So you’ve made the decision to leave conventional housing behind and join the (growing) ranks of tiny home dwellers.
It really doesn’t matter if you’re currently living in a full sized house, a rented apartment, or Mom and Dad’s basement.
You’ll be downsizing to a fraction of the floor space you’re used to, and that will take some adjustment.
Your average tiny house is built on an 8’x16’ flatbed trailer and has about 200 square feet of space. That’s further reduced by such things as appliances, furniture, and the mechanicals that make the space livable.
Yes, with some clever engineering there are all sorts of nooks and crannies where you can stash stuff, but nobody can be comfortable living with their belongs consuming their life.
After all, this whole idea is about simplifying and making life more compact and manageable. Here are some pointers to help you get rid of what you don’t need so you can keep the stuff you do need.
As I recently downsized from a 1296 square foot two bedroom home to a 8’x30′ living space with wheels, I can tell you the first wave of things to go will come easily.
The two big questions are:
- how much time do you have to get all this done?
- where to get rid of your stuff?
If you have items of value, the best choice is to advertise and sell them piece-meal on the open market. Craigslist lets you do both for free.
You’ll get the best return on your investment. Of course time is a concern, so if you want it gone, price it reasonably.
I’ve used Craigslist successfully many times and often get my asking price.
eBay is a great choice if you can afford to keep some of your stuff. It may take longer to sell but you’ll have a much larger market than with Craigslist. Craigslist only allows you to search by a certain geographical area, while eBay is worldwide.
You’ll be responsible for packaging and shipping your goods. And some stuff just can’t be shipped, like large furniture items.
If you live in a place where there is a reasonable population you have more options than I did.
I lived 50 miles out of town so having a sale would have been a waste of time. Time permitting you can start with a garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, or whatever else you wish to call it.
Rummage sales are the best way to get rid of a lot of stuff at one time. You can always reduce your prices and sell stuff fast.
Every rummage sale has left overs.
Family and Friends
Sell or give to your family and friends. At least you know someone you are involved with will get the benefit.
On Line Auction House
I was in a time crunch when I downsized so this was an option I had to take.
They took a hefty 30% commission, but it worked out better than I expected. You can’t beat the convenience. I dropped off trailer loads of items and they took it from there.
It’s always nice to let somebody else deal with your problems for a small fee.
Because they posted new auctions every week, they had a loyal following of bidders. Many items went for almost new prices, and some even did better.
If you have a local company that has been around awhile, likely they will do their best to get top dollar for you, because they want to make as much money as they can too.
When it gets down to the last dregs of your possessions some things will just need to go any way you can get rid of them.
Old electronics, metal, aluminum, even mattresses are recyclable. Some you may have pay to get rid of, while some you will get paid for. It will likely even out.
But in the end, you got rid of it!
Don’t Forget: Things to Keep
The next issue is what to keep, and what to get rid of.
In short if you haven’t used it in six months, it needs to go.
It’s time to get ruthless. Stuff is just stuff, and it weighs you down. Heirlooms and family relics can go to relatives with houses. You can visit them anytime.
Things like dishes and silverware are an issue. Buying a set in the store means settings for at least twice as many people than will fit in your new digs.
Try a thrift store. Mix and match old silverware. You will get better quality, and make your table more interesting. Same goes for the dishes, just get what you need, and mixing and matching just makes it more fun.
Floor space is a real issue. Many tiny houses rely on built-in furniture that serves double duty. You won’t need much, and to say the least it needs to be small.
Alton Brown of Food Channel fame is a big believer in multi-tasking. You won’t have room for tons of quirky kitchen utensils.
Choose wisely, and if something can perform more than one task, so much the better.
Same goes for bed linens, blankets, and towels. You only have so much storage space so it will mean more frequent trips to the laundromat. Choose colors and designs that suit you year around.
Books, and other items of self-enrichment and entertainment take up space. A few is fine, but if you purchase them you will have to read them in short order.
Better to make use of your local library where you can enjoy books, tapes, and DVD’s at no cost for a reasonable period. Then you can exchange them for a whole new set without cluttering up your living space.
Some will advocate the renting of a storage unit, but my thoughts follow the notion of simplifying.
Why have another monthly bill just to store things you’re not using?
Instead put more thought into what you need to be happy, and what makes your life more fulfilling.
Living in a SnugShack is a statement of values. You don’t need a lot of clutter in your life to be happy.
Just let it go, and simplify.