The Tiny House

tiny house 2

Lately, I seem to be obsessing about the Tiny House. ***

As I find interesting articles about the increasingly attractive phenomenon of scaling down, I present them to my husband for inspection.

tiny house 3


He’s not having it.

Maybe it’s not the small space, or maybe it is. He, like everyone in my family but me, stands well over 6 ft tall, and perhaps can’t imagine living in a small space.

I seem to think it has more to do with the process of getting serious about downsizing possessions.

tiny house 4

What are the basics that we could not live without? That is the stuff to keep. Everything else “gots to go”.

We have a full basement where we store all the stuff we don’t need on a daily basis.

Nearly all of it is stored in the moving boxes that transported us to new job locations, different moving van companies with different destinations.

I had an awakening when my adult children told me that they had no interest in the stuff we had stored down there, even the categorized boxes of school materials that I’d saved on their behalf.

tiny house 5

sample interior.

The purge began. Some things to donate, some to sell at garage sale, much of it to trash.

Three things that cause me the most angst; I cannot part with books, music, or photographs.

There are countless books that line the walls of our living room. I know they will have to go someday, but that makes me sad.

tiny books

Maybe ???

Music, in the form of LP records and 45 RPM’s can be transferred to modern format, but we’d miss the turntable.

Something about the scratchiness seems more authentic; DVD’s are almost too perfect.

And then there are the photographs. A lifetime of photography, my passion and obsession.

Every few years, I take on the task of re-organizing the pictures. Digital photography has saved me from the clutter, but that doesn’t help with photos from earlier decades.

I have most photos in leather-bound albums, labeled and dated; with the negatives in archive quality plastic sleeve pages that are bound in 3-ring binders. (No, really).

With the advent of the printer/scanner, there is no real need to save the countless strips of negatives. I could go blind trying to find the exact image I want anyway. So, they had to go.

After the month-long project, I walked large bags of recycle-worthy material to the curb.

tiny 1

I felt lighter; I felt a bit more free.

There will be more shuffling of stuff, more purging, more challenges.

But the dream of a smaller space remains.

Maybe even, that tiny house.


*** I wrote this 2 years ago. With all the activity at the in-laws home, I am thinking this way more than ever. Thanks to EDM Muse and his tiny house vacation post for inspiring the reblog.


This entry was posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Family, Home, Movies, Music, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to The Tiny House

  1. Hang in there! It will be worth it every step of the way. Many years ago I lived in a 480sqft bungalow overlooking the ocean, and I loved it. Over the next years, the houses got bigger and more stuff accumulated! I want to go back to a small, uncluttered living space someday…soon.

  2. I can imagine how you feel. The tendency to gather stuff increases once there’s space and I learnt this lesson the tough way though I don’t think my husband has learnt it yet. He loves huge spaces and accumulating stuff :/

  3. Jim says:

    one of those tiny houses would make an ideal cabin.

  4. Van, I squarely in your husband’s camp…

  5. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    If I was single I would so embrace tiny house living and free myself from all the “stuff” that clutters my life.

  6. Brenda says:

    I get rid of what I can every spring, but there still seems to be so much stuff in the basement. We accumulate way more than we need. I’m hoping to eventually retire in a small and simple space. I’ll probably just end up accumulating more stuff lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Victo Dolore says:

    I lust after those tiny homes, too. I have several books of plans for “storybook” cottages that I pull out from time to time to dream. Maybe someday…

  8. Nurse Kelly says:

    Very cute, like living in a doll house! Just keep working on him… you’ll get there!

  9. My husband and I live in a what most people would consider a small house (only 987 square feet), but at least we have an upstairs where we can get away from each other. And believe me that’s very, very important at times. Our next move will likely be to a one-story ranch (hopefully with a little land around it), but we’ll make sure there are enough rooms so that we can each of our own space. I can’t imagine both of us living in a tiny house – we’d probably kill each other within a week, or at least wind up divorced.

    As for all our stuff, we’ve already begun the purge. We had all the kids come over and go through the stuffed animals and toys to take anything they wished to keep. Everything else went to charity. And my Cordelia, the writer, got all my hardcover books. At least I know where those books are and that they will be well cared for.

    And, of course, there’s Puppy Cody. Wherever we wind up, we need room for the dog.

