“Tiny house” living sounds incredibly appealing, but if you can’t just up and leave your current full-sized life, you can still enjoy “tiny house” living.

1.   Downsize – as a child of the 70’s, my rule of thumb was, “when everything you own can no longer fit in your VW bug, you’ve got too much stuff,” but then the 80’s, relationships, home buying, and children came into play, and that thought never again entered my mind. Our family moved to Costa Rica nine years ago, and with the exception of a few boxes of mementos, I got rid of everything we owned. We moved into a furnished (to Costa Rican standards) house, so we had everything we needed, I just didn’t know it at the time!

There are no thrift shops or yard sales in Costa Rica, because the people repair, reuse and repurpose everything until it literally disintegrates. It took a while for me to understand and embrace this type of thinking, I realized I could cook, garden, become presentable, work out and create, etc. with what I had on hand, (even if it might not be the easiest way to do things, and the finished product might not meet my former standards) I had all I needed. It’s time for you to begin downsizing by going through your stuff, drawer by drawer, closet by closet and select the best item of its kind and get rid of all the others. All of them. Use that item until it “disintegrates,” or can no longer be used for it’s intended purpose and replace only then.

Make a schedule for yourself and address every corner of your living space, utensils, toys (wait until the kids are out of the house, of course,) tools, linens, cosmetics, etc. I’ve found teaming up with a friend makes this process much less painful and they tend to bring a fresh perspective to the “value” you been assigning all your precious possessions. You will be fine, and remember, a space that is overcrowded with too much furniture and clutter is overwhelming you, without you knowing it, so start “tiny housing” your life today!

2.  Streamline – moving to a tiny house means reducing your square footage, but “tiny house” living means focussing on streamline design, clear sight lines and multifunctional spaces. Repurpose and reinvigorate gently used furniture and components in your home, rather than having them end up in a landfill. Multifunctional furniture and spaces encourage tidy “tiny house” living, because these areas need to be cleaned up and things put away before it can be transformed to another functional space.

If you have the available funds to do some remodeling, remember with the limited space in an actual tiny house, you’d need to utilize the smallest yet best functioning workspaces, appliances, fixtures, and furniture, so plan your full sized home changes with these features in mind.

3.   Be flexible – life is full of surprises so stop letting them overwhelm you. Living in a tiny house requires one to make do in cramped and somewhat inconvenient spaces, while keeping a smile on your face and focusing on all the benefits of living in a tiny house. The motto, “move it or lose it” speaks to the necessity of both, keeping physically and attitudinally flexible. If you ever hope to actually live in a tiny house, rolling with challenges and seeing the adventure in all of it, will be critical to your success, so start practicing now!

4.  Spend wisely –  stop going further into debt. You want to make the decision to move into a tiny house because you are ready, not because you have to. Start shopping as if you are living in a 200 square foot tiny house with very little storage space. This does not have to translate into expensive daily trips to the market, it just requires good menu planning and curbing impulse buying. It’s not just a matter of need vs want, a tiny house simply can not hold that much. Pretend you are already living in a tiny house the next time you head out to shop.

5.   Enjoy the little things – in the future, when you’re sitting on your tiny deck sipping wine and enjoying the sunset, you’ll reflect on all the things that used to demand your free time like; meal prep, cleaning and home maintenance. These things are now accomplished very simply in your tiny house. You’ve found you had fewer chores in your home, once you cleared out all the “stuff” and you’re now able to focus on your new priorities; relaxing with family and friends and enjoying the natural environment each, and every day!

Try taking these simple steps today, and you can start enjoying the benefits of “tiny house” living regardless of your current square footage.

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