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Thread: Small House/Small Space Living: Are you part of this movement?

  1. #1
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    Small House/Small Space Living: Are you part of this movement?

    Hi all,

    I'm intensely interested in living in only the amount of space one truly needs, and one aspect of this is small house/apartment living. I personally live in a ~600 square foot apartment in Washington, DC, having previously lived in a 1800 square foot home in Minneapolis before moving to the nation's capital.

    What choices have you made to live 'smaller' (but better!)? Have you moved to a smaller home/apartment/condo? Anybody on the forum live in one of the ultra cool small homes (those usually built on a trailer and sized anywhere from 150 to 500 or so square feet)? Many on the forum have written about getting rid of the extra stuff they don't need, such as clothes, books, cars, etc. (I won't ask about any 'lightening the load' by getting rid of partners ).

    I'd love to hear what you are all doing in terms of living in smaller places or anything related to this thread you'd like to share.

  2. #2
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Loved the topic @Holly !

    I have a great interest in the tiny homes movement and I am always looking for some space saving tips and furniture!

    Recently thanks to the TB Forums I learned about "Capsule wardrobe" and "Project 333" that is greatly helping me to reduce the amount of space I need for storage at home.

    I went from a walk in closet to a cloth rack and now I am researching a way to make the more adjustable cloth rack.

    My ultimate goal is to be able to live very well in what I like to call a "cruiser cabin" space, trading unused space for more time outside!
    Last edited by eWalker; 08-24-2014 at 08:44 AM.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    While I am currently in the smallest house I've ever owned at 1,000-1,200 feet it is by no means a "Tiny House". That said I've read everything I can get my hands on about the tiny house movement. Some day I may get down to half of what I have now but until then I just try to keep my consumerist tendencies in check. I've been on a real clear out kick the last several months and nowhere near done.
    Looking forward to how this thread goes,
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    Registered User adalangdon's Avatar
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    Great thread, Holly! I live in a 1722 sqft condo with my partner and 2 cats who don't get along (for now), so the space is helpful. However, we'll be moving to a 1300 sooner or later to be near future workplaces. All things said, I'm looking forward to downsizing because it will force my partner to stay tidy and get rid of "sentimental value" items. That, and it'll be easier for me and part-time cleaners to clean up.

    I've managed to lead a relatively uncluttered life despite the huge excess of space here for 2 reasons. One, I'm clean-freak-y and that dictates a lot of my choices-- the fewer things we have, the fewer dust-receptacles there are around the house. Two, I've prioritised what I like to collect. I have a lot of bags, watches (some fancy and others not-so-fancy) and Doc Martens and rubber-soled sneakers. I make it a point to go through these every once in a while and take a hard look at whether I'll be wearing them. But since experience has shown that I do get around to wearing/using nearly everything, I keep things together by scrupulously ensuring they are always stored neatly in their designated places. ALWAYS. I don't have much of other stuff. But I have to say that since I've been blessed with a fondness for tidying up-- it is a hobby, almost-- sticking to my routines re the above doesn't take much effort.
    Last edited by adalangdon; 08-24-2014 at 08:43 AM.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    I fully embrace the small space movement. I live in a 472sqft condo in a high rise in downtown Minneapolis. It's really well designed with plenty of storage space. I bike, walk, and use public transportation. To me, small spaces mean urban living, but there are days when I'd love to plunk a micro house in the woods by a lake and call it a day!

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    My condo burned many years ago. Immediately after I moved onto a 500 foot apartment and loved it. Would do it again in a heartbeat. I've been thinking g about clearing out enough to empty out my second floor and living on the 842 foot downstairs. It would get me one step closer and require that I continue my clear out.
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    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    I wrote on my website, and here, about moving out of my home and into an extended stay hotel.

    It's been nearly five months and I love it. It's like living in a small studio. The only thing I had to add was a toaster oven because the room had a microwave and stovetop but no real oven.

    I'm at the end of the hall so it's fairly quiet. I get free cable tv, wifi, housekeeping, basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, dish soap and dishwasher soap, and a free newspaper every morning. Breakfast is free every morning and three nights a week they have a "manager's reception" that includes some type of hot dish, salad, and free beer, wine and soft drinks. Coffee is available in the lobby 24 hours a day. There's a business center with the free use of computers and printer. If I need some basic office supplies, the front desk will give them to me. There's also a free laundry room with washers & dryers--I only have to supply the soap--and a fitness room. Two barbecue grills are next to the pool. Free parking and a free shuttle service within a five mile radius.

    For a single person, it's great. And when I'm ready to go, all I have to do is checkout. Oh, did I mention the thousands of frequent stay points I'm getting by staying here. In a sense double points--the points earned by staying at the hotel and the additional points I get charging the stay to my credit card.

    And another really great thing about a long term stay is no taxes. After 90 days, I no longer have to pay any taxes on my room, and the taxes I have paid have been refunded to me.

