Living Small Means Living Debt Free

Archive for April, 2015

Creekside Rental In Georgia

A Tiny House For Rent In Georgia

Georgia Tiny House RentalWith summer coming upon on very soon, many people are trying to decide what they will do for their vacation.

Renting a tiny house is a good option. It gives you a roof over your head for the small amount of time that you would spend indoors. If you are like most people, you enjoy being outdoors for most of the day during the warmer temperatures.

Here is a place you can rent that won’t cost you a fortune.

It is approximately 256 square feet.

It has everything that you would need for your vacation: air conditioning (a must with Georgia’s climate), cable TV, wireless internet, a kitchen, bathroom with shower, and a fireplace for possible chilly nights.

If you have pets, you’re in luck as pets are allowed.

Something to note: smoking is allowed in this one.

It’s a log cabin that is situated in the Georgia mountains. It overlooks a creek. Unfortunately, there aren’t many pictures to really see what the cabin is like inside but if you want to see more before making a decision, you could write to the owners and ask for more pictures.

They say there are lots of hiking opportunities in the area, and lots of quaint shops to explore. And of course, lots of nature…

Sounds like it would be a very relaxing vacation. You get the best of both worlds – activities, shopping and a view. I find being surrounded by nature and small town shops something that I love for my vacation. That’s the whole point of a vacation – to relax and de-stress.

Want a little more information? Check out the listing and book it here.

Homes That Are Affordable

More Affordable Housing Options

Affordable HomeWith the continued high cost of housing, there are some challenges that most people want or need to overcome.

The expense and cost of living of a big house is an issue that is something that many people would like to avoid.

There are a number of options to consider:

Tiny housing – these are very small houses. They are generally anywhere up to 350 square feet in size. Everything is small within these homes – tiny kitchen, tiny living area, tiny bathroom, and tiny bedroom. In addition to the very reasonable cost to buy or build; the cost-of-living in one is minimal. They can be built in a permanent location or as a house on wheels.

Recreational vehicle (RV) – these can be a motor home, a 5th wheel, or a trailer. They come in sizes from very small (20 feet) to very large (40 feet). The size mentioned is in relation to Rvs, not permanent homes. They generally have everything you would need to live in on a temporary basis or a permanent basis. In fact, many people live in them full-time to save money, and/or travel without the expense of renting places wherever they choose to visit. An RV is basically a house on wheels.

The next two may be referred to by another name, depending on the country. The cost of the house, and cost-of-living would depend on the size and design but usually less than traditional homes. If a smaller size is selected, the costs would be lower.

Modular home – these homes are typically a little larger. They may be built off-location, transported to a piece of land, and constructed. Or they can be constructed directly on the land of choice. They come in sizes from small to large. They have all the comforts of home, and there are many plans and designs to choose from. With the larger size, comes the larger cost-of-living.

Manufactured home – similar to modular homes, they come in many sizes and styles. These types of houses are typically constructed right on the land. They also have all the amenities anyone could want and more, depending on the size.

Creative ideas – as an avid tiny house and simple living enthusiast, I’ve seen many very creative ideas that people have come up with to live in. From yurts, to luxury tents, converting trucks and trailers, and even a few of the larger cars. This type of living would not be for everyone, but I mention it because anyone can think of something unique by thinking outside of what is normal if that is what they want.

It is possible for anyone that wants to live a simpler, more rewarding life to find a place that has everything they could need or want, on a smaller scale.

There are many benefits that come from simplifying your life. I have mentioned these benefits in many of the previous blog posts – less stress, less cost of living, more time for yourself and family, and saving money. I keep mentioning them because they do become real and they do make life so much better simply by downsizing.

If you want to, you can check out some simple tiny house designs here.

Tiny Rustic, Modern House For Rent

Tiny Rental Home

Vacation HouseWould you like to try out living in a tiny rental house? It’s a great way to see if it is really something that you would like.

When you go, keep in mind whether you are trying it out as a cottage that you build in your favorite summer location, or if it will be a permanent home for you. Keeping this in mind while staying there does make a difference in how you feel.

