Humble Homes, Simple Shacks Book Giveaway

I’m excited to offer a book giveaway of Derek “Deek” Diedricksen new updated Humble Homes, Simple Shacks Book. It is a great book and I’ve enjoyed checking it out recently and am excited to be offering it to you here.

The details are below on how you can win your free copy. I will be giving three copies to Tiny House Blog readers and you might just be one. Derek the author of this fantastic book and I will be the judges.

I will email the winners to get your address and mail your copy to you after the selection is made. I will also post an update so everyone knows who won along with their tip. I’ll turn it over to Deek to tell you what is new with this book and how to enter for your chance to win.

Hey Kent,

Here are a few copies of the new edition of “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks“, as promised, to give away to your readers. The book is up on for only $11.25 right now. I suggest you determine the winners through bouts of ultimate fighting, which we can then film for youtube. No, not really, but I have an idea I’ll recommend in a minute….

The new edition is being put out through The Lyons Press (home to work from David and Jeanie Stiles, Shay Solomon, and so on), and has quite a few new aspects to it as compared to the old hand assembled versions out there. PS- if any of you own the green cover version of the old book (only about 30 were made), some wacko bought one off some online seller for almost $100 not that long ago- yeah, stupid, I know….

Anyway, the new, expanded version of the book has….

  • 14 New full page cabin designs/small living sketches
  • A new 16 page color insert photo section showing some of the things I’ve designed and built, in addition to almost 40 cabins, shacks, and tiny houses that others have completed. A decent chunk of these are photos I’ve personally taken too- so there are a few things no one has seen, blog-wise, before.
  • A new chapter called “Tricks Of The Trade” where I interviewed the likes of Lloyd Kahn, Jay Shafer, Mimi Zeiger, Michael Tougias, Cathy Johnson, Alex Pino, Gregory Paul Johnson, Dee Williams, Colin Beavan, Duo Dickinson, Tammy Strobel, and Alex Johnson, for their own tips and ideas on designing with space efficiency, minimalization, and storage in mind.
  • Many other new sketches to accompany the text sections
  • An intro/foreword written by Author/Architects David and Jeanie Stiles (one of my favorites/influences)

To win – we will select the three best “Tiny House Storage Tips” (Making/Saving Space). Even for those who don’t enter, it might make for a read in the comments section. I’m sure we could all learn something from it. We’re looking for more than just cut and paste links. Please show us applied and tried techniques that most might not have thought of or considered, you know if you want to win and all.

An example: “The space over doorways in homes is often neglected. If you’re looking for an extra storage spot in your small home, toss a simple bracketed bookshelf over a doorway or two, and you’ve created stow-space that otherwise wouldn’t have been used.”

Good luck to all! (Assuming, Kent, that you choose this means over the ultimate fighting one).

Winners will be announced on Tuesday, February 7 so get your tips in NOW!

Thanks Kent- a 2012 workshop is in the works, MANY new episodes of my show too (several have already been filmed, and we shoot three in Seattle soon (our first BIG trip away from MA with the show (well aside from NY, ME, NH, and CT). An episode on Nicolette’s wagon in Germany too. I’ll be teaching some Tumbleweed Courses the first in Miami April 14-15, come and have some fun!

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen
Host of “Tiny Yellow House” TV

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LPM - February 3, 2012 Reply

We have a plan to build a tiny home. One of my thoughts is to not have normal cabinets. Normal cabinets often go all the way down to the floor. I would rather have cabinets that are an homage to the 30’s, on legs. This way you can utilize those few inches for storage instead of a footboard. Plus, visually it’s just more interesting.


Mo - February 3, 2012 Reply

The illustrations in the book remind me of the flyfishing class “the Curtis Creek Manifesto.” I’ll have to order a copy, looks good.

Grant Wagner - February 3, 2012 Reply

Oh, I’m in on this!

1) To use vertical space effectively, I suggest to have a just-above-head-level bookshelf across the entire perimeter of your room. Lots of space for all your nic-naks and it won’t get in your way at all.

2) Many tiny homes have lofts and second floors for sleeping or storage, and these often have exposed joists to the space below. Use the space between these joists for some extra storage. It can be as simple as some cargo netting stapled across the bottom of the joists, mason jar lids screwed into the planking or as nice as hidden compartments in paneling across the area. An ideal place for non-interactive electronics like WiFi routers.

3) Every good home should have some level of exterior storage. A small shed on the tongue of a mobile gives lots of space for Solar batteries, tools, propane tanks, seldom used cleaning supplies and out of use seasonal clothing. If you’re on a permanent or psudo-permanent foundation, consider a separate storage shed or a pull out panel in the floor for a small root cellar. Something as simple as a few five gallon pales with lids in a drilled and protected hole (a second of old plastic drain pipe installed vertically) in the soil will help, as well as possibly remove a need for a fridge altogether.

That’s my $0.02. Hope it gives some good ideas.

JDW - February 3, 2012 Reply

There’s a place for everything and everything has a place. Including you tiny house. Make sure to always put your tiny house away when you are done using it, whether you store it in the backyard or in the garage. This will save you the frustration of looking under rugs or in bread boxes for your tiny house, when all you want is a good nap.

What? Oh… So, “Tiny House Storage Tip” wasn’t to store the house itself… In that case I’ve got nothing.

    Nerida - February 3, 2012 Reply

    ROFL 🙂

rowena___. - February 3, 2012 Reply

a good pressure cooker is the only pot you need in a tiny house. it can be used to do every kitchen technique, including canning, and eliminates the need for any other cookware. well, except maybe a good coffee pot. 🙂

alice h - February 3, 2012 Reply

One of the best things I ever did for storage in my tiny space was to find containers first and build the storage to fit the containers. Use critter-proof straight sided containers and once you have as many as you need plan the shelves and cupboards you need around that. If you standardize as many as you can then you can reorganize as needed. Easier than building drawers plus you can get at things without moving many individual items to get at what you need and take things outside or wherever if needed. Also good for quick rescues in case of emergencies. Everything from clothes to craft supplies can be neatly stored this way and labelled if needed. Smaller containers to fit inside the larger ones help organize stuff too. Organize by use, store close to the area you use the item, and make it as fuss free as possible to access the items. As neat and tidy as some storage methods are if they’re a nuisance to get things out and back chances are you’ll end up with a lot of stuff lying around. Seasonal and lesser used items go in the least accessible spaces. Any space that could possibly contain something should be used, no matter how small. You can also make slide-out vertical pegboards or horizontal boards for extra work surfaces.

    alice h - February 3, 2012 Reply

    Oh yeah, if you use clear plastic containers you can draw fancy labels on pieces of paper and just slip them inside up against the front of the container, or just see what’s in there more easily.

Jc Wooten - February 3, 2012 Reply

The ability to re purpose an item is great. For instance using a table also as storage. For security purposes I have a side table that the top comes off and you can put stuff inside of it. It does not look like the tops comes off. So I use it to store my precious valuables.

Nanci - February 3, 2012 Reply

AS JDW stated, you must keep things tidy or you’ll go nuts!

Beyond that you must look at each item in your house and decide just how important each one is. If you can do without something then it has to GO! It is a THING! Let it go! Now what to do with what you are keeping? Think vertically and creatively. Those organizing stores are great but pricey. You can duplicate what they do on a Walmart budget! Plastic containers for under the bed, in the closet, in the kitchen. The Goodwill is also a great place to pick up items for organizing. If an item doesn’t work, you may be out $2 for that experiment!

Most importantly, remember to embrace with you DO have–freedom from an expensive mortgage, from tract-home living, and you have an enviable lifestyle that others only dream of having!!

Loy Gross - February 3, 2012 Reply

Sometimes a preferred design creates space that is difficult to get to (for example, under the far side of a bed or corner cupboards). Don’t feel that you have to give up on that space or that design. Plan a door to access the space from the outside as seasonal or outdoor storage, insulating around the cavity as needed.

Deek - February 3, 2012 Reply

Some good ideas already! Thanks guys- keep ’em coming….

Zer0 - February 3, 2012 Reply

Simple bookshelves can be rotated so they rest on their side. You can then add shelves (if necessary) for stacking books horizontally instead of vertically.

~Jes~ - February 3, 2012 Reply

My storage tip is more for a minimalist kitchen. Below you will find all that is needed for one person but can easily be modified accordingly.

1 glass
1 coffee cup
1 fork
1 spoon (or combine and get a spork!)
1 knife
1 good paring knife
1 good chef knife
1 good potato peeler
1 camping steel plate with curved edges which can be used for for reheating on the gas burner.
1 steel plate mixing bowl. This also goes directly on a gas burner for reheating.
1 7 liter top quality pressure cooker. It is quick cooking, energy efficient and with a thick bottom it is also good for frying!
3 metal bowls with plastic lids that fit inside each other for storing leftovers.

Most if not all should fit inside the pressure cooker for compact storage, easy transport while traveling abroad and leaves more space in your kitchen for food storage to help cut costs! These items are lightweight, and also eliminate the need for a microwave opening up even more storage options!

Goodluck to all on their minimizing journey!

karin - February 3, 2012 Reply

My tip: Remember your backpacking days? Find that old backpack and use it as your storage device. Realize that all the stuff you really need, could once be squeezed in there. Why would you need more now? Problem solved. The backpack will fit perfectly in one corner of your house, no matter how tiny. Life is simple 🙂

Jessi Scalf - February 3, 2012 Reply

Hmmm maybe the over the door hanging organizers could come in handy, for their intended purpose…at the front door for shoes, umbrellas, bugs spray, etc. But also it could go over a bathroom door for shampoo, combs, soaps, razors, medicines…or on the outside of the bathroom door to hold things for the kitchen! Just a thought! 🙂

    alice h - February 3, 2012 Reply

    I saw somewhere recently where a person used a canvas shoe organizer with pockets for curtains in their craft room. Can’t remember where, though. You could do the same in a tiny house and get extra storage space, as long as you could still open the curtains with the stuff in them. Might be handy for kitchen utensils.

Jessi Scalf - February 3, 2012 Reply

Hmmm maybe the over the door hanging organizers could come in handy, for their intended purpose…at the front door for shoes, umbrellas, bugs spray, etc. But also it could go over a bathroom door for shampoo, combs, soaps, razors, medicines…or on the outside of the bathroom door to hold things for the kitchen! You could even put socks, rolled up tank tops, and t-shirts in them. Just a thought! 🙂

Judith Taylor - February 3, 2012 Reply

Pots and pans take up a lot of space in the kitchens of cooking devotees like me. When I move to my retirement tiny home, I plan to eliminate all but one enamelled cast-iron covered casserole to double as stove-top saucepan or oven baker/roaster, and one medium-sized carbon steel Chinese wok with cover. My wok has a wooden handle with an eye to hang it; it can be used to fry, braise, steam or stew. My trusty old aluminum tea-kettle will complete the “batterie de cuisine”.

jas - February 3, 2012 Reply

we’re still dreaming about the tiny house we’d like to build one day, and in dreams all kinds of wacky ideas assert themselves:

we have dogs, who are treated (better than) members of the family! so having a loft space for sleeping is problematic given that most of the ladders are perpendicular to the floor. so we’ve thought of constructing a pulley system to hoist the dogs up at bedtime OR bracketing a folding staircase (like the ones to an attic in a full-size house) to the ceiling of our tiny home… then we can take down the stairs, attach them to the loft floor, and then unfold them. The angle would be gradual enough for the dogs to climb up to the loft.

