How To Live The Good Life In A Small Space

Joshua Engberg is one-half of the duo behind Tiny House Basics. Shelly Engberg is the other. I am fortunate enough to call them both friends. (keep in mind that doesn’t mean I automatically think they are good writers!)

In the summer of 2014, Joshua and Shelley started to build their first tiny house. The goal was to simplify their lives and return to the basics. As avid campers and off-road fans, they were used to smaller spaces and only having essentials on trips. So they thought, ‘why not live like this 365 days a year?’ They tapped into the television show Tiny House Nation as well as a plethora of talented friends, to build their 374 sq.ft. tiny house on wheels. Since then they have become a driving force in the modern tiny house movement, a social media phenom team, and entrepreneurs with their Tiny House Trailers company. And if all of that weren’t enough they are now published authors as their book Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces is available May 16 (pre-orders are now being accepted through Amazon.com). 

It’s one thing to read a book about the theory of a transition. We’ve all read them and in blog form as well. But it is quite another to read a book based on someone’s personal testimony of transition. Joshua and Shelley have nailed it in regards to balancing tips with case study. Their emphasis on being realistic in all things – from design to daily living – is both important and inspiring. In fact, I was hooked by just the opening page:

Tiny Houses are like the kittens of regular-sized houses; they’re small and adorable and are oozing with charm in their little bite-sized frames. We can’t get enough of seeing these little guys on TV and on social media, but who are the people actually living in them? Many may want to stereotype people living in a tiny house as those with either no dreams or jobs, earthy folks who want to only live off the land and make their own essential oils and shampoo and play in their gardens all day. This was a common stereotype, initially. Sad to say, that’s what came to mind when we thought of tiny houses back before we knew what they really were. Fast forward several years and here we are, now living in a Tiny House for some years now and we love it! 

The book offers a plethora of tips and tricks including:

  • How to maintain a good relationship in a small space
  • Practical downsizing for everyone
  • Small space living with pets
  • The pros and cons of off grid living and on grid living
  • How to make your small space feel big
  • Keeping your small space feeling fresh with practical storage solutions and design tips
  • Equipping your space for entertaining
  • Accordion/bi-fold style windows
  • How downsizing and simplifying your life will allow you more freedom and time

But it is more than that.

In Chapter 8 the Engberg’s talk about relationships. I have always thought a lot of their marriage as everytime I have seen them they come across as newlyweds. Makes sense now though as I have read their philosophy on their relationship:

Without having a solid foundation, the rest of the build won’t matter or last long-term. The same goes for our relationships, whether it is with our spouse, family members, or friends. When we were in our planning phase of going tiny, of course one of our main thoughts and concerns was, “Are we going to be able to be around each other in such a small space all the time without wanting to snap at each other on a regular basis?!”

There is a certain charm to being able to talk about marriage (and relationships in general) as parts of a tiny house build. The metaphors are well placed and insightful. And this is just one example of how their writing is fluid and experiential. I guess it is safe to say that not only do I like them now but I also think they are good writers. At least the pages of Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces makes the case for such. 

All in all, I think the book is a good read…no, no…actually I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I am excited to hear from others who dig into its pages. I think the title is so appropriate for the life the authors have built for themselves, living the good life!

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Tiny House Tim - May 5, 2017 Reply

For some other Tiny House design ideas, you can take a look here

http://tinyidahomes.com/

Adam Sharpley - May 8, 2017 Reply

I wish you had shared more photographs of the interior, like how many rooms they have. I loved the picture of kitchen cum work area and the way Shelly was looking at Joshua with lots of love, a little shy, said it all about their extremely successful experiment. But I would love to read this book, specially the part about how they avoid snapping at each other by being in close vicinity and running into each other all the time, how they get the all important “Me” time?

Jason White - May 8, 2017 Reply

I find these tiny homes amazing. Such creativity. I’m not sure I could do it, I think I have too much stuff.

Jason

Sue Resnik - May 14, 2017 Reply

Is there somewhere Shelley & Joshua have more photos of their home, especially interior shots?

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