When you live in just a few hundred square feet of space, you don’t have room for the standard furniture, kitchenware, and decorative elements that fit into an average-size house, much less clutter. Tiny-home owners are experts in downsizing—after all, a lot of editing goes into packing your whole life into a space that’s a fraction of the size you’re used to.
While the thought of paring down to the true essentials may sound formidable, small-living experts swear that the process gets easier over time. When there’s no room for objects to accumulate, you have no choice but to trim the excess—and admittedly, some items take way less effort to give up than others. Here, seven households share the things they realized they didn’t need.
One thing we thought we would miss was a dishwasher. But with fewer pots and pans, there are fewer dishes! We only own two wineglasses, so there’s never a lot to wash—even with a baby. I’d spend ages in our old place looking for this or that while cooking dinner, and I’d get so frustrated searching through all the cupboards. Now it’s easy: one pan, two pots, one large soup pot, one strainer, baking pans, a few good-quality knives. We’re not spiralizing, cake-mixer, big-appliance users, so it was pretty easy to downsize.
—Kate and Willem, @tinyhousefamilynz
Before making the leap to a bus, we were quite concerned about connectivity; Meryl runs a business and I work in tech, so we wanted to be sure we didn’t lose touch with the world. We purchased a rooftop unit that supposedly amplifies WiFi signals and increases our LTE connection—except it doesn’t work very well. But what we’ve found is that 24-7 connectivity to the world just isn’t necessary. Our contacts quickly learned not to expect immediate responses. We’re more intentional about Internet when we have it. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Reddit, we try hard to proactively download the books, maps, music, weather forecasts, and information we need when we have a signal so that we’re well equipped when we don’t. Information scarcity, it turns out, is a great case for intentionality.
—Tim and Meryl, @busplusus
Above all, I’m glad that we didn’t make room for a television. Don’t get me wrong, we still watch movies occasionally on an iPad or laptop, but it’s so nice to only interact with those devices when we choose to, as opposed to having them out in front of us all the time.
Our little home is still quite technologically advanced—it has a mini smart home system with lighting, music, and security—but we don’t have a TV, and we haven’t missed it at all. It’s so easy to sit down and turn it on just because it’s there; before you know it you’ve spent three hours of your life watching something just because you could! We do have a mini projector, but we don’t use it often—I think the finale of Game of Thrones was the last time!
—Ceri and Will, @tothemountainsnback
“Just Because” Clothes
We’ve donated a good amount of clothing to various thrift shops. Every few months, we examine our wardrobe and reassess whether or not we’re wearing everything in our closet—if not, it goes immediately into the donate pile.
—Natasha and Brett, @sugarhousehomestead and @sugarhouseceramicco
There were many smaller appliances that we realized we didn’t need: a rice cooker, a Keurig, a Crock-Pot, and a microwave. We can cook rice on the stove top, make coffee in a pour-over, and reheat food on the stove or in a small convection oven.
A Dining Table
In our big house, we had a large, nine-person dining room table that we only ate at a couple times a year. When we moved into our tiny home, we decided not to sacrifice space for a table we hardly use. We’ve honestly never thought twice about the decision.
See more stories like this:
So What’s It Really Like to Live in a Tiny Home?
We Built a Tiny House as an Affordable Solution to SF Living—Now It’s Our Dream Home
How to Live in 360 Square Feet When You’re a Family of 3