The Big Tiny Memoir: Dee Williams Shares Realities

Over the years, Dee Williams has acquired many fans. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company folks may try to push everyone aside and say "we are the MOST die-hard fans."

What really gets us going are the stories and insights Dee shares, because she has lived tiny for many years. If you are even thinking about going tiny, we hope you have already watched Dee or read about her. If not, then please visit Portland Alternative Dwellings and catch up.

Dee writes and publishes her story

Dee has written her story, The Big Tiny, which will be officially released by Penguin Press in April 2014. She shares all her clear-headed thinking, including her hopes and fears in abundance. Whether contending with the weather, her concerns about flames in the house or what grade-schoolers experience while stuffing into her house, there's a silver lining: 

"I thought I’d find something in all of this, and I got more than I bargained for. I discovered a new way of looking at the sky, the winter rain, the neighbors, and myself; and a different way of spending my time. Most important, I stumbled into a new sort of “happiness,” one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of satisfaction—to a sense of humility and gratitude, and a better understanding of who I am in my heart.

I know this sounds cheesy, and in fact, it sounds fairly similar to the gobbledygook that friends have thrown at me just after having their first baby. But the facts are the facts: I found a certain bigness in my little house—a sense of largeness, freedom, and happiness that comes when you see there’s no place else you’d rather be."

Watch Dee in action

One of our favorite "day in the life" videos shows Dee Williams going about her daily business, from inside and outside her tiny house. It was filmed as part of a National Building Museum exhibition, and shows Dee living in her home built with Tumbleweed plans.

What's next for Dee

When a book gets published, the author typically travels cross-country to local book store events. Dee Williams may be showing up in your neck of the woods soon:

Washington, DC (4/22) - Brooklyn, NY, PowerHouse Arena (4/23) - St. Louis, MO, Left Bank Books (4/24) - Little Rock, AR, Arkansas Literary Festival (4/23-24) - Denver, CO, Tattered Cover  (4/28) - Boulder, CO, Boulder Book Store (4/29) - Seattle, WA Third Place Books  (5/1) - Portland, OR, Powell's Books (5/2) - Corte Madera, CA, Book Passage (5/4) - Santa Cruz, CA, Bookshop Santa Cruz (5/6) - Los Angeles, CA, Vroman's Bookstore (5/8) - Bellingham, WA, Village Books (5/11)

If you're luck to live near one of these appearances, then put it on your calendar. You will meet Dee, listen to excerpts, and likely mingle with other local tiny housers.

Written by Debby Richman — April 03, 2014

Filed under: Build it yourself   Dee Williams   Portland Alternative Dwellings   The Big Tiny  

The Simple, Organized Life: Physical De-cluttering

Why not ask a professional?  Guest Author Crystal Eakle is a licensed professional organizer who brings extensive experience to helping businesses and consumers organize their priorities, processes and possessions. In this post, Crystal offers advice to start de-cluttering your stuff.

Mindful versus mindless consumption

Now that your mind is clear and focused on a new tiny life, it's time to dive into mindful consumption. I’m talking about all the stuff.

Believe it or not mindless consumption is becoming a thing of the past. Consumers are now giving more consideration to what they are buying and the practices and people behind the products they are buying. Living smaller is the new way to live fuller.

Enter mindful consumption: that place where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. Mindful consumption restores balance in everyday life leading to less stress and better overall health.

Benefits of less stuff

One of the benefits of mindful consumption is less stuff. Less stuff results in less stress because clutter is a distraction. Less distraction can result in better focus. Better focus allows you to be more efficient. Being more efficient creates a peaceful outlook, allowing you to relax. (It's okay to re-read this again.)

Having less stuff frees up space, allowing for more living and less looking for items, re-arranging items, storing items and trying to remember where things are.

Less stuff can also save money. People purchase storage units for items they don’t need any longer, resulting in hundreds of dollars spent on things that aren’t adding anything to their lives!

If living in a smaller space or tiny house is a priority, you’ll need to practice and maintain mindful consumption.

Mindful consumption guidelines

Here are the guidelines on how to get to mindful consumption that will lead you to a new life in a smaller space.

1. Watch less TV. Watching television exposes you to advertising which can lead to more consumption. If you are still adding items into your already full life, then ask yourself if living smaller is really a priority or just something fun to think about.

