Why truly embracing a Tiny Lifestyle is essential when you move into a Tiny Home...
It's Alaska, your friendly neighborhood tiny house concierge! Today we're going to talk about the realities of living in a very small space. More specifically, we will discuss why moving into a tiny house without adopting a tiny lifestyle could be a disaster.
As more people come to the movement, we are seeing a wider variety in terms of what habits and things people are willing to sacrifice when going tiny. Some people welcome the chance to change and pair down, while others try to fit a traditional American life into a very small house. And, er, that's why I saw it fit to have this discussion!
Friends, you must understand that a tiny house is a concentration capsule! If you are moving into a tiny house because you are suffering from a life that is too big, merely changing the size of your house won't solve your problem. In fact, if you try to stuff your American-sized problems into a smaller space, you will suffer more, not less. So, like it or not, your enjoyment level of this lifestyle will depend on your willingness to make a few changes.
Now we are getting somewhere! But what changes need to be implemented? Well, in order to keep your sanity, I'd start with the tiny lifestyle practices listed below.
Tiny Lifestyle Musts
1) Define What You Value
Friends, I went on a few dates with someone recently, and in my short time of knowing them, I watched them buy lego collectibles, drink top-shelf tequila, and drive around in a brand new, financed, off-roading vehicle. What’s the problem? They didn’t deeply value any of it. In fact, when I asked this person what their favorite pastimes were, they listed building things, taking CrossFit classes, and solving crossword puzzles. That's right; they valued being a creator, working out, and indulging in a hobby that is basically free. So why were they spending time at a job they didn’t like to pay for things they didn’t really want? Who knows, but this person isn’t alone!
Spending time, money, and energy in a way that isn’t in alignment with our values is a trap that many of us fall into, but here’s why it’s an even bigger problem when you go tiny.
If you go tiny, you're likely chasing the peace that tiny housers gush about on the Internet. And it can be yours! But that peace comes from having a bigger financial safety net, a life saturated with your very favorite things, and more free time. If going tiny puts more cash in your pocket, but you spend that cash buying even more things you don't value and proceed to store it in an even smaller space, you will be miserable.
Moral of the story: don't turn your tiny house into a premium tequila den unless that's really your thing. It's not enough to just buy a tiny. You have to define what you value, so you know what to put in it.
2) Create Less Waste
I had a friend come over recently, and she suggested that we pick up dinner from a local restaurant and bring it back to the tiny house. No, no, no. If you live tiny, you understand why this is a terrible idea. But, if you don't live tiny yet, let me explain why your sanity depends on you eating at the restaurant.
Tiny house trash and recycling bins are small. Remember, it's an extra small space. This means that creating waste becomes a big problem very fast. Oh, and nothing will fill up your bins quite as quickly as a takeout container.
So what did my friend and I do? We had dinner at the restaurant and then used Tupperware to bring home the leftovers. We got to enjoy a night out, we didn't create waste, and while we technically brought home more tikka masala than existed in the house before, we made sure it was all gone by midnight. 😉
3) Be Thoughtful About Utility Needs
Let me tell you, Friends, a 100 amp electrical panel and a traditional flush toilet sound great—until you've tried to find tiny house parking!
Here's the deal. RV parks might have sewer or septic connections, but you are unlikely to find such things on private land. Additionally, most tiny house parking spaces offer a maximum 50 amp power supply, with 30 amps being more common. It might seem awesome to fill your tiny house with high-powered toys, but life will get really un-fun when you have to turn off the lights to make a smoothie or unplug the refrigerator to blowdry your hair. Promise.
4) Live a Life of Doing Rather Than Having
Remember my date? They had a value system based on doing things, but they spent their money (AKA life energy) on having things. Even in a tiny house, you will want to own items that genuinely bring you joy. But those things aside, you will get so much more out of tiny living if you structure your life around having experiences, getting outdoors, and being a creator rather than a consumer.
Why? Well, remember what I said about a tiny house being a concentration capsule? It is. And this means that you will feel the crunch with every item you bring into your home. In a regular-sized living space, you could stash things away, and it would be twenty years before Hoarders asked you to do a segment. If you don't make a change when going tiny, however, you could easily qualify for Hoarders in about twenty minutes. This is why I had a tiny house mini-meltdown when my dentist tried to foist a gift bag on me yesterday.
OK, so I know that level of sensitivity might sound terrible, but it's actually a major benefit of going tiny! You see, if you follow the rule and build a life of doing, you can ensure that you will never end up on a reality show pulling dead cats out of your freezer. Instead, you will create a life that involves getting fresh air, moving your body, and gaining skill sets. And isn't that better?
Tiny Lifestyle Reflections
OK, I'm going to stop there for now. Please don't let this list overwhelm you, trust me, the changes you'll be making when you go tiny will help end the overwhelm for good. And I know I'm hitting you with some hard truths in this article, but here's one more:
Your new life is going to cost you your old one.
But also, isn't that why you're here? Because your old life wasn't working in some way? I'm not going to sugarcoat this and tell you that the transition will be seamless or that tiny living will always be easy. I will say, however, that there is a supreme level of peace to be found in a life with fewer moving pieces. The freedom and quiet are real, and yeah, the life really is that good. Even on days when you make mistakes, and your house ends up looking like this:
Long story short: If your house is changing, you must change too. A tiny house without a tiny lifestyle could be a disaster, but when you put the two together?
That's all for now.
Until next time,
Alaska is a writer, realtor, and tiny homeowner living in the great state of Colorado. She is the founder of The Tiny House Concierge, a company that offers consultation and copywriting services for people looking to rethink their housing and rewrite their lives. In addition to her website, she can be found on Instagram and YouTube.
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