6 Things We Wish We’d Known Before Going Tiny

Tips you need to know before you go tiny!

The Ins and Outs of Tiny Plumbing

Many tiny house dwellers, whether in a stick built tiny, a tiny on wheels, or as full-time RV’rs, don’t know much about their toilet and water systems. Living tiny can offer the opportunity of having the traditional flushing toilet and hook up to sewage or city water. However, many tiny enthusiasts choose an option with lesser environmental impact or less work for them in the long-run including incinerator toilets, composting toilets, or draining their water waste into storage tanks that have to be drained and filled back up.

This winter, during your learning curve of having downsized, we experienced frozen pipes and no running water for two weeks in a row and then a few isolated incidents. We had to learn more about our system and add a few upgrades to be ablet o handle the harsh Ohio winters. Learning these things in advance could have prevented us from some pretty uncomfortable circumstances.

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To Make It Feel Like Home

I get a lot of joy out of decorating our home. Each house we’ve lived in has had its own quirky touches that I’ve loved. Our tiny, however, was such a rush since we moved several states away to accept a new job, that we never really took the time to do small things like paint or decorate that can really add your own personal spin, turning a house into a home.

It is so important, whether in the design stages of building, or whether you buy used, that you make your tiny your own. Paint is vivid colors or add a signature piece of artwork, put trinkets and meaningful books on shelves and hang up musical instruments. Whatever suits your loves, do it. You won’t regret this one!

To UnPack For The Road

Since we have stayed parked for our first seven months, we unpacked just like we would for a traditional stick built home. However, as we prep to hit the road in June, we are realizing that decision is going to cost us a lot of extra work. We will now have to go back and secure pictures on the walls, be assured that cabinets and drawers are tightened and locked and that everything hanging is road-ready. This would have been a big time saver if we had done it right the first time.

Mail Items To Yourself

As we travel, instead of coming up with places to store bulk or replacement items, it is more economical to ship things to the locations where you’ll be passing through or staying for a short time. This also helps to buy things like paper goods when they are on sale and still be able to get great use out of them without trying to find where to store 47 rolls of Bounty!

Practice Downsizing Your Grocery List

This is still tricky for me. Even with a decently sized pantry and a large under-seat drawer for dry goods, I have a hard time not buying things in bulk when they are on sale because I am a bargain shopper. However, we simply don’t have room for eight cans of black beans just because they were 4/$1.00.

It is important to be mindful of how much your family actually consumes in about a week’s time. This will help you, whether you meal prep or not, to only buy what will be eaten or used, so you actually need more when the next grocery run comes up. The reduced size of our fridge and freezer has left us cooking the frozen chicken ahead of time because there was just no space left to store it.

People Will Not Stop Assuming You’re Crazy

This one is crucial to wrap your head around. Even as a person who has prided herself since a young age of making choices that intentionally go against the grain, this one is tough when the sideways glances and short comments come from people you love and respect. However, it has been important for us to remind each other that we are living our best life and it is okay when that doesn’t align with society’s traditional expectations.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say that tiny living isn’t for everyone. However, this has been the absolute best decision my husband, and I have made for our family. It carries a learning curve, but so do any big transitions in life. We are certainly better for this choice and enjoying tiny life is really a dream come true!

5 Things Tiny Life Is Teaching Me

Things I’ve learned while on our tiny adventure

Traveling back to our old house for our final clean out after going tiny, my perspective changed…again. The first few minutes back in the old house were surreal. Did we really live here? Was this place always so ginormous!? Oh, and the memories; my heart broke.

Just as I was settling into the discomfort of our twin-sized air mattress, the thoughts began to flood in of all that we had left to do. To the onlooker, the new home buyer, our house looked like a home. In my anxiety-ridden mind, I was writing the never-ending to-do list of unpacking, organizing, making trash, donation, and storage piles, cleaning things out and scrubbing clean—ceiling to floors—the life we were leaving behind. Sleepless nights and endless hours of cleaning—I don’t miss them.

It brought to life five things that tiny life is teaching me.

1. Deciding is Difficult: When you downsize you have to make decisions…a lot! We had to take 12 years of life’s “stuff” and decide which things were important enough to take with us. That is harder than you think.

I am not the materialistic type, but I am the sentimental things type—or as my husband affectionally calls me, “hoardie”. So reducing my clothes and shoes was a freedom I enjoyed. I didn’t wear most of it anyway. However, I have amassed a collection half a file cabinet drawer deep of old birthday cards, notes from former students, campers, and friends, pictures from life before marriage and kids. It all seemed so important to me at one time.

I’m learning that, while deciding is difficult, it isn’t impossible. I kept a few things from family members that have passed on or pictures that our kids drew so I have tiny reminders, but the memories of what I left behind are still there. I don’t have to keep it squirreled away somewhere for me to maybe never actually look at again until we move or I need to empty a cabinet. Deciding is difficult, but rewarding.

2. Presence Over Presents:  While we teach our kids to serve and give back, it just seemed like we were continually giving away things.