    Everything else I still own, that's not with me at my hotel, fits into a 5 x 5 storage unit. About a 1/4 of that stuff is travel related--bags, accessories, etc. I find that since the clearout, I really miss nothing.
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    I'm a pretty big proponent of this style of living. Currently, I live in an apartment that's a bit under 600 sq ft with my boyfriend and cat. To be honest, it's too big for us actually. I think closer to 400 sq ft would be perfect (or less even if well laid out), but we cook a lot and having a nice open kitchen with a decent amount of counter space is important, and all the smaller places we looked at when we found this place were very lacking in that department. Our goal is to buy some land and build a tiny treehouse to live in (ideally off the grid, using solar power and rain water catchment). This would also give us outdoor space to grow vegetables and host picnic dinners.

    I seem to recall someone posting a link on here to their blog about building a tiny house, which was pretty cool.
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    If I lived alone, this is the way I would choose to live. In fact, my favorite solo living arrangement was a large studio apartment in Chicago - I don't remember the square footage, but even that was bordering on too big for my needs. Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I are polar opposites when it comes to this - he dreams of large houses on acres of land, while I shudder at the thought of a house over 1000 sq ft. And I'll admit that I do covet a more spacious home when he's engaging in his two favorite hobbies - playing music or working with tools.

    So for now, I'll continue to adore the tiny house movement from afar and continue to simplify my life on other fronts - culling my belongings, ridding our home of the unnecessary clutter, embracing a smaller wardrobe (I'm also a Project 333 lover), eating a vegan diet, and just prioritizing simple living on all levels.
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    I've been gradually downsizing both stuff and space over the last 5 years or so. Originally I shared a 2000 sq foot house, with an attached garage and a storage shed out back. Between my dad and myself, we had the house, the shed, and the garage pretty well stuffed with stuff. It took about 6 months of sorting to get to the point where I was able to move into a 1000 sq ft, 2-bedroom apartment with no additional storage (beyond a few keepsakes still at my dad's.) That 2-bedroom apartment was still pretty full, between clothes, books, hobbies, etc.

    After 2 years in 1000 sq feet, I started another purge, and a year later I was able to downsize again, to a 770 sq ft 1-bedroom apartment, with a tiny 5x5 storage unit which mostly holds Christmas decorations, spare luggage, and all the closet doors removed from the apartment. 770 sq ft is about right for me right now, but I expect that my next move will be to about 600 sq ft, probably in a large studio.

    I've found that the keys to smaller space are to figure out the things you love that are worth dedicating space to, cut back on non-essentials, and to "go digital" whenever possible. Converting my books to Kindle (*sob* I still miss my home library, but I had to accept I was reading on Kindle and just admiring the paper copies) and my movies to Netflix/Amazon saved an entire room worth of space. Culling my closet (I'm still working on P333) and cutting back on "stocking up" on bulk things has allowed me to use my limited storage for the things I *do* need or love like my bag collection, a few hardback books, and photos instead of wasting that space on clothes I never wear or a year's worth of toiletry products that can be easily acquired from a store when needed.

    After spending so many years in the habit of stocking up when things were on sale, buying because something was shiny, and generally not thinking about the space involved in owning whatever caught my eye, the change to consciously considering every purchase was a long, tough one, and is still a work in progress. But in the long run, I'm a lot happier having a few things of good quality that I LOVE, than I was with piles of things of mediocre quality that were just OK, or that I was owning just to say I owned it.
    Rambling On. . . . .

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    @Meglet We have very similar stories. I live now in a 600 Sq ft apartment that is almost the size of my living room years ago and like you, my library, records and CD collections were the hardest part to deal with.

    I am planning to reduce some 100 Sq ft of space next year due to P 333 and some better use of my living space.

    When I started to think about moving to a smaller space, I thought that I would need smart "transformer" furniture, moving walls and a bunch of high tech stuff and took me while to realize that I needed to reduce my stuff and not just find other ways to store it!

    That is when I learned about KISS (Keep I Simple and Small or Keep It Simple Stupid)!

    But letting it go books, records, CD 's and old hobbies was a turning point in my downsizing process.

    After that I moved to find what I really used/needed on the house and for what.

    From that stage I learned to spend more time out of the house, to enjoy using public areas and meet friends outside my home.

    Finally now, I have really cut down on my wardrobe and that has saved me a unbelievable amount of space!

    Sometime later I am going to post links of videos that inspired me in that process!
    Last edited by eWalker; 08-24-2014 at 04:47 PM.
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    I'm not part of this movement, but I always appreciate a good thread on paring down excess stuff. I once read that a large home can be defined by having a room that you don't use on a daily basis, and I do agree with that. I have been telling myself that just because something is nice, I don't have to have it (but that is hard with TB stuff). A big step for me has been using the public library regularly, though I am always happy to visit a good bookstore.

    Keep the comments coming - these threads are good reading.
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  14. #14
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    Ikea does lots of great furniture for small spaces. A full office that folds down to nothing, bed/office/wardrobe solutions, very multifunctional and great ideas for small spaces.
    8 Amazingly-Tiny Micro-Apartments - Forbes
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_DNk9cqk6c
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  15. #15
    jed
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    I admire this practice and I think that my wife and I strive for it in theory, but in practice, at the moment there are 5 of us plus two pets in the house and stuff accumulates. (Having kids makes you a magnet for everyone elses' stuff!) My wife is good at kicking us into action to purge a couple of times per year, so it's keeping us in this place for the time being. We love the house, love the neighborhood, but at 1400 sq. ft and 7 beings there definitely aren't any unused rooms!

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