Americans are obsessed with big. We think big. We have big ideas and big plans. Little things can be a big deal. We want to be a big wig, perhaps bigger than life. The bigger, the better. You get the idea.
But the problem with such a big appetite for bigness is that enough is never enough. We learn the hard way that bigger is not always better, especially when our budget gets bigger than our income.
Fortunately, many people have discovered a big word that makes a lot of sense: downsizing. Rather than always thinking big, we are learning the value of thinking small.
The area of life where thinking small makes the most impact is housing. Compared to the rest of the world, our houses are simply too big. We have become convinced that we can’t live a full life unless our house is two and a half times bigger than the average house dweller around the world.
But when downsizing is applied to housing, many wonderful things take place. The fundamental question that drives consumerism shifts from, “How much can I acquire?” to, “How little can I get away with?”
Once you start considering a tiny home as a serious option, the thought of regaining control of your life through downsizing can be exciting, and also frightening.
Here are some ways to maintain the excitement, and overcome the scary bits:
Bigger on the Outside
In the sci-fi hit, Doctor Who, there is a time machine the size of a phone booth on the outside. But on the inside, it has no apparent size limit. But it is not that way for us. We have hard limits. Clutter can make a living space unlivable. But many of us have an option that we never explore. If you have some kind of yard, your house is likely bigger on the outside.
Using Rhino metal building kits, you can take an unused outside space, and turn it into a usable space. According to Rhino: A large percentage of our metal buildings are erected by the buyers themselves. The building has been prefabricated at the factory with the steel components cut, welded, and drilled for easy bolt-together installation. It’s basically a big kid’s erector set.
This episode of Tiny House Nation featured a couple that increased their space for entertaining by expanding beyond the house to the outdoors. Even a small metal building on the property would have helped with storing necessities like heavy tools used in their business. When considering a tiny house, don’t forget: It’s bigger on the outside.
More than One Function
In a tiny home, you don’t have room for redundancy. If you have one thing that can serve two functions, that’s one less thing you have to put into the space. A computer monitor looks a lot like a TV. There are plenty of ways to use it as both. A kitchen chair can serve as a desk chair. And on it goes…
That creativity does not just apply to individual items, but entire spaces. Once you stop thinking in terms of distinct rooms, the space can really open up.
By night, your living room can become a bedroom with a Murphy bed. The dining room becomes an office, and so on…
Make each space multi-functional, and you double your living spaces.
Do you have too many pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies? Put hooks on your ceiling and underneath cabinet space, and hang them.
No space for your coats and hats? A slim-profile coat and hat rack in an unused corner becomes functional art.
No room for a side table by the door? Hang a cork board instead. Put nails in it. And hang your keys, and other doodads when you enter the house. There is no reason decoration and necessities have to be different things. Don’t hide it. Hang it.
You can live in a tiny home. Much of the world does just that out of necessity. You might be surprised at just how liberating it can be.
But the good news is that you don’t have to get down to 300 sf. to enjoy the benefits of downsizing. All of these tips that are true for a tiny home, are also true for bigger homes.