Introduction to Issue 7: Living with other people in small spaces

Posted June 16th, 2009 by Kent Griswold and filed in Issue 7: Living with other people
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2539232570_09ab5e40f3In this issue of the Small Living Journal we look at how more than one person can live in a tiny house. Most of the press covers the single person living in the tiny portable home.

Life for most people involves more than one person, so in this issue we tackle how multiple people can live in a tiny space.

Quoting Greg Johnson from his article: “One way of dealing with limited space more effectively is to have systems — a place for everything and everything in its place. Small places and small spaces are less forgiving when it comes to clutter. The key to having a system is having everyone know and agree upon the system.”

So enjoy this issue and see what you can learn and apply to your life in a tiny house.

Two or More in a Tiny Space

Posted June 16th, 2009 by Kent Griswold and filed in Issue 7: Living with other people
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How does more than one person live in a tiny house? I get this question quite often on the Tiny House Blog and have thought about it quite a bit but never sat down and answered the question.

Most everyone you here about living in tiny homes are single and living by themselves. Many of them in 120 square feet or less. So how do you take that and apply it to 3 or 4 people living in a tiny house?

Personally I think you need to decide how much private space each person needs. Take that figure and multiply by it by your current household or your plans for future members in your home. Than add the kitchen and bathroom space you require and design or find a home that fills that need.

Another option if the kids are older is to make several small dwellings in a close area. Have a central living area with kitchen, laundry and bath and than have separate bedroom units in an area connected by decks or walkways.

I think you need to be creative and figure out what is the minimum amount of space you need and work your way down to that. Even while living in a larger home you can start applying this to your life. I’ve read about people who block out a space in their house and just start living in that area. It is a good way to find out how much space you really need.

I think another important aspect is the need for privacy. Each person needs their own space at certain times so a separate area or space where a person can get away from the noises and distractions that come from living in a small space is extremely important.

So take a few of these ideas and test it out for yourself. Also be sure and read the rest of the articles in this issue from the other authors and apply it to your life.

Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog and Tiny House Journal

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Looking into the Future

Posted May 18th, 2009 by Kent Griswold and filed in Issue 5: Future Plans
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32-cw-cub-creekWhere will I be in five years? What does the future hold? What dreams will actually become reality? These are the questions we ask on a daily basis as we try to figure out our lives.

As I get older I realize that life is short and you need to really prioritize the important things in your life.

Our kids are growing up and leaving the nest over the next few years, a perfect time to really simplify our lives, get rid of the debt we’ve built up with the kids in school and life in general. Our oldest daughter will be finishing college in one year. Our youngest will just be starting his college education next year, so we still have some major expenses to look forward to.

During the next five years my goal is to completely wipe out our credit card debt, pay off the car loans and start to find that piece of property to which we can retire on. I also want to continue to grow my internet business so that it will support both of us and my wife can retire from her teaching career after the kids are through school and out on their own.

I see us downsizing to a smaller home similar to the one I am featuring in this article. A small two bedroom home of 400-700 square feet with a Tumbleweed Tarleton as a spare bedroom and home office is what I see us in over time located on at a quarter acre or more with room for a garden. A small home in the country.

lg_fpThe next step is to do my best to make this happen.

As we all know there are many unknowns that are thrown our way so don’t  plan for everything to go according to your best laid plans.

Be flexible but keep your goals focused and make small steps to enable them to happen.

So these are my ramblings of my future plans. I encourage you to write down your goals and plans and start making small steps toward them to make it happen for you.

Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog and the Tiny House Journal.

Journal of a Tiny House

wills_tarletonOne of the most enjoyable things about having a blog is the people you meet along the way. During the publication of the Tiny House Blog I have met many interesting people who are building or remodeling their homes.

In fact most of the authors of the Small Living Journal I met writing a post about their projects. Recently, I have been getting to know some builders of Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. One of them, Will Pedersen from Abbotsford, BC in Canada kept a written journal (which is available for download at the Tiny House Journal) of his building expenses. He also took photographs of each step along the way.

Will had very little carpentry experience, yet he was able to build his home with a little guidance from a carpenter friend, who was available for questions and assistance when he needed help.

Will’s journal and photos got me thinking that this might be a way to show the average person that they too could build a beautiful home with little or no experience and with some guidance from a professional.

I decided to start a new web site featuring these people and have just made the site live in the last few days. Below is a video I put together from the photos Will took of his build of his Tumbleweed Tarleton.

I hope this video and the Tiny House Journal will inspire you to take the step and make your dreams of owning and building a tiny house come to pass. You can do-it-yourself!

Video Journal of Will’s Tumbleweed Tarleton

Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog and the Tiny House Journal.

Living Small – What is Small?

Posted April 20th, 2009 by Kent Griswold and filed in Issue 3: My Current Home

This article is about where we live and the question, what is small? I get this question fairly regularly on my blog, the Tiny House Blog. How does a family of four or six live in a tiny house? What is the answer?

First off here is a picture of my home, it is not tiny like Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed, but I do not live alone in this house. Our home is a 1200 square foot home built in the early 60′s, 1600 square feet if you count the garage.

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We rent this home which is on a private boarding school campus outside of Healdsburg, California. The home is on a quarter acre lot with a garden area on the side. The campus is on 360 acres and is surrounded by the Russian River on three sides. Both kids have gone to school here and it is a real joy to live here.

There are four of us living in this home, or to be more realistic only three most of the time, as our daughter is away at college more than she is home. We do still keep her room available to her, although now that I am working full time at home I am looking to convert a portion of her room into an office.

By today’s standards our house is small. Apartment Therapy is running a contest of small homes and here is how they list the different sizes:

  • TEENY-TINY 300 Square Feet and under
  • TINY 600 Square Feet and under (but over 300 Square Feet)
  • LITTLE 900 Square Feet and under (but over 600 Square Feet)
  • SMALL 1,200 Square Feet and under (but over 900 Square Feet)

So a home like my family lives in is considered small. If you divide the space down for each person, we each have 300 square feet. So yes, we live in a small, but not a tiny house.

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My wife and I do plan to downsize even more when our nest becomes empty. When both kids have finished school and moved out completely, I visualize us living in a home in the 400 to 600 square foot range. With a separate office/spare bedroom for the kids and grandkids to use.

At the Tiny House Blog I tend to emphasize homes smaller than 400 square feet, but each person must figure out the amount of square footage each person requires and downsize your family to fit the home that is best for your needs. Tiny or small house living is not a set and sound rule that requires a certain size, we each must find out what is best for us.

-Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog.