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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tiny Houses 1024 682 Alex Linardi

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tiny Houses

  1. Most are built using the same products and following the same set of rules/best practices as a regular house.
  2. Some can be completely powered by an extension cord or go completely off-grid with solar.
  3. The trailer needs regular inspections and maintenance – tires, safety chains, brakes, lights, etc.
  4. You need to weigh your tiny house regularly as it can become quite heavy depending on what you have in there.
  5. Water collection systems and solar can be added, but would need upfront design planning.
  6. When you are considering buying or building, look underneath. There are ways to make them waterproof and critter-proof, and if you don’t take those precautions you could have issues down the road (pun intended).
  7. Jay Shafer is largely credited with jumpstarting the tiny house movement in 1999. But one year prior to that, author Sarah Susanka released her book “The Not So Big House” which was a bestseller.
  8. It’s not just millennials living in tiny houses. They are also popular with those that enjoy regular travel and retirees looking to downsize.
  9. Tiny houses are best suited to individuals that enjoy spending time outdoors. It’s easy to go stir-crazy in a small space, so having access to activities outside of the home is necessary.
  10. Tiny homes are considered to be very environmentally friendly as they use less resources and contribute to less waste.
How to Save Green on Your Grocery Budget 724 483 Alex Linardi

How to Save Green on Your Grocery Budget

Sometimes when I talk about ‘going green’ I’m met with an eye-roll and a shrug, but the truth is whether you live tiny or not, there are ‘eco-tweaks’ that you can make that will save you money and benefit your well-being, especially when it comes to your grocery shopping. If you like the idea of having more cash in your wallet, read on.

Buy In Bulk: If what you’re picturing is a whole pantry full of paper towels that’s not what I am talking about. I am referring to the bulk aisles that you find in most local health food stores or markets. This can be spices, beans, seeds, nuts, coffee, grains, baking products, etc. Just take an empty glass jar with you and get as much as you’d like. By buying this way, you’re saving money (often these items are 15-30% off when they aren’t pre-packaged), saving the earth from unnecessary packaging, and saving on waste because you are controlling exactly how much you buy. Win, Win, Win.

Drink More: but only from your own reusable bottles. I personally prefer stainless steel. It keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold, plus it’s dishwasher safe which makes me very happy. Plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups take up a huge amount of space in our landfills. We can do better than that. There’s a reusable bottle for every personality out there. A bottle of water at the airport is $5. Bringing your own bottle and filling it up at the water fountain is free. And if you need more incentive in the morning, there are many companies that offer discounts on your coffee if you bring your own bottle (hello Starbucks, Dunkin and Peet’s). If you’re like me and drink A LOT of coffee and water all day long, you could save yourself as much as $1,500. That’s a huge savings, let alone all of the bottles and coffee cups that aren’t going into the landfill.

Shop Local: Depending on where you live, farmer’s markets can be seasonal or year-round. Visit them. Take advantage of them. They aren’t just vegetables; you can find many awesome products there at a fraction of the price. Also, learn from them. The people doing the selling are more than likely the ones that are also doing the growing. Which means those vendors know exactly what they used when growing the food you are about to ingest. Bonus: you can save lots on organics. And even if a product isn’t considered organic, ask. You may learn that they use sustainable practices, but haven’t pursued the certifications yet. Take your own reusable bags & totes and leave knowing that you just saved some cash and unnecessary packaging waste.

Shop Smart & Prep Right: Buy only what you can eat before it goes bad. I am often guilty of having eyes bigger than my stomach, but the truth is that food waste is a huge problem. Americans throw out an average of 40% of their food each year, mostly due to poor planning. Take a list with you. Plan out your week. If you aren’t going to have an opportunity to eat it, don’t buy it. Things will come up, it’s inevitable. An unexpected brunch invite from a friend or a late night at the office could mean ordering in. When that happens, the prep is key. Take 30-minutes when you get home from the farmer’s market to wash, chop and prep everything. This way it’s ready-to-go when the hunger strikes or easy to toss in the freezer for later.

Skip The Brown Bag: But take the lunch. Packing your lunch everyday can sound old-school, but the truth is, it will save you a ton of money, it’s usually healthier and it’s better for the environment. You are in control of what’s on your plate, instead of being at the mercy of whatever restaurant you can get a meal from on your quick lunch break. Plus, when you take your own reusable containers (hello Pyrex and stainless steel bentos) you aren’t dealing with the mess of your food being wrapped in trash. You can save yourself $200 a month just by packing your own lunch.

Sustainability Tips and FAQs for Living Tiny 1024 683 Alex Linardi

Sustainability Tips and FAQs for Living Tiny

There are plenty of benefits that come with living the tiny lifestyle. Flexibility,  freedom, and ease are the advantages that usually come to mind, but reducing your environmental footprint is another big bonus. Reducing living quarters doesn’t automatically make your lifestyle more eco-friendly, though. There is plenty more to it. That’s why it’s important to develop some of these green habits while living life on the tiny side.

  • Look for Energy Star options when replacing outdated electronics and appliances to save energy and money.
  • One stainless bottle can replace your daily water bottle, coffee cup and thermos. Using one for all 3 eliminates waste and clutter.
  • To save on lighting usage, use windows and natural light as much as possible throughout the day.
  • Do your research on the items that you buy regularly. Ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing all play an important role and impact what we buy.
  • Make more of your meals at home. You’ll save on food waste, save money on take-out, and save on emissions on driving out to eat. Plus, you won’t be discarding any plastic take-out containers.
  • Now that it is spring, focus on using less resources and enjoying your environment – spend your time going on a hike, check out the local farmers market, or organize a community garage sale.
  • Make conscious decisions regarding your consumerism. Buying, storing, and using too many things can contribute to stress and waste.
  • Grow your own food. Even if you live in a small space, you can still grow your own herbs. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, but growing your own food helps you to de-stress.
  • Did you know that the materials that you use on your roof can make a dramatic difference in your home’s energy efficiency? When it comes time to replace what you have now, be sure to consider a product that offers green benefits.
  • Rainwater harvesting systems are a fantastic way to save on your water usage. A rain collection system is simple to install and can be hooked up to sprinkler systems.
  • Use your landscaping to your advantage! Planting trees can protect your home from direct sunlight, keeping it cooler.
But, where do I put my stuff? 1024 701 Alex Linardi

But, where do I put my stuff?

Downsizing to live in a tiny house can either be exciting or extremely stressful. Some people find it liberating to free themselves from their ‘stuff’ while others find it overwhelming. If you wait until you’re ready to pull the trigger and buy your tiny house, you won’t have much time to downsize all of your belongings to fit into 200 square feet. At 84 Tiny Living, we always recommend that you start downsizing when you start thinking about going tiny. We even have a few tips to help you with the process:

  • Try to challenge yourself by donating or getting rid of 5 things a day. If you did that every day for a month, you would have successfully downsized by 150 items. Continue on that path for as long as necessary.
  • For those items that you aren’t sure if you will need, put them in a box in the closet. If you don’t open that box within 6 months, then it’s time to donate it.
  • Measure the space you live in now, then measure off 200 square feet (or the size of the tiny you are thinking about moving into) to get a feel of what it will be like. Challenge yourself to live only in that space and see what it feels like. Take notice of everything that you use on a daily basis and make sure you include it in that space.

Once you know what items will be going with you then you can decide how much, and what kind, of storage you will need in your tiny house.

  • Perhaps you need a tall closet to hang dresses or dress shirts. Or, maybe you don’t wear those types of items, so you need a lot of shelves to store folded items on.
  • Maybe you like to snack and cook, so you need a lot of cabinet space in your tiny kitchen. Be sure to check the height of the containers of foods that you regularly cook with, so you know how high to build the shelves.
  • If you have a lot of shoes, you’ll need an area by the door to use for storing them all.
  • If you have a cat, where will you store the litter box?

Storage areas can easily be built into your tiny house; however, you should have an idea of what you will need before you start the build. This way you can be well prepared and won’t be scrambling to pack it all in at the end.

Why the wheels? 1024 768 Alex Linardi

Why the wheels?

This month I want to give you some insight on why our houses are on the small(er) side and on wheels. First off, when taking on any type of project there needs to be a planning period. For us this means design work, meeting with an architect, meeting with the engineer, and repeat. This process has been known to happen several times, and occasionally even during the build, to ensure that what we are putting out is the product that we feel our customers are most asking for.

With that being said, in the fall of 2015 when the team began researching tiny living, we came to the consensus to build our first 4 models on trailers. We wanted to stay true to the lifestyle, which we interpreted at the time to be a tiny house that is mobile and can be taken anywhere, and everywhere. All of our houses are towable with a ¾ ton truck and follow DOT regulations – i.e. they are all under 13.5’, so you can fit under most bridges and overpasses. We really wanted the average driver, or homeowner, to have the ability to move anytime wanderlust hit them. We built them so that you would not need to get a permit and oversize load escorts anytime you want to move. We also went through several designs and engineering with our trailer manufacturer to make sure that the weight of the house is equally distributed and the trailer will sustain it.

We put thousands of miles on our models every year, taking them to shows and events to show them off, so you can put your mind at ease knowing that your house has the capability of traveling with you wherever you want to go!

However, if having a tiny house on wheels isn’t your thing, but you are interested in living minimally on a foundation, stay tuned, because those are coming soon!

It’s Official! 683 1024 Alex Linardi

It’s Official!

84 Tiny Living has partnered with Alyssa Bean and Dan Mini on an exciting new project!

Alyssa and Dan, with the help of Skoolie Homes and ourselves, are renovating a school bus to live in and travel to all 48 mainland states. They made the decision to pack up their lives and put it on wheels to chase after the myriad of experiences that America has to offer. To live tiny, whether it be on a bus, or a tiny house on wheels, is a commitment to living intentionally and experiencing the freedom that that offers. We are thrilled to be a part of their journey!

 

Everyone has been working hard to get their renovation complete so that Alyssa & Dan can start their journey across the US in January 2019! Skoolie Homes, arguably the most well-known bus conversion company, has been working diligently on the build with materials from 84 Lumber. Our associates are all in on the build, with custom features from 84 Tiny Living, 84 Millwork, and 84 Sign Shop. We’ll be posting updates to our blog and social channels along the way!

Be sure to check out their pages and follow along with us to see what’s to come!

https://www.lyssbean.com/

https://skoolie.homes/

Throwing a (tiny) dinner party. 724 483 Alex Linardi

Throwing a (tiny) dinner party.

FACT: When converting to a tiny house your lifestyle will change.

You will need to get rid of some items. Your cleaning routine will be altered. You will become more aware of the space you once occupied, for better or worse.

Fortunately for you though, there are just as many things that will not have to change. You can still bring your own sense of style into your home. You can still cook yourself meals whenever you want. And, you can still have friends over and host dinner parties.  Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you throw a party in your tiny space.

  1. Clear out the clutter. Living in a tiny house, there isn’t much clutter, but if you aren’t planning on using it for the party, put it away. You want to be able to take advantage of as much countertop space as possible.
  2. Take advantage of outdoor space if the climate permits. If you are hosting your party in a warmer climate, consider having it outside. There are places where you can rent a table and chairs, if needed. Hang up some string lights and set up an outdoor speaker for a chill vibe. Just be courteous and let your neighbors know what you are planning.
  3. Keep the menu simple. This is something that I struggle with. I love cooking big, extravagant meals, but the truth is, it can be very labor intensive for a large party. Nothing is wrong with a good cheese tray, one-skillet dinners and ice cream sundaes for dessert.
  4. Make it a potluck. I hate going to a gathering empty-handed. Plan to cook the main dish and appetizers, but let some of your guests bring a side or dessert if they please.
  5. Serve food that requires minimal plates and utensils. If there isn’t a ton of room for your guests to sit and eat at a table, you need to ensure that you are serving food that can be eaten standing up. That means nothing that needs to be cut or held with 2 hands.
  6. Keep the air moving. Packing several people into a tiny space can result in not a lot of air movement. Consider how you will cool the space.
  7. Designate a space for the stuff. Depending on the time of year, your guests may come with coats. Make sure you have a space to put these that are out of the way, like your loft. You don’t want to lose precious seating because everyone is throwing everyone their jacket over a chair.

With a little planning, your tiny space can be just as functional as any other! And a little more cozy!

Navigating Around the Roadblocks to Ownership 724 483 Alex Linardi

Navigating Around the Roadblocks to Ownership

Last month we discussed a few of the roadblocks to owning and living in your tiny house. If you haven’t seen that blog, take a few minutes to go back and read it.

 

Good news:

If you are planning on traveling with your tiny house on wheels, you won’t have to worry about zoning or building codes. You just need to find someplace to park it. You can choose to pay to stay at a campground or RV park, or you can stay on a friend or family member’s property. Some states prohibit living in one full-time, but that rule is usually only reinforced if your neighbors are complaining. (https://bit.ly/2D2A96p)

 

However, some states do allow Accessory Dwelling Units to be built and used. These are tiny houses built on foundations, with a secondary residential dwelling located on a single-family lot. In other words, a tiny house is acceptable if there is another, larger (standard sized) house, that meets the zoning and building codes, on the same lot.

