Hello, beautiful nerds! I thought I would write a post on how I use my space in my tiny house, and how I would like to improve upon it.
I have watched Tiny House Nation, and I’m jealous of the beautiful homes they create. Those craftsmen do amazing things to make every square inch count. But, no matter how much I’d love to have a toilet that folds out into a grand piano at the touch of a button, my engineering skills aren’t up to it. I have to make the best of my space in less creative ways, and mostly that involves learning to get by with less stuff.
My house is 11 x 14, with a 6 x 6 bathroom addition. That’s 190 square feet in all. Most homeowners in the U.S. have a garage bigger than that, in which they tend to keep a bunch of stuff they rarely (if ever use). A large percentage of people also rent storage units bigger than that, where they keep even more stuff. Now, I’m not trying to be one of those hardcore people who says, if you live in a tiny house, you’re only allowed one plate, one cup, and one thin, vintage wool blanket. And, to be truthful, I do store my musical equipment in my parents’ warehouse, because (knowing me) I’ll need it again someday. But living in a tiny house has taught me that you truly don’t need a lot of stuff.
My life is pretty simple to begin with. I work from home as a writer and editor, so I really only need a laptop, sweatpants (optional), a coffee pot, and some sort of brownie-baking capability. I’m also a single woman— with one daughter, one cat, and one dog—and not the Duggars. (I would like it if the infamous Phoenix—my psychic vampire bastard and the other half of my soul peanut—would come live with us. If he does, I’ll stick him into a corner somewhere.)
I have plans for expansion—a separate bedroom for Kid, and a full-sized kitchen. In all, it would make the house about 450 square feet. But my setup right now works pretty well.
I have a full-size bed, which sits on a platform about four feet tall. The platform has six drawers, that hold clothes, silverware/kitchen items, and Various and Sundry (stuff like charging cords, medicine, and my hairbrush). It also has a compartment with a door that swings up to become a table; I keep my important documents in the compartment, but I rarely use the table.
Beneath the bed, behind the drawers, is a large storage space. I keep my shoe rack, pet food, laundry basket, bottled wine and winemaking equipment, and a few other things under there. The stuff under there isn’t very accessible: I have to crawl under to get at it. I’m sure I could devise some scheme involving sliding platforms and pulleys and a magical wizard named Frank that would make my life easier. But I don’t mind crawling under there, since a lot of that stuff I don’t use every day.
I have one worktable in the kitchen area, which has a leaf that folds out. I use that for food preparation, as well as a dish drainer and place to charge my laptop, or whatever else. I cook using a two-burner hotplate, which I store on top of my mini-fridge when not in use, and put on my worktable when I’m using it. I bake in a toaster oven, which is a lot more functional than you’d think. I have to vary the recipes a bit, but I can bake cakes, bread, casserole, cookies, brownies…probably a small chicken if I wanted to. I have a solar oven, too, which can supposedly roast a whole turkey, but I haven’t mastered it yet, and have mostly used it to dry fruit. I also have a crock pot, but I fail at crock pots, for the most part.
My food etc. is stored in my cabinet, or in canisters/jars on my shelves. I live in an 80+-year-old cabin in the middle of an orchard, so rodents could become a problem if I’m not careful, even with Cat and Dog present and ready for duty.
Stuff isn’t as convenient in my tiny house as it is in a full-sized house: I do have to climb up on my step stool and swing around in the rafters to get my salt, teacups, and Terry Pratchett books, but that’s really no big deal. I, as yet, still have all my physical faculties; I’m only mentally differently-abled.
I don’t have many knick-knacks or decoration, except for a painting Phoenix did for me and a woven wool hanging I got from my grandmother. Most of my decoration is practical, like my oil lamp, my harvest basket, and my hanging peppers and herbs. But I can’t resist a little impractical decoration now and again. (The cattails in the corner (photo below) I’m going to use to try my hand at basket-weaving.)
I’d love to hear how you creatively use space!
Next time I’ll talk about how I grow and preserve my own food, and how I get by on a very small grocery budget.