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5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Tiny Home

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Tiny Home

I’ve been traveling around in my tiny house for six months now. I’m very comfortable inside the small space, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few challenges along the way. Once or twice I’ve cried out in frustration, “it’s too small!” Other times I’ve been thankful for having less space to clean and maintain, and for the freedom it has provided. Bottom line: I’ve learned a lot from my tiny home, and I’d like to share the lessons with all of you. 

What I Learned from my Tiny Home (in the first six months):

1). I care MORE about my consumption

I know how much water I use on a daily basis  – approximately 15 gallons when I take navy showers. I know how often I need to dump the urine container on my composting toilet – every 3 days. I know how much propane I use per month – about 15 pounds. I know these things because I have to physically empty my grey water tank, fill my fresh water tank, refill my propane tanks, dump my toilet, etc.

I take navy showers and use the Nature’s Head to conserve water and propane.

Measuring my consumption in physical labor has made me more conscious of my waste. There’s a HUGE difference between seeing decimals and graphs on your monthly bill and having to physically refill your tanks. I use less. I waste less. I save more money.

2). I think before I purchase

I have nightmares about clutter. In a tiny traveling house, clutter can mean the difference between owning three mugs or four. I don’t shop often, but when I do I need to know: 1). What purpose will the new item serve? 2). Can it replace something else and/or increase the functionality of my daily life? 3). Where will it be stored?

If I can’t answer those three questions, I DON’T NEED IT and I DON’T BUY IT! Similarly, when I want to get rid of something, I post it on Yerdle.

I try to keep my kitchen counters empty. Everything tucks away and has a place.

3). I appreciate the imperfections

I’ve had the opportunity to tour many other tiny homes in the last six months. Sometimes I swoon over a great space saving idea or an innovative layout. I call it “tiny-envy.” I have to remind myself that my partner and I had zero construction experience before building our tiny abode. It’s not perfect, but my house is still pretty darn cool. And it’s mine!

When we were building I was so meticulous about everything. If something wasn’t perfect, I wanted to redo it. Now the imperfections that once made me cringe don’t bother me at all. In fact, I kind of like them! Each scratch and hole was a lesson and a memory. If you’re currently building your own tiny home, don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy the process, and recognize that imperfections can be beautiful. 

More on our window trim installation

4). “If you build it, you will fill it”

This is sound advice from my friend and fellow tiny houser – Art Cormier. Guillaume and I recently modified our staircase to have a few extra storage compartments. And now they’re full! Uh oh…the clutter monster is knocking at our door! We’re going to have to think twice before adding any new shelving or storage spaces in the future. If I don’t have a place to put new stuff, I don’t need new stuff! (See lesson #2).

My kitchen cabinet. I own three mugs, two cups, two wine glasses and a bunch of spices. It’s full!

5). I’m less needy.

Perhaps my partner would argue, but I’m going to make an assumption that I’m less needy now than I ever was before. I have less, but I want and need less as well. When I think about all the stuff I used to own and purchase, I feel overwhelmed. The tiny house has challenged me to unburden myself. I like the new care-free me!

Just for fun, here are a few more ways my life has changed from living in a tiny house:

I clean less. I shop less. I cook more. I consume less. I primp less. I dress better. I eat better. I sleep more. I read more. I watch TV less. I drive less. I play with my dog more. I hike more. I go to the gym less. I travel WAY more.

How would a tiny house change you?

*Article originally posted on Tumbleweedhouses.com

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18 Comments

  1. March 19, 2015 / 11:18 am

    you my dear have inspired me immensely since the beginning of youre trip , now that spring is almost upon us time for me to start building my own tiny home im going to build a 24 ft instead of 30 but finish it all water cistern in the ground, solar system no more bills !@#$%^ corporations

  2. March 19, 2015 / 10:43 am

    I live in a small cabin, so my space isn’t as restrictive. Plus, I’m not mobile so I can use the outdoors as part of my living space. Your first lesson hit home. We use propane for lights, refrigeration and cooking, and we use a compost toilet. Because we have a float cabin, water is not an issue. We live on top of a fresh water lake, but we do have to be extra careful with any gray water discharge because we drink water from the lake. Hoping to catch up with you when you pass through Vancouver BC.

  3. March 19, 2015 / 10:39 am

    Great post. Insights for anyone interested in the TH concept to keep in mind.

  4. Eric
    March 19, 2015 / 10:38 am

    Great post….words for anyone interested in the TH concept to take to heart.

  5. tim emerick
    March 19, 2015 / 9:50 am

    Those were awesome insights. I too have tiny-envy only mine is in figuring out how to get started on my own tiny house. I too have no construction experience yet seeing what you’ve accomplished gives me much inspiration that I can do it too. Thanks for all of your posts and updates. I look forward to every one. As soon as that right trailer comes along I too will be starting my own journey. Cheers!

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