As of a few weeks ago my husband and I are officially tiny house dwellers! As a chronic hoarder and lover of “stuff” you might be wondering how this came to be?
At the beginning of the summer we decided we wanted a a big change. Our two bed Washington D.C. condo was packed to the gills with STUFF, we owned two cars, we were really busy running three businesses among us and our life just felt cluttered.
So, we sold most of our belongings, our second car and decided to see where we cut streamline and cut work, inefficiencies and spending. We cut most things and hung onto the essentials like a capsule wardrobe and even created something new to help us transition to a more “reductionist” lifestyle: Cold Brew on Tap
We stuffed all of our remaining belongings into a storage tub and a carry on suitcase each, crammed that and our two bikes into our Honda Fit, roadtripped down to Austin, Texas and moved into our very first tiny house. It’s 300 square feet of tiny house bliss!
At first I thought we would miss the stuff we had donated or sold – like the extraneous kitchen gadgets or fourth pair of shoes I was convinced I would need – but we quickly embraced having so little. We found that we were only ever really using about 30% of our belongings on a regular basis and the things we had chosen to keep were highly functional and addressed an almost DAILY need.
As a recovering materialist here are a few things that have been non-negotiables/lifesavers in making the transition to minimalist and tiny house living:
1. A Capsule Wardrobe
This is perhaps the thing that I needed most and that I resisted the hardest. See, I love clothes. I love the variety. I love the creative combinations and I love style. Unfortunately my old closet was overflowing with things that hardly ever saw the light of day.
I purged my closet following a capsule wardrobe guide – keeping about 30 pieces that are highly functional (I can bike in them AND go to a meeting), comfortable, neutral and durable. My husband did the same and we’re so much happier having a more curated and manageable closet!
2. A Cold Brew on Tap Maker
My husband and I LOVE coffee and drink a few cups throughout the day. We particularly love cold brew – especially now that we’re in Austin where it’s so hot! The issue was that we were spending a lot of money EVERY day on cold brew coffee out at coffee shops which was really starting to add up. That certainly didn’t fit in with our minimalist lifestyle and effort to reduce waste and spending.
Being the owners and founders of Willow & Everett, a high-end kitchen, tea and coffee company, we decided to make our own solution and the Cold Brew on Tap was born! It’s live on Kickstarter right now. It surpassed our funding goal within 8 hours of being live and you can still (as of the time I’m writing this) get it for an early bird price. It lets you brew up a week’s supply of cold brew coffee at once, store it and serve it from a tap all right from your fridge.
The container holds about 15 cups of coffee but is still compact enough to fit on your fridge shelf. We’ve been using the prototype and it’s so easy to use and has already saved us a ton of time and money since we no longer have to make our daily coffee shop runs!
3. Getting Outside the House + Meet Up Groups
Part of our transition into minimalism and tiny house living was realizing that spending time with people and building relationships is more important that accumulating, caring for, using and organizing your home – or stuff that you bring into it. Thankfully, in Austin you can be outside almost year round so hosting people for meals can often be done outside our tiny house on a patio table. And let’s face it: when you live in 200-400 square feet of dwelling space it can be nice to have other places to go! Investing in making our outdoor area an oasis and livable has been important to us including getting good quality and comfortable seating and a small fire pit.
We try to get out of the house as much as possible and Meetup groups have been a great way to do this. There are a TON in Austin and cover a range of interests from Two Steppin’ to Sand Volleyball to Entrepreneurship. They’ve been a great way to get us outside the house and meeting people!
4. An Instapot
This thing is a miracle worker! It can replace almost every single kitchen gadget you’ve ever owned! Our current tiny house doesn’t have an oven (just a stove top) so our Instapot comes in handy for easy meal making. It can sautee, steam, braise, brown and warm and it replaces a yogurt maker, slow cooker, pressure cooker and rice cooker! It’s allowed us to get rid of a lot of our kitchen appliances that were taking up a lot of space but still gives us the flexibility to make a variety of meals!
We haven’t gotten around to decorating anything yet – in fact this is a medium term arrangement until we find an area we can build a tiny house of our own – but I’m looking forward to navigating that area when the time comes. If any of you have tips on how to make a place feel homey and decorate without cluttering things up I’d love to hear them!
What other tips do you guys have in general for making the transition to tiny house living easier?
Thanks for reading about our journey!
Camille + Ben