Erin Doman on May 20, 2016 9 Comments There are lots of reasons to go tiny. Some people want to reduce their impact on the earth. Some seek efficiency, mobility, and the ability to work with a much smaller budget. And some want to live a simpler lifestyle, closer to nature. Whatever the reason, however, living in a tiny home requires a mindset that can be hard to master if you’re accustomed to larger living spaces. Here are some tips that can help you get into that mindset — before you make the move to your new itty bitty quarters. 1. Decide What You Hope to Accomplish with a Tiny Home Your reasons for going tiny will dictate how you build your tiny house — or which tiny house you buy — to a large extent. Do you want to create a self-sustained homestead, garden, goats, and all? Start experimenting with whichever aspects of farming you can now, so you’ll have at least some practical experience when you get started. Do you want to go off-grid? Reduce your dependence on the power system by switching to solar-powered gadgets, unplugging any devices that aren’t in use, and conserving water. Are you hoping to enjoy some peace and quiet with the great outdoors just outside your window? Cancel your cable service and head to a nearby park for a walk, even if you don’t feel like it just yet. You’ll be glad you did. 2. Set Attainable Downsizing Goals No matter how much stuff you get rid of, it can sometimes seem like you still have a ton of junk lying around. One of the reasons for this is that many people don’t have clear goals when they begin the downsizing process. Before you start breaking out the boxes in your attic, sit down and write a list of criteria for the things that will make the cut to come with you to your new tiny home. If it fits into one of the following categories, recycle, upcycle, or toss it out: You’re saving it just in case you might need it one day. It’s a family heirloom that you aren’t crazy about. You plan to pick up the hobby again eventually (you can get new paints and brushes when the time comes!). It was a gift and you don’t want to hurt the giver’s feelings — even though they’ll never know. It sat in your closet for an entire season. 3. Change Your Storage Habits Even after the most efficient downsize possible, there will still be some things that need to be stored. This could include things like the slow cooker that only comes out during the winter, the box of favorite books that you will simply never be able to live without or the bag of old coins you’ve collected from all the places you’ve traveled too. If possible, a small shed can make that little bit of storage so much easier to manage. If not, utilize vertical space as much as you can with storage lofts, overhead shelves, and loads of racks and hangers for coats, bags, mugs, pots, and the guitar that you play just often enough to keep. 4. Use Outdoor Living Space Depending on where you live, you could potentially use your porch and yard as living space for six to eight months out of the year. Create a space where you, your family, and several guests can comfortably eat a meal and spend a summer evening in the beautiful outdoors with the convenience of your home just a few steps away. ou’ll want to utilize passive cooling, with lots of open doors and windows, to make the outside feel like an extension of your indoor living space, rather than a separate place altogether. Make your outside space more liveable by using: A grill, fire pit, or outdoor chimnea for cooking — outdoor cooking is essential! An area where children can play or even sleep, while still being near the adults Lots of trees for shade, or gazebos or covered porches if shade trees aren’t really an option Landscaping methods that conserve water, preserve wildlife, and use local plants 5. Get Creative with Your Furniture In a tiny home, less is more when it comes to furniture. Double-duty furniture, like a kitchen table with storage compartments for your dishes, is valuable as a space-saver. You may be able to find beds that can fold into the wall, bunks with office space below, or a couch that can break apart into several small seats. If you are the DIY type with enough carpentry skills, don’t be afraid to make something you’ve never seen before if it will save space and make your life simpler in the future! 6. Expect to Eat Differently With a smaller kitchen comes different eating habits. For many, storing goods like rice, oats, and pasta in a pantry or loft while keeping the fridge stocked with fresh produce works well. You will likely need all the cabinet space you have in a tiny home for pots, pans, and dishes, so you can start practicing now by using fewer canned and boxed foods and taking more frequent trips to the grocery store or farmers’ market for fresh foods. Especially if you plan on growing or raising a large portion of your own food, you will be better prepared for the diet change when you move if you make a conscious effort to use more produce and fewer processed meals now. 7. Be More Flexible! No matter what your reasons for going tiny are, this lifestyle only works if you are prepared to be flexible in your thinking. It takes time to get used to living small, and you’ll encounter less frustration and more laughs in the meantime when you go in expecting anything. If something doesn’t quite work out the way you thought it would, change it! However, if your living room furniture hasn’t moved in twenty years and you see no reason why it should, tiny living might not be ideal for you. But as long as you are willing to make constant improvements to the way you run your house and live your life with efficiency and simplicity at the forefront of the decisions that you make, you just might find that tiny living was what you were looking for all along.