Welcome aboard to the new breed in “off grid” home types. In this topic, “size doesn’t matter” ! Living off grid with a tiny house can paint many pictures into ones mind ! We envision caravans, RV’s, trailers, tiny house themed kit homes that can be easily transported or just a house that simply hasn’t got enough space !?!? Ohhhh the memories !!
‘As we move forward in this world with new needs, ideals and dreams, we are slowly re-discovering the lifestyle of living very simply and as a result living very happily’.
When I ask you, “Would you rather live in a large off grid house or a tiny off grid house” ? and why”? your response would be quite certain and you would have very good reason for your response.
Majority of people will answer the larger house choice, but not all people. Some people require tiny off grid homes.
“The size of your home is your choice and your creation. However, sometimes we have points in our life where we also get a bit “stuck” or are forced to live and spend amounts of time in smaller than normal living spaces”.
If you are new to ‘off grid’ living or not, here within this article you will be learning new concepts of small space lifestyle and management solutions if you are living in small quarters or a tiny home !
THE GROUSEST HOUSE.. SIZED LIKE A MOUSE !
This style of living is actually becoming quite popular. The houses do have many benefits and are a cheap way to accommodate. These house designs are pushing the boundaries in ideas and concepts and are worth taking a closer look at.
They are also excellent models to learn to design from, providing ideas and options in which, can be used for your larger scale house ideas if your in the process of building some form of dwelling.
Let’s look at some of the Pro’s and Con’s of the “Tiny House”
1. They are extremely cheap to buy or build yourself DIY
Obviously, depending on whether you build this type of dwelling yourself, or committing to buying your own ( kit or pre-assembled tiny house ) is in direct reflection of how much this will cost you.
You can build your own tiny house from recycled building materials, either bought, begged or borrowed for quite a very cheap cost. ‘ I’ve personally seen tiny houses here in Australia that were built for as little as $600 !! and not to mention out of every piece of imaginable material !
If you decide to commit to a pre-fabricated, rated, dwelling approved design, then it will cost you more. But to remind you, they are tiny scaled houses, and in turn they have tiny scaled prices. They are as little as $4,000 to $5,000 brand new (online) and more expensive for better design and material.
Based on your jurisdiction and control from your local municipal council or authority, the skies the limit to what you can design and build yourself, within the boundaries of safety and integrity.
Some designs are legal to live in, however some designs are not. This all depends on what particular tiny house you buy or build and what your State Laws approve off.
2. They are small but come with BIG intentions
Yes they are small compared to what the modern average person lives in, but to some folk they are perfect. If you’ve had experience with living in caravans and confined spaces previously, this will assist in transitioning and adapting into a tiny home easier. Those who haven’t tried this type of living might be in for an initial surprise.
If your a newcomer to the sport of tiny homes or small living spaces then the best thing to do is inspect one for yourself ! Make yourself more familiar with the outlay and feel of the home when looking at them with the considerations of practicality and ability to live within the guidelines of small quarter living. Ask yourself ” Is this going to work for me and others ” ?
3. They are an investment for more than one reason
This particular type of asset, is one that will basically hold its own initially, but leading towards slow depreciation in a few years, compared to a full scaled small house in the same street.
If you get your tiny house D.A approved ( dwelling application ) then you are the owner of some unique real estate, which can be indexed into your assets. Always make sure if you are purchasing a tiny house to live in, that its design meets current dwelling standards and governing authorities approvals.
The biggest investment I like the most is, the fact that they can be used for quick accommodation. For family members, friends or guests in the time that they need, a place to stay, for visiting, holidaying, in emergencies or a place to save money. A relocatable and mobile accommodation for anyone.
4. They have multiple uses
Tiny homes are a great first step to live in as an interim dwelling if you are building or undergoing considerable renovations. Furthermore, when the tiny home residence is finished with or vacated, it can then be either relocated on the property, or left as is, to be used as alternative accommodation.
It could also be turned it into a personal studio?, office?, relocated to another property and used as a holiday home ? or getaway?, or maybe even a cheap boarding option ? The bottom line is tiny houses have more than one trick.
5. A challenge to a growing family
For obvious reasons, the tiny house design can be problematic especially when raising children. As the dwellings do lack space, it will be an issue which can ‘make or break’ the decision of owning one. Always take considerations for having children in the future, and whether it would be suitable.
6. Accommodation limits
Sometimes it can be a little ‘too cosy‘ when having friends or guests stay within the house for any period of time. After they spend a week of sleeping on the ‘pullout’ lounge in your tiny house and listening to your snoring, flatulence or bad dreams! You can pretty much bet your favorite shoes, your guests won’t be back for another holiday too soon in the near future! You simply just have, limited entertaining abilities.
