5 Signs You Are Not Ready To Go Tiny

Let’s face it. Going tiny is no small endeavor. We all desire or even resolve to get organized, downsize our personal belongings, and simplify our lives. But actually going through with the major change that is going tiny is tough to attempt. Don’t worry, there are warning signs to help you see if this is the right time in your life to tackle this massive undertaking. Here are five signs that you are not ready to go tiny.

You can’t get rid of your stuff

We as human beings have a lot of stuff. Regina Lark of A Clear Path, who does professional organizing and productivity says that there are over 300,000 items in the average American household. According to IBISWorld (via this article), the self storage industry made $36 billion in 2016. Going tiny means making some really tough choices and means getting rid of some of that ever-loving stuff. Now I am not saying that you couldn’t find a small storage area for a couple of your heirlooms that just don’t fit into your new tiny home, but you are going to have to call it at some point. If you can’t get your life into a tiny house and a small storage facility, you are probably not ready to go tiny.

You think you need as much space as possible

TOM: Tiny Home Builders, how can I help you?
FUTURE TINY HOME BUILDER: I would like a tiny house that is 12 feet wide, 60 feet long and two stories with an elevator.
TOM: (shaking head) ??????

OK, so it is not really that bad, but we do get asked all the time what the maximum dimensions are for a tiny house (read them here). We continually watch as people try to squeeze every extra quarter inch out of their tiny house. Now, being space conscious is certainly warranted when you are going from 3000 to 300 square feet. But don’t get lost in the minutia of measurement. That extra half of an inch that you saved might make you proud, but in the long run isn’t going to make or break your home. More than likely there are places where you can gain height, length and width where you haven’t even looked before. Maybe you didn’t think about building out over the tongue, cantilevering the sub floor over the ends of the flange, or even that the house will settle under it’s own weight giving you another 2-3 inches of height.

Also keep in mind that you may not need every inch. Dan remembers a conversation he had with our friends at http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/. When they started out they were trying to figure out every possible space that could be used for storage. But because of time constraints they couldn’t add all of the little nooks and cubbies they wanted and decided they would go back and add them later. Only after they moved in and became accustomed to living tiny did they realize that they simply didn’t need them. They had paired down so much, they no longer had the stuff that needed to be stored.

You haven’t done your homework

 Not Ready to go TIny - HomeworkYour home is a very major part of your life.  You would think that people would want to do some research before making a major decision that affects one of the three basic necessities. That however, is not always the case. We have talked about this in our article “Getting The Most From Your Tiny Home Research,” and the same holds true for when you purchase your tiny house: know what you are talking about. You will run a lot less risk for being taken advantage of as well as derive help from experts in the industry with much more ease.

You don’t have a place to put your tiny home

This is kind of a part two from the sign above, but because of the importance of it, it is worth breaking out as a separate bullet point. The absolute biggest challenge that you will come up against when going tiny is finding a place to put that house once it is built. We have covered this before in “Five Questions To Ask Yourself Before Going Tiny” but I will say it again. MAKE SURE you have done your due diligence to find out about the laws and codes in the area where you are thinking about living. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list for everywhere that Tiny Houses are allowed in the USA (the landscape of legislature changes too frequently to honestly keep up).  You are just going to have to make calls and visit places and talk to people from the area to get a feeling for it. Don’t let it discourage you! There are plenty of places that are out there where tiny houses are perfectly legal and easy to accommodate. You are going to be fine!

You and your partner often need space

Not ready to go tiny - argumentLet’s be very clear here. Even if your tiny home has a separate bedroom that is closed off by a door, or two lofts so that everyone has their own space, you will have a VERY small space. This is sometimes not enough space for you and your significant other to have “breathing room.” If you have kids, they are going to be all up in your business, especially on the days where they may be inclement weather out there. This does not need to be a defining choice in your “Going Tiny” decision, but it is something to definitely keep in mind. If this is something you cannot handle, maybe you are not ready to go tiny.