 

Better News:

A citizen is able to apply for a variance through the local planning commission to build outside the existing codes. Some states are more progressive than others, so if you’re thinking of moving look into these places: California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon & Texas.

 

Best News:

There is momentum behind the Tiny House Movement to permanently change the zoning regulations. Tiny house advocates are currently pushing to include a tiny house code in the IRC that would become a model code for all tiny houses used as a primary residence within the United States. Code would ensure that safety regulations are created and met by all tiny house builds.

 

Ownership of a tiny house may be tricky right now, but it isn’t impossible, and we want to help you accomplish your goal of living in one. Contact Us with your questions and we’ll see how we can help!

Roadblocks to Ownership 1024 768 Lexi Long

Roadblocks to Ownership

Tiny houses are great! They offer financial freedom, mobility and more time to spend doing the things you love! So why isn’t everyone going tiny?

There are some hurdles to living in a tiny house that we would be remiss not to address. Unfortunately, even though there is overwhelming support and interest in tiny homes, it still isn’t easy to legally live in them full-time.

Zoning Regulations – Zoning determines the size requirements of your home based on what zone it is located in. You will need to contact your local zoning or planning department to find that information. Many municipalities have a minimum habitable structure definition, meaning you can’t live full-time in a dwelling that is under “x” amount of square feet, typically 1,000 or more.

Building Codes – Building, or construction codes, tell you how to build your house. The International Building Code (IRC)is where most of the country’s local building codes have been adopted from. These codes are typically for one- and two-family dwellings and contains size specifications for rooms (except bathrooms & kitchens). For example, rooms must be at least 70 square feet, while ceiling height must be 7 feet.

Social Pressures – Even with the popularity of tiny houses, many people are intimidated to tell family members and friends that they want to live in or build one. There is a social stigma against not “keeping up with the Jones’” and a bigger house = success to many people, so it can understandably be frightening to announce to everyone that you want to downsize. Also, there is a lot of research that needs to go into planning for your tiny home, which can be daunting to those that do not wish to talk to their government officials and spend time discerning local building and zoning codes.

Don’t worry though, it isn’t all doom & gloom. There is a lot of momentum behind the tiny house movement and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. Check back next month for Part 2 – how to find your way around these roadblocks.

7 Reasons why you should attend a trade show. 1024 768 Lexi Long

7 Reasons why you should attend a trade show.

When our tiny living team decides to take a tiny house to a show there are many questions we must answer first. We want to be sure that we will be able to make an impact on those that are attending in a positive way. We realize that you have paid money and may have traveled to attend, so we want to give you the best bang for your buck. A lot of these shows are massive and can be intimidating for a first-time (and even repeat) attendee, but don’t let that stop you! Here are just 7 reasons why going to a show, and getting the most out of it, is beneficial to you.

  1. You get to see the product in person. Nothing beats actually getting to witness a product in real life. Descriptions can only take you so far, but to be able to touch and see the product in question will make your decision much more informed.
  2. Build relationships. Network with other like-minded individuals. This is a great way to meet people that share your interests.
  3. Meet the experts. This is the perfect time to have immediate communication with the people that know the product best! A FAQ on a website can only get you so far; at a show you have the advantage of being able to talk face to face with someone and get comprehensive information and answers to your questions.
  4. Educational and networking programs. These are a great way to increase your expertise and share experiences. You can ask questions and learn the why behind other people’s decisions, which can prevent you from repeating their mistakes.
  5. Stimulate new ideas. Maybe you will find or see something that you never thought of before. You can see someone else’s way of doing something and mold it to work for you.
  6. Special deals. Many trade show booths will offer special deals while you are at the show. For example, we are giving away a free set of plans and 10% off materials, all you need is a valid email address to enter. Many times we will also offer a special discounted price on our model houses.
  7. Make a plan and have fun! Remember, you are there to gain insight and see some creative products. If you have a limited schedule, plan beforehand what seminars you want to participate in and what booths are a ‘must see’ for you. Try not to get frustrated if there is a line, instead, start a conversation. You never know who you will meet or what you can learn!

We will be at the Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree in Austin, TX August 24th-26th and at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA September 14th-16th. Stop by and say hi if you are in the area!

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