The popularity of tiny houses is on the rise, and there are plenty of reasons why. Many people are interested in downsizing or having a less-expensive mortgage (or no mortgage at all!). Minimalism has also grown in popularity in recent years, encouraging people to declutter and get rid of everything that isn’t a necessity.
Because of the growing popularity of tiny homes, it’s not difficult to find one on the housing market. But you can also get a lot of satisfaction in building your own tiny house. Because most tiny homes/cabins don’t exceed 500 square feet, they can be a great building, woodworking, and designing project for builders. If you have a knack for any of those things, it might be time to consider building your own home!
As with any home, there are factors to consider when you start building. Do you want to start from scratch or use a kit? Where will you get your materials? Should you take classes or do more research on the right building techniques to use?
Building a home isn’t a small venture, even if the home itself is small. With that in mind, let’s look at some important things to keep in mind as you downsize:
Choosing the Right Materials
Obviously, one of the most important things to consider when building a house of any kind is choosing the right materials for the job. When it comes to tiny houses, though, it can feel as though the sky’s the limit. Many tiny house owners want something different or want to be more environmentally conscious in their choice of building materials. However, using things like old barnwood, scrap materials, and even natural untreated wood can come with risks.
First, when something has been used before or hasn’t had any attention in awhile, it could have damage in ways that you might not initially notice. Wood rot isn’t uncommon and can happen from the inside out. Rusted metal pieces can cause tetanus or infections if they cut you. Additionally, some older materials can contain asbestos, which could wreak havoc on anyone with respiratory issues and even lead to long-term health conditions.
Foraging for scrap materials isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a great way to save money and make something old new again. But use caution with the materials you’re picking out. If you can, get the materials inspected by a professional before installing them.
Downsizing Your Documents (and More!)
Take a look around your current home. Now, think about how all of your belongings will fit into a tiny home. Remember that most tiny houses don’t go over 500 square feet, and on average they’re typically around 200 square feet. Your big-screen television probably isn’t going to work in that kind of space. But, that’s part of the point of living small: getting rid of the excess.
In addition to getting rid of things, you’ll also have to think about how larger items like furniture can be more functional. The more uses you can get out of one piece of furniture, the better. Chairs that can be folded up and slid away are great options. Tables that can fold up into the wall and down when you need them also allow your space to be as efficient as possible.
Choosing what to get rid of (or donate!) isn’t always easy, but there are some tips and tricks you can use for certain things to make them more compact and more efficient so they won’t take up as much room.
For example, you’re probably not going to be able to lug a large filing cabinet with you into your new home.But you can’t just throw away things like legal documents, credit card statements, tax notifications, and so on. So, scan them! You can try to do so on your own or use professional services to scan and store your documents for you.
Yes, it can be a little time consuming to go through all of your important documents, but scanning them is a great way to save space. Plus, whenever you need one of the documents, you can look it up easily without having to search through multiple hard copies of different files. You can even scan books, so you’ll have them available to read digitally at any time without taking up extra space.
Expect the Unexpected
Whenever you’re building a home, you’re bound to run into roadblocks — even if that home isn’t over 500 square feet. Planning ahead and creating the right layout before you get started is essential to getting the job done as smoothly as possible. You’ll also want to look at local zoning regulations, as well as insurance options for your home. They’ll probably be different than typical homeowners insurance, so call your insurance agent to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your property.
If you’re building your home yourself, you also need to take the potential safety risks into consideration. Accidents happen, and in addition to having proper medical insurance, it’s important to make sure your property insurance will help to cover any medical expenses you’ll have if you get hurt while building.
Mistakes will happen. There’s a lot to learn when building a home of any size. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but make sure you know the rules and you have a plan in place before you get started.
Living in a tiny home is a great way to experience new things and live a simpler life. If you’re ready to downsize, start your research on how to create the perfect small space for yourself, from start to finish.
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