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10 Ways to Extend Your Home Using Community

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When you live in a super small space you want to design your life so that you’re not in it all of the time.

It’s actually a lot like being a kid in a college dorm. You sleep, eat, study and entertain yourself there and almost everything else is outsourced somewhere else.

I believe one of the secrets to happily living in a tiny house is proper use of your surroundings.

Maybe you can start practicing before you’re in your tiny space.

10 Ways To Use Your Community As Home

Getting Exercise

1. Walk or use your bike to go to places

Instead of using your car to get everywhere, how can you adjust where you go so that you can walk or use your bicycle instead?

I love doing this because you feel like you’re getting something done while exercising for that purpose (to get there).

2. Join a gym

It’s even better if you can find one you can walk or use your bicycle to get to. But that’s just a bonus.

3. Play a sport

How about that basketball, soccer, football, baseball or softball team that meets up every week at the YMCA?

You could have fun playing your favorite sport while meeting a bunch of new and interesting people.

All three of these involve exercise and some kind of social activity (even if it’s walking by other people) while getting you out of the house.

Eating and Entertainment

4. Eating out

Most people who live in really small apartments (including college students) tend to eat out a lot because you don’t have to make a mess in your cramped kitchen, clean up the mess, or know how to cook.

This really all depends on where you end up living. In some cities you can take a short walk to your nearest grocery store or restaurant for a quick and easy meal. In other places it takes more planning.

5. Enjoying nature

The best part of nature is that it costs you nothing to enjoy. Look around for local parks that you haven’t visited and give them a try, you’ll be surprised at what you might find.

If the parks are too far just step outside your house and go for a walk. Sometimes you find that you have overlooked something beautiful that has been in front of you all along.

6. Farmers Markets

Local farmers markets are popping up everywhere and this means you can find local food while supporting farmers that live close to you.

7. Book stores and newsstands

I love making a trip over to the local book store so I can read the latest magazines and take a look at any recent book releases that interest me. Hopefully you can do the same. If not…

8. Coffee shops and free wi-fi

Another great way to meet people and get out of the comfort zoning of staying at home is going to a nearby coffee shop where others are hanging out.

Most of these have free Internet access now too which can help get you out of the house when you want to get online.

Start Something

9. Start your own business or volunteer

Do you have something that you can give to your community? Why not start with one simple step by getting started in the easiest way that you can think of?

Maybe you can offer your community some kind of free educational information on something that you are knowledgeable with. It could start as a free class or seminar and evolve into something else later.

And there’s no simpler way to gain fulfillment than by helping other people in your own community by feeding, talking to, or helping them learn something new.

10. Use your library to grow

Use your local library to read, research, write and use your laptop. Spending time here transforms you to what it was like being a kid again… There’s so much you can start learning about. Topic ideas include…

  • any of your previous hobbies or interests that used to excite you
  • personal development so you realize what you are capable of
  • spiritual growth through books

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Claudia
    April 6, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Lots of good tips, but I want to address #4. Having a tiny kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t cook lovely meals from scratch!

    Not only do you save money and packaging when you prepare your own meals, but you’re also eating much better because you control the ingredients. Learning how to cook, regardless of the size of your kitchen, is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

    If you need tips on cooking with limited space, just browse the websites for people who live on boats or in RVs fulltime.

  • Davidrc
    April 7, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I have to agree with the nice Lady above. Sometimes eating out is NOT a possible option. I’ve learned to put together very decent meals with very limited resources and an even more limited ‘kitchen’.

  • April 12, 2011, 7:49 pm

    Claudia those are great points.

    I bet there are some good websites/blogs out there about cooking and preparing meals in small kitchens. Thanks for bringing this up!

  • ginmar
    April 18, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Cooking is about organization, but it can be done in a tiny kitchen. Might even be easier, without the clutter. What do you cook first, then grab a minute to wash the cooking utensils–then what?

    Oh, and here’s a couple of things: in the middle east, there’s these things called ‘poufs’, which can be stuffed with clothes, blankets, things like that—and then you use them for seating. I have two long rectangular ones and I set up against the wall on its narrow side, then put the other flat in front of it—and the result is storage space, a comfortable place to sit, and lots of color. One could conceivably put two of them end to end for a guest to sleep on. And some bolsters at either end—also used for storage—and you have quite the nice set up.

    In the movie “Pandorum” there’s a scene where a character reaches down, pulls up a ring in the floor and a hinged, built-in seat came up from the floor! More of that kind of thing would be awesome.

  • ginmar
    April 18, 2011, 5:03 pm

    Oh, and E-readers! That’s a great way to store lots of books. And you can store your movies on a portable hard drive, and most of those are about the size of a pack of cards.

  • Susie M
    January 15, 2014, 10:27 am

    A great way to prepare for reducing your cooking space and utensils, (IMHO) is to stick to one small, but good quality saute pan, and one pot – mix and match so that the pot lit also fits the saute pan – you’ll be so happy for it in the long run. If you live within walking or bicycling distance to farmer’s markets and/or a food co-op that sells local organic produce – or even farm stands – then you’ll want to buy no more than 2 days food at a time any way. I’ve been doing this for the largest part of a year. It really cuts down on mess and I’ve found that I eat much more healthily since I rarely use the microwave. My goal is to be able to manage without one completely. I see no reason why I cannot live very well on a small two burner set up and a tank of kerosene such as we buy for the BBQ grill. Of course, that will not work for every one. I’ve done away with my coffee maker and switched to the old fashioned french press. This is perfect for 2 large cups per day, and easy to compost the grounds afterwards. I use extra virgin coconut oil for my cooking, skin, and dental hygiene – multi-use product are important. When I eventually get my tiny house, I may get one of those induction counter top, portable low energy use, baker, broiler, griller things that are advertised on tv. or not – I may have gone totally gluten free by then, and have no use for cooking large. After all, if you are planning a large get together – chances are that you will be cooking outside and eating outside, and taking advantage of the wonderful idea of the ‘pot-luck’ system.

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