So what makes you so ready or not ready to go tiny? What obstacles are you coming up against. Let us know in the comments below.

27 thoughts on “5 Signs You Are Not Ready To Go Tiny

  1. Mary said:

    I have 2 years before I put my HUGE house on the market and go TINY. My biggest fear is how sound proof I can get a THOW. I hate noise. When one has suffered from insomnia for nearly 20 years, one tends to sleep when sleep finally takes over, so for me, I spend a lot of sleep time in bed during the day, when every one and their dogs likes to make noise. I hate ear plugs. Can you help me out with the MOST sound proof way of SOUND PROOFING A THOW??? I see THOW for sale quite often, when the owners have owned them for less than a year or two. Could the fact that they are not living in a good solid sound proof THOW be the problem? Thank you! Mary

    • Christine said:

      Mary, you really need to try one out… the sound of the fridge and any other appliance is amplified… I wouldn’t want you to be surprised by that.

    • Toni said:

      Mary, have you looked into anything to help the insomnia? I know of a couple of natural remedies that may help and keep you from disliking your neighbors. Then you could enjoy that tiny house even more!

  2. Sharee100 said:

    After going through the list, I realize that I am almost there. I live in a 700 square foot condo. I essentially live in my living room and consider the bathroom and kitchen separate; I would like it if I could knock down the wall separating my kitchen from my living room. And my bathroom is just too far away. I have been looking online at tiny houses and tiny buses and saving items I like. I have been practicing drawing plans on grid paper. I don’t have to worry about other people living in my tiny home. It’s just me, my 2 cats and 1 parrot. I have even addressed giving them enough space, too. My major step to complete is finding a reputable builder. It seems like word of mouth, especially at the workshops, may be the way to go. Goal to go tiny: end of this year.

  3. Becky Osborne said:

    My husband and I began living full time in our RV in 2014. We do have to sometimes give each other some alone space (like taking turns in the bedroom getting ready for work in the morning) but the freedom we feel is SO worth it! We’re now building our THOW for the future (realizing an RV doesn’t last forever). Appreciate your posts.

    • ron hulse said:

      we don,t last forever either. Old Ron

  4. Riemke Bles said:

    I moved from a 3000 sq ft house to a 702 sq ft house. I am constantly purging! The thing that I have the most problem with is photo albums. My mother, father, brother, sister in law and daughter have all died and now not only do I have my own photo albums but I also have all their pictures and memorabilia. I have been going through all the pictures and tossing vacation pictures that my husband and I took but it is just so overwhelming! I would like to take all the boxes and burn them and never look at them again!
    Plus I have no closets in this house!

    • Naa said:

      Hi Riemke! It seems the solution to your problem may be to invest in a scanner and scan all your old photos and save them as digital copies.

    • Denise L Parker said:

      Scan all of your photos into your computer then save them on a blank DVD (they each have 4 Gigs of memory) DON’T throw them away until you do that! Scan everything paper-wise you want to keep the same way. Take digital photographs of knick-knacks and other items you want to keep the memory of that you have no physical room for and store those photos on discs also. This will give you a permanent record of all your keepsakes and memories!

    • MamaGlo said:

      I feel deeply for you, Dear! I am still in process of going thru my mothers and her mothers photographs, old letters, vintage postcards from 1913, tin types from the 1800’s many of whom my oldest aunt (80) doesn’t know or remember… It is, indeed, overwhelming…

    • lulu said:

      Digitize them and then save them to google drive or a hard drive

  5. Maggie M. said:

    This is a great article. I’m so glad I took time to read it. Our biggest obstacle is that my husband and I work different schedules. He often works wednesday-sunday 3pm-midnight and I work M-F 8-5 or so. Our second obstacle is that we don’t have kids yet but hope to soon, so we won’t have somewhere to go when the baby is crying and the differing schedules makes that difficult again. I think this is going to stop us from going tiny for the moment or investing in one for travel at some point. We still love the idea though and love keeping up on the movement.

