10 Lessons Living Tiny Has Taught Me! Part Two

Hi, my name is Lora, and I have been living tiny for a little over a year now.  I purchased my Tumbleweed Cypress in September of 2014, and I absolutely love it!  I am always excited when I get to share my experiences with other people who are interested in this lifestyle.

Last week, Lora shared the first FIVE lessons she learned from living tiny. This week she is sharing five more!   

6. Living tiny has encouraged me to travel more

Although I don’t currently travel with my tiny house RV, I am able to travel more than I did when I was in my conventional home.  The combination of fewer monthly expenses and fewer household chores has freed up time and money for me to spend it in other places.  Currently, I am trying to complete a half-marathon in every state, so traveling has become a way for me to meet some of my fitness goals, see the country and have fun!

Living in a smaller space encourages you to explore more.   One of my friends asked me once if I traveled so much because I was trying to “escape” my tiny space.  I can honestly say, that I don’t travel to leave my small space, but rather to explore places I’ve never been.  I believe there is so much to see in this world, and although most of my travel has been in the United States so far, I am hoping to continue my travel adventure into the future.  Where would you go if you had the money and the time?  Do you think living tiny would make travel more possible?  Take the time consider all the possibilities.

Lora's running medals hang near the front door in her Tumbleweed Cypress

7. Living tiny has given me more flexibility and freedom

One of the things I wanted to accomplish when I downsized, was to give myself more flexibility in terms of how much and where I worked as well as options regarding where I lived.  Living tiny has given me a lot more freedom in terms of how I make my living.  Although, I am not to the point where I can quit my current job (not that I want to, I actually like it most days), I am moving towards paying off debt, saving a considerable amount in an emergency fund and reducing my monthly expenses. 

All of these things have given me more flexibility in terms of what I do in the future.  That flexibility has increased my sense of excitement about the future and increased my sense of security. I know that I will always have some place to live that I own and can afford, which is a pretty awesome feeling.  What would you do with more freedom and flexibility?  How would your life look different if you decided to downsize?

8. Living tiny has reminded me of what I truly love

I can honestly say that living tiny has helped me remember what I truly love in life.  One of the reasons I downsized was because I felt trapped in my life a year ago.  I was stuck in a job I didn’t enjoy and felt like I had very few options.  I was living paycheck to paycheck and I couldn’t see a way out.  If you have ever experienced something like that, you know it can be incredibly draining and stressful.  Downsizing allowed me to slow down enough to give me room to pursue my passions, and that has made me a better person.

Downsizing allowed me to refocus my priorities, get more intentional about life and pursue things I truly enjoyed.  For me those things were reading more, traveling more, racing in half-marathons (I know that one is kind of crazy!), writing more, learning photography and sharing my experiences with other people.  Are you spending your days doing the things you love?  Are you spending your time with the people you love?  If not, why? 

Lora uses a drop leaf table in her kitchen to increase counter space for a desk 

9. Living tiny has made me a more grateful person

Living tiny has also made me a more grateful person.  Again, because my previous circumstances were challenging, I had gotten in the habit of looking at the negatives in life.  It wasn’t that I wanted to be a negative person, it was just that I didn’t have the energy or the margin in my life to focus on anything else.  I had a hard time appreciating the little things.

Living tiny has given me more margin in my life in terms of money and time, which has given me more emotional reserve.  I notice and appreciate the small things now.  I am more thankful for the things I own because instead of weighing me down my possessions add value to my life.  Living tiny has allowed me to pursue my passions and has encouraged me to be more grateful for the time I have to spend doing the things I love with the people I care about.  What are you grateful for?  Have you spent time this week thinking about the little things that make life a little brighter?  Slow down a little and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

10. Living tiny has helped me pursue my dreams

Finally, living tiny has given me the courage to pursue my dreams.  For me that means starting my own business and looking for ways to encourage others.  It means getting myself to a position financially where I can retire early (my goal is by age 45!) if I decide I want to.  It means pursuing my hobbies and spending more time with the people who make me smile. 

What if you could create a lifestyle that encouraged you to Dream Big instead of just survive? 


Click here to read PART ONE of Lora's article

If you enjoyed this post, check out Lora's website & twitter

*All photos taken by fullquiverphotography.com 


Would you like your Tumbleweed build to be featured on this blog? 
Email: Jenna@tumbleweedhouses.com

Written by Guest Blogger — February 12, 2016

Filed under: lessons   living   teacher   tiny home   tiny house   tumbleweed  

10 Lessons Living Tiny Has Taught Me: Part One

Hi, my name is Lora, and I have been living tiny for a little over a year now.  I purchased my Tumbleweed Cypress in September of 2014, and I absolutely love it! 

