How To Downsize to A Tiny House

How To Downsize To A Tiny House

You might know the trend of tiny house movement or not. Whatever the answer is, I’m pretty sure you partially know about tiny living because if you don’t, you didn’t click on the link. A tiny house is nothing new in America and many European countries, and the trend of movement started in the 1970s and had broken out since the early years of the 21st century.

For people who is currently living in a medium or large house and want to switch into a tiny living, they probably desire to understand how to downsize to a tiny house. This post was written for this reason. The primary problem I will go through it is to show you how to downsize to a tiny house, but besides, I also mention many aspects of the tiny living (cons, pros, etc.) as well as share with you some helpful tips and my own suggestions. Hope you enjoy!

How to Downsize to a Tiny House

Why Should You Downsize from a Big House to a Tiny House?

One query that I usually hear when it comes to downsizing a living space is: “How can I fit all my stuff into such small house.” Do you want to know my answer? Sell some of them and put money into your ATM card.

Yes, I must agree that a little house means less space, but it also means less money to spend on construction, maintenance, electric bills or wide-ranged heaters for cold climates and less effort to clean as well. Think of all these advantages! You save not only your cash but also time.

Another benefit is that your family has more time for being together. All the members need to gather around one TV. A spacious living might drive a wedge between people, and it’s very true in many modern families where dad and mom are watching TV in the living room while son is playing games on their smartphone in the bedroom. So, in this case, a smaller house would be much better.

Finally, according to a survey that I read two months ago, many homeowners claim that they feel safer when they’re living in a small house. Why? Because as space is shrunk, the management horizon is shrunk as well. A couple of looks, and you can see how everything is going in your residence.

How Tiny is Tiny? What’s the Difference Between Tiny Houses and Small Houses?

The primary difference is the matter of how many square feet. A house considered as small has the total area of under 1000 square feet. For example, the Tumbleweed’s Whidbey cottage (included a kitchen, a bathroom, a great room) with one bedroom is 461 square feet, and with two bedrooms is 557 square feet.

On the other hand, the tiny house average size typically is in the range from 100 to 400 square feet, which doesn’t exceed half a small house. So, in general, under 500 square feet is considered as tiny. An example I would suggest is Tumbleweed’s Cypress which is 189 square feet in area and has a trailer of 20 feet in length.

how to downsize to a tiny house
Tumbleweed Cypress 20 with side door option.

What Should You Do With All Your Stuff from The Bigger House You Vacated?

My answer to this question is selling unnecessary stuff in conjunction to replacing large furniture with a compact one. There’re a lot of things that it’s will be better for your house and you if you sell it, such as already-read books (or paper books that you have their e-book version), old or sprinkle or tight clothing, your children toys, art painting, etc.

Also, note that money is important, but with stuff that nobody wants to buy, don’t hesitate to donate it to a charity fund or share it with poor/homeless people.

How to Avoid the Sense that You’re Crowded All The Time?

  • Firstly, it’s very important to create privacy for each member of your family, even your little children. Excepts activities that all the family’s members have to do together, try to make private space for each. You’re watching TV on the sofa and your wife is reading books in the bedroom while your son is sleeping in the loft. How comfortable that is!
  • Secondly, consider multi-functional furniture which offers the ability to store items and belongings, such as an under-bed storage, under-sofa storage or foldable shelves and furniture with the capability to transform into a new one, such as a sleeper sofa or a dinning-to-coffee table.
  • Thirdly, don’t forget to decorate your house to make it look bigger. You can use bright wall color in combination to light tone furniture. Also, improve the natural light spreading into your house by open all the windows.
  • Finally, create as much storage space as you can. Shelves, drawer, baskets, whatever you can!

What If You Live in a Cold Climate Where You Can’t “Escape” to The Outdoors Much?

The only answer to this question is finding out the methods to heat your house during the whole winter. You have many choices, and the best way is using an electric heater (Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater for example).

