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How to Work and Live Out of Your Tiny House

It seems to me like many of the people who are embracing the tiny lifestyle are those who are looking for a sense of freedom in their lives.

Many tiny house builders and dwellers are also entrepreneurs or otherwise self-employed. Those who work for other companies are doing so on a remote basis to be able to work from home and have a better work/life balance.

To earn extra money, we have Piglet sell things on the internet.

To earn extra money, we have Piglet sell things on the internet.

But it is one thing to work from home in a 2700 square foot house and another to do it from 120 square feet.

Just like there is no one right answer for everyone on which tiny house they should build or how small they should go, there isn’t one right way to work from home in your tiny house. See below to read a few things I’ve learned along the way as I’ve been working and living out of 120 square feet.

  1. Have a mobile workstation. Since my job is 100% virtual I really only need two things: my laptop computer and connection to the internet. This works great for me because I can work from literally anywhere in the world. Most of my clients contract me to produce blog content and I am able to do all of my research online. All of my communications can be done either over the phone or through email.
  2. Build an office. You just built a tiny house so you know you can do it. If your job requires more equipment and you want to keep it out of your tiny house consider building a very small office. It doesn’t have to be fancy, unless you want it to be. I know you’ve seen those sheds outside the major home improvement stores. Consider retrofitting one of those.

    Office of Steven from Tiny House Listings.

    Office of Steven from Tiny House Listings.

  3. Live your philosophy. Everyone has a different idea of how they want to approach their careers. You may feel that at the end of the work day you need to separate yourself fully from your job. You may want to integrate your life and your work like I do so that there isn’t a clear line between the two. However you want to approach your career make sure you stand by your core values. This will help you balance your work and your life, especially in such a small space.

What are some ways you want to integrate your work into your tiny house?

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Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Ruth Vallejos
    August 5, 2013, 5:21 pm

    How big is the office you built? Is it fair to say your house is 120 and your office is extra? Or is it all combined at 120 sq ft? (Which would be quite the accomplishment!)

    With a smaller abode, simpler lifestyle, did you find yourself cutting back on work? Or are you working just as much? I’m curious about how the small house/ big life change affects people and would love to hear that story.


    • August 6, 2013, 9:03 am

      Hi Ruth.

      We do not have a separate office at all. Both Matt and I live AND work out of our 120 square foot home.

      Moving into the tiny house gave me the opportunity to quit my corporate job and follow my dreams to be a freelance writer. I probably work fewer hours but I feel more accomplished and satisfied with what I do now.

  • August 5, 2013, 6:31 pm

    My tiny house is the same shape, but a bit wider and deeper, than a 20-foot shipping container. At one end – the end with the view – there will be a large desk of about 3 metres wide x over half a metre deep. This will kind of be the hub of the house. Where I work, where I do canning, where I eat – by myself or with others; – where I spend most of my time indoors.

    If my partner choices to embark on the tiny house journey with me, I will fit out the caravan that I will be living in onsite as I build the house, to be an office / studio.

  • jerryd
    August 5, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Since I build 30+’ long, 20′ wide sailboats, EV’s, I don’t think that one will do.
    Nor will my pile of building material fit.

    And no I’m not getting rid of it. I make and save way too much off it.

    TH living means to me living in the space actually needed. For actual, basic living 100-200sq’/person is all that is needed. Any more clearly is a want, not a need. And that is space to be heated, cooled. That is TH living.

    But one has to make a living too and whatever that takes as long as not wasted or wasteful, is reasonable too. For some that might be a desk, others a farm. My case workshops and space to build where I live so my costs are near zero. Because of this I save much time, fuel and money.

    I feel that is well inside TH living even if not small.

    Much of my things are recycling which also takes space but well worth it as saves so much energy, materials but not needing to replace them with new.

    But another reason is used things are most time far better quality than new things and still cost less. there are many ways to have a light footprint that don’t mean you have to give up everything.

    Only those who want to move often have to give up heavy, space needing things.

  • Jack
    August 5, 2013, 9:23 pm

    Teddy “The original Tiny House Guy” lived and worked out of his house. Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski

  • SteveR
    August 8, 2013, 10:03 pm

    You actually need 3 things to work – laptop, internet and electricity. I know, I do the same. So, to work absolutely anywhere, you need to have access to power and an internet connection. For those who are off-grid, that’s an important distinction. Internet and power are not, literally, everywhere!

  • di
    September 26, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Where can we find jobs at home?

    • SteveR
      September 26, 2013, 2:07 pm

      One does not ‘find’ these jobs, one creates them. Either you are self-employed or you have convinced your employer that your work can and should be performed from home. It took me a couple of years before I got to this point and I’ve been working from home for 4 years now. It works for me because of the nature of the work that I do (computer programming), the experience I have in this industry (30+ years) and the trust of my employer.
      It’s unlikely any employer is going to hire you off the street to work at home. Although I am sure there are exceptions, it’s not likely to be that easy.

      • September 26, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Steve is absolutely right. There are some work from home resources but you have to be cautious as many are scams.

        Most people who work from home are either individuals who have an agreement with their employer or freelancers.

        You may have to take a chance to launch your own business.

  • Lorraine
    March 26, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Still not clear about how this author found a spot with internet access for his job. My job requires wired access for a virtual private network. What areas of the country have that for tiny homes that are mostly mobile?

    • March 9, 2015, 12:38 am

      yes, please elaborate on how to stay connected affordability, mobile broadband is expensive.

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