I am currently living in Georgia at a wonderful RV park that allows full-time residents.  One of the advantages of having a custom built Tiny House RV from Tumbleweed, is that I am RIVA certified.  I was able to title and tag my Tiny House RV just like a traditional RV and have had no issues with the park where I am.

I am always excited when I get to share my experiences with other people who are interested in this lifestyle. Today I wanted to share 10 lessons with you that living tiny has taught me: Part 1!

   1. Living tiny has helped me differentiate between NEEDS and WANTS

I have always been a simplifier and organizer, and I never really considered myself much of a shopper, but boy was I wrong!  Once I went tiny, I realized how much of what I purchased didn’t actually add value to my life.  It was kind of an alarming and depressing realization.  On the upside, downsizing has made me much more intentional about the things I buy.  I now have a solid routine in place for each trip to the store that helps me decide if I truly “need” something or if I just “want” it and whether or not an item is worth the purchase.

Before you go tiny, get in the habit of looking at every purchase.  Ask yourself the following questions:  Does this add value to my life?  Is this item really necessary?  Do I have room for it in my new space?  These are questions I never really considered before I moved into my Tiny House RV, but they have become key components of every shopping trip I make.  Now that isn’t to say, I don’t still splurge on pure “wants,” it’s just that now when I purchase something I can tell you how it’s going to add value to my life and that has made all the difference in the world.

2. Living tiny has changed my perspective on space

If you had ask me a year ago if my Tumbleweed would fundamentally change me, I’m not sure how I would have answered. However, after a year in my Tiny House RV, I realize that it has made me more conscious of how I use space and certainly more appreciative of what I actually need and want to be comfortable in terms of square footage.

If you are just starting out on your tiny house journey, make sure you take the time to analyze how you use your current space and how you want to use future space. Make a list of the activities you want to do in your space and make sure you match your smaller living space with your “must have” list.  And the next time you are traveling take the time to pay attention to the space you use in your temporary home. Is it all really necessary? Is there anything you can do without?  Taking the time to notice the space around you, will help you immensely when it’s time to design your space and make the transition to a smaller home.

3. Living tiny has encouraged me to spend less

Closely related to the first two lessons, living tiny has encouraged me to spend less.  I spend less partly because I have less space, as I mentioned earlier, smaller spaces encourage more intentional purchases.  The fact that I try to determine if an item is truly going to add value to my day-to-day life before I buy something has greatly reduced impulse purchases.  I am much less likely to roam the aisles of a major superstore now than I was before I moved.  Again, the mindset adopted from asking myself if each purchase adds value (and fits into my space!) has made me less likely to spend money on things I don’t really need or want.

I am also no longer in a constant state of “upgrading and updating” my home.  When I lived in my townhouse, I was always spending money on the next project.  However, when I went tiny, I was able to hire Tumbleweed to build my house exactly like I wanted.  This alone has saved me thousands of dollars in renovation costs on my “traditional home.”  Ask yourself the following questions:  How much would I save if I wasn’t always trying to update my current space?  How much do I spend on non-essential decorative items in my current space?  What do I truly need for my home to feel like “home”?  Asking these questions now can help you save money in the future.

4.  Living tiny has helped me escape the

earn-to-spend treadmill

Before I downsized, a considerable amount of my monthly income went to housing expenses.  These included my mortgage payment, home owners association fees, utilities, upkeep and maintenance on my primary home.  I could afford these things, but I never felt like I could get ahead with my monthly budget.

Living tiny has allowed me to cut my actual living expenses by more than half, which has freed up a considerable chunk of change each month.  I have been able to use this money to pay-off debt, save in my emergency fund and have more fun!  Spend some time to understand your expenses if you downsized.  How much could you save?  How else could you spend that money to help you create the life you really want to live?  Taking some time to estimate expenses now and in the future can give you a head start in deciding if downsizing is right for you from a financial perspective.

5. Living tiny has simplified my wardrobe

One of the challenges of living tiny is the lack of storage space.  Although my Tumbleweed has some amazing storage features, it still required a big shift in the amount of stuff I owned.  When I downsized I offloaded more than 80% of my possessions in a little less than two months.  As you can imagine, that was a big adjustment!

