The Story of How I Live in My Tiny House Full Time – by Shirley Loomis
Living in my tiny house on a full-time basis actually was an evolutionary process, and truth be told, is still occurring.
The first part came when I took a critical look at the stuff I owned and decided what to keep and what to discard. Even what I kept had qualifiers.
Much of it was items I did not always want to have out on a full-time basis. Some things were seasonal and therefore did not need to be openly available at all times.
Full Time Living in my Tiny House
Where To Put All My Stuff?
Other items were related to events going on at different points in time. For example, building was related to tool usage. Tools were not something that needed to be contained within my tiny house. In fact they were much better housed in a trailer that could be moved from location to location with ease. Some things were sentimental and some things I had held onto for years thinking they were supposed to be sentimental but in reality I should have chucked those years ago.
Stuff with Emotional Attachments
Then there was the stuff I held onto for my children because their lives were too mobile but they were items key to the memories they held dear and once settled; they would want them for their own.
The evaluation process I just described was done in layers and actually occurred over several years. Sometimes this was done with a good cup of coffee on a rainy weekend when I needed to put my time to good use. Other times it was done with two cups of coffee and a curious daughter who had time to hang out at a storage facility for hours on end to reminisce, sift, and filter.
What To Do With My Tools?
When the tiny house was fully completed and my tools removed from the apartment (placed in that utility trailer I referred to a moment ago) then it was time to decide of what was left, what was coming with me.
I’m a visual thinker. Thank goodness my two dwellings were not far apart because there were a whole lot of trips back and forth. I would decide upon a load of stuff, put it into place, evaluate my remaining available storage, see what was left in my apartment, then repeat the process, making sure to leave the items I knew were seasonal or sentimental in nature off to the side so they could be placed into bins and stored in portable upright storage cabinets. No more would parts of my life be scattered hither and yon.
The most annoying thing about this process is that once I had everything positioned just where I wanted it to go in my tiny house I had to rip it all apart again and pack it up for transport! What a pain in the butt!
Looking at your Challenges
I’m not a big subscriber to Murphy’s Law. I prefer to look at challenges, once having passed through them are merely skill boosters and confidence reinforcers. Even so, having several of these challenges occur in a short timeframe while operating within tight time constraints taxes the bounds of patience and tolerance, especially I thought all my ducks were in a row and the whole process was a slam dunk. Just hitch up the trailers and go.
Trailer Hitch Balls
The trailer hitch had the wrong size ball on it. Run to the hardware store. I couldn’t find the big wrenches to change the balls on the hitch. Run to the hardware store. No cotter pins where I thought they were. Run to the hardware store. Driving up the road one of the trailers came unhitched from the (still have NO IDEA how that one occurred). Thank goodness for the added security of tow chains because the whole hitch slid right out of the receiver, pins and all still intact. No one could figure out how that occurred! In a very short time a good half inch of steel was ground away from the bottom of the bolt on the underside of the ball. Thankfully no one was hurt and no property was damaged but it still left us just scratching our heads. Fortunately it happened to the smaller lighter trailer so bringing everything to a stop and under control was much easier than would have been the case had the same thing occurred with the larger utility trailer. Unfortunately, it happened that my daughter was the one towing the smaller trailer so it scared the living daylights out of both of us!
After Move Effects
It’s interesting what happens after a move, at least it was for me. Having spent thirty years in the greater Boston area I knew I was a creature of habit. What I didn’t realize was how much I had come to know the area like the back of my hand, in a very second nature kind of way. I had never been a big socializer. Most of the time I was too busy working and trying to support my family or engaged in one of my several, rather solitary hobbies (kayaking, photography, reading, building stuff, etc…).
Moving into a New Area
Moving to a new area, even though only two hours away and still in New England was like moving to another country. The layout and culture were very different. Things were spread widely apart so all I can say is thank God for GPS, friendly people, iPhones, and Google Maps. It also didn’t hurt that I had plastered all over the back window of my car that I’m a Mary Kay consultant. That and a ten foot ladder that stays on top of my car make me a little tough not to recognize and remember. Not many Mark Kay ladies run around in pink camo, work boots, and hefting tools.
