Construction Experience and a Place for My Tiny House

So you want to build a Tiny House… Great! Wonderful! Awesome!!! Until you get to the actually building part… I don’t know how to do that. Do you? I mean, I get the idea, but when it comes to reading building plans and using a nail gun and a table saw… um no. Not in my experience. Then, how do you get experience or even some level of comfort?

The first idea I had was classes. This is probably a great option, but they cost money, which I don’t have a lot of these days. There are some that are free, like the ones that they offer at Lowe’s. Most of them are about finishing touches like tile and flooring. What about the actual structure? There are several tiny house companies that offer workshops, but again, they cost money. Like $400 for 2 days. I’m sure that they are provide a lot of good information and that they are worth it, but I just can’t afford that at this point.

The next idea I had was working in construction. But that would require me to give up my current day job, which I love. I can’t trade race cars for… well.. anything. So that’s not an option either.

Today I found an awesome website with all kinds of information on it: http://www.tinyhousecommunity.com/

There was a listing on there looking for volunteers. I don’t know why this wasn’t my first thought. I swear I have gotten more jobs by volunteering than any other way. So, I reached out to them and set up a time to help them out. Of course, their first question was “Do you have experience?” But thankfully they followed with “It ok if you don’t. No worries!” So I am going to get some experience. I haven’t really met anyone who owns a tiny house, so I’m pretty excited about that as well.

The other cool thing about the website is that they have listings for land and for people who want to rent their land to people with tiny houses! This was one of my MAJOR concerns. I have no place to build and/or park my house. I had no idea where to even start looking. This is a huge resource. I have reached out to a few of the listings and am waiting to hear back.

Tiny Storage

The most common reaction when people see a tiny house is “Wow! It’s so small! Where do you put everything?!?!” This is very true. It is a really small space, less than 200 sq ft.

I think we need to start with a question though: How much do you really need?

How many things do you have lying around your house or garage or attic that you don’t use every day? Or haven’t seen in years? If you have having trouble considering this, think about moving… as in multiple times. I moved about 15 times over the space of about 5 years. I started with A LOT of stuff. It turns out, I’m very sentimental. I actually still have sand in a jar on my bathroom counter from the first time I went to the beach in SC. I grew up in the Midwest. I wasn’t sure I would remember what sand looked like when the vacation was over.

I have lots of things like that though. I have a box of memorabilia from every year for the past 5 years. Then there are 5 sizes of clothes that I haven’t worn in almost 10 years (OMG could it really be that long!!!) and that birthday present that I got from my mom 8 years ago that I will never use, but can’t part with because, well, it’s from my mom. And even though she lives 1,000 miles away and has been to my house once in 3 years, she may just pop in one day for brunch and ask to make cookies with the santa clause cookie pan that she bought me 8 years ago… maybe.

The question is… do I really NEED a santa clause cookie pan? I really don’t even like santa clause. And, to be fair, my tiny house will have a toaster oven, so it probably won’t even be useful anymore. Perfect excuse to get rid of it!!!

But what about all of the stuff that I have that I want to keep? I have a bunch of scrapbooks and all of the fun stuff that goes with making them. I also have a killer scarf collection and a ton of running, cycling and swimming stuff, including a very expensive bike. I don’t plan on keeping my bike inside permanently. I think I will need a shed eventually. But, still a lot of stuff that needs a home.

Lofts

The first solution is always a loft. My house will have two: one above the built in bed and one above the bathroom.

Bed

There will also be drawers under the bed. Or possibly shelves. These will be for things like shoes and handbags, things that I use everyday. They will be around a foot deep. But that leaves a lot of space under the bed that is still useable, but not easily accessible. That space will have a box that is for stuff that you don’t need very often. Kinda like this… sort of.

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Photo from: http://www.decorreport.com/

There will be shelves on both sides of the bed too, at the headboard and footboard. Some will face the inside of the bed and some will face the living area.

There should be space for one more small book shelf to the right of the door when you walk in.

Closet

Right now my closet is a standard small size. But I have two of them. I also have a dresser and two baskets for laundry. Plus ample floor space for anything that gets leftover or rejected in the morning…

In my house I plan on using an IKEA wardrobe (or something similar) that is only about 47 inches wide. This has to fit everything. I have a feeling that the floor space in the tiny house will be at a premium and it will be important to keep it clean.

Kitchen

My kitchen, at the moment, is VERY small. It consists of two cabinets for food and under the sink and under the oven for dishes. I have added two wall shelves and an IKEA box type shelf for additional storage.

In the tiny house I plan to have cabinet space and lots of organization. The mini refrigerator and washer/dryer combo will fit under the cabinets. There will be a space for the toaster oven and my Kitchenaid mixer as well. That thing is huge and heavy! I will also leave a space for a trash can under the sink. All of this will take up a lot of the under counter cabinets. That leaves all of the wall mounted cabinets for dishes and food.

I have a system of keeping things clean. I only have two of everything, two plates, two forks, etc. That way I am forced to wash the dishes and not let them pile up. I also keep the number of food storage containers low so that I don’t have too much in the fridge at one time. It works for me! 🙂

Bathroom

I’m still going back and forth about a sink in the bathroom. If I do end up with one it will be really small. There may just be floor to ceiling shelves. There never seems to be enough counter space in front of the bathroom mirror in the morning. That mirror will have to be somewhere in the shelves.

Plus, I found this cool idea on Pinterest for above the door storage…

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Photo from: http://www.familyhandyman.com/

I don’t know if I will have room for this, or some semblance of it, but I hope so. There will also be a towel rack along with the shower curtain rack. These will double as clothes dryers for all of those things that you can’t put in the normal dryer.

Outside

There will be a small storage area outside as well, on the bathroom end of the house. I would think that this is where the tankless water heater goes and possibly some other plumbing, but I’m not sure.

So there you have it! With all of that storage I should have plenty of room for everything that I absolutely NEED and not enough room to keep anything that I don’t. And a really good reason to clean out my current house.

As a side note, there will soon be a really AWESOME santa cookie pan at the Habitat for Humanity store in Cornelius if you are looking for one.