  6. Thrinley DiMarco said:

    Tom is so right. Tiny house living needs a LOT of thought….and it’s not for everyone but downsizing is, even if you don’t go for a real TH. We have been brainwashed into thinking we need lots of ‘stuff’ to feel worthy, to feel like we’re with it. Over my life of almost 82 years I have lived in so many different kinds of homes. Some regular 2 story houses, sometimes a little cabin with no electricity or running water. Years ago I deliberately chose the cabin because I wanted to see how little it would take to live and be comfortable. I had no idea that years later I would be living in a THOW!! I’m an artist so I do live creatively…….. For the last part of my working life I managed a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center and lived in a 10′ x 11′ room for 15 years. At 80 I decided ‘ok girl….time to retire and get back to full time art work’. So I decided to build a THOW. Did it through fund raising. I’ve been living in my tiny mansion…hey 192′ sq. ft. is big compared to a 10′ x 11′ room…and I love it. But guess what? Even though I’m a person who isn’t a collector of stuff, I was surprised that I still had to downsize! It all works beautifully and every day I say thank you to all the people who made it possible.

  7. Sharee100 said:

    Just wanted to share what happened to me last week. I saw a personal ad for a small motorhome at a really low price. I contacted the person and asked why the price was so low. She said her husband of 40 years had recently died and she had bad memories and just wanted to see it go to a good home. I was excited about getting it. She said she was located in western Tennessee (near where my son lives). She said she had already moved to live with her niece. She said I could buy eBay gift cards and pay with those. I contacted eBay. Something sounded fishy. eBay said they don’t do that. And when we looked for an ad on eBay, she said she had removed the ad because I had expressed an interest. eBay says it doesn’t work that way. They said they would check into it. Turns out it was a scam. Then a day later I watched a program that talked about a similar scam. Evidently it is based out of South Africa and is a worldwide organization. Conclusion: beware of who you make major purchases with and don’t spend more money than you can afford to lose just in case.

  8. Nalda said:

    This article and the comments are very helpful.
    We have a few concerns about going tiny. The craw only height of the loft bedrooms are to us unsafe and unwise. Of course no one ever gets ill or needs a toilet in the middle of the night, but getting downstairs in hurry if one were ill so nearky impossible in a tiny house. We would opt for a main floor bedroom even if had to be a murphy style bed. The other thing we would like is two toilets, we did not 2 bathrooms, but 2 toilets in separate areas. And full size stack until washer and dryer is our one big will sacrifice to have. Combo washer/ dryer would a crazy maker for us. Since these dry exceedingly slowly.
    And would want the kitchen shelves to have dowl rods i, front of the dishes/items on the shelves to avoid to pack up the kitchen to move the tiny house. It also seems silly to ad weight, UNLESS THE TINY IS ON PERMANENT FOUNDATION, putting tiles walls and stone countertops. We also would want a full size entrance door or french doors. Easy access and natural light is a real space maker. We know could make this work. So we continue to lighten the load inside our home now. When or if is yet to be determined.

  9. Eileen Webb said:

    BETTER THAN burning digital files to a DVD or loading onto a large external drive is to upload your digital photos to the CLOUD!!!

    DVDs, external drives, USB drives, etc., can get lost or be destroyed, stop working, or become inaccessible in 5-to-10 years because of technology incompatibilities.

    You can get several FREE CLOUD accounts through Google, Dropbox, One Drive, and others. Each has a limit of storage space so get SEVERAL accounts! Name them something obvious so you know what you store in each account. Most offer at least 5 GB of space.

    I did this, and I am at peace with having all my photos preserved in cyberspace but I also keep local copies, just for giggles.

