As professional organizers, we love the concept of tiny homes; the minimalist lifestyle that accompanies them is a big draw. When people make the choice to live in a tiny home, they must whittle their belongings down to only the strictly necessary.
But you do not necessarily have to convert to minimalism to have or want a tiny house. A tiny house could be a getaway vacation home, an additional guest home on your property and for some, an affordable housing option.
Tiny home communities like these ones featured in the Spruce are cropping up in urban areas, and the trend seems to be spreading due to a lack of affordable housing many US cities. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s most recent report, the needed hourly wage rate for a “modest” two-bedroom rental apartment at least double the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in all but four states. These trends are making tiny homes appear more and more appealing to those who need a more affordable option.
When Organizers Northwest had the chance to visit the Tiny House Convention in Portland recently, we were thrilled. We actually got to climb into a dozen or so of these itty bitty dwelling units, and there was a huge variety in design, layout and style.
Organizing these spaces for maximum efficiency was a key theme throughout all of these homes, so we thought it would be fun to feature some of our favorite details. Keep in mind that many of these ideas would be great in a small apartment or micro-loft too!
Our favorite features
Check out the photo gallery below for images
A double gas burner in lieu of four burners is great for getting a meal on the table and still taking up minimal space. This allows for extra counter space as well, and less cleanup after meals!
Use of vertical storage space. Many of the homes had features like hanging racks for wine glasses, wall pockets for storing files or paper, and hooks for clothing and other items. This is a great way to store personal things without taking up precious counter or cupboard space.
Great design IS possible in small spaces. It was shocking how many of these tiny homes manage to pack a ton of character into their design though the use of unique tile, wood and other simple but elegant design features. Many included hanging storage that doubles as an attractive shelf and can also hold items like plants and small containers.
Creative storage found…everywhere. Many of these homes had storage in the most unlikely of places. Tucked within stairs via the use of a hinge on the top of each step, under benches and behind mirrors. The folks designing these little homes REALLY know what they are doing, and they use every single square inch of available storage space. Check out this awesome desk that converts into a bed!
So Who ACTUALLY lives in Tiny Houses anyway?
Looking around, the answer seemed to be…almost everyone. We saw people of all ages – from newlyweds to retirees. Many houses had at least a few stairs, which seem less desirable for those aging in place, and certainly not workable for persons with a disability. Many were on one level with a loft bed – again, not so great if you have trouble climbing a ladder. But we were shocked at the completely diverse age range represented there. It seems that just about everyone is at least interested in the idea of a tiny house – whether or not they could actually live comfortably in inside 200 square feet.
Our friend Candace Kramer from Downsize my Space joined us. Candace’s passion is ADU’s (accessory dwelling units). While these tiny homes don’t qualify as ADU’s due to the fact that they are not attached to the primary dwelling unit and are in fact a stand alone home, there are many similarities between the two. If you are interested in adding an ADU to your home, gathering information on how these tiny homes are constructed to maximize efficiency and use of space will give you many ideas for planning and designing your ADU.
We had so much fun exploring these tiny homes and learning all about how they are constructed and used. Our final word is that tiny house living is certainly not for everyone, but a brilliant housing option that could bring simplicity and peace to those who embrace it.