Top 5 Secrets Of Tiny House Living

There is no easy way to put this. Are you sitting down? No? Have a seat then. You may find the residue of your own romantic notions spraying your direction as I carefully, yet accurately burst a bubble. What bubble you ask? The bubble that suggests living in a tiny house is a painless, simple, carefree, existence. It simply is not. Living in a tiny house (no matter how subtly you think you are making the transition) is and adjustment. It requires a little finesse and a lot of bourbon tolerance. Below are the top 5 secrets to tiny living that may help a bit with perspective so you can move into your diminutive dreams more successfully!

SHOWER STALLS ARE SMALL  I am not a big man. At just 6′ tall and weighing about *garble garble garble* or so, I don’t need to take a shower in a Scandanavian bath chamber. In fact, several years back I remember thinking how ingenious tiny houses bathrooms were and how beautiful the showers could be with their massage heads and stainless steel accents. We would go to an RV show and I would marvel at how I could pretend to wash my hair without hitting my elbows. Truth is, I wanted the shower stalls to work, so I would tuck my wings a bit more and I never practiced dropping the loofah or having to stand at the back while waiting for the water to get warm!

WINDOWS ARE TO THE WORLD…AND BACK  Those very same oversized windows that allow in natural light and give you a picturesque view during the daytime, are also the ones that stare back at you at night while you gaze cautiously out into the world. Your neighbors (or lurkers) peer into your life as if watching their favorite soap opera on a large screen TV. No matter if you have shades or blinds as the shadows of your silhouette framed by the task light LEDs gives an even more curious picture show! And never-your-mind the rainy days. Oh to stand in front of those windows and look out at the saturation and seemingly un-passable deluge happening just feet away.

NOT ALL SINKS DO DOUBLE DUTY AS DOG BOWLS  I have long been skeptical of those miniature sinks that adorn tiny houses. How does one do anything in them? To wash a plate do you have to understand advanced geometry and topology? What about a mixing bowl? Does a mixing bowl require a trip to the outside spigot or the shower stall? Images from the past 5 years would lead one to believe that a tiny house must have a less than standard size sink so as to keep tiny in proportion.

SENSE AMPLIFIED  Like a good superhero, tiny houses – sans capes – have the unique ability of heightened sense. Rather they allow for your senses to be heightened. If it smells in real life, it smells twice as strong in a small enclosure. If it is loud in 1,000 square feet, it is twice as loud in 200 sq. ft. If you can see a brown recluse climbing your kitchen wall from where you sit in your favorite suburban sectional sofa, you can see him extremely well across a room roughly 8.5′ wide!

FOLDING CLOTHES IS AN OLYMPIC SPORT  When space is minimal and every nook and cranny has some form of organization, even folding clothes can become cumbersome. Trying to fold your tshirts in perfect thirds so that they rest in a cubbie at just 3.5″ wide by 6.2″ tall can be a feat. Even more difficult can be the arrangement of just a 4-piece silverware setting for 4 people. The big spoons must all lay at the same angle which, of course, is upside down from the other perfectly aligned little spoons, etc.

What do you think? Do you think tiny house living comes with its own unique set of obstacles? How do they compare to the benefits? Have you gone tiny and found out your own truths to living small? Tell us in the comment section below.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]


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alice h - January 4, 2017 Reply

I like having a small sink in a tiny house and having a large basin or bowl or two for when you need something larger to wash in. Stainless steel canning pots work well for dish washing too. My favourite is having two very large stainless steel bowls. Besides being multipurpose (potato salad for a crowd? soaking some laundry? picking fruit?)you can also take your dishwashing outside when the weather is nice. The small sink is good enough for washing a few dishes and to act as a funnel into your drainage for the basin water or you can dump the basin water directly onto some dry greenery. You can also reheat the dish water a bit on the stove if it gets too cold, as long as your container is heat resistant.

LC - January 4, 2017 Reply

Oh yes… When your bed doubles as the kitchen table there’s no telling what you’ll find. Once there was a jalapeño in the bed!

Becca - January 5, 2017 Reply

Wondering where 6 foot is not a large man…perhaps Germany or the Netherlands…but anyway, I have a tiny sink in my 780 square foot house & you adjust pretty quickly, but I’ve also seen many designs with huge sinks and butcher board covers so you can use it as counter space in a pinch. With 20 years of retail I’m pretty confident in my ability to fold anything efficiently, too. I could probably make a fitted sheet into a swan.

Lana - January 6, 2017 Reply

I faced lots off challenges in my tiny house. 1. No place for shoes when you step into the house. Rain water, mud, snow all inside once you enter. Made some improvements like storm door and awning 2. Higher humidity inside and I really question use of vapor barrier because tiny house should breath better without plastic wrap. Had to purchase dehumidifier! 3. Skirt or no skirt? We have record cold temperatures this year and my water froze ! I guess I have to put skirt – also might insulate my floor better. 4. Hate the tiny vanity- no way even wash my face or brush teeth! 5 still trying to find the best material for composting toilet. This time using sawdust 6 Shower should be larger than 32″
It’s a challenge for sure. And if I build another tiny house I’ll make bigger bathroom altogether with a bede and urinal for my boyfriend lol

scott h. - January 9, 2017 Reply

funny man! once again, informative and entertaining. thought provoking for sure. in the next couple of years a transformation will happen above my barn…. 16 X 40 enormous by tiny standards dontchaknow! howev….coming from 3000+ tiny FOR SURE!

keep the blurbs coming….I personally enjoy them thoroughly….

blessings to you and yours.

Ronald Nicholas - January 9, 2017 Reply

When I read this articles I wonder if there is a common understanding of what small house are about and what they are for.

Everything is a trade. You trade you time (i.e. work) for things. A shelter is a major ‘thing’. More space – more work cost.

We can apply this math to transportation or all the other things we use in our lives.

This kind of trading is something we will do most days of our lives. Most have a hard time putting the two together until they about half of their life behind them.

Keeping up with the ‘Jones’ has been so destructive in American life.

Samantha - January 9, 2017 Reply

Good points! Fortunately, I have most of them covered except for being able to see the ants crawling on my walls

Meowblah3 - January 10, 2017 Reply

My current home is a 25′ Airstream trailer from the 1960s. I love tiny spaces with everything organized just so. For me, the key to cleaner and more orderly life in a small space is to have a covered porch. That’s where the muddy shoes stay! Also traditional Chinese wisdom says a toilet in the house is bad feng shui, and i agree. I prefer having my toilet and shower OUTSIDE. (rural setting, western Oregon climate).

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