Tiny House Transition: Downsizing

Downsizing is a difficult aspect of tiny house living. It’s often overlooked on social media platforms or in the press. Making the transition to a tiny house isn’t as simple as it seems, but If you downsize well, the transition will be much easier.

Living the dream in a tiny home! Ted Eytan / Flickr (Creative Commons)

What Is Downsizing?

@tinyhousebasics remodel coming this week. New flooring and painting of trim to match. Stay tuned!

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Setting realistic expectations and changing your lifestyle is vital to the transition of living in a small home. Before dispatching to a tiny life of ease, you must acknowledge the cost of liberating yourself from owning so many possessions. You have to abandon your materialistic tendencies. While this may sound like a simple task, it’s not easy.

You’ll have to answer questions like:

  • How do I downsize my wardrobe?
  • What can I live without?
  • How can I maximize the space inside my tiny house?

Have no fear! This guide will answer all those questions. Soon, you’ll be a downsizing aficionado.

Simplifying Your Wardrobe

#tinyhousetip Use loft space for clothes storage. There are often small and awkward spaces in the loft that can be used for storage and kept out of the sight of the main house area. #tinyhousecloset #tinyhouseloft #smallcloset

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Identify the type of lifestyle you promote and what attire is required to maintain your ways. Downsizing is simply a matter of asking yourself the right set of questions related to your apparel, paired with viable actions.

So let’s get down to decluttering your wardrobe.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important that you figure out the type of lifestyle you lead. If you’re a gym-freak, then you may want to have a few workout outfits in hand. If you’re a traditional white-collar worker, then your wardrobe must be armed with professional business attire.

Consider the items you wear on a daily basis. Whether it be ripped jeans, yoga pants, or dresses, be sure to bring along clothes that best complement your style. Toss out any article of clothing tucked away in the back of your closet, and consider donating that special-occasion outfit you wear once in a blue moon.


The folks over at TinyHouseTalk recommend creating three separate piles: keep, donate, or toss. By following a one-in, one-out process, you’ll be able to rid yourself of any unwanted clothes.

The rule is simple, for every article of clothing you smuggle into your new tiny home, donate 1-3 items to a local non-profit.

Additionally, you can consider selling your gently used clothes through online networks such as Craigslist, Poshmark, or Offer Up.

Cleaning Your Clothes

Traditional washers and dryers aren’t the most efficient machines to introduce into your tiny pad. Most units are bulky and take up a ton of space. Washing machines need a lot of energy to run. The plumbing involved does not pleasantly convert to your tiny house either, as machines can use up to 25 gallons of water per load.

The space dominated by these machines can be used towards something else, as long as you don’t mind going to a laundromat. But if you decide cleaning your clothes at home is the way to go, you have two options: the hand-operated option or the combo washer dryer.

Hand-Operated Option

Automatic laundry isn’t for everyone. The WonderWash is a hand-powered, portable appliance that is both economically and environmentally friendly. The unit weighs around six pounds and only requires several minutes of spinning to leave your clothes sparkling clean. Considering its “tiny” structure, the nifty washer has an impressive capacity of 8 dress shirts, ten t-shirts, or 2 pairs of jeans.

The WonderWash. Available on Amazon.

Combo Washer Dryer

If hand-washing clothes aren’t for you, then you may want to go with a combo washer dryer. Although these units are ventless, they still require dedicated plumbing and are marked with a higher price tag.

Similar to the traditional household washer dryer, the combo units can fully wash and dry larger loads of laundry. The average clean time for a combo washer dryer can range anywhere from 3-5 hours . It’s a major inconvenience if you don’t plan for it.

Reducing your eco-footprint by using one machine rather than two is feasible with the EdgeStar Washer Dryer Combo. Designated laundry areas are a thing of the past with this unit. It only requires access to a pure water source like a faucet or sink, and can be stored away when it’s not in use.

EdgeStar 2.0 Cu. Ft. All-in-One Ventless Washer and Dryer Combo – Silver Available on Amazon.

Staying Organized In A Tiny House

Organization is key. By staying organized you’re paving the path for the downsizing process. It’s easy to get caught up in the process, and forget the little details that enable tiny living. Here are some ways you can stay organized in a small area.

Vertical Space

If you can’t expand out, the only other way is up. Using wall space is one of the basic methods for maximizing space in a tiny house. Hanging hooks can hold personal belongings such as guitars, shovels, or handbags.

Building a shelf or ledge will help with storing smaller items. That will free up cabinet space. If you intend on having household plants, consider draping them from the walls or ceiling.

Designated Spaces

Once you’ve determined which items are must-haves in your life, the step is designating specific areas for each belonging.

No more throwing your coat on the back of your dining room chair after a long night out. Put everything in its right place every time. Dedicate a space for each personal item that you have deemed worthy to keep, and save yourself the burden of constantly keeping your tiny house neat.

Go Digital

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to forgo hoarding physical belongings such as books, CDs, televisions, and DVD’s. Video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu have made it possible to watch virtually any movie and tv show online.

As far as your music selection goes, all of your tunes can be downloaded and stored on Spotify or Apple Music. Also, don’t be afraid to ditch your old-school bedside clock for a reliable smart phone alarm.

Multifunctional Furniture

This is where you’ll need to be creative. Deciding on which pieces of furniture to invest in is a complicated and lengthy process. A piece of furniture with more than one purpose is not only invaluable, but also a solution for saving space.

Whether it be a staircase with storage space, an ottoman doubling as a tabletop and footrest, or a sofa that converts to a pull-out bed, living in a tiny house means investing in furniture that can provide extra space and storage solutions.


Multifunctional Furniture Options

  • FourLightsHouses offers DIY design plans for compact furnishing, such as Tansu Step Storage. It provides an extra six cubic feet of storage by swapping out standard walking steps with pull-out drawers.
  • The experts over at ResourceFurniture know how to transform your space – especially when it comes to tiny houses. The artisan X2 bookshelf is made of either oak or walnut and can be adjusted to fit a wide array of spaces throughout your tiny space.
  • ExpandFurniture provides a broad range of multifunctional, space-saving furniture from innovative wall beds to convertible coffee tables. The cutting-edge Revolving TV Murphy Bed caught my eye with its combination of a media center and bookshelf that rotates 180 degrees, folding down into a queen sized bed.
  • Professional DIYer and skilled woodworker Brian Patrick Flynn helps pet owners accommodate their furry friends in small spaces. The self-made, three-sided cube is both an end table and cushioned bed for pets. View the complete DIY plan here.

This should cover all the basics of downsizing into your tiny house. The best advice I can offer is start small to transition small. This means taking baby steps to achieve attainable results. Decluttering your wardrobe. Discover new ways to utilize furniture. Stay organized to preserve some peace of mind.

Making the change to tiny house living is hard, but it’s worth it. Getting started is the hardest part. But once you’re tossing away old t-shirts and useless knick knacks, you’ll be glad you did.

Written by Joe Mercurio

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