  10. kingmidget says:

    I, too, have dreams of a tiny house in my future, but have a spouse who is totally not interested in such a thing. We have a house full of “stuff that we need.” I think downsizing would be a great way to figure out what we really need. But some people are too attached to their “stuff that we need.” Part of my long-term objective is to get rid of all that “stuff that we need.”

    A couple of weekends ago, a local community college hosted a tiny house competition — ten teams constructed tiny houses for people to tour. I wanted to go, but figured it would be a waste of time since I’m never getting a tiny house. (Woe is me.) I heard that they hoped to get 2,000 people at the event but planned for 6,000 and got over 10,000.

    • Wow…the competition drew thousands. You see, the interest is definitely there. Maybe we are all getting a bit wiser. And about that “stuff we need”, keep the challenge going, it might all work out, King. โ˜บ

  11. LaVagabonde says:

    The thought of having that much stuff fills me with anxiety. I can fit almost everything I own in three big suitcases and it feels GOOD. My husband, however, has a terrible time parting with anything. Maybe it’s a man thing.

  12. We accumulate so much stuff that we think we need and find out later we could’ve survived without it. It seems the younger generation are fine with the tiny house- less stuff, less money to keep it and more traveling/freedom.

  13. Downsizing is such a daunting task. Can I really get rid of that? What if I need it? What if I miss it? I’ve been thinking a lot about moving yet again in my semi-near future. I’m determined to downsize before that happens.

  14. polymath0 says:

    I have come to love the idea of the small house too. I wouldn’t even bring it up with my husband. We have a 4,000 square foot house and no kids (and he’s done a good job filling it). Granted, we have about 10,000 books, many of which are collectibles and very important to him. I also very much love books. As for photos, I have an entire bookshelf of photo albums. It is possible to digitize old photos, though very time consuming or very expensive to have another person do it for you. For us, the most difficult thing to part with is art. My husband is an artist, and we both love to collect from local artists. Our house is filled with it. I could part with books and digitize photos, but I don’t know how I’d downsize with all of the amazing art my husband has made.

    Still, there are many times when I fantasize about going into a tiny house on a quarter acre with a mini suburban farm. I’ve spent hours imagining my make-shift off-grid home, growing my own food, sewing my own clothes and ditching the parts of modern life that I don’t like so much. I’d keep the ones I love, of course. I love the internet for sure, but that’s easy.

    Good post, and amazing photos.

    • A fascinating take, Polymath. Books can always be donated at some point, art presents a whole different issue. If there is no extended family member that would take over the collection, maybe a local art museum ? We have the equipment to digitize those photos, our old videotapes have been done. Your off-grid home sounds like a dream. Thanks for sharing. โ˜บ

  15. My wife loves these tiny houses. She watches the TV show about them. Too small for me, although the decluttering concept sounds good to me.

  16. Here’s another DK in your husband’s camp ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Van, my fantasy is to have a small home, all neat and tidy, quarters all to myself. I so need my space and with hubby he loves clutter, messes, noise, and collects so much stuff it drives me nuts. I love my home, I really do, yet the upkeep especially as the years go by, is daunting at times. I’m the same about books and photographs. I have shelves of books that I know I can let go, yet the thought of it makes my heart flutter. Work in progress here …… (smile) โค

  18. spearfruit says:

    Van, continue on your quest to downsize. As you know we did this and now are living in our 5th wheel, another sort of tiny house. The ridding of all the stuff is freeing and you will not regret it. Happy Sunday my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I think photo albums for me would be the hardest to part with.. I so know where you are with this.. I spoke to my adult children who long flew the nest as I joked they would have a task going through our stored things, ( and like you I kept lots of their school text books etc ) All I got in return was, We will hire a house clearing agency to do the job..
    We are in the process of decluttering for several years .. but my hubby keeps getting stuck on what to part with in the garage LOL..

    • Half of our storage space has tools and hardware of all kind, Sue. I get it. Maybe that school stuff was only sentimental for us ? My parents trashed everything from our childhood. I wish I had some of that, so I might have projected that desire on my own kids. The house clearing folks would be much more objective, for sure.