Of course, we’re also working at simply using this same plan for an office space in the loft area and leaving the sleeping quarters on the ground… we like to let sleeping dogs lie!

Shannon Hibberd - February 3, 2012 Reply

My best advice for space saving is to not enter contests where you might win more stuff, which you will have to find space to store. However I generally tend not to follow my own advice.

Suzi Fire - February 3, 2012 Reply

The secret to tiny house living is that no space should go wasted…tiny drawers to hold tools can be positioned in the raised toe kick on kitchen cabinets…chairs can be retrofitted with storage beneath the seats…Wall hanging areas are also essential…Every door can hold a hanging rack (not limited to clothes, think broom closet)

    ginmar - February 5, 2012 Reply

    I have a bunch of antique Chinese chairs—-and they have drawers built right into their seats. Their legs are also linked to one another by additional wood supports, which form a perfect framework for storage.

Paul Nolan - February 3, 2012 Reply

It seems to me that the best way to increase storage is to decrease the need for storage. Try to make everything in your home multipurpose (and foldaway if possible). A futon can be used as a bed/sofa. A table that opens out from a wall can be used for food prep, dining table, ironing board, desk and more. When things can be used in more than one way, you don’t need as many things so you have more space. Items that fold only take up their maximum space when being used and can be easily stored when not in use. These ideas allow you to maximize the space you have as well as the enjoyment you get out of it.

Emily Moore - February 3, 2012 Reply

To reduce clutter yet keep things visible in the bathroom area, use an over-the-door clear vinyl shoe organizer (EX: to store all bathroom products, including rolled washcloths, hand towels, and thin towels. This idea also works well on an inside closet door for storing rolled undergarments and socks.

To maximize bed linen storage, place sheet sets inside one of the set’s pillowcases. This keeps all items together for quick retrieval, and promotes compact storage.

In the kitchen area, use a three-tiered, collapsible wire hanging basket (EX: for storing fresh fruits and vegetables, and small-package items like sauce mixes, spices, and tea bags. This frees up counter and cabinet space, and it provides splashes of color. Rolled cloth napkins could also be stored there.

If kitchen wall cabinets are present, consider attaching jars to the bottoms of the cabinets for spice storage, much like the baby food jar storage of nails and screws in tool shops. (EX:

Randy Williams - February 3, 2012 Reply

Nothing that I came up with but if you’ve ever visited an Amish site, the hanging pegs on the walls are terrific to maximize floor space, chairs, lights, portable shelves, and this is just one example of Amish storage that would work for a small space.

PBeat - February 3, 2012 Reply

To make more efficient use of the space in my tiny home, I try to employ the concept of “nesting”, as in “matryoshkas”, or Russian nesting dolls. I may nest, say, a cigar box inside a shoe box inside an ice chest. Or, I’ll store a shot glass inside a juice glass inside a beer stein. And, I’ll use a set of nesting cookware for the kitchen!

Storage Optimizer - February 3, 2012 Reply

Gain extra storage space by installing floor panels which can be opened to allow the space between floor joists to house storage containers.

roc_phd - February 3, 2012 Reply

My small (it’s not tiny) house is a townhouse and has no garage or yard. Where is a gal to compost?? I invested in a towered worm bin, on feet with a spigot for draining excess fluid. It lives quite happily in a small space in the basement and I am able to compost much of my veg waste year round. The compost then goes to my plot at the community garden.
Thanks for the giveaway! The book looks great!

Ellen Bauer - February 3, 2012 Reply

It’s hard to give up things you enjoy to have a more simple lifestyle. If you’re a reader like me, get an E-reader. I am slowly duplicating my book collection onto my Sony Reader so that when the time comes my library of books can be donated. You can also take books out of most libraries this way so you don’t have anything additional laying around.

Another great space saver is to use the small ultra-absorbent towels that swimmers use. These are so small (with an avg. size of 18″ x 24″) and thin that you could fit about 5 of these in the same space occupied by 1 bath towel.

Mary - February 3, 2012 Reply

I buy 12 qt dishpans from the dollar store and use them as removable “drawers” within cupboards or on shelves – keeps things organized and easily movable, making them better than conventional drawers.

Hooks head high and a foot apart around the room to hang anything: pictures, clothes, pots, gadgets, cargo nets or run clotheslines, room dividers, privacy curtains for guests, etc. as needed.

A pull-down attic ladder as a stairway to the sleeping loft for easier climbing (especially for pets and the elderly).

Alternatively, a “chamber pot” for nighttime relief (large plastic jar with screw on lid) when sleeping in a loft so you don’t have to negotiate ladders in the dark – used this when camping in a pickup shell years ago and it worked well.

Pillow case storage used for pillows and throw cushions: yarn, clothes, linen, sewing material, towels.

Rule that everything has to have a dual purpose (only sporks, for example). Shop at backpacking stores for efficient solutions.

Wicker baskets to contain small items and reduce clutter, hang on wall hooks when not in use for decoration.

Lauren Ayer - February 3, 2012 Reply

I have a few tips that have worked great for me in my 300 square foot casita:

– use a flat-topped laundry basket as a table between two straight-backed chairs (if it’s wicker as mine is, a serving tray helps keep drink glasses from tipping)
– i store my minimal dishes on half a bookcase shelf closets to the “kitchen” (a mini fridge, microwave, and toaster oven tucked into the small leftover space in the water heater closet)
– i have three small drawers in the bathroom but only a tiny three-drawer dresser, so i store underwear in one of the bathroom drawers, it’s where you need them most anyway…

Sam - February 3, 2012 Reply

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about vertical space. The best use of this, I’ve found, is to drive a bunch of hooks into your ceiling and run a spider’s web of rope between them. You will have, in essence, built a cargo net to hold all your stuff off the ground! The spacing of hooks and type of rope depends on how fine of a mesh you want, but if all you’re trying to store are clothes or winter blankets (I wouldn’t recommend putting stuff that would hurt if it falls on your head) you can easily take care of them with a corner of your house and 50 feet of rope.

Note that you either need to be tall enough to reach, or have a stepstool handy.

Jessie - February 3, 2012 Reply

I have found that I seem to use the same dishes over and over again. (Unless of course I am too busy to wash dishes and soon find myself eating out of the soap dish.) So, my recommendation is to only have as many plates and bowls etc. as you absolutely need and instead of investing in a quantity of objects invest in their quality. There is no shame in taking pleasure in the objects you own.

Once you have downsized your dishware you can build or buy a dish drying rack in which to dry them and keep them.
Not only is this efficient in terms of space but also in terms of time. You can just wash and put away without the intermediary step of drying in a counter rack or with a towel.

There are several designs of above the sink drying racks and drying cabinets. There are some made in India and of course the popular Finnish version. The one that will suit the small/tiny homesteader best is the one made specifically for the household needs. Just remember to make sure the space is rustproof and mold proof. Coated/sealed racks and adequate air flow will help in this regard.

Many of the available prefabricated designs have a completely open bottom. The custom design could include a channeled water collection system insuring that the counter below stays dry and all water drains directly into the sink…or if you want to get really clever you can drain into a mini herb garden. (Like a small scale grey water system.)
If you are like me you are concerned about entertaining and don’t want to use plastic or paper plates to do so. If you must, keep a couple extra dishes in some dark forgotten space, or just have a BYOD (bring your own dish) style party. This will provide the added benefit of not finding yourself at the kitchen sink washing endless dishes softly crying as you drink a glass of wine made up from what was left in other people’s glasses. (Waste not, want not.)

tinycottage - February 3, 2012 Reply

i work from home, and in designing my 20×20 cottage i had to come up with something other than file cabinets for all my paperwork, etc. above my 1/2 round desk will be a framed pic that opens to allow for a vertical file system that is out of site when i’m not working.

i also have to admit that i hired a closet designer for the 5.5′ wide x 34″ deep closet i will have. EVERYTHING has its place and it will hold all clothes and household extras — including the xmas tree!

if i were building a super-tiny house i’d definitely look at the websites for closet organizers/designers…they have fabulous ideas!

Garrison Benson - February 3, 2012 Reply

1. Instead of using a dresser for clothes, and laundry baskets to move clothes around, use an open shelf and some shallow rectangular baskets that fit nicely on said shelf. The baskets are effectively your drawers AND your laundry baskets. Put your folded laundry in the basket, and put the basket on the shelf, and you’re set. You eliminate one monotonous chore (moving laundry from basket to dresser) and one large household object (dedicated laundry baskets).

2. Instead of using one large plate at a meal, use two small plates: a “wet” plate and a “dry” plate. Use the wet plate for wet foods (casserole, stir fry, pudding, salsa, etc.), and the dry plate for dry foods (bread, crackers, cake, etc.). Then, use the same plates all day without washing. (Or after each meal rinse the wet plate and brush off the dry plate.) Depending on your level of squeamishness, you might use them (especially the dry plate) several days without washing. This trick saves space (dirty dishes don’t pile up as fast) and time (dirty dishes don’t pile up as fast).

3. Use duffel bags for luggage. That way when you’re not traveling you can scrunch them up as small as possible. (And, you can put duffel bags inside other duffel bags, putting a family’s worth of luggage in one small space.)

4. If you’re the type of person who generates piles around the house, be sure to include an area just inside your front door to “catch” whatever you happen to be carrying in. (Cubbies would probably work well.) That way you don’t end up piling stuff on your desk, table, or kitchen counters.

Jake - February 3, 2012 Reply

My two favorites:
1. Space under a bed is often wasted. If your bedframe is off the ground stick some low-profile storage boxes under there. This is a great place for bedding and linens. If space allows consider a captain’s bed, which offered a raised platform with built-in drawers.

2. Something I do: For every new item I bring in, one item has to go. This helps to make sure I only purchase things I really need and helps prevent unneeded clutter.