Probably the biggest adjustments, besides getting rid of most of my books, was the change from a walk-in closet to a much smaller closet.  I now have 36” of closet space (gigantic by many tiny space standards!), which required a well-thought out strategy on purchasing and wearing clothes.  To make the transition somewhat easier, I measured out the amount of hanging space I knew I would have in my smaller space before I ever downsized.  I spent the time literally measuring the clothes I owned to determine what I could keep and what I needed to get rid of before I could transition to a smaller space.  As with most things, I realized how many clothes I owned that I never really wore.  I am actually in the process of simplifying my wardrobe even more by following the 333 project.  If you know clothes might be a challenge for you if you downsize, consider checking out this challenge.

While I still don’t consider myself a true minimalist (I still own way too many books, dishes and duvet covers to be considered a minimalist), I am much more thoughtful about the stuff in my home, particularly my clothes.  Take an honest look at your clothes and donate the stuff you don’t currently love and wear.


Click here to read PART TWO of Lora's article

If you enjoyed this post, check out Lora's website & twitter

*All photos taken by fullquiverphotography.com 


Would you like your Tumbleweed build to be featured on this blog? 

Email: Jenna@tumbleweedhouses.com

Written by Guest Blogger — February 08, 2016

Filed under: cypress   lessons   living   lora   teacher   tiny home   tiny house   tumbleweed   wardrobe  

5 Window Considerations for Tiny House RVs

Last week we posted a Guide to Window Design for Tiny House RVs, which explains the visual aesthetics you should consider for your window placement and size. What about functionality? Your windows need to be beautiful but also: stable, moisture resistant and rated for your particular needs. In this article, we discuss how to choose and purchase the perfect windows for your Tiny House RV. 

TINY BUILD TIP: Before ordering your windows, make sure you are ordering the ROUGH OPENING sizes and that you give yourself 6-8 weeks of lead time. 

1). Decide on your Window Functionality

How do you want your windows to function vs. how much you want to spend. Picture windows (or windows that do not open) will be the cheapest option. For functioning windows, single hung are going to be the cheapest, while casement are usually the most expensive. The window brand we recommend is Jeld-wen.

The type of windows you choose is completely dependent on your preference and budget. Most Tiny House RV owners like to be consistent with their window functionality placement. For example, you might choose awning windows for you loft and casement windows for your bay windows. 

Think about cross breeze, rain and ventilation. Two casement windows placed opposite each other will provide a strong cross breeze. Awning windows can be left open or cracked when it's raining. Choosing to have a variety of functioning windows, but being consistent with their placement, could benefit your overall window design. 

Russ used stained glass overlay on several windows in his gypsy wagon. The overlay is etched so that it has the texture of real stained glass.

Special shaped windows, custom sizes and grids will cost you extra. We do not recommend stained glass windows for those traveling with their Tiny House RV because they tend to be fragile, expensive, single pane and not compatible with tempered glass. Instead, try stained glass overlay or window film.

2). Moisture Resistance Ability

In a tiny space, moisture can be problematic. Not all windows are created equal when it comes to moisture resistance. Aluminum windows are inexpensive, but they are prone to condensation. Vinyl windows are the most resistant to moisture, but they are generally not as visually stunning.

We recommend aluminum clad windows because they are beautiful, long lasting and a good middle ground for moisture resistance. You still may need to do some maintenance to ensure moisture does not become a problem (this can be the case will all windows in Tiny House RVs). Aluminum clad windows are more expensive than other windows, but replacing an inadequate window can be time consuming and expensive as well. 

3). Insulation Value

We do NOT recommend single pane windows to be used in Tiny House RVs. In most cases low-e double pane windows will be enough of an insulator for your windows, but in extreme weather destinations (such as Alaska), triple pane is worth the extra cost. 

4). Tempered glass 

Any structure that is traveling down the road should have tempered glass windows. We also recommend shutters (or a protective piece of plywood) be attached on the windows on the tongue side of your trailer. 

5). Altitude Rating

Similar to when you ears pop due to change of air pressure, windows are sensitive to changes in elevations. If you do NOT plan on moving your Tiny House RV, you can purchase windows that are rated for the altitude in which you are located.

If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, we recommend purchasing high altitude windows. If you do NOT choose high altitude windows, and you travel to a high elevation, you are risking seal breakage from the pressure difference. If this happens, your windows will fog and collect moisture between panes, and you will need to replace them.

At Tumbleweed, we outfit all of our fully built Tiny House RVs with high altitude windows because they are built in our workshop in Colorado Springs, at 6,000 feet.  

Save money with reclaimed windows! 

