Here are some recommendations for you before jumping into living minimally.
More and more people across the country are opting to live a minimalist lifestyle and living tiny. These not only include RVs and Tiny Houses but container homes and yurts. Many of these individuals chose such a lifestyle for various reasons: An inflated housing market, being able to save quicker for retirement, etc.
No matter why you choose this tiny lifestyle, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before diving into a drastic lifestyle change.
If you are considering going tiny, below are a few tips recommended to try it out before fully committing.
Go Live in a Tiny Space
It’s almost like test-driving a car. You shouldn’t invest thousands of dollars into something without trying it out first, so the same can be said living tiny. Tiny Houses and RVs are not cheap. Even converting a van to “van life” can get costly. So, before you fork over a ton of money, try it out to see if you are on the right track.
If it means renting a cabin, borrowing a friend’s RV, or booking an Airbnb to give it a try, do it. It might cost some money upfront, but it’ll be worth it if it means discovering this lifestyle is (not) for you.
Practice Living Tiny
If money is tight and you absolutely cannot afford to try out an RV, tiny house, or rent an Airbnb, be creative and live small in your home.
For example, if you have a three-bedroom, two-bath house, cut down your living space. Then pair it down even more. Practice using just one bedroom and just one bath. Consider not using the garage and share your closet with your significant other.
Stop Being a Consumer
This tip is often the most difficult: Stop buying stuff! Not only do you need to stop bringing things into your house, but it also means pair down significantly. A good rule of thumb is to pair down 80%+ of your stuff. If you can’t, that means you may not be able to pull off the tiny life.
Yes, you could put your stuff in storage. However, if you need to cough over money each month to store things that you do not need to live every single day, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself the tricky question: Are you committed to living a tiny life?
That’s a very subjective question and not going to be the same for everyone’s situation. However, it’s still a tough question you need to ask yourself.
Change Your Habits
Changing or creating new habits is tough. They say it takes at least 30 days to make or break a habit. I’m not 100% on board with that notion, but I agree that it takes some time and will be up to each individual.
If you are firm in some of your habits, you may have a challenging time living tiny. This can be as simple as changing the way you fold your clothes. For example, I use a Japanese way to fold my shirts, and I stack them vertically now in drawers. By doing it this way, I’m more organized and have a way to keep some of my favorite shirts. In fact, I use many of the same tips and tricks Marie Kondo uses in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Something else to consider doing is walking your dog. Pretend for a month that you do not have a backyard. It’s easy to wake up, let the dog out to do its business while you pour yourself a cup of coffee.
Let’s be real. You may not have this living tiny, and your pet may not be off-leash trained. Are you willing to put on your rain gear to walk Fido? If the answer is no, this is going to be a tough challenge to overcome.
How about the dishes? The majority of RVs do not have dishwashers, and those that do (or customized tiny homes) can be very costly. Also, not everyone will have the layout to accommodate such a piece of machinery. As a result, try taping off that dishwasher in your house and hand wash for a while.
Alter Your Mindset
Start thinking “multipurpose” and create new ways to maximize your space. For example, if you have guests over once or twice a year, do you really need a guest bedroom? Perhaps get a Murphy or Wall Bed that can also serve as an office and as needed for the guest. (Congratulations, you just went from a three-bedroom to a two-bedroom space!)
How about appliances? Instead of a slow-cooker, get an all-in-one pressure cooker, stockpot, canner, and slow-cooker in one. That just saved you 4–5 single-use appliances! Think about all of the storage space in your kitchen you just freed up.
Not everyone is going to be on board with your tiny lifestyle choice. However, the most important thing to remember: It’s your choice. Ignore the haters and the critics and do what is best for you.
To help you along the way, join a Tiny home or RV community. There are tons of them on Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok. This is a great way to build your network with those who have the same interest and enjoyment as you.
Research, research, research!
The more you research, the better off you’ll be. I cannot count for the hundreds of hours I spent on YouTube and social media looking into the RV life.
My husband spent weekends visiting RV dealerships, and I checked out every book known to man about what I was potentially getting into.
No matter what type of tiny lifestyle you choose, make sure you do what is right for you. I’m currently a full-time RVer, and the above tips worked for me. If you are also considering being a full-time RVer, I recommend the documentary below and discover why so many people choose this way of life. Even if it doesn’t apply to you as a potential RVer, it still gives you some insight into living tiny.