BriAnna - February 3, 2012 Reply

We love plants but as they take up lots of space in our little cabin, hanging them in old bicycle helmets from the ceiling is an easy solution and one that always gets comments from guests. We also take advantage of the high ceiling across from the loft for extra shelving that we can access with our moveable loft ladder.

et - February 3, 2012 Reply

!. Get rid of stuff. Consider what you need carefully rather than trying to build more storage to contain it all. Everything can be reconsidered.
2. Keep the stuff you have organized. I disagree with the suggested bins/shelves rather than dresser. After using bins/shelves for 6 months in my tiny house I’m going to use a dresser. It’s easier to find things in a dresser and it will also serve as a partial wall to delineate hall/living room.
3. In a tiny kitchen it helps to simplify ingredients/menus/recipes, not just cut back on utensils & space.

Crystal Henson - February 3, 2012 Reply

My tip:

1st, downsize; you need to know what you’ll be taking with you. 2nd, find or build storage containers for all your belongings, making sure it will all fit comfortably. 3rd, build your walls/cabinets around your storage containers to make sure everything fits in a custom, economical way.

Sandy - February 3, 2012 Reply

My best storage tip has nothing to do with functional furniture, shelving or the like but rather focuses on something we all need to do. Go paperless on everything possible, pay bills online and get a bank safety box to store wills, insurance policies and other important documents.(Which btw is really where they need to be in the first place)

Not only will this one thing save you on trying to incorporate a storage file/area or the like into your small space, it will eliminate the time spend sorting, shredding and disposing of the paperwaste.

That’s my tip, nothing new or new

frank - February 3, 2012 Reply

Space is usually at a premium in kitchens. Even a few extra few inches to move around can make a huge difference in usability. Consider using cabinets that are less than the standard 24″ in depth. If you don’t have the skills or time to build custom cabinets and countertop, cabinetry intended for bathrooms is typically 21″ deep, sometimes less.

Jamie - February 3, 2012 Reply

In so many tiny houses you have a loft.. The floor for the loft is generally 6″ thick and a lot of people leave the underside exposed to the lower area of the house. That space goes unused by so many. I suggest a swing down/up shelf in each area between the braces. The shelves be as long as the space is and drop all the way to the floor if you so desired also creating a temp wall, if for some reason, you needed more privacy in that area of the house. :)That was actually an idea I came up with while watching Deek’s video on the little orange monster, the GoddaGiddaWay.

Lesley - February 3, 2012 Reply

My single favorite method for storing stuff in a small/tiny house is very old fashioned… its the wall hook. They can be made of almost anything, allowing the owner to reflect their personality. Wall hooks are versatile… you can hang almost anything on them (towels, chairs, shoes, jackets, misbehaving children, etc) AND it takes up virtually no space when not in use. Further, it limits the amount of junk/extraneous items you accumulate, if all your stuff is visible (rather than hidden behind curtains or under stairs).

Wall hooks are awesome.

Janel - February 3, 2012 Reply

I am hoping to have a tiny house someday! I really am devoted to my crafting projects and to my books, but these things don’t have to be displayed all the time.
Therefore I plan to make a bed frame that is very tall, and underneath it, will be sturdy, deep wooden shelves for solid storage. I don’t mind having to get on my knees and move a few boxes around to get to the ones in back.
I like lofts, but I wouldn’t want to sleep in one. I’m going to have a loft that is also solid storage, for my lightweight craft supplies (yarn), sporting goods, clothes, etc.

Garnet Ryder - February 3, 2012 Reply

My tip:
Remember the old dual purpose wooden chairs that you could flip the back rest to create a step ladder.
Similar idea, build the bookshelf into the wall with steps at the top half, and a matching chair for the bottom half.
Or build a stool/foot rest with storage inside, then push the stool to the bottom of the closet steps and use the stool as the first step.

Joaquin Trevino - February 3, 2012 Reply

Saving space is a quintessential facet of any efficiently designed home. The aspect is to have the same purposes or tasks performed in a diminutive space. Optimizing square footage like this can ultimately put a hindrance on the amount of materials used to complete the job, and consequentially, creating a space that seems more open, practical, and visually streamlined (which are all blessings in a humble human habitat).
So first let’s take a look at the goals that lead to great space efficiency:

1 – Making it Multifunctional. – I’ve made this number one because it deserves to be taken into account from the beginning of the design process. Housing one appliance that serves multiple functionalities can be a HUGE help in any cozy corridor conundrum. For instance, We’ve all seen those infomercials for those do-it-all blenders with fancy blade systems, and multi-source ovens with extender rings for serious baking (not naming any names, regardless of my consumer satisfaction, for potential legalities), and honestly, it’s a great means of saving precious cabinet and counter space for those who love their Power blenders, food processors, standing mixers, gas ovens, microwaves(which can be behemoth in some applications), counter fryers, food dehydrators… you get the idea. Yes I was suckered into these products because I’m a sucker for Multi-Functionality, and not a day goes by with buyer’s remorse. As we say in the kitchen “Work smarter, not harder.”
On another side of the spectrum, those who find needing extra space for clothes should probably consider taking Multi-functionality to another level. The French culture brought about a refined sense of multi-functionality in dress using the concept of revolving ones wardrobe around 5 items (The French Wardrobe). For a guy, a pair of go-with-everything shoes, a good cotton shirt, Tailored chinos (or straight fit jeans for the more casual gent), a modest fitting multi-season jacket, and an accessory (timepiece, necklace, ring, etc.) are great items to start with in building a functional wardrobe. From there simply tack on a few, quality items that you love and work with your French Five, and before you know it, you’ll be a Fab French Five Fasionista in no time (while saving valuable closet space).

2 – Making the space work for you (and never the other way around) – On the structural level, try arranging the area with the goal of decreasing traffic. Working in a professional kitchen has reinforced my values of cleanliness, space efficiency, and laying out your tasks logically; planning ahead. I’ve learned through experience that keeping tools, pans, dinnerware, etc at arm’s length, not only decreases task time (less time, if any, traveling from station to station), but trains your mind’s eye for having a place for everything. Simply, It just makes the space work.
Another point that may already be prevalent in designs seen here, is the implementation of pocket/sliding doors, as well as front doors that swing outward, rather than in. This maximizes useable interior space that would otherwise be left clear for the door swing. However, if you’re really nervous about having a door that swings outward, you can opt for a French door (yes I know, the French are getting some glory here), which slices the door swing 50/50. Though the total swing is the same, the space left on either side gives you more slack to work with (to install adjacent bookshelves or room for a coat rack/hook).

3- Living Modestly – I put this last because, though has hardly anything to do with the actual design of the home, it is something that can and WILL save you space AND money AND time in the end. That’s a personal guarantee. Living modestly doesn’t necessarily mean outsourcing for everything down to the water you use to brush your teeth in the morning. Furthermore, living modestly also doesn’t mean trying to buy all organic produce/milk/eggs/break/etc. For some that can end up being more costly, and for others, it may not even be an option. What living modestly does imply is listening to your inner humanity and awareness. At the least, living somewhat below your means. Borrowing that kitchen reference, I love to cook, and I love to cook well. I love taking old dishes and recipes and giving them a modern twist; turning the edible into incredible. With the variety of dishes that I cook, one would assume I’d need a kitchen fit for Gordon Ramsay’s apprentice. Luckily for me, that’s not so. Every kitchen, cuisine styles aside, should be equipped with some basic tools. I’d go through my list but I may have already exceeded my word count limit. Here’s a good place to start: Look through your favorite cookbook. pick out your favorite dishes. What tools do you need for these recipes (A French knife, eh? Eh?)? Can tools be washed and use again in the same recipe? From there you can get a good idea on what you need, and what you could do without. Though I would love a Kitchen-Aid standing mixer, I’m very content with my do-it-all blender with fancy blades (that and I have yet to see a Kitchen-Aid, make ice cream in less than 2 minutes. Sundaes anyone?)

REMEMBER! Living modestly is relative to the individual and the individual ALONE. Ergo, not one other person can graduate your means of living but you. So maybe do a little soul-searching, a little downsizing, and keep it fresh, fun, and YOU!

Good luck to all who entered the giveaway! And a special thanks to Deek Diedricksen, Kent Griswold, and the THB team for hosting! Tiny House Pride!

Deek - February 3, 2012 Reply

I’ve already started getting a few clever ideas for my own home…some really creative stuff….

Adela - February 3, 2012 Reply

If you have an interior wall subdividing the space then you have 3 1/2″ deep 10″ wide spaces between studs to put sunk in cabinets and shelves.

Greg - February 3, 2012 Reply

I wasn’t successful uploading a photo of one of my solutions So I’ll see if I can describe it.

We have a sloping roof in our tiny loft home (a converted hay loft) I had three hooks in the bathroom for my clothes which if I happened to leave any vacant my partner would latch onto (she already had all of the closet space)

When it came time to reroof I installed a 3′ X 5′ opening skylight centered over the bed area and put the foot of the bed towards the lowered end of the roof, directly under the skylight. The skylight works as a roof window

I then built a freestanding “closet” (24″ deep X 60″ wide X 50″ tall so that you can see over it and out the skylight)to serve as a head board and attached it to the bed frame. I now have space to hang my clothes with baskets for socks and underwear etc… below.

Two major benefits: the head board acts as a visual barrier to the sleeping area while still letting light from the skylight spill into the rest of the loft and since my side of the bed used to be the low side of the sleeping area I no longer have to crouch over to get in and out of my side of the bed.

EmmaJ - February 3, 2012 Reply

So, my tiny house storage suggestion is one I’ve been thinking about for a while: building my own couch. Well, I guess the size I’m thinking of is more “love seat,” technically, but I like to think of it as my little couch.

A couch itself, even a small one is not such an innovative idea, right? But this one would be an awesome combo of style, comfiness, thriftiness and yes, storage.

The back of the couch would be formed from a discarded twin bed headboard, the arms will probably be made from the footboard of the bed (cut in half and turned sideways) and the base would be made from an ugly-but sturdy coffee table. I would find or construct drawers or boxes to fit under the seat. All of it will be nicely upholstered (a skill I’ve had fun practicing lately), with the front base upholstery able to flip up to access the things stored in the base.

Even though this would be a small couch, I have another idea for making it extra useful: under the cushion, I would like to put a hinged board that can fold out to serve as an extra sleeping spot (some detachable support posts would also fit into the storage area). Depending what I can get to make it from, the base cushion might also be able to be removed from the upholstery and unfolded to serve as the mattress. I might keep blankets or fabric in the other cushions.

Another idea that I have for maximizing space is to think strategically about empty space. That is, the empty space that is required to do different things.

DavidLee - February 3, 2012 Reply

I’m designing my own vardo style truck camper and plan on building a kitchen/bathroom sink that is mounted on a drawer slide. The tap will stay on the wall just above it, but when not needed the sink will slide into the wall out of the way!

Kimk - February 3, 2012 Reply

What fun!

