Tiny House Movement

Downsizing into a Tiny House

candace tiny house

We are in the middle of downsizing our possessions so we can alter our lifestyle to fit our future tiny house. I’ve been trying to do this a little bit here and there the last couple months but we are in crunch time now.

It’s crazy how much we accumulate without realizing it. I’m also baffled at how we are able to stuff our things into a small one bedroom apartment. Our apartment is like one of those tiny clown cars where 20 clowns are able to fit and you are confused on how that is possible.

As you can imagine, downsizing/decluttering can be very stressful. This makes me even more excited to be simplifying our lives and eventually reducing it down to the bare essentials. I don’t need my stuff to be causing me stress. It makes no sense!

For those of you trying to downsize or just doing some spring cleaning around the house, I scoured the net for some great tips.

Getting started is always the hardest part. If you are overwhelmed with clutter it can be even more difficult to decide how to tackle this monumental task.

Start Easy.

Take a garbage bag and do a walk-through of your entire house/apartment. Throw away anything that is broken, useless, unwanted and donate anything you don’t need or want. These are the things that easily stick out to you and are easy for you to clean out/toss.

After this initial purging, move onto a small room or closet. Start off small so that you won’t overwhelm yourself.

Some tips to keep in mind when deciding what to throw and what to keep:

  1. Did we use it within the last 6-12 months?
  2. Is it in good working condition?
  3. Does it enrich our lives in some way?
  4. Does it have sentimental value?
  5. Could someone else use it more?

For our purposes we also want to keep in mind if it would fit or if we would need it when we moved into our tiny house. We have to be extra discriminating because we will be extremely tight on space.

We donated our items that were in good condition to Goodwill so we knew it would be helping out others and that it would get a good life somewhere else. Keeping this in mind really helps you take that extra step when you can’t seem to give away that one thing that you may use one day but you really have no room for.

If you feel extra motivated you can do a garage sale or sell some of your nicer electronics and furniture on craigslist or ebay. There are lots of places where you sell your nice clothes for profit. In the Bay Area we have Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading as well as a plethora of smaller consignment shops. Making a few extra bucks is always a good incentive to clean out the clutter.

For clothes I have a few rules when deciding what to keep/throw:

  1. Does it fit?
  2. Is it stained, torn, old?
  3. Have you worn it in the last year?

Regarding clothes that you are unsure about tossing, it can be useful to try it on and see how it looks on you to assess if you would actually wear it in the future. If the answer is no, then off to the donate pile it goes!

batman as hoarder

Don’t be like Batman. (:

We will only have one small closet in our study in the tiny house so downsizing our closets are very important. We have been going through rounds of purging to make the process easier. This has been our little trick to downsizing. Looking at the items again and having a few chances to think about whether you really need it, helps us purge more items. We will do a comb through of all items before the final pack. It doesn’t stop after the move though. There will be yet another purge as we are unpacking. I’m almost sure we will realize that we will have no room for a lot of the stuff we packed once we move in.

I came across this article in Time Magazine from a couple years ago about a guy that did something called the 100 Thing Challenge. Basically, the idea was to list out 100 items you couldn’t live without and getting rid of the rest. This was his way of downsizing and cleaning out the extra clutter in his life. It might be interesting for us to start our own list and see where that leads us as we continue to downsize our life into a tiny house.

What are the things on your 100 list?

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8 thoughts on “Downsizing into a Tiny House

  1. Excellent post! I started with my books because I had over 1,600. I’ve cut that number by more than half and plan to do another purge before moving in. My books are my treasures, so I will never be able to give up all of them. I like your idea of purging in cycles. I’m planning a yard sale in September. I’m also using freecycle.org to give away things I have that others are specifically in need of.

  2. I’m going to use your 5 questions to help my process. I cleaned my parents’ house after they passed. Although siblings took a lot and much was trashed, I still have way too much. I’m still going through it years later. The problem was sentiment. I’ve found I can take pictures then give away the item. Eventually I want to be in a house that is about 350 – 500 sq. ft.

  3. Great ideas! The last time I moved I had the luxury of being able to move in stages. The first stage, I started by packing and taking everything I KNEW I wanted, needed, and had a place for. I put everything away in the new place and lived with the downsized number of items for a week or so. I started keeping a list of things I realized I was missing that hadn’t made the first cut.

    When I went back to deal with allllll the rest of the stuff, I had a clear picture of how enjoyable it was to live without the excess, and a good idea of how little space there was left to bring (and place!) more items into my new, uncluttered home. I set aside the things that had made it to my list, and then was completely ruthless about the rest of it. I took pictures of some things with sentimental value, and ended up getting rid of a lot more than I kept. It was great feeling.

    I feel like it must be time to move again, because that is the only way I’ve ever been really successful at downsizing.

  4. I use to live in San Francisco and now live in Seattle. I’m so curious where you have set up your tiny house? Are you in the city limits and on your own property or others? Great article too! Thanks

    • We are renting a piece of land right now in the bay area to set our tiny house on. We hope to own some property in the future ourselves. It is difficult to come by something in a decent price range around this area.

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