Another question I get asked about our tiny house is how we handle storage for things big and small. Clearly when your home is the size of a parking space this sort of thing needs special consideration. I thought I might take you on a short tour of our tiny house storage.
Before talking about where we put things in the tiny house I thought I might mention something about our downsizing process. When we decided that we wanted to build a 120 square foot home we were living in a 2700 square foot house in suburban Atlanta. It was a really nice house and we did like it when we bought it but we quickly realized that having a large house was not something that we needed or wanted any more. When we started to explore alternative housing and decided on the tiny house we began to downsize our lives.
I learned an exercise from the book Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Salomon. Take a post-it note and place it at the doorway to every room in the house. Every time you go into the room write down why you’re there. After a week compare the notes and determine if there are any activities that can be consolidated into other spaces or if there are rooms you’re not using at all. We found that we were using our bedroom, our kitchen, and our entertainment space the most. We almost never sat in the living room and there were two whole bedrooms that were completely unused.
Click below to read more about our storage solutions.
Two years before the tiny house was finished we sold our big house and moved into an 800 square foot apartment. This is where most of the purging happened. We sold, donated, or tossed anything we didn’t use. The rest was moved into the apartment and into a nearby storage unit. We would occasionally go to the storage unit to get seasonal decorations and such but I hated that we had it. Most of the stuff in it didn’t get touched in those two years at all.
Since we built our tiny house ourselves we were able to create the storage areas that we wanted. The plans we used featured a small storage loft over the door which we use for the things we need but don’t use every day – like batteries and extra blankets. We decided to keep this area open, covered the surface with FLOR (which we also used in the sleeping loft) and use decorative storage containers. Some of them are still empty today.
Next to the front door are two small closets, one for each of us. We have bins for our clothes and a shelf for shoes. The floor of my closet has Piglet’s litter box which has an access door from the living room wall. The floor of Matt’s closet has a space for our laptop bags. Since we both work from home it is nice to be able to pack up our computers at the end of the workday and keep them out of sight.
We also built storage into the base of our sofa. This is where we store things like Piglet’s food and toys and our pots and pans. Next we have the kitchen cabinets. There is so much room under our counters that much of the space is currently going unused. We have drawers for utensils and coffee supplies and shelves for a small pantry.
In the bathroom we built shelves into the wall studs which act as a medicine cabinet for us. I have one side, Matt has the other and a third holds our cleaning supplies. We also built similar shelves in our living room walls where we keep things like our handheld devices and some decorative items.
We also built ourselves a basement. I know that normally people do this before they build a house, but we have never said we were normal. We had been keeping a lot of our construction stuff under the house while we were building and after we moved in we took a week to drag that all out. Since the house is on concrete piers and build over a significant slope, we decided to use scrap wood to build stepped platforms underneath. We have a plastic container holding our tools, we keep our camp chairs under there, and our Coleman Stirling Engine cooler which connects to our batteries under the house and keeps our beer cold.
There is only one other place where we store things: our barn. When we bought our land we were told the barn was a building of no value. It turned out to be invaluable to us. While we were building we camped in it. We used it as a rain shelter. We stored all of our materials in it. Today the barn holds any overflow items that won’t fit in the house like our lawn mower and extra propane.
What kind of storage solutions do you have planned for your tiny space?
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