The tiny-house movement is sweeping across the country and involves those inventive homeowners that want to live more simply and efficiently, typically in dwellings that are less than 500-square feet in size. This involves some creativity on the part of the contractor, and some sacrifices for the homeowner. These sacrifices, however painful they may currently seem, will yield a high return with a lifestyle that is simple, affordable, and independent.

Consider the following seven strategies when building your own tiny house:

1. Make space count.

Sketch and plan for every inch in the tiny house before you build it. An inch or two here and there doesn't seem like a lot in a conventional house, but in a tiny home, this can make a big difference in head-space, appliance size, or overall comfort in the home.

2. Create some storage.

The purpose of paring down personal belongings when moving into the tiny home has dual purposes: it makes life simpler and there is just no room for clutter in a small dwelling. Create storage under trailers, in out-buildings, or on top of the home to store items that you must have and that have a distinct purpose, such as lawn equipment, sporting goods, or tools.

3. Get some wheels.

One of the advantages of building your home on wheels, or a flatbed trailer, is that it becomes a non-permanent structure which eliminates a lot of zoning and building restrictions. The other advantage is that is becomes a mobile-home that goes where you go. There are size limitations, however, on what you can pull behind your vehicle unless you have a special license.

4. Aim for sustainability.

If your goal is to live off the grid eventually, make smart choices in the construction of the tiny house that will be conducive to this goal in the future. For instance, invest in a composting toilet now, or add solar panels to the roof for energy.

5. Think outside, and on top, of the box.

Vertical space is something that you will need to utilize and optimize in a tiny home. This includes the areas on top and below your house. Create a rooftop patio for entertaining, build storage up the walls of the home, or store goods under the trailer, behind skirting.

6. More than one function.

Consider having your commercial contractor build simple, custom furnishings that fit perfectly in your home's spaces, and that has more than one function. For instance, a couch that pulls out into a bed, or stairs that has storage drawers behind each riser. The added convenience will more than be worth the cost to have these items built.

7. Paring down equals simplicity.

Don't feel deprived by having to get rid of your stuff to move into a much smaller house. It can be very liberating to be untethered and free from clutter. Those who have purged their personal property report that it is very freeing and lends to a simpler lifestyle and higher quality of life.

Keep these tips in mind when designing and building your tiny house, for optimal storage and comfort during your transition to tiny-home living. Talk with your contractor about clever ways to increase space and curb costs during the construction, and aim for designs and plans that target long-term goals and plans. For instance, if your future goal is sustainability, consider investing money now to help you achieve this objective.  

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