Okay, I have several ideas:

1) I reclaimed the pigeon hole portion of an old secretary desk (just the inside compartments and little drawers). Build a box around it with a drop down opening and handles on each side. It is now a portable laptop desk that stores all your desk necessities on the inside, including your laptop. When in use, place it on any shelf (standup desk); table (sit down desk), or 2 stools (floor desk). It gives you variety in work zones. Also, you can put the laptop on top and use a keyboard on the drop-down surface for correct ergonomic height. When not it use the box is sturdy enough to sit or stand on, or just hide away on a shelf.

2. Build a drop down table into the wall that is about 12″ wide on top with the leaf down. In the area by the wall below the 12″ area, build shelves that you can put drawers or baskets on to hold utensils or other kitchen eating items. This will eliminate the need for drawers in the kitchen while making them handy by the table. They are also out of site since they are below the table.

3. Utilize the crawl space for storage. You could use it in different ways depending on whether your house is portable or stable. If it is portable, you can cut round holes in the porch with covers and put 5 gallon buckets in them to sort recycling items or store other things that don’t need climate control. Make the covers blend in they aren’t apparent, or make them stand out with a cool design! If you have a non-portable studio type house, save space by building the tub into the floor and insulate around it. Cover it with two doors that open on each side or one door opening to only one side. Around the tub surround,you could build in plastic pocket doors that can be pulled upward for shower curtains for privacy and to keep the water in. Dry them before pushing them back in and close the doors to have floor space. You could do the same thing with a composting toilet.

4. Think of a gypsy caravan bed. Build the bed, just high enough to use a rolling hanging storage closet underneath. This makes room for a closet that you just pull out like a drawer when you need it. Do the same on the other side with rolling shelves that you can have baskets of clothes in. For the bed, use a retractable bed frame that slides in to a twin size and pulls out to a king size bed. Use two twin size futons. During the day, it is a couch, daybed, at night slide it out and flip one of the futons out and make your “king size” bed!

    Kimk - February 4, 2012 Reply

    I’m replying to myself since a couple more ideas came to mind.

    1. If you have a small under counter space, say about 6″, it won’t be enough space for a drawer. However, you could use a pull shelf, a set of shelves on casters that you pull out to access. It could store a lot of canned or dry goods in jars or glasses.

    2. If you have a 5 gallon bucket composting toilet, I would recommend getting the urine diverter to separate the urine into another container to decrease the smell. You could do two things, completely enclose the composting toilet in a box and access it from the outside to empty the bucket and the urine container without having to hall it through the house. The separate bucket for urine would take up more room, however. If you use too small of a urine container there are reports of it over-flowing if you don’t check it regularly. So, put the urine diverter hose through the floor and a large 5 gallon catchbucket either under the trailer or in the crawlspace. In that way, you can still empty it from outside and, if it overfills, it’s not a big deal outside. Finally, the smell is not in the house.

    Happy designing!

Kristina - February 3, 2012 Reply

I use my bed as a desk. I pull up a folding chair and set up my laptop. Then I put a food tray next to my laptop for my coffee, so it doesn’t spill. Books and papers go on my bed on the other side of my laptop. Voila! And I only have the books/papers out that I am actually using.

However, if and when I move, I’d like to have a Japanese futon so I can roll up the bed during the day and have a nice space for yoga/exercise/painting/whatever.

laura - February 3, 2012 Reply

Having 6 people using one kitchen (in a bungalow built circa 1960 in Edmonton Alberta) makes kitchen space a premium. Fridge space is more valuable than gold as we have one shelf each for two people (that is one glass unit shelf btw). Limiting your fridge space to one shelf and half a door shelf makes you only buy food that you will eat that week, and to use up that jar of mustard before you buy a new variety.

The most space-saving thing we did to the kitchen though was to make floor-to-ceiling shelves measured precisely with 1″ allowance to fit a file box (with 2 boxes on each shelf). Non-perishable food (except potatoes and onions), baking goods, pots, mixing bowls etc are assigned a file box and labeled. Bread boards fit in the 1″ allowance above the box. Three months worth of food stocks in a 4′ wide by 8′ high space for two people + the dishes to cook it with. 🙂

And yes, when we finish school and have enough money for land and a tiny house, our pantry will be at minimum that efficient. 🙂

Krystal - February 3, 2012 Reply

My storage tip is to have ready-made shelves above the toilet instead of a rack/container on the floor taking up valuable floor space since most tiny house bathrooms are already very small to begin with. The shelf can store toilet paper, towels, and anything else. These items will be very visible, meaning easy to spot and easy to retrieve rather than something on the floor or even a medicine cabinet. The more visible the items, the more you’ll realize it’s there and also, your items won’t be left forgotten like items hidden away in a medicine cabinet.

Jenna - February 3, 2012 Reply

When I first started thinking about downsizing, one of the things that stopped me was figuring out how we could still have our frequent overnight guests, as spare beds take up loads of room. I came up with two solutions to this problem, both using this very comfortable but very flexible mattress from Ikea.

The first solution is simply to have two of these on your bed/in your loft instead of one. A deep-pocket sheet will easily fit two of these mattresses. If you need a firm bed, this may not be the best solution.

The second is a plan I’m working on now, to use it folded as a sofa/daybed during the day. Of course I considered getting a sofa frame, but I’ve found that they sag and generally break down over time, take up more space than necessary (as they usually only fold the mattress once, across the horizontal centre), and for the money don’t look that great.

Instead, the plan is to build a simple, low box that keeps the mattress folded inside (into thirds in an s-shape – this keeps the mattress flatter than if you fold one short side over the other), and with a flap to cover the mattress attached to just one side and either snapped or tied in place on the other. When the bed is in use, the box can be flipped up on its side, the flap put back in place, and used as a headboard.

To make your sofa, and so that you don’t have extra bed-things to store, use two or three decorative shams with the standard pillowcases and pillows layered inside as the sofa back, and for the sheets I thought rolling them up and putting them in some roll pillowcases might do (depending on the size of the sheets, you could roll the sheets around a pool noodle cut to size if you need to fill out the pillowcases a bit more). The duvet/comforter might seem like a problem, but you could just use a second comforter as a bedspread on your own bed, or get one of these clever duvets from Ikea and split it up for guests, using throws for extra warmth:

Here’s my sketch of the finished product:

Anyway, it’s still in the early stages, so let me know if anyone’s interested in how it turns out and I can eventually post real photos!

    Jenna - February 3, 2012 Reply

    Oi, wrong “finished product” link…that one won’t get you anywhere. Here’s the correct one:

      Lee - February 4, 2012 Reply

      I personally use of these. Slept on one for 2 years and now use it for a week at a time when I go the UK each month. Works fine, day or night, as the mattress is the sofa and there is a box underneath which holds the pillows and bedding.

        Jenna - February 4, 2012 Reply

        Yeah, I considered one of those sofa beds, but I don’t like the look so much (too masculine for my feminine tastes), and like I say, it’s still pretty big, doing the folding in half the long way thing.

    ginmar - February 4, 2012 Reply

    I did that with Moroccan poufs. Depending on the culture you get them from, they can be made of leather or fabric. They have a zipper across the bottom, and you stuff them with extra blankets and stuff. The ones I had were rectangular, about forty by twenty by fourteen, and I used one to sit on, the other turned on its side as a back, and two bolsters as arm rests. Put end to end, they’re beds; put one on top of the other, they make higher than casual seating. I wore them out over the years and now I’m trying to find an upholsterer who can make some new ones for me.

      Jenna - February 4, 2012 Reply

      So funny you’d mention that, my SIL literally just messaged me saying that’s what this idea reminds her of! She loves those too.

        ginmar - February 5, 2012 Reply

        Well, one of the allures of tiny houses for me is the small scale of things. I’m short, and I find too much overhead and wasted space makes me feel like I’m rattling around. I hate too high ceilings; I like intimate-sized spaces that hug you. Of course, I also like to pace when I’m trying to work my way out of a writing corner, so there’s that. Pouf seating gives you something to lean against, and for someone of my height, it lets me put my feet flat on the ground instead of dangling comically in mid air. If you have seating the right height for you, it make an amazing difference. Plus, one way to cut down on belongings is to make sure that everything has more than one use.

        I also find stuff sacks to be very helpful in storing seasoning bedding and other things of that nature—-the Army has a bulky ‘sleeping system’ that consists of three or four full-sized sleeping bags, used in varying combinations, that can be reduced to one stuff sack that’s about a foot in diameter and maybe two feet or less long, once it’s stuffed into a stuff sack.

        I also like those RV-style nooks that turn into beds, but I’d enclose them in a little arched space with a cupboard overhead and naturally, storage in the seats.

Grant - February 4, 2012 Reply

While building my small house, I had to come up with ideas to make spaces available to me to store junk, leftover stuff I needed a place for. I came up with this idea for my headboard on my bed –
It is two spacemaker cubicle storage units screwed together and screwed to the frame of my bed. Each unit has nine 1’x1’x1′ spaces giving me an extra 18 cubic feet of storage space. And with the optional different color fabric drawers that go in those spaces I can even coordinate by color.

Ava Worrell - February 4, 2012 Reply

Litter Box Storage for a Small Living Space.
Love the cat but hate the litter box? Then what do you do in a tiny or small house? The usual solution of banishing it to the far reaches of the living space is not an option for a small space dweller. Enter handmade litter box storage furniture. This is a good option even if you’re not particularly handy. Step one is to grab a new, modest sized litter box or a cardboard template the same size as your old litter box and head out to the local thrift stores. You are looking for storage furniture that has a base large enough to comfortably fit a litter box that can fit into your living space can be used for a second purpose and that you find attractive. Surface blemishes are not that important. You can always fix them with paint or stain at a later date. There are three ways to do this. Let’s start with the hardest options first. Suppose you find a small chest with drawers that you can use as a night stand, landing strip (place to drop your keys, purse, cell phone, hat ect as you come through the door), end table, bathroom counter, bathroom sink cabinet, seating or work surface. Remove the bottom one, two or three drawers depending on the drawer height. Cut off the front part of the drawer and set it aside. Remove a section of the back of the chest large enough that you will be able to reach in and slide the litter box out of the back when needed. It only needs to be a 3 or 4 inches higher than the litter box and be even with the bottom of the cabinet floor. Do not remove the entire back as this may compromise the structural integrity of the piece. This opening doesn’t have to be fancy as this side will be facing the wall. The next step requires a bit more care as this will be visible from the rest of the room. Measure out an opening roughly 6 inches by 6 inches to serve as a doorway for your cat. The bottom should be about 3 to 4 inches above the floor of the chest. Use a drill to drill pilot holes in the side of the piece that will enable you to use a keyhole saw to make the cuts. Be sure to drill a hole in each of the corners to keep you from going beyond the corner of the door and to keep the wood from splitting. Sand the opening. If you like, you can trim it by gluing and tacking on wood molding from the hardware store. The last step is to reinstall the drawer fronts. Lay the cabinet on its back. Carefully position the drawers and make sure they are in the correct spot to mimic an intact drawer. Remember, there is a slight gap between drawer fronts in a real chest of drawers. Glue the drawer fronts in place. (You can install finish nails from the back for extra strength if desired) An optional step worth considering is to add small wheels to the bottom of the cabinet to make rolling it out from the wall to change the litter easier. You can also line the bottom of the cabinet with metal or plastic to make cleaning cleanup faster. When all the glue has dried, sit the cabinet up, install the litter box and you’re in business. The second, much easier option is to find a cabinet with doors instead of drawers. You will not have to alter the back of the cabinet for access or cut down any drawers to make this plan work because you will have readymade access to the litter box through the cabinet doors. You may have to remove a shelf or two if they are in the way, but that is a simple job by comparison. Your find could be a short cabinet that could be used, again, as a side table, landing strip, night stand, bathroom counter, ect, or a bookcase or hutch with doors over the bottom section. The only thing needed to make it work is to install the cat doorway in one side. See the steps above. A third and even easier plan would be to find a small table (look at short side tables), fit it with a fabric skirt and store the litter box beneath the skirt. A short, sturdy table works well as a bench. A taller one can be used to hold a lamp. All of these plans work best with real, solid wood furniture. Try to avoid composite furniture. Avoid or be careful when working with laminate over wood as it is very easy to damage the laminate when you are sawing. Once you’re done you can live comfortably with your cat in your own small space without you or your guest having to look at or step around a litter box.
Small Dog Haven
Dogs naturally love dens. My Pit bull sleeps and relaxes under my bed. My German Shepherd lounges in her crate when she wants to feel secure and be alone. Enclosed spaces are a dog’s security blanket. The litter box furniture above could be modified into a small dog den by simply enlarging the door. With the addition of a lockable door, it could also function as a dog crate when you need your pooch out from under foot (visits from repair men) or confined for his health (upset stomach generated object eating). Adding an old, comfortable and worn without washing piece of clothing to act as bedding and feeding your dog treats in that space will make it feel like home to him in a very short time. Don’t lock him in. Let him feel it’s a good place to go and he will start to use it.
Hope this helps. I’ve had a piece of litter box storage furniture sitting next to my door for six years. It was low enough to use as a bench if you had to remove your boot, but it was primarily a landing strip and storage space for bags, bookcases, hats and gloves. I had a row of wooden pegs in the wall above it where I hung coats sweaters and dog leashes. It was sadly the victim of a water leak and I am patiently looking for a replacement.

Ava Worrell - February 4, 2012 Reply

Nesting Furniture
If you need extra floor space and your budget leans towards thrift store spending or do it yourself, consider nestable furniture. Nesting furniture fits inside or underneath other furniture without either piece losing its primary function. Consider a table and chairs. The space under the table is used only when the table is in actual use. Yes, yes, I can hear you thinking “Who wants to clean out under a table every time you want to use it? She’s gotta be nuts….”. The beauty is that you do not have to do a clean out job just to eat lunch. Get rid of the chairs and look for stools or benches at the local thrift store or on craigslist. Install wheels on the legs. The result? You have a clean looking , clutter free table area with seating stowed underneath that you can put into use or move out of the way with a touch of the finger. No struggling with folding tables and chairs and trying to find a place to put them once they are folded. If you are really handy, you can make a simple table unit with rolling stow able square stools from scratch and wind up with a truly elegant and highly functional piece that saves on floor space and visual clutter. You can also find a piece of furniture to function as a butler. A butler is a small piece of furniture designed to follow you around and help with such task as bill paying, arts and crafts, eating snacks, bedside storage, computer table, remote control storage, small gadget dock, ect. The emphasis here is on small. If the top surface is much bigger from side to side than your average chair seat, than it is probably too big. You want a cabinet with shelves, drawers or doors that is small enough to fit under your table, beside bigger cabinets, in a closet under your clothes, or under the last, raised shelf in your bookcase. Install wheels from the hardware store. That’s it. You now have a piece of furniture you can roll up and use to hold your plate as you watch TV, stow your bills in one place and provide a writing surface for paying them, store your reading, store things beside your bed, provide a surface for candles for that long tub soak, hold your knitting or whittling project close at hand, keeps your remote control or cell phone from getting lost, holds your address books…the functions are endless. What makes this so useful is that you have a follow behind workstation and storage area that does several functions at once, replaces a collection of different work surfaces and storage areas and can be slid back out of the way and into its nest or dock with a touch of the finger when you no longer need it.

Torie - February 4, 2012 Reply

I have one closet for myself in my home. I have a hanging shoe rack in my closet, in addition to all my clothes. I have 3 pairs of shoes in the plastic sleeves of the shoe rack, because that’s all I own. I use the other spaces for other things, such as: mittens and hat, envelopes, stamps, pens and pencils, bills to be paid, underwear, socks, paperback books. You get the idea. I also have a queen sized platform bed I built myself. It has drawers underneath. The drawers, in order to be practical, had to be smaller than the length of the bed. To use the other space, I built a hatch like door and boxed in the inside of the space the drawers wouldn’t use. I store seldom used items here. The few decorations I keep for various holidays, Christmas presents I am hiding from the kids, tax returns, emergency cash and other things I don’t mind accessing by lifting the side of the mattress to get to the hatch. I also store things outside my home in metal bins. I have 6 months of winter here, so I’ve been know to use the garage as the fridge for a few months.

Sandy - February 4, 2012 Reply

Oh, in addition to my tip to go paperless I do want to offer this suggestion. Years ago I lived in a small trailer. The bed was on a platform and on each side were closets 5ft tall. I used the top of each closet as you would a top of a dresser placing my hair dryer, accessories, etc. One of the closets was for hanging clothes. The other was shelved which I placed folded t-shirts, pants, etc. The platform bed had angled edges which were nice(no running into a straight corner and banging your knee). There was a small 12 in cabinet under the window which I also used for towels, sheets, underclothing. It was a really nice uncluttered design. No moveable furniture was in the room. I plan to use the same arrangement in my small house, probably extending the closets up, which will give the bed an alcove feel. Of course there will be drawers under the platform to keep blankets,extra items. Our bedroom will not be in a loft as I do not feel they are a practical alternative to long term living. I think the real key to designing smaller living spaces is to keep in mind the aging process and address how you will use your home as you age. I am not old enough to retire but once my small home is built, well I don’t plan to move again. Practical, small, functional…that’s the plan for me!


Leigh - February 4, 2012 Reply

I think many useful ideas come from folks who live aboard boats – and gear as well. I see that people usually go “up” or “out’ when finding storage space, but seldom “down” – as in under the living area. Boat outfitters sell flush mounted hinges and heavy ring pulls for lifting hatches in boat decks. There are also gasket fittings to make these hatches air & watertight. This could be applied to a tiny house as a small root cellar in the kitchen area, or seldom used stuff in other areas. Occasionally I see small compartments between floor joists boxed off in old houses as primitive safes or secret stash spots – probably from Prohibition days. Depending on the topography and individual house characteristics, this could be used as a full access area to the underside of the house & excavated for use as a small basement or root cellar. I lived in an old house here in FL with such an arrangement. The land was high enough to avoid water encroachment and a part of the crawl space was dug out & walled/floored with a small set of steps leading to it from a kitchen hatchway. A 4’x5’x6′ space held a lot of stuff.

wyndwalkr - February 4, 2012 Reply

Someone else mentioned, and I have in actual use, a stud cavity storage space in my bathroom. My stud space is 16 inches on center so there is 14 and 1/2 inches of space wide and about 4 inches deep. Mine is nicely trimmed out with thin wood and surrounded with the same trim as my woodwork. (Like a picture frame.) I can see this space being great for spices in a kitchen. INTERIOR WALLS ONLY of course.

My house right now is small, but not tiny. I got tired of my useless end tables in my living room and replaced them with storage totes. Since I am a collector of unique textiles, I just draped the totes with a couple colorful cloths. You do need glass to top it or a solid surface under the cloth for the things you put on the end tables to sit safely. Old picture frames with glass, would also make tops for the tote/tables. My totes happen to be filled with my knitting yarn stash.

Of course one can slide storage boxes under one’s bed. In my case, I can not access one side of the bed very easily as it nearly sits up against the wall. So my storage boxes have another storage box hooked behind the front one “in tandem. Why waste half the under bed storage just because you can’t walk around both sides of a bed?

My coffee table is an antique toy box. If you have room for such a thing as a coffee table, make sure it can store something! Same with ottomans.

I bought a whole kitchen’s worth of old cabinetry for $20 when someone I knew was remodeling their kitchen. I have a 2 sets of upper cabinets above my washer and dryer and another upper set above my desk area. If I needed more space, I would consider upper kitchen cabinets, which are just 12 inches deep, above the headboard of my bed.

Deek, you don’t have to consider me as an entrant in your contest. I bought your book just a few days ago! Thumbs up!

Joanna - February 4, 2012 Reply

The simplist and most regularly useful bit of hardware I use in my tiny house are good-sized “S” hooks. I use them in the bathroom on the shower enclosure for towels and clothes hooks, over the edge of a counter in the kitchen area hooked on a bit of molding to hold all kinds of things: trays, shopping bags, string bags of potatoes, you name it. Infinitely variable and using space like above stairs that would otherwise be just empty.

    John from Texas - February 4, 2012 Reply

    I definitely agree with Joanna, but I take it even a few steps further with over-the-door racks/hooks for large towels and heavy coats and self-adhesive multipurpose hangers/hooks for lighter shirts, hats, keys, etc.

    You can get good deals on them at dollar stores.

TinyhouseTom - February 4, 2012 Reply


Wasn’t my idea, a friend of mine was cleaning out his workshop and got a dumpster. After over coming inertia, he was able to start throwing things out. Hadn’t used it in 6 months, out it went.

He had boxes of stuff that he’d packed when he moved from England to North America 30 years ago. Stuff they thought they couldn’t live without. It never made it out of the box, so obviously they didn’t need it.

He said it was great. Once he got started, he was tossing all kinds of stuff.

You don’t have to trash stuff. Sell it online or free-cycle it.

As to the shelf over the door idea. I’m thinking it needs a way to keep things from falling off when you slam the door. Height equals stored kinetic energy.

    Jenna - February 4, 2012 Reply

    Maybe a lip or decorative-looking rail on the edge of the shelf?