2. Pause before you buy something. Make a decision to wait 48 hours and re-evaluate before purchasing non-essential items. This pertains to online shopping as well. Visualize where the item will be located in your tiny house.

3. Consider repairing items as opposed to replacing them or, better yet, ask yourself if you really need the item at all.

4. Borrow items when practical, and especially for limited use.

5. Donate or recycle things. If you don’t use it, need it, or love it - let it go!


Crystal Eakle is licensed, bonded and insured and a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), based in Beaufort, SC. She brings extensive experience to helping businesses and consumers organize their priorities, processes and possessions.

Reach Eakle:  crystaleakle-at-gmail-dot-com.
Connect with Crystal Eakle's on LinkedIn

Other Posts:  Mental De-cluttering - Mindful Consumption 


Written by Guest Blogger — March 31, 2014

Filed under: Creating Priorities   Crystal Eakle   Downsizing   Less Stuff   Physical Clutter  

The Simple, Organized Life: Mental De-cluttering

Why not ask a professional?  Guest Author Crystal Eakle is a licensed professional organizer who brings extensive experience to helping businesses and consumers organize their priorities, processes and possessions. In this post, Crystal addresses the mental challenges of de-cluttering.

Make the dream of living in a tiny house a reality this year. The first step in making it a reality is to get mentally ready for a new and exciting life! Living with less stuff, stress, and obligations allow more time, money, and creativity to be your best self and live your best life.

Simplicity isn’t always a simple journey. The first step is identifying what is most important in your life and then carefully eliminating the rest. Let’s begin by eliminating internal mental clutter.

Addressing mental clutter

Mental clutter is something all of us battle in our daily lives. It can be overwhelming when our minds get noisy. The fear that a deadline will be missed or a loved one’s birthday will been forgotten creates anxiety. Our minds are filled with thoughts, worries, anxieties, fears, memories, desires, questions, yearnings, and more thoughts.

To reduce mental clutter we need to get our minds in a productive state where we are in control, relaxed, focused, inspired, and engaged. Just like clearing clutter from a physical space, we need to decide what is worth keeping and what can be eliminated.

Here’s how to begin

First make a list of the purposes, principals, and priorities that make up what is important in your life. These are the things that you really care about and can’t or won’t live without. Maybe living in a tiny house will allow you to spend more time with family and friends, have time to volunteer and help others, spend more time outdoors, consume less easing the burden on the environment, or get out of debt.

Now make a second list of every small thing that you could, should, or might want to do. The collection device can be a notebook and pen, your physical inbox, smart phone, tablet or computer. From jumping out of a plane to buying a new kitchen trash can, it all goes on this list.

Now review the tasks on the second list. Does this list tie back into the purposes, principles and priorities that you identified on the first list? Which items give your life value and further your goals? Which ones add enjoyment? Which items are negatives that you have no intention of starting? Which items just don’t fit in with your new life?

Focus and begin to work on the tasks that tie back into the purposes, principles and priorities that you identified on the first list and you will begin to notice how much easier those items are to complete. Your mind will be in a productive state when you are working on those items because the tasks are associated with the important things in your life.

Moving forward

In the future, when you consider adding a task to your list, ask yourself the important questions. Does this task tie back into my purposes, principles and priorities? Will this task give my life value and further my goals? Will this task add enjoyment to my life?

Remember - when you introduce new tasks into your life, you immediately associate value with those tasks making it harder for you to give them up in the future.

Just like physical clutter, mental clutter is constantly tugging on you for attention. Stop mental clutter and be your most productive, focused and best self. 


Crystal Eakle is licensed, bonded and insured and a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), based in Beaufort, SC. She brings extensive experience to helping businesses and consumers organize their priorities, processes and possessions.

Reach Eakle:  crystaleakle-at-gmail-dot-com.
Connect with Crystal Eakle's on LinkedIn
Other Posts: Physical De-Cluttering - Mindful Consumption


Written by Guest Blogger — March 17, 2014

Filed under: Creating Priorities   Crystal Eakle   Downsizing   Less Stuff   Mental Clutter  

Grist: Is Tiny For You?

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company endorses this new Grist chart because it should make you smile AND address key questions about going tiny. If you are considering full or part-time living in a tiny cottage or house to go, this chart is worth a couple minutes. We also offer our two-cents below.