A traditional method is heating with fire. In this case, a stove will be taken into account. You can use a pellet stove or a typical wood-burning stove for cold climates. Both of them use wood and other kinds of dry organic material such as leaves or straw to create fire and generate heat. Thus, you can save lots of electric consumption, and this’s a very big advantage.

What Does a Basic Tiny House Look Like?

Unique Features

The most recognizable characteristic is, without a doubt, tiny. As I said above, the tiny house average size typically is in the range from 100-400 square feet. Another distinctive feature of tiny houses is mobility. Unlike a small house, most tiny ones include wheels, or more exactly, a trailer – the foundation of a tiny house on wheels.

tiny house average size trailer
Source: Tiny Home Builders

Our Example

To give you a quick and clear description of a basic tiny house, I take the Cypress 24 Tour model – an upgraded version of the Cypress model from Tumbleweed manufacturer which is one of the most well-known tiny house companies in the world – as an example.

Overall Look

Cypress 24 Tour has the size of 172 square feet, so it’s considered as a “tiny of tiny.” In addition to a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room, this one also has a loft. About the natural light source, you have nothing to worry because this house has two doors and six windows in total. They’re placed around the house so that everything will be very bright and dry!


how to downsize to a tiny house
Tumbleweed Cypress 24 Tour Loft showing off the sleeping loft with dormers. Source: Tumbleweed

This loft is spacious enough for a sleeping of two adults and a child. The double dormers create enough space to allow you sit on without any problem. Of course, you cannot stand straight up because your head will hit the ceiling. The upstairs and downstairs are connected via some ladder stairs. They’re very cool because they have drawers to store stuff inside.


tiny house average cost
Tumbleweed Cypress 24 Tour Kitchen leading to a downstairs bedroom. Source: Tumbleweed

First, the kitchen is an L-shaped type with a standard-sized oak cabinet and wall-mount shelves. Inside the butcher-block countertop, there is a built-in induction cooktop allowing to heat up with a pan on top, but otherwise, you can touch it because it won’t be hot at all. Looking to the left is a single washing sink. Right next to it, there is an optional apartment-sized fridge rather than an under the counter. This one has a nice size and good freezer space as well.

To the left of that, you have a closet for clothes hanging with some extra hangers on top and a few shelves at the bottom. I forget to mention the washer and dryer. There are in the same unit and have a specific nook at the counter side of the cabinet.

perfect tiny bed room for cold climates
Tumbleweed Cypress with a comfy downstairs bedroom. Source: Tumbleweed

Move to the bedroom and bathroom. In the bedroom, a single bed is used. Although it’s spacious enough for a sleeping of two adults and a child, my advice for you is to replace it with a twin-sized bed which will help you save as much space as possible. The bathroom is right off to the right. It has a full shower, a low flush toilet with a foot pedal, a little sink and a mirror as well.

Finally, what’s about the living or guesting space? It’s quite narrow in my opinion. However, since there is no separation between the kitchen and living room, you can expand your space for living or guessing to the pathway. My favorite feature of this Cypress 24 Tour is the bump-out area. You can keep it empty or put a small bed or sofa.

Pumping, Heating and Hitching Systems

Now, let’s discover deeper with the pumping system. You’ll have a 50A and 220V hook-up; this is what comes standard with our homes. A ten-gallon water heater can be accessed from the outside. Right next, there is an entry into the water holding tank that you can also hook up your hose and a cover which is just for a regular 110V outlet. Down below, the underneath is a 3-inch sewer hookup, so you can hook up directly to the water source or put a temporary tank underneath.

how to downsize to a tiny house
Cypress 24 Tour hitch end. Source: Tumbleweed

The hitch end to support this tiny house is a 2 and 5/16 ball hitch, working with just about any type of connection you can get on most trucks.

Right above the hitch end, there is a processor for the heater for cold climates and the air-conditioner. It’s an all-in-one unit.

What is The Problem About Living in a Tiny House?