I grew up on fifteen acres but having lived in major metropolitan areas since the age of nineteen I never realized how much I thoroughly enjoyed things like noticing how fast acres of corn grow from one week to the next, listening to 150 baby turkeys chirp at the local Agway store, providing the days entertainment to the owner while I am rummaging through the Agway store discovering all the things I never even knew existed, never had, but am pretty sure I need and can’t quite figure out how I spent so many years without one of these places close at hand.
Moving also brings up the next set of projects, like figuring out how to put together the wind generator bought five or six years ago. Putting it together took me about six hours. I can’t wait to see what kind of an investment I end up with after I actually get the whole thing set up and workable! Then it will be on to the second half of my off-grid power system, the solar panels and their set up! For now the generator, passive solar water heater, rain barrel, ice chest, gas grill, and outdoor kitchen set up are giving me more than adequate comfort, security, and functionality, not to mention the best cups of coffee I have ever had in my life (perked each morning just like they used to make it). I have never had coffee this good! I may never go back to Mr. Coffee, Dunkins, or even Keurig for that matter!
The world can be accessed from my fingertips, contained in a laptop case, typed and emailed, photographed and uploaded, tweeted, posted, messaged, speak to text, or typed on my lap while sitting in my 12 x 12 screen tent of an office as I sip on a cup of that amazing coffee I was telling you about. The kinks aren’t all fully worked out and I got lost this morning for two hours only to realize I went in one really huge circle but so far the adventure has been worth it. Even getting lost had a pretty special perk; one of the most stunningly gorgeous beaches I never even knew existed!
Oh, and by the way, those bags and boxes of stuff that I tossed in this whole process, I haven’t needed anything I discarded and quite frankly I can’t really even remember what was in those mountains and mountains of stuff. I could even get rid of more. I just don’t want to.
More You Might Enjoy From Shirley Loomis
- 50s Woman Builds Her Own DIY Debt-free Tiny Home
- Building by the Seat of my Pants (Part 1)
- Building by the Seat of my Pants (Part 2)
Also be sure to say ‘hi’ over at Shirley’s blog. Thanks for sharing with all of us Shirley!
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This was a great read. I live in western ct and I’m curious where she lives in New England. I cant find any areas that allow me to buy a few acres and plop a tiny home on them! :/
From what I hear, check around in VT. Mine is not a situation you would easily replicate.
Ahh ok. 🙂 Thanks! Take Care
Downsizing has been a three house project from 2000+ sf to 1000sf and finally to 800sf. Each stage requires massive re-purposing, giving away and sending to the dump. The advantage of moving every few years is that natural selection forces a cull of books, kitchen appliances and clothing. Similar to Shirley, I have tools. So many so that my last major renovation project required zero new tools. I lied, I bought a $26 door lock jig.
As I age I require fewer career clothes and related books, laptop cases and cars acceptable to clients. 5 teenagers have dwindled to just 2 in high school. Each child is responsible for their own stuff and as they leave their treasures leave with them.
I like the tool trailer idea. Perhaps there should be book trailers, sports equipment trailers and kitchen appliance trailers?
If you get a big enough trailer you could section it off like a moving office with your relevant books and your tools!
Thanks for sharing! It is amazing how even moving from one part of the city to another is such upheaval, plus here you were downsizing radically at the same time, all the while figuring out what went where. Encouraging to hear that you came through the whole process without regrets about the things you unloaded.
I did a whole bunch of downsizing a while back, but have moved into a bigger space since then so have started acquiring things again — which would be fine, except I know perfectly well that I don’t need any of the new stuff and it will all have to go once I downsize again…out of choice, because I like small spaces partly because they keep my materialistic side in check!
Shirley…..I feel like I’m sitting there with U, in your screen room….drinkin’ some of that coffee you mentioned… it sounds like heaven….I have found inspiration (lots) from watchin’ so many sites of folks doing this…..I wanna do it too….but, the regulations here, are awful…..don’t really want to move from here.. but, really wanna down size, and have a tiny home….jennie