    Shea - February 5, 2012 Reply

    I’ve done the doorway shelves before, and agree: forget putting one over a doorway with a DOOR in it, because even the draft from open and closing said door can displace lighter/delicate things on that shelf overhead! Best to stick with using the doorshelf above doorWAYS (or even closet doors, that don’t have the heavy ‘traffic’ the main entry and interior access doors do)…
    Further below I’ve described how I was putting shelves over WINDOWS (and even as a sill where there wasn’t any to begin with!), years ago, something I still do for my necessary knick-knack space! I don’t think I’ve ever lost a plant or glass figurine to a fall from those shelf-sills, and, as the upper shelf is positioned with brackets not only across the window, at about 10″ below the window’s top, but also across the curtains or blinds I had there, even breezes from the open window did not ‘reach’ the contents of the shelf-sill above…
    So there is space to be had over any ‘opening’ in your walls, be it doorway or window, it need not be empty ‘space’ being wasted or unused!;-)

      ginmar - February 5, 2012 Reply

      And if you have cats, I’m sure they enjoy the perches from which to look down upon their subjects.

        Deek - February 6, 2012 Reply

        No, it actually works very well- I just assumed people would toss a rail in, and never mentioned/specified that- sorry. A simple lip, thin wooden rail (as in boats), or a string rail (strong string threaded through eye-screws) is all that is needed….

        Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

        As to the cat(s) using the window sill-shelves: mine uses the bottom one only, as he can’t jump up to reach the higher ones, as they’re set about 10″ down from the top of (in my case) very tall-to-ceiling-almost windows! Also, at 6″ they’re just deep enough to put a small potted plant, a few knick knacks, maybe even some smaller books and paperbacks, so even a daring cat would instinctively hesitate at trying something so precarious… okay, well, there might be a cat problem, then (I add, remembering one of the cats I have NOW, who even tries jumping ONTO the loop of dust high in the ceiling/corner of the room…)

Hampus Ettehag - February 4, 2012 Reply

I’m in the making of my own tiny home right now, and one thing that I’ve come up with when it comes to smart storage is this. Wherever you have your lounging area with either a small couch or something like it you can use the empty space within this sitting arrangement to fit a box that fills all that space – This will make awesome extra seating opportunities for when you have guests. But the best part is that these boxes themselves double as storage for whatever you would like! This way you get extra seats AND extra storage – all in one place! 🙂

tom o. - February 4, 2012 Reply

We have lived in a smaller home for many years. My favorite storage item is the plastic shoe box. I buy them at the Container Store or online. They help keep groups of items together. Rock climbing stuff fits into them as an example I have two chalk bags and a bunch of caribiners in one and a pair of climbing shoes in another. I use two for seasonal neckties so the Christmas ties are not hanging in the closet all year just taking up space.

Kim - February 4, 2012 Reply

My idea probably won’t excite anyone’s interest, but here goes:

Get rid of your stuff! Simplify what you choose to eat at home so that your don’t need the storage. When you want some complicated food, “outsource” your storage by letting the restaurant store the equipment.

Teresa Hill - February 4, 2012 Reply

Working to use all available space, equip your tiny house with multiple purpose tools, emphasizing things that nest rather than stack. Bowls within larger bowls are obvious examples, but with a little imagination one can put together nests of cups and glasses, cooking vessels, tables, chairs; I’ve even nested (though this is really more of a stack) potted plants, each resting on the soil perimeter of the one below. It looks really cool.

Eric - February 4, 2012 Reply

I’m not yet a homeowner and have been following this blog for a bit after seeing a few interesting small home/house trailer designs. And I’ve often thought of using the paces between ceiling joist in the very small homes and trailers as storage spaces. A simple ‘L’ shaped wire rack screwed to the joist (or wood or even a netted material) could hold clothing, bedding or books out of the way but in reach by steppstool.

Charis Moldrik - February 4, 2012 Reply

When I moved from a 2000+ sq ft house into an 18′ travel trailer the most common question I was asked was regarding storage. I did think about all the ways that I could store STUFF for a few days, but then I realized I was downsizing for a reason. My solution for storage was to use the space already provided and get rid of what didn’t fit. About the only thing I have left that doesn’t fit into my home is my motorcycle. Everything else I am comfortably living without, 99% of which I don’t even miss.

Don - February 4, 2012 Reply

Storage? How about EVERYWHERE! Seriously. In my small house I have a lot of framed, inconic, and photographic art hanging on my walls, as I’ve been an art collector for a long time. So where do I look for storage in my small house? I just look at the surface of EVERY wall, and all of the ceilings – everywhere srt is not hung. If there is a blank wall space anywhere around any of the hanging art, I just frame in that wall hanging with 1×4 or 1×6 (sometimes 1×8) planking, and then I build shelves parallel to that framing all the way to the ceiling and the floor. Then on the underside of my exposed beam and plank upper floor I string clotheslines across the ceiling from beam to beam thru holes drilled in the beams, and I can put all kinds of things in my ceiling storage – lines, bedding, clothes, camping gear, boxes of stuff — you name it. I have room for absolutely everything, and it’s all real easy to get at whenever I want anything. It’s my system and it works for me!

Aaron - February 4, 2012 Reply

Gene Kelly’s studio apartment in Paris, anyone?

    Jenna - February 4, 2012 Reply

    I’ve always loved his bed! Pure genius 🙂

    Sandy - February 4, 2012 Reply

    I was just thinking about that very bed idea this morning. A bed that could be lowered in the evening for sleeping and raised during the daytime. Certainly would work with a vaulted ceiling and be nice for those people who have mentioned not wanting a loft. Just think you could do a large painting or something on the bottom of it so when it was in the air…it could be a piece of art!

    I was thinking when it was lowered down into the living space it could perhaps fit between and sit on 2 benches that could be placed facing each other, kinda like the dining room table that that fits down between the seating to make a full bed in travel trailers.

    Would definitely be a fun touch!

Penny - February 4, 2012 Reply

We live in a small cabin with our 19 year old mentally handicapped grandson (who is VERY disorganized), a yellow lab, an English Setter, a cat, and a Parakeet! Everything MUST have a place and anything out of place is in the way. Mastering the art of organization is an ongoing effort for me. Some of the ideas that have worked for me are: I use freestanding coat racks, lots of vintage picnic baskets (they stack nicely) with luggage-type tags labeling the contents, vintage suitcases (also stack-able) that hold everything from out-of-season clothing to Christmas decorations, anything that “nests” when not in use (like crocks), and lots of shelves that accommodate various sizes of boxes, tins, or storage cubes. We store things under the beds and utilize wall space for shelves. We also have a rule that when something comes in; something must go out. That has resulted in an income of over $1100 in the past 4 months from items we’ve sold at a local consignment shop! We will be constructing a “tiny house” on our property for our grandson in the next couple of years. He’s already gathering his own storage solutions in anticipation! I’d love to have the book…and I promise to “make room” for it! Blessings, Penny

Emily - February 4, 2012 Reply

I’ll never want to get rid of all my books, many of which were annotated by my father. My plan is to take over all the stud space in 2 interior walls (avoiding the electrical outlets) and use the studs as frames for bookcases. I know I’ll have to frame them in, probably install a backing, & then cut & install shelves, but I think the result will be beautiful, it’ll get rid of some free-standing bookshelves, and there’ll be shelves left over for some decorative objects as well. (I’ve been salvaging old stamped wine boxes and am hoping to use some of that as the framing or the shelving—a lot of them are very beautiful, and I no longer need them as boxes.)

Peg - February 4, 2012 Reply

My tip is to lighten the load – one of my rules for myself is that I do not own any piece of furniture that I cannot lift and move by myself. For example, I own a rattan couch. I got it free from a neighbor who was moving away. It’s surprisingly sturdy, has successfully supported 300 pound guests, and is a whole lot easier to move and clean under than a conventional wood frame couch. And I have 2 tubs of craft supplies that I store underneath of it. Cover it with a nice cloth throw, and its second hand scuffs don’t show, and the storage tubs are concealed too.

Plastic three drawer storage units are also a whole lot easier to move than wooden chests, and can be stacked floor to ceiling. Lightweight items up top, heavier stuff closer to the floor. I live in a college town, and all of mine have been salvaged from student discards at end of semester move outs.

I also got rid of my heavy cloth and fiber filled mattress and replaced it with a firm foam pad – again, bed making became far easier once I could lift it myself.

Compact pans with foldable handles are available at sporting goods stores in the backpacking supplies section. It’s remarkable how much less space a folding handled pan takes to store, and backpacking supplies are typically designed to be lightweight, as well.

I prefer easy to clean wood floors over a carpet, too – a broom is a lot lighter than a vacuum cleaner, far less expensive to buy, and does not jam or break down. A broom and dustpan are less bulky to store, and you eliminate a source of noise pollution.

So these are some of the ways that downsizing has made my life simpler, and easier to maintain.

Joe Chasse - February 4, 2012 Reply

One easy storage tip that I use in my 65 Chev with chassis mount Caveman motor home, is to use 2 or 3 section drawer glides (goes under the drawer for pulling way out with support) and drawers that go all the way to the wall in low places. Usually one has a devil of a time reaching the stuff that ends up WAY BACK in there, but if it is in a drawer built to fit which is easy to pull all the way out – you get to see those easily lost items more often and easier!

Paul Ritscher - February 4, 2012 Reply

Being a graphic artist, over the years I have accumulated a large collection of printed paper items, old posters, drawings, and design patterns which I have stored in an assortment of different length tubes. They take up a great deal of space on the floor, and do not stack easily (because they are round). In the corner of my garage studio I had unused space above a filing cabinet, but at the time a purpose-built cabinet would have been too heavy to install by myself, and too expensive in materials. I came up with a structure built from 1/2″ plywood, 1″ dowels, and one 2′ x 4′. The top of the shelf measures 20″ wide x 48″ long, the top shelf is 20″ x 36″, and the two lower shelves are 20″ x 24″. Into the top board I drilled eight 1 1/8″ inch holes, four per side, spaced equally to support the 36″ lower shelf, with a one foot overhang. the next shelf had eight corresponding holes, and the two lower shelves had six corresponding holes. Two 48 inch 2′ x 4′ boards were mounted to the ceiling joists to support the top of the unit, and the top of the unit was screwed onto the boards. One inch dowels, each with four equidistant holes drilled sideways were suspended through the plywood and pinned using cut-off nails, and one inch steel washers. The next shelf was slid onto the suspended dowels, followed by a washer and pin on each dowel. The other shelves were assembled in the same manner. I have had the opportunity to move this unit, and it disassembles flat for easy moving, and was easily assembled at my present location with a slight alteration to the position of the boards used to hang it from the joists. Please see a photo here:

Rick - February 4, 2012 Reply

My wife and I have been considering a possibly semi-nomadic lifestyle and due to our physical and spiritual health it might just be very beneficial. Some tips would be just getting rid of unnecessary items which cause unwanted clutter for example too much clothing, bedding, etc. Only bring in what are necessities and keep possessions simple. If you have large keepsakes, ask a family member if they would hold on to it for you or put them in rented storage. Right now we have a ton of books that we will probably never read, they must go. Laptops are great and you can download a Kindle app for an incredible space saving library. If privacy is an issue design your tiny house space into sections with privacy curtains. Awhile back in the Tiny House Blog there was a design for a shower where the top and base were hinged to the wall and when opened you had a perfect shower which took hardly any space and when done folds away immediately. Thinking like this lends well to small space living since you may only shower once or twice a day. Beds of course should be designed to become furniture for sitting. There are companies that make sizable pop up aluminum framed wall tent structures and also very light aluminum framed geodesic domes covered with light synthetic covers upon request that fit in duffle bags which can be used to extend the living space outdoors creating a wonderful open space and for use as workshops and come in manageable sizes for portability when not in use. Wall cavities make good storage areas for all kinds of things even dry goods and clothing can help with insulation as well. 12 volt appliances have become the norm and are incredibly space saving not to mention the energy savings.

