Tiny Tip

Tiny tip #2- downsize slowly and often

For many people, the thought of living in a tiny house is scary because they would have to go to extreme lengths to downsize. Admittedly downsizing was relatively easy because I did not have that much to begin with. When I decided to build my tiny house I hadn’t yet had a lifetime to accumulate nice things (also, I was broke) – most of my furniture was hand-me-downs, craiglist steals or found on the side of the road. It was easy to part with these things because they didn’t hold much monetary or sentimental value. Recognizing that others have very different situations, here are a few tips for downsizing

  1. Be ruthless: If it has holes, stains, damage, doesn’t fit, is broken, ugly, not used, it goes. Don’t hold on to things that you might fix or use someday, because odds are that if someday hasn’t already happened it’s not going to. Make a decision and stick to it. If you decide it’s going (whether it is going to be donated or it’s really at the end of it’s life), then actually get rid of it.
  2. Try life without it:  If you’re not sure of your decision to get rid of something box it up and hide it. Use the space under your bed, in your garage, the spare closet to “hide” things from yourself. If you go six months without reaching for it, then you don’t need it and it’s time to let it go.
  3. Perma-loan: A few sentimental or valuable things were given to friends on “perma-loan”. If in a few years, I realize that I can’t live without the antique blue velvet chair that I loaned to a friend, I’ll ask for it back. We might have to fist fight for it, but she knows that might happen and that I’ll definitely win lose (she’s feisty).
  4. Can it be replaced?: So much of what we have are things we purchase on impulse and are relatively inexpensive. While this may go against a zero waste philosophy, I say get rid of it (hopefully you will donate it) and if you regret it later, buy it again. The second time around, ask yourself why you got rid of it in the first place. Buy a replacement that addresses the issues of the item it’s replacing. Try to buy second hand first and if you must buy new make sure it meets your needs and is durable enough to last a lifetime.

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Don’t expect that you’ll ever be done downsizing. It will take constant attention to keep your junk drawer stays in check. Getting rid of crap should be done often. Almost every time I do laundry, I go through all my drawers to tidy up and get rid of things I haven’t worn in a long time or that are damaged. I’m constantly spilling food down my front (slob) and frequently have to say goodbye to something that I can’t get the stain out of. When I first started this habit it took monumental efforts because I had a lot of clothes – most of which were ill fitting and cheap (we’ll save the fast fashion conversation for another day). As I’ve refined my wardrobe, this has gotten easier.

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