Should I live in a tiny house?  (Grist, March 2014)

Primary motivations to go tiny

At Tumbleweed, our mission is to help you turn tiny dreams into reality and we're lucky to hear many reasons for going tiny. Your main motivations often include: 

  • Home affordability - having resources to either build or buy
  • Ongoing finances - getting out of a mortgage (or not taking one), changing jobs
  • Home ownership - wanting security of your place, on wheels or foundation
  • Environmental impact - reducing footprint, utility costs, whether on or off-grid
  • Aesthetics - seeking a nice, archetypal home, seeking a simpler mode
  • Adventure - moving elsewhere, wanting a vacation place, new hobbies
  • Life stages - graduating, empty-nesting, returning family, caring for others

Can you leap over the stuff hurdle?

The Grist chart asks about your stuff first, which is a funny yet true gut-check. We laughed because it should be as important as your motivations, philosophies and living priorities. In our culture, stuff is a big deal that fills a house. If you're not ready to store, sell, donate or trash your stuff, then (full-time) living in a tiny house is still a dream.

Written by Debby Richman — March 16, 2014

Filed under: Downsizing   Managing Stuff   Tiny House Questions  

Downstairs Sleeping For Two Real People

Sleeping obsesses us at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. We are pleased to announce a new downstairs bedroom that's roomy. It is separated from the great room! It has storage! We're doing a happy dance, offering a new downstairs sleeping option for two real people.

Vantage magnifies the downstairs sleeping area, which measures 4'6" by 6'3"

Meet The Vantages

The floor plan is available in the Elm 24 Vantage and the Cypress 24 Vantage models. Four adults may sleep comfortably, in the loft and the new downstairs bedroom. Under the magnifying glass, you will see the 4'6' x 6'3" bedroom up close. We placed the sleeping area behind the kitchen, with an open hallway leading to back bathroom. Yes, even the bathroom location is new here.

In the Vantage, there's a folding ladder system (left) and abundant storage (right)

Wait, there's more

For the first time, a cool ladder system has been added to this home which either sits on the edge of the bedroom or tucks away into the loft above. Look more closely (above, left) and you will see the ladder goes through the loft: when you arrive up there, you don't need to rise over the edge of the loft. It's a nice ascent, whether you use the loft for additional sleeping or storage purposes. See drop down ladder in motion here.

With the Vantage floor plan, Tumbleweed delivers more storage than any other plan. In the bedroom (above, right) there are wall cabinets which take advantage of the bedroom walls. What you don't see in the blue-print here are the extra storage areas under the bed, in the kitchen AND in the loft.

 Here's the Elm 24 Vantage, outside and inside (downstairs plan)

Welcome the Elm 24 Vantage

One of three floor plans for the Elm 24' length, the Vantage delivers the bedroom along with a great room and kitchen which are 14'2" long. The other Equator and Overlook floor plans work for different reasons, with the Equator offering a back room for one adult to sleep (or a study) and the Overlook maximizing the great room. Both are fine but not the SLEEPER inside the Elm 24 Vantage, wrapped up in a iconic Elm home!

  Here's the Cypress 24 Vantage, outside and inside (downstairs plan)

Welcome the Cypress 24 Vantage

One of three floor plans for the Cypress 24' length, the Vantage is a special option for this popular home. You experience a roomy bedroom area, the 14'-2" kitchen and great room length AND the terrific bump-out area to use for cozy seating, a study or anything else. When surrounded by five windows, the "nook" is the favorite extra room that's inside and outside.

Decisions, Decisions

As you head into your spring build, the Vantages may offer the right response if you declare: "I don't want to climb a ladder!" or "My dog can't get here easily, and neither can I!" Furthermore, the ladder ascends into the loft and feels safe whenever you do need to reach the extra bedroom or storage up there.

At this point, we welcome all your comments! Did we address your needs? What works and doesn't work here? Would you select this model to build or buy? What questions do you have about the model? It's time for Tumbleweed to see if this floor plan hits your sweet spot, and feel free to drop us a line here.  

Written by Debby Richman — March 13, 2014

Filed under: Cypress 24 Vantage   Elm 24 Vantage   floor plans   Vantage floor plan  
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