1. I now 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. My new 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. I spend less
Closely related to the first two lessons, going 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. I escaped 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.
Goin tiny has allowed me to cut my monthly 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. I simplified my wardrobe
One of the challenges of going 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
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*All photos taken by fullquiverphotography.com