Are you thinking about downsizing and moving to a smaller space? Then this blog post is for you! I’m currently moving from my two-bedroom flat in central Munich to a small 15 square-meter cabin in the woods. In this blog post you will find my best tips on how to prepare for tiny house living.
For me and my partner, moving to our small cabin in the Swedish woods is not meant to be a permanent solution. It is simply a way for us to save up some money while we are looking for a house for our future family. However, we still need to make a lot of changes in our lifestyle if we are going to survive some 7 months in the cabin. As you can see from the image above, it is TINY. So here are the things we have done to prepare for our tiny house living so far:
Downsizing and Decluttering
Downsizing and decluttering is essential if you are going to appreciate the tiny house experience. If you bring too much to stuff into your tiny house your life will most likely turn into a nightmare. Nothing takes away happiness like messy and cramped spaces.
Start with assessing your available space and how much you can actually bring with you. Start to purge your belongings and try to downsize as much as you can. Make sure to give away, donate or recycle the belongings you don’t need.
If you need help with this process I can strongly recommend using the Marie Kondo method. It is what I personally use.
Here are some of my best-decluttering hacks:
- Remove unnecessary duplicates.
- Remove clothes and makeup you haven’t used in the last year.
- Sort through old papers and bills, consider scanning important papers and saving them digitally instead.
- Take photos of old birthday cards and save them on your phone instead.
Fortunately, we are moving back to Sweden from Germany. This gives us an excellent opportunity to purge our belongings before moving in. Since both of us have moved frequently for the last couple of years, we haven’t actually had the time to build up a massive amount of stuff. But it is still way more than what we can fit in our tiny house. Since our tiny house experience is only temporary, some things including our furniture are going into storage.
We already try to be very intentional about the things we bring into our lives. But if you haven’t made a proper purge in some time, I would strongly recommend that you start your preparations here. Somehow you always have a lot more stuff than you think.
Properly assess the available space
So let’s face it, tiny house living means that almost everything has to go. So we decided to start with the things we simply cannot live without.
When you are assessing the space in your tiny house, see if there is a way to improve or maximize the available storage before moving in. In our case, the current bedframe only allows us to use one side for storage. So we are going to change to a bed to one that lets us utilize the entire space underneath it. We are also going to change the dining table, the new one will allow us to move more freely around the cabin.
Here is a list of what we each can bring to the cabin for reference:
- 2 pairs of shoes
- 1 jacket
- 1 small bag with clothes (about 10 outfits)
- 1 set of gym wear
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 small toilet bag
- 1 hairbrush
- 1 book (or planner)
My goal is to ONLY have 3 boxes with us when we arrive at the cabin. Because after we fill up the cabin with the essentials there won’t be ANY space over. To give you an example of our available space. Then cabin is a total of 15 square meters, (that’s equal to 160 square feet). In the cabin, there is a total of 6 cabinets. Two will be used for clothing, one will be used as a pantry, one will be used for kitchen storage. That leaves us two super small cabinets that we will most likely be used to store kitchen appliances.
So farewell my regular sized closeth and bye-bye my beloved art supplies.
Another example from our situation is that I currently have a home office/ studio for everything related to the SelectedCraftsStore. Not a SINGLE thing from that room will make it into our tiny house. The challenge is real!
Organizing and planning
When it comes to organizing and planning for your tiny house experience more is better. If you are building your own tiny house remember that every inch counts. Plan out EVERYTHING, decide what goes into which cabinet from the start. So bulk up on space-saving hacks and try to find creative ways to maximize your storage space.
The house we are moving to is already very well fitted in terms of storage. But we still have to maximize the space.
One space-saving hack that we will be utilizing, is to store things vertically. For instance, we want to use every inch of our cabinets, but there is usually a lot of dead space at the top of a cabinet. So to utilize that we will use coffee mugs that you can stack on top of each other. This uses all the space from the bottom to the top of the cabinet, while also freeing up more space in the cabinet.
We will also store clothes and towels by rolling them instead of folding them. Although this might not necessarily free up more space, it will make it easier for us to access things. Tiny house living is intense enough without having to refold things every other minute.
Setting rules and mentally prepare
Going from a lovely two-bedroom flat to a tiny house will be a shock to the system no matter what. Therefore it is incredibly important to start letting go of certain items or habits that won’t work once you move. I think testing out to live with less for a while is a very good exercise. You can also check out the Netflix series Tiny House nation, they provide a lot of good pointers.
If you are going tiny with someone else then good communication is crucial. So we wanted to set down the rules early on.
For instance, hobbies have to give. As long as we live in a tiny house, hobbies need to be strictly limited. If you are planning of going tiny permanently, you have to figure out a dedicated space for your hobby supplies.
For instance, we both love to restore old cars but there will be a strict NO tool in the house rule. Also, I can’t fit my art and craft supplies in the tiny house, so I might have to focus more on digital art for a while.
A final thought on preparing for tiny house living:
With all of this said, we are preparing to move to a tiny house, but it won’t last forever. If we wanted to go tiny for life, we would have had to get rid of a lot more of our stuff like our furniture and porcelain. Downsizing is always a good idea and we aim to be fairly minimalistic. But someday we will move to a big house again and that means we have to deal with all the things we have put in storage. We also still have a lot of belongings to our parent’s houses. So we are very far from downsized yet.
To go tiny successfully I think you have to gain a ruthless mentality where nothing but the things needed for your survival fits into your life anymore.
Let me know if you have any other tips for tiny house living! Please let me know if you are thinking about going tiny as well. I hope you enjoyed this blog post!
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