  10. Alexander Bub said:

    It’s interesting to me how folks ignore other aspects of going tiny for a home. Many people have hobbies that can indeed require more room, just not in the house. How about an artist that works in metal and uses welders, plasma cutters, presses, lathes, etc? How about people big into woodworking? In my case I rebuild motorcycles in retirement. I have all those tools previously mentioned (and LOTS more) but also have a lot of spare parts collected over the years I always search through.
    I could live in a small home quite easily but my outbuilding is probably going to be about 4000 square feet plus be wired for 240V. Plus I need land to put up my amateur radio antennas. Plus my greenhouse to grow produce.
    Outbuildings are certainly cheaper than building a larger house. So no, you don’t have to throw everything away. You can also rent a storage unit if you don’t want to build one.
    Storage issues are certainly a big deal if you have a tiny home on wheels and like to travel; maybe choose a central location and rent a storage unit there and come back when you need something you had left there? I can attest from around the SE Wisconsin area that storage is a big deal with more units going up constantly. Big money in owning storage facilities. A 10X20 unit is $70/month, not unreasonable.

  11. Kim said:

    I have sold my 2600sq ft home 3 yrs ago; bought 1.28 acres of land. I have stayed in TH’s. I believe tiny houses are made for certain types of people. I would love to go “tiny” but two people wld be hard. Personal space is healthy for a relationship.

    I would love to see tiny’s go a little wider. My dream tiny will be built on a permanent foundation if I can find a tiny house builder to do that. No company I have talked with will help me design it, or build it on a skid and deliver to my land and set it on the foundation. Companies are not willing to build 10ft wide and transport it. A lot of TH builders are very far away.

    Still searching to find that company!

    • Kathy Putman said:

      If you find someone please let me know. I am downsizing from a 4br 3 ba. Just me and I want a small house built on land i’m looking for in nc. I wanna go off-grid meaning my own well, septic solar etc. I want home on permanent foundation too.

  12. Old Ron said:

    Some smart person once said ” You cannot attach a U-Haul to a hearst. Me, now age 81 don’t seem to care about all the old photos we have saved. Many of these folks are now gone. Please get over this thing about saving “Aunt Mary,s Lamp, she is gone and does not really care what you do with her stuff. Now I have to convince my wonderful wife of my personal thoughts. I do have a few, yes, very few things I really cherish.

  13. Sophie said:

    I’m trying to figure out how to go tiny with 5 indoor cats. My husband died last year, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the house-keeping stuff, and I asked my son “If I got at tiny house, could the cats and I come live in your back yard?” He said “Yes”. Another thing is books. I have books that you can’t get as e-books or borrow from the library, and I like reading them over several times.

  14. Carrie said:

    Sophie you can do it, cats and all. A good builder who will help you design what you need into your home, then build it your way, will make your home perfect for you, your cats, and your books.
    You have the best place to park it, too, completely legal, on an existing property with an existing structure. And, you’ll be close to family, but not ‘living’ with them. Good luck!

  15. Amy said:

    The last few tiny house videos I watched, both had caged-in outdoor cat spaces connected to the TH by a tunnel. Seems like a great solution, at least where the weather is nice.

  16. Sherry said:

    What about homeowner insurance for a THOW? I’m in Oregon and, as yet, I have not found anyone who’s willing to insure my home., even as an RV. I even told companies I’d remove the wheels and skirt the tiny house. Any ideas will be appreciated. Thanks!

    • JanS said:

      Sherry ~ I too live in OR, having my THoW built now – checked with my State Farm insurance agent before I started & they assured me I could bundle it with my current home (mobile) & car insurance. My THoW is being built w/RVIA stds. by a certified builder & my insurance agent said I could insure it as an RV. … although I haven’t as yet proved his contention. ~ JanS

  17. Susan Kettles said:

    I am just starting my research. I want a THOW because my husband and I need our space. I want a THOW as an additional place that is all my own. Insulation from sound is important to me. After hiking the Appalachian Trail and moving twice in less than a year, I have purged a lot of stuff. Half my current belongings are outdoor gear. We have 3 acres of mountainous terrain, all covered with trees. So we will need to do some site work for the THOW. The utilities, water, sewerage, electric, propane, phone, internet are an obstacle as well.

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