The part-time tiny house


The romantic notions of tiny house living can be quite captivating. You think of the simplicity of it all, the coziness, the opportunity to have everything work together with clear purpose, and the cost savings. Then you realize that despite how much fun you think you’d have designing or perhaps building your humble abode from a kit with your own sweat and elbow grease, it challenges for full time living are many. Heating? Plumbing? Electricity? Guest space? Personal time on the toilet? And where would you put all your gear? Why is simplifying so overwhelming? As much as all this simplifying is a healthy goal, perhaps some of the extreme examples of minimalist living can be most helpful to us as inspiration and motivation to get part way there. Even if we can’t shrink our full time lives, maybe we can still get the benefit of solitude, slowing down, and being deliberate in our actions with a part time tiny home – a room, a fort, a shelter, a plot where you can have full control and leave the chaos of your 9 to 5, your errands, sorting the mail, or clicking through another ebill. Maybe it will lead to something more and by that I mean less, but for now it can be a commitment to yourself.

We’ve turned our sugarhouse into somewhat of a part-time tiny house. It’s 16’x16′ and with our procrastination in purchasing our first sugar arch to boil sap into syrup with a couple years ago we got a much smaller system than originally planned. This has allowed us much more room than originally planned as well. And so we’ve added books, benches and, when we’re not boiling, a futon. Our home is simple, but this is even simpler. We play games by lantern light, surprisingly powerful and almost blinding if you look right at it. We warm ourselves by the fire crackling in the sugaring arch. We sleep in silence but at the same time the hum of nature still spins around us as the wind and the leaves toss and turn, the birds and the rodents travel the forest floor and skirt along bark and worn stone, and the creek runs swiftly, carrying with its sediment the stories of its former path. Even if you can’t do it full time, do it part time.

Take an old potting shed, a storage shed, a child’s playhouse, maybe an old camper, and make it into a miniature minimalist space. It can be a place to just sit, a place to do hobbies, a place to read, a place make your favorite music or to do nothing at all. Say you don’t have land, you don’t have access to these structures – take hold of one room in your home and make it a place where you’ll feel the freedom of control by removing the technology, the screens, the beeps and rings, and don’t feel one bit bad about it.

a pallet shed

-“the rock bottom”

airy backyard shelter

readymade bungalow


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