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Friday, June 7, 2013

Planning, Planning, and more Planning

I'm sure that everyone who falls in love with tiny homes, and goes on to actually live in one, goes through many changes in their plans.  And even when you think a tiny house is just what you are looking for - whether it be to simplify your life, live more greenly, have no mortgage and smaller bills, thus more options - you still have to wrap your head around the reality of actually living with far fewer possessions and space.  

Nancy, of the Ynez Tiny House, wrote some wonderful posts on her blog about deciding what is important to you, looking at how life in a tiny house will impact your life, and 'trying it on' and experimenting with how the actual sizes and dimensions will feel.  

When I was a little girl I was fascinated with travel trailers and so wanted to live in one.  As an adult, my family grew (with four children) and we took in my mother as well, and our house grew to 4,000 square feet.  All of that space drove me crazy.  After many family changes I am now living in a small townhouse with my daughter, and for a time we lived in a 39' travel trailer.  We both loved it.  For me, small surroundings feel cozy, and safe.  I have no doubts that I'll be blissfully comfortable in a tiny house.  But I knew that I would have to really pare down my 'stuff' and give away many things that had sentimental value.  

I told myself that I will always have the memories associated with those things, and after all, the people we love are what are really important in our lives.  And I also know that other people can use and appreciate those pieces of furniture or useful objects that I give up.  I remind myself that part of the reason I want to live in a tiny house, with far fewer possessions, is to live more in keeping with the way the majority of the world lives.  Knowing that someone will be thrilled to find my pretty red casserole dish at the Goodwill store makes me feel good.  So now I am taking the necessary step of purging.  In planning my future tiny house I am looking, in detail, at how much of what I now own can come with me. 

I have read a few people say that you have to really think about your priorities.  And I am looking at how my small house will have to function for me.  I love the small sinks and RV type  cook-tops and ovens in tiny houses.  But I realized that the kitchen, and cooking and baking and canning, are a big part of my world.  So I added four feet to my original floor plan to accommodate a 24" gas range and double bowl sink.  I also made my bathroom larger, knowing that a tub I can soak in is important to me.  

In addition to the layout of a tiny house we have to decide how we will handle all the activities of daily life:

- where will we get our power from - electric? propane? solar? wind?  
- do we want to be able to live off grid?
- how will we heat and cool it? 
- how will we have water?  how will we heat our water?
- how will we deal with our waste products?
- how will we cook or keep food cool?

I know these things are really basic, but when you are going to live in a tiny house, with the ability to move your house at any time, you aren't limited like you are when you buy a house in a neighborhood or live in an apartment and all of those choices are already made for you.  

So the planning goes on and on right now.  With each decision made the reality of the house comes more into focus.  I would love to hear other people's thoughts on their priorities and how their small house will function for them.


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