I had a wonderful time at the Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop. (Visit the site here to find a workshop in your area.) I met some great people, made excellent connections, and learned a great deal.
In fact, it was difficult to distill everything I learned into a short blog post. But here are the 5 top takeaways from the workshop:
- I knew more than I thought I did. From a beginner level, I would say I am pretty knowledgable. Now begins the intermediate stage of the learning process. Expert status would only be reached, in my opinion, if one successfully builds a tiny house with their own bare hands. We may never reach that status (which is OK) if we choose to have a builder build ours.
- Tool Libraries – If you are fortunate enough to have such a thing in your area, you can pretty much borrow tools for cheap. It only becomes expensive if you break or lose the tool, because you put your credit card down for the full value of replacing the item when you check it out.
- Registering your Tiny House On Wheels (THOW) with the DMV. If the build is DIY, when you get the trailer, you need to register it as a permanent trailer. Then, once it is built, you need to register it as a custom RV.
- We learned what it is like to actually be in a tiny house on wheels. While Briana and I had been in a tiny house before, it was not on wheels (a fixed tiny house; frankly, many of us have been in one of those before, right? 😉 Before entering one, we thought they were big enough. After listening to others who have been in them, we then believed they were big enough. But now that we have actually be in not just one, but two this weekend, now we can say that we know that these critters are spacious enough.
- Important steps to control moisture. I learned important ways to control moisture in a tiny house, so to prevent black mold from growing. In order to prevent moisture accumulation, it is essential to install vents over your cooktop and your shower and to have a properly-ventilated roof.
This weekend, we are in Nashville so David can attend a weekend tiny house workshop put on by Tumbleweed (visit the Tumbleweed Tiny House website here). I, on the other hand, decided to do a little bit of sightseeing!
Oh, by the way, Nashville is hosted the annual CMA Music Awards this week and the CMA Fest continues throughout the weekend, so it should be a little bit crazy – and fun! – down here.
For the last 8 months, not only have we been purging, but we have been educating ourselves by watching all the tiny house shows on TV, joining a number of virtual communities, and checking out different blogs…
We have also been moving in the direction of living our lives as simulated to tiny house living as we can. My office is in a separate space…David works in the living room or from coffee shops when he can. That has been the biggest part of the learning process. We have had to change our thinking because of the flexibility and freedom of living tiny. More of our LIFE can happen outside of the four walls of our home if we choose. We are becoming better students of the world around us, and we are excited for the opportunity!
David is in charge of designing our tiny house and making it into a reality. His education and planning started by storing a lot of pictures and videos, taking copious notes and designing different possible floor plans using pencil and paper.
He currently is learning how to use 3-D software so he can take our design ideas to the next level. David has been so committed and diligent regarding studying and learning about all things tiny, that he has moved from novice to proficient in record time – well on his way to expert status!
Education has been key thus far…and we know we will have to continue learning as we launch our tiny house experience!
We have been doing a great job paring down.
David has for years been pairing down, so he is ready (or at least so he thinks) for the final purge before moving into our new home.
We have discovered several things through our slow, but steady purging process.
First, purging is a marathon – not a race! As a former collegiate track athlete, David knows the endurance and focus it takes to be in it for the long haul. And that is exactly what the purging process should be. It will take time to determine what we REALLY need and what are really wants. One bit of advice we offer is to create a prioritized list of things you think you want and/or need. We recommend putting it in electronic format (we have a word document that we integrate with our Evernote app on our phone). Then when you see something you want to buy, decide where it belongs on the list. When you realize you need to buy X before you buy Y, it helps you not to buy impulsively or something you really don’t need. Intentional living is a prerequisite to living simply.
Second, it has really been fun identifying multiple uses for some of the items we already own! A small television long forgotten in a second bedroom may now find new life in a tiny house media center as a TV/computer screen. Decorative plates will now be used to both eat our everyday meals and as small platters to serve guests. David and I now ask – “Can this serve double duty?” It has almost become a game!
We learn so much every day through paring down. We have learned about each other. We have learned how extra “stuff” can distract us from what matters most. We have also learned that in a pinch wide-mouth coffee mugs might also double as great cereal bowls!
This is our first blog post! We are so excited to share our vision and our journey toward full-time tiny house living! Our hope is that our triumphs, our struggles, our laughter, our tears, etc., might be an encouragement to others looking into the tiny house movement.
David and I will continue to share our journey with you – from purging, to sketching, to building, to living in our tiny home! Please join us on the ride. I promise it will be exciting!