Aside from your trailer, windows will be the most expensive purchase for your Tiny House RV. Sourcing reclaimed windows is a great money saving option, but we caution you to consider all of the above variables. If you're interested in reclaimed windows, check Habitat for Humanity or ask for materials being thrown away at a local construction site.

Deek Deirdrickson explains the benefit of working with reclaimed windows:


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow their informative blog. 

A Guide to Window Design for Tiny House RVs

Today we are going to discuss three design elements you should consider for the windows in your Tiny House RV: PROPORTION, BALANCE and SYMMETRY.

Proper PROPORTION can make all the difference 

Consider the photo above of a Tumbleweed Cypress. The windows are in correct proportion to each other, the size of the structure, and the front door. It's pleasing to the eye.

As you can see, we've now changed the proportion of the windows. The result is less pleasant.

The front bay windows are very small and odd looking. The side windows are large, creating improper proportion to the front door and the overall structure. Making your windows too large can also compromise the structural integrity of the RV and decrease your R-Value

Create BALANCE in your Window Design

It's important to be consistent with proportion, the amount of windows and their symmetry to create balance in your window design.

Windows attract the eye, so it's important to distribute them evenly. In the above example, the balance of window versus open space is inconsistent. You don't want to have five windows on the left side of your Tumbleweed and only two windows on the right side.

Can you guess why the next example is NOT as well balanced as the original?

The bay windows are centered in the above photo, yet the effect is not quite as charming as the original Tumbleweed Cypress. Why? It has to do with the front door. The front door in this design has a window, so it should be counted in the overall window design. The bay windows have too much open space on either side in comparison to the space around the door window. Therefore, the balance is imperfect.

Don't Forget Symmetry!

To achieve symmetry in your window design, draw an imaginary line down the center axis of your Tiny House RV. As you can see in the above photo of a Tumbleweed Elm, the windows on either side of the center line are a mirror image of each other. The windows are completely symmetrical.

"You can also have a near or approximate symmetry in your design. Here there is no mirror image, but the masses placed on one side of the axis are roughly copied on the other side. There may be side extension that is different than its cousin on the other side, but they are of similar shape and size." Source

The Tumbleweed Cypress is an example of approximate symmetry. In order to counteract the asymmetry of the door placement, a hip dormer is centered over the bay windows. Therefore, the window design is not a mirror image along the center axis, but the visual weight is counterbalanced by the doorway and dormer symmetry. 

Next we'll discuss window functionality, specifically for Tiny House RVs!


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow their informative blog. 


Written by Jenna Spesard — January 26, 2016

Filed under: balance   cypress   design   elm   form   function   proportion   RV   symmetry   tiny house   tiny house rv   window  

75 Year Old Retiree Travels World in House Truck

John Ericson and his wife, Linda, spend six months of the year traveling around the world. How do they do it? They travel in style with their incredible homemade house truck!   

John and Linda have built twelve homemade campers in the last 35 years, each time improving on the design and functionality. Currently they use a renovated bus for temporary living in Alaska and a wooden house truck for adventuring around the world. 

John & Linda's Renovated Bus based in Alaska

John & Linda's House Truck

Built on the chassis of a Mitsubishi, Fuso, the Ericson's house truck features a spacious kitchenette with an apartment size propane refrigerator, sleeping space for three and a propane heater. The house truck is outfitted with a small RV toilet. For showering, they have an innovative outdoor shower setup.

John and Linda's house truck has an impressive amount of storage for such a tiny space! 

"We can go about a month without grocery shopping," John explained while showcasing the many hidden compartments in his homemade camper. Linda labels everything and plans their meals in a systematic fashion. Organization is so important in Tiny House RVs! 

Other features of the Ericson's house truck include: a fresh water tank and solar power. The couple enjoys the flexibility of their off-grid camper. They can adventure anywhere, without the need to plug-in or stay at expensive campgrounds! 

Wooden awnings flip out over the windows for shade, while two skylights offer plenty of natural light indoors. The dutch-style front door is a creative touch and allows for proper airflow in the warmer seasons.

“I just try to keep moving for as long as I can.”

– John Ericson

Where has their house truck taken them?

The Ericsons have driven over 133,000 miles in their homemade house truck in the past five years, and most of the time, Linda likes the drive. Recent road trips include: Baja, Mexico, South America and Russia. 

Could you travel full time in a homemade camper?


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow their informative blog. 


Written by Jenna Spesard — January 19, 2016

Filed under: alaska   camper   homemade   House truck   john ericson   mitsubishi fuso   renovated RV   retire   retiree   tiny home   tiny house   travel  

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