  20. Rowena says:

    I love those gorgeous little houses. I’d love one for my writing studio in the backyard. Unreal!!
    My childhood home had a little house out the back which was apparently built by the apprentice possibly built in the 1960s. It was my bedroom for a few years and at one stage, I had artistic friends draw pictures on the wall but then graffiti got added and my father had a heart attack when he went out there and I had to paint over the lot…not easy painting over red permanent marker.
    BTW, I am a “collector”. No small houses for me!
    xx Rowena

  21. A tiny house would be cool! Sounds like you are working hard Van!

  22. amommasview says:

    I love the tiny houses you have featured here! I see how you struggle to part with books, music and especially pictures… Over the time and all our moving I got rid of most books. It’s easier to have them on kindle or even my iPhone (although I still prefer a real book). Music is kind of the same. I left most of my LP’s and CD’s back in Switzerland, passing most of them on. But there are still heaps of CD’s with us and it’s only a matter of time till they will go. It’s the photographs that get to me… Most of it is digital but I have about 8 big photo albums from back in the days. And I know it’s only a matter of time until they will need to be transformed into digital form. Not many but still…

    • I understand. I have a dozen or so…they have survived those 1970’s sticky photo album pages that we all used. I’ve replaced the books, still love looking at the hard copy photos. Books will be passed on/donated. It will be sad for me. ๐Ÿ’˜

  23. dgkaye says:

    It seems tiny houses are a big thing these days. I don’t think I could do it. I’m so bad at purging. I couldn’t give up m 3 tall bookshelves of books, my boxes of old photos, or my 3 boxes of old LPs stored in my locker. As if we think we’re going to do something with them, lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I watch every show I can out Tiny Houses. People are so creative planning space and the outside can get really inviting.

  25. Jo Smith says:

    I would love to live a minimalist lifestyle, letting go of the stuff, and live freely. Loved this post!

  26. Lady G says:

    Hey Van!
    I LOVE watching that show and the little doll house style one that you pictured first is just darling!
    I think the only way that I could live in one is if it were just me.

  27. Steph McCoy says:

    My brother has been talking about building a tiny house for over a year now. When our mother went into a long term care facility and we had to clean out her apartment that was the point where I realized I have to get rid of all but the essentials or the few things I treasure. I no longer want storage, if I don’t use it I have to lose it. I’ve given away several pieces of furniture, a set of china, all kinds of decor, clothing etc. When I began losing my eye sight I gave away my collection of books and recently because of the purging process have tossed or shredded all CDs and DVDs because I do everything on the computer and I just don’t want stuff but I do wish I had a vinyl or two. As you say there is something about the sound of a record that you can’t achieve with a CD but I gave away boxes of albums years ago. It is such a freeing sensation and the best part is my kids won’t have to go through tons of stuff should anything happen to me. That was tough doing it for my mom. Great post!!

  28. Deb says:

    I love those tiny houses…great place to store stuff!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, I could not live in something that small I need a little bit of space. Being a person who takes great pride in being organized and loves to organize…I was highly impressed with your photo organization skills…highly!! Yeah I need to go down into my cellar and throw stuff away. I just moved here 2 years ago and basically I packed up my previous cellar only to relocate it into my new cellar…still not sure what’s down there. I did just go through lots of clothes and donated them, that made me feel good too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  30. I like the idea of decluttering and I’ve watched those tiny house tv shows but they’re more expensive than my house and I already have a hard enough time living w my husband and son under 1200 sq ft roof. I’ll pass but good luck!

  31. joey says:

    Smaller spaces are where it’s at. This house, I hope our forever home, is the smallest we’ve had. I love its smalless, but no thank you, tiny home. I LIKE books and linens and board games and stock pots. I LIKE having ten choices in outerwear, thanks.
    I have always been a de-clutterer and a purger. My husband is a pack rat. It makes for interesting conversations. Like how we’re going to need to build a small shed for all the running magazines he never re-reads but insists he keep. I have gathered that there will be a running emergency and he’ll need stockpiles of shoe and technique references.

    • There are magazines about running ?? โ˜บ We are also working on that pack-rate gene of his…baby steps. My folks…trashed or gave away everything. It’s all I know…to de-clutter. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ’

  32. I can relate to your post! I am in the process of a radical downsizing as I prepare to begin a tiny house build in the spring. Books and photographs have been the hardest decisions of how to handle them, especially the 5 boxes of loose photographs. But I am convinced that a life of minimalism going forward will be sweet freedom!

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