7. Easy to Heat, Cool and Clean
Due to the size of the houses, square foot floor area totals are low, everything happens on a smaller scale. Less heating is required, less cooling is required and not to be left out, the fact that less cleaning is required to maintain them.
8. Not for everyone, especially long term
To live in a tiny house long term requires a unique person/s. For the most of us ‘cabin fever’ will take its toll and we will all develop the desire and need to escape and run away screaming over the hill !
Especially if you’ve had a disagreement with your partner ! The air space is small and the atmosphere is that little bit extra more sensitive ! in those circumstances its wise to defuse the tension with humour, but while doing so, continue planning your escape !!
‘Whilst living in your tiny house, I recommend just pretending to be astronauts in a space station ! Maybe turn it into an experiment or voyage that has gone wrong and has lost contact with Houston !
Here are a few techniques that will help you and your partner through times of “Cabin fever” !
Use the time in the tiny house, constructively. Combine the experience, with a purpose, that has positive intentions and outcomes. This will lead to your experience being a much more enjoyable, rewarding and memorable one.
For example :
Use the time in the’ tiny house’ to connect with another ?
To re-estabilish or acquaint ?
To have ‘time out’ or ‘space’ if used by one person ?
To learn more about self and others ?
Look at it as an opportunity to save money ?
Use it as an adventure, experience and appreciation ?
Overall they are a great alternative to off grid living. They come with an achievable price tag depending on your choices and how you go about owning one. The beauty of their simplicity, versatility, mobility and value, is what gives these tiny homes an edge. Yes, they are tiny, but they have a place in the race.
LET’S LOOK AT THE “OTHER” TINY HOUSE TOPIC !
‘Honey, I shrunk the house’ ?!
‘This happens when you have a small house and ‘fill it’ to the top with poor layout, unecessary items and excess belongings. The house just begins to shrink !
I’m in trouble now, but as a male, I have years of experience with this ! As we get settled in to our new room or space or house, we begin storing things ? If your a hoarder, then its time to let go, or get therapy ! If you want more space in your house then its time to take the steps in actually making it happen.
In our comfort we begin ( at a subconscious level ) to ‘fluff’ and provide to the nest, but in doing so we fill our living areas with items and belongings ( some of them of no use ! ) and as a result, lose the efficiency and optimization of our living space potential. We end up with a smaller house ?
Within this article we will be looking at ways to make ‘more room’ and to maximize your off grid living house space and those of which are smaller in structure. Quite simply, The smaller scale of houses tend to suffer more symptoms than the larger homes due to incapacity to store.
SOLUTIONS TO ‘ TINY HOUSE SYNDROME ‘ !
Below you will find solutions to maximizing space whether it is a cabin, a tiny house, caravan or a tent ! The rules apply to all.
1. Get rid of rubbish and items that are of no service
It doesn’t take long to accumulate lots of belongings and items. The first thing you should be focusing on is getting rid of all rubbish and excess waste.
For example: empty boxes, broken items that no longer work, piles of old magazines and newspapers. (Unless you need this for fire starting). Old shoes that the dog has chewed on, etc, etc. Remove all rubbish from your living area or home.
2. Do you ‘want it’ or do you ‘need it’ ?
This question is the one in which you’ll be asking yourself and be asked by others. A topic of much controversy and at times, heated debate!
When decluttering or re-organizing your home or space, a choice will have to be made in regard to ” What stays and what goes ” ! Some choices will come easy and some a little harder. Try to only keeping things which make your life easier and serve you a purpose.
Always have in your consideration that if you really want to keep something, but it is eating up space, you will be safe in keeping it ! especially if you have a shed, garage or further storage facility being built in the pipeline.
Don’t let your inability to store something for the time being, be the henchman in being responsible for getting rid of an item of desire even, if it isn’t practicle. A lot of things we own and keep, have sentimental value .
If you have too many of these sentimental items, then consider maybe a relative or close friend that could take care of the storage for you in the meantime for that particular item or items.
Ultimately you are going to have make some sacrifices in either relocating things or getting rid of them. Items that are being removed from the house can also be handed in to your local charity store like, St Vincent De Paul, Red Cross etc.
Keep what you need and avoid keeping ” double of everything ” unless you have a set of twins of course ! We possess nearly double of everything we own ! Obviously we need that in some cases. However, alot of items we have, we actually don’t really need !?
3. Renovating and building with new design
This is an obvious solution to space related problems. Whether you’re building or renovating, simply designing your home better to begin with or customizing the house itself is going to bring you an advantage in space saving.
When designing a home or add on, always consider practical, space saving ideas and features. These ideas should be provided to you by your architect, however it doesn’t hurt to be always looking for new ideas and concepts within architecture and building designs yourself, to help inject your ideas and visions of the type of home you need and want.
I’m always looking for new ideas especially when I visit a home that is built with practicality, purpose and intelligence which sails on winds of passive solar design and eco-friendly technology.