We realized this had to be our kids’ decision and not ours. I was surprised by the freedom with which he cut things loose.

What we are experiencing is freedom from things we thought we needed. I thought I needed to hold on to mementos from my past and our kids thought they needed every little trinket and toy. My husband and I thought we needed time to unwind after work with a mindless TV show, but now we rarely even turn on the TV, and we don’t have satellite or cable.

We are, however, making our own memories. Every evening and weekend we are experiencing our community, visiting new places, being active together every chance we get. We are getting dirty, building things, learning things, and enjoying building our tiny lives together in a big way. It is pretty incredible and costs next to nothing.

3. Intentionally Be Intentional: Since going tiny, we have freed ourselves from the mundane but necessary parts of everyday life. We no longer have a yard to mow, fence to fix, barn to clean, house to sanitize from a week of baby goo, mountains of laundry to wash, forget about, rewash, smell to make sure we didn’t leave it too long, and then forget about in baskets for the upcoming week.

All of that is gone. What we are left with is ourselves and each other.

Our job now—our primary goal—is to be together and enjoy life. Now we can let ourselves have time to feel things, discuss things, and experience things we just couldn’t or didn’t make a priority before.

We are intentional about what we choose to eat, where we choose to visit, what we teach our kids; every decision is intentional because we have freed ourselves up to have the time to make those choices on purpose. It is eye-opening to look at your budget and see how many times you opted for drive-thru and take out over homecooked meals because you didn’t have time.

I still don’t do it perfectly, but now we read bedtime stories and kiss boo-boos and remind our son who struggles with his emotions that we do too and that’s okay. It is a change I may never have experienced otherwise.

4. Simplicity is Bliss: Full transparency, I wear my jeans at least three times before washing them. And honestly, if you are the type of person who washes every item of clothing or bath towel each time you use them, I don’t understand your life.

Now that we live tiny, we own about 50 pieces of clothing. Yes, that includes undergarments.  So from work clothes to comfy, shoes and accessories, I have about 50 things. Do you know how much easier it is to get dressed in the mornings!?

So now, not only with clothes but with everything, we choose to keep things we sincerely love and get joy out of having. Each dish, each decoration, every picture, and blanket were chosen on purpose, and that simplicity is a gift.

5. In Everything Be Thankful: I am coming to learn that having the mental space to breathe and to be thankful when our daughter does something new, our son learns a lesson he is excited about, or we just have a campfire on a weeknight to unwind is something I never knew I was missing until I did.

 

Moving on is never easy, but it isn’t the place we miss. We miss the relationships—the people. There are so many memories of warmth, laughter, cookouts, birthday parties, and late nights up rocking our babies. The thing is, no one can take the memories from us. We are choosing our new lifestyle. We are trading in the feelings of being overwhelmed with debt and never-ending to-do lists for a life of freedom to enjoy the things we love and to have the time to be intentional—to be able to afford to make the memories we have always wanted for ourselves and our children.

A transition is never easy, but the liberation that is being born from this type of simplicity is indescribably beautiful.

Welcome To The NEW Blog – Where Brynn Talks Tiny Houses!

Logo for brynns tiny adventure blog

Who Is Brynn and what does she have to do with Tiny Houses?!

Please help us to welcome Brynn Burger as our NEW blogger for Titan Tiny Homes. Brynn will be contributing to our new blog titled “Brynn’s Tiny Adventure” in which she will give real-world advice on everything about tiny houses from homeschooling to keeping warm in the winter, to picking the right toilet for your tiny house! You can read more about her below!Picture of brynn burger reading a book

Brynn Burger

I am a wife, a mama, a teacher, and a lover of all things outdoors. I live tiny, love big, and laugh always. I write because it is cheaper than therapy and everyone needs that one funny girlfriend to cut up with at 3 am when your yoga pants are covered in spit up, and you just found your coffee in the microwave from yesterday.

Picture of brynn and her family

My husband and I decided to go tiny after having lived for over ten years in a life shackled by debt, surviving paycheck to paycheck. After researching tiny living for over a year, we knew it was our journey to a life of thriving. So, we sold about 80% of our belongings, listed our 15-acre farm, and bought a 36-foot house on wheels, and we haven’t looked back.

Our two kiddos and our dog couldn’t be happier with this life. We park for eight months of the year while I teach at an inner-city second-chance high school for student’s who’ve been expelled or incarcerated. The other months, we are on the road soaking up every second of what nature has to offer. My husband ‘Roadschools’ our six-year-old son who has several emotional and behavioral diagnosis. Our daughter, who is almost two, runs and climbs everything in sight. We pretty much flip the traditional family roles on their heads.photo of brynn reading

This life is not for the faint of heart, but it has afforded us the freedom to live the life we’ve always dreamed of. Sure, people look at us like we have two heads when they find out our choice of lifestyle, but we’ve learned to laugh it off because we know we are crazy—crazy awesome!
Check out more at The Mama On The Rocks. You’re welcome.