Shea - February 4, 2012 Reply

I’ve lived in small ‘areas’ many times in my life, with the most adventurous being a 9 X 45 1950s Blue Moon mobile home I moved into shortly after graduating high school. I had a Siamese cat, at the time (circa 1980’s?), who LOVED sunbathing in front of windows, but, alas, if you know older mobile homes (even the newer ones, actually), they didn’t put much into window SILLS – especially this little 50’s charmer, which had louvered windows one needed to CRANK to open, with screens having to be on the INSIDE. They’re usually just flush to the wall, or with a 1/2″ lip edge: USELESS.
To help give my pet a safe place to sunbathe (and not destroy my knick-knacks/knock over lamps, etc. by clambering into tables, furniture, the TV, etc. in an effort to get at those rays of sunshine), AND to create even more ‘sun space’ for my little starter seedlings and sprouts for that spring’s garden, I MADE my own.

I actually picked up 2″X6″ boards in 28″ and 36″ lengths at the local Menards, from their ‘scrap’ pile in the lumber section, but if I had needed to have longer boards cut, they would have only charged me 25 cents per cut (it’s $1 now, I think). As it was, I know I paid less than $5 for an ARMFUL of boards, enough to outfit my six 36″ wide living room, and two different-sized but smaller kitchen, windows.
I already had some old brass and silver metal shelf brackets in my tool box, so I spray painted them an ivory color that would better go with the ‘country cottage’ theme and color of my living room walls, and affixed them to just at the bottom ‘sill’ AND across the window above, down about 10″ from the actual TOP ‘sill’ of the window (and OVER the curtains/blinds). This was so the little seedlings would get a LOT of sunlight, even up there, while being safely out-of-jump-and-reach of my Siam!
Later, I put more plants in small pots there, some of the pretty hanging kind, as well as delicate glass pieces and vintage colored-glass floats!

Because that little 9 by 10 foot living room in that trailer was basically all-windows, I was at first, at a loss, as to where I could put my knick knacks, small picture frames and plants (especially those that I couldn’t put where my cat would chew, eat, knock over, destroy them!)!
But after adding the ‘over-window’ sill-shelves, top and bottom, I had so much new space I was a happy gypsy… suncatchers hung from the brass ‘cuphooks’ I had screwed into the upper shelf-sills (fronts and sides!), as well as all kinds of windchimes and danglers (and, again, out of reach of you-know-what), and the tendrils and vines of the hanging plants lent a green and shady feel to the room.
And my cat was always happy to have his pick of any of the six windows to sit at!
Visitors never failed to remark on the shelf-sills, how pretty they looked, how much new room they gave me for my little treasures, and how easy and almost cost-free my handiwork had been!

Yes, some might say it would’ve been easier getting rid of my furry companion.
But adversity is the mother of invention, and the difficulties of making that cat (and me!) happy in our small spaces, provided me with many memorable ideas and inventions. To this day, I STILL, even in places where the windows have the traditional (wider) sills my 3 cats enjoy, put in my ‘top’ shelf-sills over my windows so I can enjoy the luxury of putting so many ‘pretties’ up there, that otherwise might have languished in tissue and boxes in the shed outside… my glass apple collection, paperweights, stained glass sun hangings, and faerie lamps all have ‘their place’, using almost zero of the already-limited SPACE I have to live within…
PS: And yes, Deek, I often put similar shelves over every doorway in my home, too, for odds and ends I didn’t have drawer or closet space for… 😉

    Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

    LOL… I noticed an earlier ‘brain fart’ in the above post on window ‘shelf-sills’…
    For those who might be on top of these kinds of things, no, I didn’t ‘make up’ the brand of my old 50’s trailer: it was a NEW Moon, not a Blue Moon…lol
    I must have been getting way into the whole ‘waxing poetic’ thing or something….

Andrew - February 4, 2012 Reply

Hi, I’m Andrew. I am 13 years old, so I hav’nt gotten a chance to try building anything like a house, but I would like to share some of my ideas. I think that it would be great if you could make the window sills a bit bigger so that there would be more space on the inside to put things. That would give you some great space to put things like plants, small statues, or anything else that will fit. I think that any couches or chairs should have storage in them. Another thing is I think people don’t use the space above the cupboards or shelfing as much as they could. I think it would be more efficient if you could just add in a couple of other shelfs.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write in my ideas!! 🙂

    Andrew - February 4, 2012 Reply

    Excuse the wrong spelling!!
    (I did’nt look it over!)

      Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

      Andrew, for your age, you write (type) quite well, and are very articulate and imaginative, to boot! Your apologizing for your spelling/grammatical errors is a testament to your fine upbringing: it shows you are a gentleman-in-progress, and your mother (and father) should be PROUD! 😉
      I agree that window sills should be wider (see my earlier post on this), but, alas, some builders try to cut corners in various ways, and this may well be one of them (LESS windows is what I frequently see in today’s housing, too, and it saddens me to see ANY house with just a window in front, maybe one on the side. And when they’re the tiny 24X24’s, it’s OBVIOUS that the builder was REALLY on a spartan budget. Me, I LIKE light, lots of it…
      I digress, sorry… 😉
      In mobile homes and manufactured housing, there are often NO SILLS at all on the windows!
      SO, builders out there, take heed: the dwellers-to-be would most definitely rather have you make healthy window sills (at least 5 to 7 inches on the inside, eh?) than not, so here, don’t scrimp!
      But the DIYers among us will find a fix for it, among other house problems.
      I, too, have kitchen cabinets that don’t go all the way to the ceiling, and I use that space to store AND display my vintage cake takers, DecoWare, pots and pans, the red blender I LOVE but seldom use, so that, too, is a GREAT idea for savvy storage!
      … I HATE IT when a builder has ‘dropped’ the drywall DOWN to the ceiling cabinet height; if they can’t put in cabinets-to-ceiling, then leave that space up there OPEN and AVAILABLE to us, I say! 😉

    Andrew - February 4, 2012 Reply


Lee - February 5, 2012 Reply

It may be slightly off topic as the original was about making / saving space.

For those of you who like bicycles instead of having a typical mountain / commuting bike why not consider a folding bike as they take up less room in your home.

I have a Brompton and when folded it only measure 23″ X 22.2″ X 10.6″ See for further details.

Shea - February 5, 2012 Reply

Another favorite ‘small-spaces storage-places’ tip I can share (that might have already been addressed, and, if so, apologies for repeating it!) is using old-fashioned TRUNKS as coffee tables or night stands! I love antiques, and if they’re functional, so much the better…

I’d been using a vintage mid-size trunk in my living room as a storage/coffee table for years… last year, when I moved to a smaller apartment, I had to let go of just about all of my living room furniture, keeping only a small tv unit, couch, a rocker that belonged to my mother, and the trunk. I repainted it the distressed ivory I’m fond of, and put ROLLERS on each corner underneath, to make it easier for me to manipulate with even the gentlest of pushes of my toe or cane!

It has came in handy more than it had in the past, when I just used it for old magazines, cd’s, other whatnot, because now I use it daily, keeping my current jewelry or crochet project therein, in a shoebox size container, along with flashlights, batteries, a lighter and candles, also in their own container. I never forget where my emergency stuff is now, if the power goes out in a storm, AND I keep my current hobbies ‘out of sight’ when they’re not in my hands/lap (instead of taking up a whole spot on the couch or atop the coffee table, as I used to do).

In my bedroom, I have a larger trunk, also recently painted a nice, shabby ivory, where I keep either my winter or summer clothes, depending on the season, as well as extra blankets, all of my sheet sets, even extra lightbulbs, extra towels I don’t need (there’s only me here, nowadays, anyway) etc. I no longer have a linen closet in this apartment, so it’s been a lifesaver having this trunk to use for such.

They’re both a nice surface to put a seasonal centerpiece/tablecloth or runner on top of, too, so are very functional and decorative pieces of dual-use furniture!

Shea - February 5, 2012 Reply

And not forgetting one of the BEST ‘downsize’ ideas of the New Millennium!
I still have my big old desktop computer, but not for long…
I’ve been using a laptop, and, more recently, my Kindle Fire (Christmas and Birthday gift from my son!)… I may be using just the Kindle Fire alone, because its size is perfect, it does everything I need it to nowadays, and its battery stays charged FOREVER, much longer than I’ve ever experienced on any laptop!).
I am excited just thinking about the new SPACE I will have, once I move the desktop computer out and off the desk… wait, the big desk can go, too, as I have a small, folding bedside tray/table that will replace the desk in function!
Now my new dilemma will be, ‘what to do with that whole 7 foot wide, 4 feet deep blank floorspace… 😉
Where will my Kindle be ‘stored’? Why, in my POCKET (or purse) of course!

    ginmar - February 5, 2012 Reply

    Digitize your movies. No more DVDs; you can store them on a Western Digital hard drive the size of a pack of cards that holds a whole terabyte of stuff.

      Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

      Looking right at my 2 Terrabyte Seagate external hard drive now as I type this: just think! my whole music AND movie collection is in there, and hardly takes up a fraction of the space… still have room to back-up (nightly) the entire system contents of my DT computer/Kindle/iPod with a Terrabyte of room-to-spare yet…truly the way to go. Put a 27 inch iMac together with that drive and you have everything you’d ever want in multi-media (TV programs, movies, music, internet, productivity, reading (Kindle and iBook reader apps!), even home security – the best all-in-one purchase that takes up the smallest amount of surface space possible -less than 24 by 24 to 30 inches, including the keyboard, hard drive AND your local service provider’s modem (cable, dsl or dial up)- smaller if you opted to go with a smaller iMac, say 22″, instead! Almost forgot: the iMac can also receive and send PHONE calls!
      Probably one of the best ‘downsize’ moves one could make, actually. Good point, ginmar! 😉

        Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

        And perhaps the biggest reason I’m having a hard time downsizing further (as I pondered in my initial post, about going laptop or Kindle-Fire only)… at some point one has to weight the options, between ‘smaller’ or ‘smallest’, as to which one gives the most bang for the buck (er, footprint). So the many advantages of the iMac’s multi-taskability probably outweigh the advantages of repurposing the comparatively-negligible space it now takes up… 😉

hans_luft - February 5, 2012 Reply

Hej everybody!
I woud like to do both: 1. add one of my own ideas and 2. share two very nice links.