I love these types of homes, especially when they are completely autonomous (or completely off grid) . Added to these homes are the quite simple, and ancient methods of design and ideas.
4. Use or keep items that have more than one use
Items or furniture that serve more than one purpose are an excellent way to saving space. If one piece or item can accommodate the need for two pieces of furniture or items, then that is of huge benefit to you, as one of these items can be permanently removed, and as a result more space is being gained.
For example: Instead of having a shoe box and a separate table or seat next to it. Turn the shoe box cabinet into a multi-functional piece. Shoes can be stored within the cabinet under the lifting lid which when placed down in the closed position, also acts as seat or side table surface. This is just an example.
This type of ‘outside of the box’ thinking so to speak, applies to all solutions in all places of the home in regard to space saving and moving forward with your off grid lifestyle. Under furniture such as beds is also a great place to store spare mattresses or large plastic storage tubs with lids.
5. Condense your stores
When storing items in boxes or containers, it is sometimes worth checking just how well these have been packed. When packing things into storage boxes always try to condense the packing to ensure maximum storage is gained.
Recently after re-sorting and re-packing some of my things at home here which I had stored in large plastic containers, I discovered that after re-packing them more thoroughly by condensing, I was able to pull two empty containers out of the equation. These large plastic tubs were just taking up unnecessary and valuable space. Space that could be used to store something else.
Use vacuum sealed storage bags when you can. They are a great solution to storing clothes and linen for long term also. They are basically different sized plastic bags that when filled with clothing or linen of any type can be attached to an ordinary household vacuum and the air, is sucked or removed from the bag.
This results in a very tight and firmly compressed piece that will require less room to be stored in. These bags also protect your clothes from moisture, insects or pests.
6. Use roof cavities to your advantage
Another smart option is to think about using any cavity within the dwelling for storage or item relocation. In particular the roof cavity. When a basic flooring system is installed in your roof cavity whether you DIY or have a tradesman or friend install it, your storage options and space saving will increase dramatically.
Ensuring the roof cavity is free from the effects of weather, hazards or services such as wiring or vents, it is considered a great an efficient location to store. Items can be covered in tarps, canvasses or heavy linen to prevent dust build up.
Always ensure that the surface on which you store your belongings is loaded on a surface which is attached to the top of your lower truss or roof framework. Do not load directly on top of ceiling gyprock sheeting, or any other material that is spanning a long distance as it may fail to support depending on the weight or load of items.
A small solar powered light can be fixed within the access point of your roof ceiling entry point or attic door, to ensure you can see what your doing. Always watch your head !
If you have issues with vermin or pests that are trying to reside in your roof cavity, then it is a great time to inspect the entry points for vermin and fix or block them off. No one wants mice, rats or any other furry critters waste throughout their belongings.
Alternatively poison baits, as a last solution, can be used in the roof cavity to deal with the control of infestation of certain pests. A local inhabitant or furry tenant ( possum: for example ) you may have in your roof, may require professional relocation.
“I once pulled a shedded snake skin ( slough ) from my roof eave that measured over 11 feet long ! Luckily it was from a native non-venomous breed of Australian carpet python. Needless to say we didnt have mice in the roof when it was with us, but we did have a serpent sleeping in our ceiling” ! hssssss !
Note : ‘To be mentioned also is the fact that when your roof has an added floor surface, and boxes or stores are placed on top of this surface, these items and blocks of storage actually act as a form of insulation for your home, especially if you have lots of boxes and large containers.
7. Furniture layout
By placing your furniture in ways in which it doesn’t take up more room than is should is a big one. Always think about different possible layout ideas of your furniture which will maximize space and floor area.
Not to mention the practicality if these changes in layout, provide more comfort and efficiency to the household. Depending on your ability you can customize some furniture in order to make it more space friendly and practical also.
Think about ideal space saving furniture for the future . Consider these options and discover thinner or higher pieces to maximize space.
If you would like to replace your lounge, for example: think about getting one that is not deep in length of seat. Consider looking at lounge suites that are modular or ” L ” shaped that can be separated and rejoined in different patterns or lengths. This provides a more effective layout. These type of lounges are great for using as extra sleeping needs also.
There are many ways to increase your living area space. Now that you have a better understanding on the basics, it might be time to take action on this problem if this applies to you ! Would you like to see yourself with living space areas larger and more accommodating ?
Whether you are ‘living off grid with a tiny house’ or live in a home that is made smaller by poor layout and too many belongings, there are ways you can make your life easier and more enjoyable. I hope you have been able to take something from this.
I would love to hear your funny stories or chats about this topic !?
” Small rooms or dwellings, discipline the mind, large ones weaken it. “ – Leonardo da Vinci.
Please feel free to leave a question or comment and I will be more than happy to reply or help you out !
All the best,