A version of this article first appeared in Tiny House Magazine in 2017.
Moving from 2700 square feet to 120 square feet involved a lot of downsizing. There were 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a huge kitchen, laundry room, living room, dining room, and entertainment room to condense into a space smaller than a single owner’s suite. This was a feat that did not happen overnight. Downsizing is a process, but it is also a meditation. We looked long and hard at the things we needed but also at the things we wanted.
Several times I have been asked, in a “Gotcha!” question sort of way, how much additional storage space do I have outside of my tiny home? Because the impression is that if you move into 120 square feet, it must encompass the entirety of your life. But this is a concept I challenge.
Storage for a Tiny House
Downsizing into a small space is not about giving up the things you love but finding more room in your life to love them.
Since the beginning of our build, I have spoken frequently about our barn. This structure, sold with the land as a building of no value, became the most valuable thing we owned as we built our ground-bound tiny. It was a shelter from the rain. It was storage for our materials and tools. It was even the place we camped while we worked. There was no reason to throw that baby out with the bathwater once it came time to move into our tiny house full-time.
Downsizing to me meant a few things:
- Eliminating excess stuff
- Reducing expenses
- Living within our means
- Taking control over our time
But that didn’t mean we needed to give up the things we loved just because they took up more space than we could include in our tiny home. Allow me to provide 2 examples for you.
This isn’t your grandad’s rustic camping. Instead, glamping is luxury camping. And in our case, luxury tent camping. For several years after we moved into our tiny house, we took at least one major glamping trip, sometimes as far away as Minnesota. We pack our Nissan Juke to the brim with all the necessary accessories, some more necessary than others. We have camp chairs, camp tables, and a camp kitchen. Thre are decorative items, usually fitting into a selected theme for our campsite. And a tent that’s bigger than our tiny house. We have a queen-size air mattress with a cot frame for superior comfort with real sheets and blankets.
All of these things take up space.
Glamping is an activity I enjoy. And, once I moved into my tiny house, I had more time to enjoy it. Why would I need to give that up just because I’ve decided to downsize my everyday life into 120 square feet?
I didn’t do this to sacrifice my life for austerity; I expanded my ability to do the things I love.
Glamping isn’t the only big-ticket hobby we have. The other is costuming. You know the pictures you see from events like San Diego Comic Con of people in elaborate fantasy or science fiction costumes? Well, that’s us. Not those specific pictures, but we attend a significant con called Dragon Con that happens in Atlanta, Georgia, over Labor Day weekend every year.
We attend with friends from all over the country, and we love to create costumes to wear throughout the weekend. Sometimes we costume in groups, and occasionally we plan individual costumes.
As you might imagine, costuming is not a small hobby. Each year we seem to expand the things we want to do. In 2017, I had 5 costumes planned for a 4-day weekend. Yeah, I’m about to start building a Ghostbuster’s proton pack.
(In 2022, I had four costumes, none with giant props. And now we spend 5 days at Dragon Con.)
Costuming, like glamping, is an activity I love to do. By moving into a tiny home, I’ve given myself the freedom to do it. If I need additional storage to enjoy what I love, that’s fine.
Tiny homes aren’t meant to be prisons to keep us from doing the things we love. But they do change our mindset to determine what things are more important.
Tiny house living is never about the house. The house is just a thing. The important part is how you live your life.
Do You Want to Make Room for the Things You Love?
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