you'll want a backup plan in case you're forced to move (applies to homes on wheels).  Check out our in-depth tiny house parking guide covering risky, convenient, and legal options.

Downsizing to a Tiny Home Conclusion

Downsizing to a tiny house is quite an exciting experience that doesn't have to be challenging or overly frustrating. By following the do's and don'ts mentioned above, the whole process will be seamless and enjoyable for you. It's time to explore alternative home possibilities that promote healthy lifestyles.

Michelle shares about her downsizing experience & creating a home to perfectly suits her (shoe collection & all).

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