Before you make the plunge to go tiny, you need to do a massive purge of all of the unnecessary items that will not be making it in your tiny house. That may be a super stressful experience, but unfortunately it is not over once you fit all of your possessions in a tiny house. Every six months you need to go through all of your stuff and get rid of the old and unwanted. Even though you may have gone tiny, you may not have stopped buying things, so periodically sifting through your stuff is key to not building up clutter. If after 6 months, you have not used something, then it is probably time to get rid of it anyway. We would recommend this for people in a normal-sized apartment or house too.
My road to living tiny all began when I started hearing and reading more about the concept of minimalism. The minimalist way of living was introduced to me when I started listening to the podcast by The Minimalists, who speak at length about the need to shift our attention and energy from material things to the people in our lives and experiences. The conversation changed the way I thought about my possessions and the material items I bring into my life. From here, I stumbled upon tiny homes and realized that it was exactly what I needed to do at this point in my life.
Getting rid of my stuff in order to move into my home was a long and arduous task. Not because I couldn’t let go, but because I wanted to make sure I was giving my things to people who wanted them and I didn’t just create more landfill. I posted on Facebook pages and donated to charities. So many people were thankful for the things I gave them and I was thankful they were taking them.
Going through that initial culling process contributes to how I think about bringing extra items into my life now. My rule is that if it doesn’t have a place to ‘live’ or a purpose then I don’t need it. My biggest challenge is clothing. My rule with clothing is one in, one out. I keep a small bag behind my couch of items to be donated and take it to the op shop when it fills.
Tim came up with a system where we let 2 things go for every 1 new item we bring into our home. It’s interesting to watch this mindset shift shape my habits. Every buying decision is made carefully and thoughtfully and with the knowledge that it will be replacing 2 of my things. It’s also fascinating that I still have things I want to get rid of after 2.5 years living tiny.
I think our best advice to not accumulate things in the tiny house is to always put everything away. That way you know how much space is left in your tiny house. If you find yourself cramming things into small corners or spaces, it might be time to go through your things and donate a few!
I’ve lived in my tiny house for two years now and I haven’t removed a quote of Marie Kondo on my wall that says “Keep only what sparks joy and discard the rest.” I need to be reminded every day! I used to collect so much stuff and when I decided to live tiny, I had to give away most of it and change my mindset so that I could be happier with less.
The most practical tip I can think of is, before you add something to your home, ask yourself “Is there space for it?” If there is none, “will it make me happier to keep it in place of this other thing I already have?”