This one is so cute. Quite rustic but with many of the modern amenities you’d want for comfort.

Rental House InteriorHere’s how they describe their place:

At 350 square feet, it has a kitchen area, a living room, a tiny bathroom, and a clawfoot tub downstairs.

Upstairs you’ll find the loft bedroom with a queen size bed.

It was built and furnished with reclaimed materials.

Loft BedroomAs you can see in the pictures, it has a rustic, modern flair. In other words, if you are looking for a 5-star place to stay when it comes to all the extras that you pay for, this is not it. If you are looking to get back to the basics in a clean, well-done way – this is your place.

Explaining further – tiny house rentals are just as clean and comfortable as you will find in any house rental. You may not have all the extras that you get at a top rated hotel, but you will have everything that you need for an enjoyable and comfortable vacation.

Back to the basics – with you get private fenced small front yard and your own access.

Apparently there is easy access to walking and biking trails, restaurants, and lots of other things to see.

Overall, this very small house looks like it would be a really nice place for anyone to take a vacation. You can read a lot more about it here.

Build Your Tiny House From A Shell

Tiny Inside House

Tiny House ShellHere’s your opportunity to take a tiny house shell and make it your own. Most of the exterior is done, including the windows and doors.

The inside is has been completely stripped and ready for your own design. Exactly how you envision it to be.

This means that your building time will be cut down considerably because some of the work is already done.

From what I understand, it will have to be moved from the current location but they say it is towable with a 1-ton truck.

The purchase price of $12,500 includes a fiberglass tub shower, 20 gallon water heater, Square D pro 100 amp, and a stainless steel sink.

The size is approximately 380 square feet.

It’s built like an RV (titled as an RV).

Right now, it is located somewhere in Mississippi. I guess you have to contact them for an exact location if you want to see it.

I think this is ideal. The outside looks quite nice. And you can finish the inside exactly the way you would want it to be.

Click here for all the information.

Tiny House Magazine Issue 28

28th Issue Of Tiny Houses Magazine

28th Magazine IssueThe April 2015 magazine about tiny houses has been published.

As always, it is available in PDF format, or for you iPad or Android. Whichever is your preference.

This issue is 75 pages full of interesting and informative articles. Great for anyone just started out with learning about these small places, and for anyone that has been around for awhile.

Only $4.99.

Click Here To Buy It

Here’s My Story

The “Why” And The Result Of Downsizing

For most of my adult life, I wasn’t truly happy.

I worked in jobs that I didn’t like (some I hated), jobs that were not what I really wanted to be doing. Like many other people, I thought it was something I had to do so we could live.

I wasn’t happy, but didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I made some changes to my lifestyle.

In reality, I was just coasting.

And then something happened that forced me to rethink how I was living.

I realized what I really needed was to feel happy and alive again.

With that realization came change.

We completely changed the way we were living our life.

It wasn’t an easy decision. It took a lot of thought, a lot of planning, and a lot of work. But it was worth it.

The end result is so much more than we ever could have imagined.

Fast forward a few years…

We are living a life that we enjoy. We are happy.

I am self-employed now, doing what I was meant to do. I should have done this many years ago.

We have a great work/life balance. Something that eluded us before.

We know now that there is no reason why anyone should live a mediocre life. A life full of struggles.

We are the owners of our lives….There is just one life and it’s ours to choose how we live it.

The catalyst for all the positive changes was when we downsized our house from a big one to a very small house. Everything snowballed (in a positive way) from that point on.

Two major changes that occurred from that decision were:

Our stress load decreased tremendously.

  • We work when we want. Our work time is not dictated by anyone but ourselves.

We have been able to pay off most of our debts; we are now working on the only remaining one.

  • Our “house” is very small. The cost of living is minimal.
  • Because of the small size, it takes very little time to clean and/or maintain.
  • This leaves of time and money for other things.

Which is a Huge Bonus!

But that’s not all!

We now have much more time for ourselves, our family, and friends.