Less Living Space

Obviously, this is the biggest challenge of a tiny house! Not only the problem comes from being getting crowded as the whole family has to share such a very little space, but it also results in the deficiency of furniture and appliances. You cannot have a full-sized bathroom with a bathtub. You’re also hard to fit a large dining table in your tiny kitchen. Besides, it’s also difficult for members who want to be private or simply need a quiet place to study.

Less Storage Space

How can you put much stuff inside if your tiny house average size is under 150 square feet only? Many people complain to this. The fact is that moving into a tiny house is not different to eliminating many furniture, appliances, and even belongings. Your closet is basically always full, but your demands of clothes might still be deprived. Even though not all of them are necessary, having fewer options to dress up could be very frustrating.

Less Entertaining and Guesting Capability

How can you invite 10 friends to your Thanksgiving dinner if there is even no space to host 5? How can you create an indoor safe “mini nursery” for your 4-year-old son? A lot of tiny home owners try to solve these kinds of trouble by adding outdoor space, like a pavement patio or a picnic table. They’re both great ideas, giving a chance to be nearer nature, but they will become useless as it’s raining.

What Does a Tiny House Actually Cost Compared to Living in Your Previous Big House?

The price depends on a lot of factors, such as size, type, material qualify, etc. Not to mention the money paid for appliances and furniture, the tiny house average cost varies in a very long range, from as cheap as zero if you can build your house by yourself with all of the free salvage materials to as high as $150,000 if you buy a completely new house.

In general, the tiny house average cost is about $300 per square foot, which mean a 200-square-feet house is $60,000. For example, the Tumbleweed’s 188-sqft Cypress tiny house costs nearly $63,000, while the 298-sqft version costs 73,000.

7 Steps I Recommend You Should Take If You’re Considering Switching To A Tiny House

Note that the following steps are just my recommendation on how to downsize to a tiny house. You don’t need to follow exactly because it could be not correct in your case.

Step 1: Choose the location

Think of where to place your tiny house: in a rural are or urban area. Ask yourself: Do I want an off-the-grip living? Also, consider whether you want a tiny house on wheels or a fixed foundation.

Step 2: Check the outdoors

Don’t forget to check the surrounding area of your house. Can it be transformed into a garden or an RV campground? Do you need to build a fence to improve the security or avoid wild animals?

Step 3: Think of your family size and lifestyle

How many members are in your family? Do you have any child? How old is she/he? If you have children, you and your spouse will need a private bedroom. Your child probably needs privacy to study and other things. Also, consider do you raise pets like dogs and cats? If yes, I suggest you build an outdoor shelter for them, of course, it needs to be safe, dry, and warm.

Step 4: Buy or Build or Rent

Do you want to purchase a new tiny house from a company or build it by yourself? If you have no idea how to build, I highly suggest the first option. As I said, the tiny house average cost is $300 per square foot. If you can build or maybe one of your friend knows and he’s willing to help you, why don’t make it become your DIY project? Or you might hire professionals to work with you.

Step 5: Plan for utilities

Many things should be taken into account, including electricity (how to generate it, public power line or a solar energy system), water (city water source, well, tank, pumping or hookup), hygiene (regular or composting toilet), sewage (dispose or recycle), the Internet, etc.

Step 6: Sell unnecessary stuff

You surely know your oncoming residence is going to be extremely small, and that’s why you need to get rid of useless things. What should be sold? This mostly depends on your demands. My list would include already-read books (or paper books that you have their e-book version), old or tight clothing, old toys, bulky furniture, art painting, etc.

Step 7: Find Storage in your New House

Create as much storage space as you can. It can be a floor-to-ceiling shelf or a multi-drawer cabinet. Also, consider multi-functional furniture which offers the ability to store stuff, such as an under-bed storage, under-sofa storage, foldable shelves, etc.

Another excellent reference for you:


Downsizing your house doesn’t mean you have to cut off all of your daily fun. For me, it’s only a way to simplify my life, make every neat and saving. I now love it, and I will love it for many years next. Hope you find this post helpful! Hope you understand how to downsize to a tiny house! Thank you a lot for reading!

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