Let’s be real for a second. Rent continues to skyrocket in most U.S. cities, and standard size houses seem further and further from the reach of many.
That includes me.
Even when I was on a teacher’s salary, the thought of owning my own home was nice, but it also seemed well beyond my means — a humbling, as well as troubling, realization for a hardworking thirty-something.
For several years now, I’d pondered the wisdom of going tiny, meaning very literally purchasing a micro-house of my own so I don’t have to deal with rent or a mortgage. If I can do it with minimal debt, even better! As with any housing option, this choice comes with unique challenges, one of which includes locating a potential space on which to park said tiny house.
Another — which many seem to underestimate — falls to completely shifting one’s personal paradigm towards simplicity and minimalism… in all parts of life. But more on that in a minute.
Already, I’ve spent hours poring over plans and started eyeballing some tiny tracts of land, sketching mock up designs and perusing ready-made home models that could be customized to my liking. But more goes into the shift than you might think, and getting into a “tiny mindset” in small steps has helped me start those preparations well before I can make greater strides towards my goal.
Here are three ways I’m building a “tiny mindset.”
(1) Paring down my “stuff” as much as possible. Whether embracing my inner Marie Kondo or simply practicing with having a capsule wardrobe, the idea of limited space in a tiny home has begun to shape my buying habits.
New books? Buy ’em in digital format, or borrow them online from libraries. Sure, I still have a few favorites in paperback, but the majority of my massive collection of 1000+ books I can access on my Nook or my phone.
Shoes? Never been that big a deal for me. I have maybe three pairs I wear fairly regularly, with another five or six for certain events or situations (like snow boots).
Clothes? Eh. The hard part is nailing down my style and making a capsule wardrobe. Unfortunately, the process has proven slow going for me, but I’ve made some great progress in the past year.
My current struggles have tumbled into the realm of my kitchen/laboratory. Keeping the pantry and fridge pared down, getting rid of unnecessary tools, and deciding how many pots and pans I really need has been a real exercise in patience and frustration in equal measure.
However, this does tell me that the kitchen needs to be a priority area of my tiny home; I’d need a fair amount of countertop space, some full-sized appliances, as well as plenty of storage.
(2) Triple- or quadruple-guessing every purchase. Okay, maybe not every purchase, but the internal thread of monologue for most things goes something like this:
Do I really need this, or am I stress shopping?
Where am I going to store this?
Can I get rid of two or three items in exhange for purchasing this?
Does this item serve one, or multiple uses?
When going tiny, you can’t have stuff that only does one thing, I’ve learned. Multiple purposes, many uses, flexibility — these have proven key time and time again in the stories I’ve watched and read from those who already went through the process.
(3) Creatively meal planning. If I can make fewer trips to the store, maximizing the ingredients I do buy to last for more than a week, I’m less likely to make silly impulse purchases and really keep the kitchen tidy.
This leads to my desire for a space where I can grow some of my own produce and fresh ingredients, further lightening potential grocery loads and costs, especially if I work with what’s fresh and available in said garden. Beyond that, if I can somehow carve out space for an indoor Aerogarden or two in the tiny home, I can conceivably have produce year round, and only make stops at the store for certain staples like flour, milk and sugar.
You might be wondering how this dream ties into Seeking Continual Flavor, but the answer isn’t as complicated as you might imagine.
Having my own home and garden someday brings with it a sense of independence, both personally and financially. Moreso, it would be wonderful to rely on my own means as much as possible, living off grid and building a peaceful getaway for myself.
By learning how to cook, to prepare foods I’m used to purchasing in a store, or by cultivating my own fruits and veggies, I’m learning to find joy and a small sense of accomplishment. Moreover, I’ve become more self-dependent and able to embrace simplicity, stretching my creativity to reach beyond the more current traditions of society and instead turning to something… rather more subdued. Less stressful.
Because really, who needs extra stress in their lives?
Thanks for reading! If you have any experience with planning, building, or living in tiny homes, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment!
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