In this article, we will briefly go over the main aspects of downsizing and a minimalistic lifestyle. Some of the issues will surely be surprising. Stay tuned till the end to decide if a tiny house is a good fit for your lifestyle.
Set your priorities
Setting your priorities is all about self-awareness and self-confidence. It is impossible to fit a full kitchen, guest room and home gym into 20 square meters – you have to decide which furniture is essential and which you can give up. You have to know – with all certainty – if you love cooking or playing board games with friends. You must understand your lifestyle and fully customize the room to your needs.
Sometimes it is difficult to escape the schemes our society impose on us. The way we approach a sleeping space shows the cultural differences most vividly, in my opinion. In the west, we are used to a separate sleeping room featuring a bed. One might say, a bed frame is an unnecessary, space-consuming inconvenience. Wealthy Japanese, for example, lived and sleep on the tatami for centuries. Tatami is strictly speaking a type of floor covering. This floor mat is made of dried rushes, creating a springy surface and used for sleeping or sitting. The flexibility of use made tatami the most common design element in traditional Japanese homes.
Declutter and keep only the items you need
„If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.“
― William Morris, XIX century English architect, furniture and textile designer
Arts and Crafts gave birth to modern design as we know it, and I am utterly in love with this art period and its Creators. But if you are searching for an XXI-century version of the same rule – try Marie Kondo. Her method is too spiritual for my taste, but it boils down to a couple of basic steps:
- Divide your items into main categories.
- If needed, divide them into subcategories.
- Keep only the things that „spark joy“.
- Organize the rest thoroughly
- Do not procrastinate – finish in one go.
In a tiny house, you can only keep items that „spark joy“. If you have problems discarding unused or sentimental items, this lifestyle probably isn’t made for you.
Prepare for a mess
It is not a coincidence that mankind invented vestibules and hallways. They are an architectural spark of genius: they keep the warmth inside and dust and snow outside. Tiny houses do not have them.
Jakob is very particular about leaving our shoes outside on the porch, even if it’s raining. If we didn’t, the house would constantly fill with mud from the forest. Check out Tiny House Giant Journey video – Jenna talks about just that:
If you like your house to be perfectly clean and organized – it might be hard to achieve in a tiny house. On the one hand, the small size and fewer belongings make it automatically more organized. On the other, the few things you possess will constantly get in your way, and the floor will need sweeping four times a day.
Say bye to bulky furniture
In Europe, a tiny house can weigh maximally 3,5 Tonns to tow with a B+E driving licence and a vehicle other than a truck. A marble kitchen counter or stone water basin are very heavy – this makes them problematic in portable houses. Of course, one extravagance is allowed. Nevertheless, prepare for foldable, lightweight furniture, which sometimes isn’t particularly beautiful or comfy. Fitting the antique cupboard your grandma gave you will probably also be impossible.
One of the very few perks of being small is fitting inside a tiny house without problems. Anna is 1,64m heigh, Jakob 1,90, and he barely can sit in our sleeping loft. The bathroom underneath is only 200cm in height – the architectural norms state 220cm at least. We have decided to make it smaller in an attempt to make the sleeping loft more comfortable. Designing it, we battled over a couple of life-saving centimetres.
Being small is usually annoying. You cannot see well at concerts. Bartenders tend to ignore attempts to order a drink, as they do not see you over the counter. Sometimes you have to ask your work colleagues to fetch you items from higher shelves.
So, can you fit in it or not?
Yes, of course. The actual question is: are you ready to?