The switch for living large to living small gave us the opportunity to reflect on our past life. The big houses we lived in were meaningless – nothing more than a status symbol. What people think is a reflection of success is more of a burden.

Life is not about what you have…
It is about how you live your life!

I made the decision that I wanted to live a meaningful life. A fulfilled life.

I want to live my life to the fullest.

That was not possible with all the demands from the way we used to live.

My fondest wish is that more people will realize that living a great life is more important than what you have. Those are just “things”; they don’t give meaning to your life.

Make plans to change your life for the better. It all starts with downsizing.

Take a look at some of the tiny house designs, and begin your journey to a better life.

Documentary Small is Beautiful

Film About Building A Tiny Home

A film that documents four people who have decided to build a tiny house.

I love the fact that the tiny house movement is really gaining traction these days. There are a few TV shows and now a documentary that is making the rounds.

The film documents the journey of the four people from the planning stages to building.

What it’s about:

Ben is in his 20’s and is building his home from his own design. He has no prior experience with construction so this adventure proved to be a challenge.

Nikki and Mitchell are building a log home for themselves and their two dogs.

Karen is a middle-aged and has been living in her tiny home for two years. Her story covers a few of her struggles.

The film is scheduled for release on April 30, 2015. At this time there are video teasers. After watching them, it looks like it is very well done and very interesting for anyone interested in the small house movement.

From what I understand, it’s not so much about the building process. It’s more about what building and living in a tiny house can do for your life. The ups and downs.

Along the same lines as what I’ve been talking about for the past few years.

  • Tiny house living gives you much more than to your life than the stereotypical big house.
  • Cost of your house and cost of living is minimal in comparison to the lifelong expense of a large house.
  • Strong community of like-minded people.

The documentary is making a tour within the USA and Australia.

They are giving everyone the opportunity to host the film, or to see it if it is already scheduled for your area.

You can pre-order the film or attend a screening.

I’ve pre-ordered mine and can’t wait to see the entire 68 minutes.

Contact and Screening Locations

The Politics of Tiny Houses

Housing Communities Battle

FarmhouseInterest in tiny houses is high. There is a tiny house movement. You can even find a growing number of tiny house communities.

Knowing, or learning about how many benefits there are to building and living in a very small house is one of the many reasons why this lifestyle is so popular with people these days.

One of the problems is their size. Some cities and towns haven’t come on-board with them yet.

The issue is their small size.

With the environmental crisis that our world is creating, it’s past time that some of those rules and regulations should be revisited and updated.
Zoning ordinances from many areas limit the minimum lot size and square footage of a house.

Many ordinances have not been updated since they were established; some date back to the 1950s.

Case in point, Jay Austin of Washington, DC, built a tiny house within Boneyard Studios. The problem he encountered is the home is considered illegal as a residence.

Washington DC’s zoning ordinance is 600 pages long with 34 chapters. Within those pages are various definitions including minimum lot size, room sizes, alleyway widths, and accessory dwelling units. Anyone reading all 600 pages would find that tiny houses can only be used as part time residences.

Within these pages are terms that were common place in the 1950s and even earlier. Things like references to telegraph offices and tenement houses as well as antenna regulations. The ordinance was approved in 1958 and has had very little advancement since then. You won’t find anything relating to sustainable development or sustainable living.

There do offer the ability to apply for an exemption to the code, however according to the National Housing Conference, the cost of applying and receiving an exemption could be as much as $50,000.

Washington DC says it is working on updating these ordinances; this work has been going on for almost ten years with no resolution in site.
As a work-around, Austin and his neighbors added wheels to their tiny places. By doing this, the structures become classified as a trailer. At that point, they are regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Even though they are now living within the law, the residents still cannot live in them permanently. They must keep a residence elsewhere and use the tiny structures on a part time basis.

Boneyard Studios is one of a number of like-communities. It began in 2012 with a mission – the founders want to promote the benefits of living tiny.

The lot they used was in a state of disrepair with overgrown grass, broken concrete, pooling water, and garbage. It was the site of criminal activity as well as used for illegal parking.

Today the lot is no longer an eye-sore, and has a community garden, a small fruit orchard, and green space.