In general I would like to say that I love open floor space. I need it for playing the cello, having room for a string quartet, painting pictures or just fooling around on the floor (yoga, dancing, napping..).

So here is number 1:
I tried to design a couch and ended up with a multipurpose-complex.
There are still some details to be considered, but here are the first sketches made with google sketchup:

– when not in use, it takes up barely any floor space. It’s just about 25 cm wide to host a comfortable mattress.

it can be used as a

– small table for two

– a small bench

– table for six (or 7, or 8, if you use the little boxes to the left as chairs)

– big table for six

– eating space for 9 (or 11, when boxes are used too), this configuration can also be put up outside and provide a eating space for up to 16 people, if you have 4 additional seating possibilities

– single desk

– two independent desks (could also be arranged, so that your backs face each other)

– one huge desk (sewing, working with bigger plans,

– bed, I personally prefer a 120 cm mattress (very big for one person, still very comfortable for two), but the whole thing could also be designed for a 140 cm mattress

– that’s what it looks like without all the panels. let’s say, they are outside for a garden party

And here is number 2:
These are two links to two very interesting, minimalistic concepts:
– A whole room in a box
– I love this shower-idea!

Selena - February 5, 2012 Reply

My tip is to give me this damn book because I want it.

nik - February 5, 2012 Reply

We salvaged an old wooden straight ladder and have it hanging in our kitchen, horizontally from the ceiling. Hung a bunch of hooks from it and it’s a great rack to hang cookware, baskets, bags of spice and lavender, etc. It would work in a bathroom to hang towels, in a bedroom to hang clothing, a robe, over your bed to hang sheets to form a canopy, etc. Hang one on the back of a door or on a hallway wall to hang mittens, hats, bags, etc or to prop up artwork in a little vertical mini gallery. Endless uses for those old ladders, yep. 😉

Deek - February 5, 2012 Reply

Wow…both Kent and I have a heck of alot of reading to do before we pick the winners on tuesday! (in a very good way)!

I just may have to share a few of these new ideas at the Miami Tumbleweed workshop I’m teaching in April (or at the soon to be announced one in Boston (most likely in May). I have about 100 tips of my own as well- most in my book, and one’s I’ll cover in my own upcoming workshop (and on the blog, etc).

And thanks to anyone who might have picked up the book too- I appreciate your support!


    marty - February 6, 2012 Reply

    Deek it looks like you have enough material here for your next book! You started a great run of ideas here. Thanks

      Shea - February 6, 2012 Reply

      I agree… this has been a hugely informative (and entertaining!) topic, even surpassing the activity following the article where we discussed ‘tiny to small’ home-design for the disabled/senior resident(s) (ie: ‘tinies’ with ground floor sleeping space)! TinyHouseBlog’s RSS feed has been bumped up to the TOP of my ‘home’ Yahoo page by now, where I check it out several times a day (when I get to my computer, OR pick up my Kindle Fire)!
      Good luck, Deek, and Grizz!

Alex - February 5, 2012 Reply

I haven’t seen or heard too much talk about utilizing the space beneath you tiny house on wheels. Of course when under way you would need to remove these, but when stationary seems like an ideal space to add ample storage. Using plastic bins with latching lids (which can be found at home improvement stores) and either attaching wheels to the bottom so you can roll them in and out from under your tiny house or by attaching brackets to the underside of the framing so they could slide in and out on tracks could provide much needed extra storage. Lattice work or water resistant fabric with Velcro could be affixed to hide everything. This would be a good spot to store items you don’t need everyday like tools, supplies, non-perishables, etc. You would just need to be careful not to store things that could freeze in cold climates, melt in hot, or attract wild animals. Hope this helps.

Toot Sweet - February 5, 2012 Reply

Beds are known as space-waster.I built mine on a loft leaving only 4 feet between bed and ceiling-just enough room for being seated.On the ceiling I stretched a fisherman’s-like net that can be pulled up and/or pushed back and where I stuff all kinds of bulky items i.e.pillows, blankets, clothes,books,lantern,you name it…..Hence,in a volume of about 4X4X7 feet I have a sleeping area AND somewhere to put away all the mess.

Melissa - February 5, 2012 Reply

One way to conserve space and recycle is to take a pair of old jeans and cut out the pockets (if the pockets have holes in them make sure to repair them). Then sew them together along with some of the waist material as a border so you can use the belt loops to hang things. Then hang it on the wall and you have a place to put your keys, small books, mail, or anything else. Here are some pictures of one I made:

    Anna - February 17, 2012 Reply

    Whoa, Melissa… those are *so* cool!

Melissa - February 5, 2012 Reply

If that link on my last comment doesn’t work then this one should

Allison Joyal - February 5, 2012 Reply

It is amazing what well planned storage can provide. I was really impressed when we lived in our camper; everything we now have in a 2 bedroom apartment fit well in there, because everything did double duty as storage(under the bed, under the benches, overhead.) We utilized almost ALL the above suggestions. Now my son has a hassock to sit on for playing his video games & its also storage *for* his games. A shoe organizer holds his toy soldiers, cars, sunglasses, etc., etc.. When we build, because the house will be cob, we are building in shelves for everything from shampoo and razors (in the shower area) to books and candles. We are even going to build in a cold box for food storage (built into an outside north wall). Wood for the stove will be stored under a built in couch, our bed will be built in with our dressers beneath. My favorite trick is HOOKS. I hang necklaces, coffee cups, cat carriers, pots and anything else I can! I also am reducing in SIZE; I am getting rid of the bulky plastic cat carriers and got soft sided ones that fold into a small circle. Clothing and towels rolled instead of folded take up less space. I found an RV site that sells collapsible EVERYTHING (like strainers). And we are thinking small. Why have a HUGE dining room table when a tiny one works fine? In fact, our large living room table is fine! An in-line hot-water heater will replace a 40 gallon behemoth. And we realized a full-size fridge just encourages us to waste food. The tiny camper fridge was sufficient. Double duty; our 50s step stool is a ladder AND a seat. My laptop has the largest size screen. Don’t need a TV also (although I bet I will lose that battle!) And a sarong can be a skirt, a curtain, a table cloth, a shawl, a hammock for toys. . . I always bring a couple when we go camping.

Carmen - February 5, 2012 Reply

My husband built us a platform bed with storage underneath. The headboard is angled so we can use it for propping up for reading, and there is storage behind (the lid drops down).

My favorite tip is to store extra linens in unused suitcases. It protects the linens and we can tuck them in the attic.

Robert August - February 5, 2012 Reply

I started using small hammocks to store stuff while living on my sailboat, I kept clothes along the sides of the “v” berth at the bow of the boat, really small ones on the insides of the doors for small items, larger ones in the aft storage lockers to organize lines and other stuff needed on deck. Since then I’ve used them along the sides of my pickups cap to keep items up out of the bed to leave more room for sleeping, at home in the bathroom to keep folks stuff organized and separated (I currently live in a small house with 4 others, 2 of them under 4 years old and only one bathroom). Hammocks can be found at marine and camping stores or are easy to make, netting by the yard can be found at and or just about any fabric could be used. These would work for tiny houses on foundations, wheels, or water. Cheers, Rob

Joy Fisher - February 5, 2012 Reply

Take a lesson from artist Ray Eames and don’t forget the ceiling. Think of it as just another wall and whatever you would hang on the wall can easily be hung from the ceiling. For example, hand a large picture horizontally in your living room. It becomes a conversation piece and if you do it right and think out of the box a little bit it can even become a spot for storage (hidden or otherwise). You can see an example of this at this link. Look in the far right upper corner of the first picture:

Kieron Maibusch - February 5, 2012 Reply

1. Put toe-kicks on hinges to fit a strong box under the cabinet. A good place to hide valuables. Tried in my house

2. If doing wood planking for the interior walls, make a set of planks removable to hide valuables. Tried in my house

3. Book shelves in loft area if space is available

4. Slide out storage under couch

5. Use of corner cabinets. I found one on the side of the road to be used in my house

6. Built in boxes with flip up tops in loft for clothing storage (socks, t shirts…)

7. Stack appliances – Apartment sized fridge with a microwave on top

Rachel - February 6, 2012 Reply

Everyone knows to use height and build cabinets all the way up but dont forget all the other wall space. For instance, your going to hang pictures up anyways then use them as storage. I have 2 beautiful frames that open up to skinny cabinets that hoold my jewlery. Or a mirror hung on the wall that opens up to storage for things you used when getting dressed.Also for interior walls buy a cabinet door, cut a whole frame it out and you have a cabinet once again.

Elizabeth - February 6, 2012 Reply

My suggestion is to keep moisture out of your storage. I am allergic to mold, so I need to be careful about this. Make sure you consider where you will be able to put wet/damp things while they dry so that you don’t just stuff them in the laundry hamper or in the closet. They need air circulation, and preferably low humidity. If you usually hang your laundry outdoors to dry, make sure you also have some hanging space inside for when it’s raining (and you just came home wearing soaked clothes). Some suggestions for this could be:
– have extra hooks in your living space that can be used for damp clothes (not above anything that shouldn’t be dripped on)
– use the same drying rack that you use for laundry, if you already have an indoors one
– use a type of hangers in your closet that don’t rust, so that if you need to use them to extend your drying rack space, they will work for that purpose
– use your shower curtain rod
– add a clothes line in the bathroom or kitchen that can be extended when needed and stored the rest of the time
– use your curtain rods (if they can support the weight)
– if you don’t have floor space indoors for a drying rack, consider an over-the-door type, one that installs on a wall and folds down, or one that installs on a ceiling and has pulleys to lower it down

Jordan - February 6, 2012 Reply


I haven’t built my tiny house yet, but have so enjoyed seeing what so many others have done and learning from them. One space I plan to use in my tiny house that I haven’t seen yet is making shelves out of the rafters in the kitchen. Depending on the size of your rafter boards, you could store spices, canned goods, jars, glasses, foil & wax paper rolls, toilet paper, all kinds of things!!

The easiest and probably cheapest way would be to cut strips of plywood and screw to the under edge of the rafter creating a shelf on either side of the rafter. You could add a lip around the edge to keep things from falling off. Or you could attach some of those small wire shelf units for inside cabinet doors (to hold sponges, spices, etc.) or wooden spice racks if you prefer.

Also – drill a small hole thru 2 rafters and string a piece of rope thru it to hang wet dish towels to dry or fresh herbs to dry.

Thanks for all the great ideas!

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