At present there are two homes on the lot.

Tiny house enthusiasts in other communities face the same or similar issues. Until communities realize the benefits, the positive impact they can have on society, and eliminate the politics of tiny houses, communities will be fighting an uphill battle.

Soon after writing this article, we discovered that Boneyard had moved from the land they improved. They are looking for another permanent location for their community. We wish them well and to find a place very soon.


Tiny Structures, Math Class, and Giving Back

Three Life Lessons

You may be asking what these three things have to do with each other. Read on…there is a connection.

Tiny Reading HouseBooks were everywhere. Most with colorful covers to invite the curious to pick up and read. One child noticed something that was much more inviting and curiosity took hold.

That child crawled right in, grabbed a book, got comfortable and began reading.

The space was made for children and children have been enjoying the space since it was delivered.

This cozy structure was one of five built by students at Lincoln Junior High School in Bentonville, AR. The eight graders were having a hard time understanding math and working out various problems.

They needed help and their teacher realized something had to be done to help her students. She envisioned a project which would not only help her students but also benefit the community. Her students would use what they were learning in class to complete the project.

The project?

It was the construction of five structures in the shape of tiny houses. Each house was about four feet wide and three feet high.

Three Bentonville community organizations benefited from their project. Two of the structures were donated to the Bella Vista Animal Shelter to be used as dog houses. The other three are being used as reading houses at the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and the Bentonville Public Library. Children feel safe in these small places, and reading takes them to magical lands.

The children’s librarian says the tiny structure is very popular with children. When the house arrived, children were curious and crawled right in and curled up with a book.

During library hours, the house is rarely empty.

The Lessons.

The construction crew of about sixty eight graders had to use what they were learning in class to build their tiny structures. They had to figure out equations to make all the pieces fit.

As a result, the students learned how math is used in the real world.

The project also gave the crew the motivation and drive to do well and show they understood what math could accomplish.

The students soon realized there was more to math than just a bunch of problems and equations. They learned how to work and communicate with other people, and to work hard to achieve a goal. Many if them said the project was the most fun they’d ever had in math.

Not only did they learn math in a fun and constructive way, they also had to use creativity.

The project left the students with three life lessons. It taught them that math is used in everyday life, they realized that houses don’t have to be big to be comfortable, and they learned that giving back to a community brings joy to the giver and the receiver.


Heating A Tiny Home

The Warm Glow Of A Tiny Home

Wood StoveSpring is on it’s way in some locations of the country; others are still deep in an unusually long winter. There are few things that are nicer than walking into your house, with a fire burning in the wood stove. Or maybe you get a nice blast of warm air from your heater. Either way, the warmth is always a welcome thing no matter the size of your house.

The ambiance invites you to grab a book, a cup of coffee, and sit down in front of the warmth for a relaxing evening. One of my most favorite things about winter is a wood stove. I find it very relaxing to sit in front of a fire, I love the warmth it gives off, and I love that it is one of the most inexpensive and non-invasive types of heating.

While a wood burning stove may not be the best option for a very small home, heating with a propane stove may work.

It all depends on how small and how much room you have for a stove and for a supply of wood.

Granted propane may not be as romantic, but it is clean burning and generally easy to find a supplier.

If you enjoy off-grid living and all that goes with the lifestyle – collecting rainwater, having solar power, etc… you would most likely want to have a wood burning stove as your main source of heating.

There is no doubt it would work well. It wouldn’t take much to heat up a small place. The main concern would be the amount of space in the house versus convenience.

Most propane heaters are installed directly into the wall whereas a wood burning heater needs floor space. This is not only floor space for the heater itself but also a buffer zone around the heater for safety.

Propane heaters are lighter than wood burning heaters. But you must also factor in the weight of the propane tank or tanks
Whether you are living off or on grid, you’ll need to make decisions when choosing the best heat source for your home. If you are in a permanent location, choosing a heat source to suit your needs would be easier than if you move around.

Cost of fuel is another factor. In many places, wood is cheaper than propane.

Moisture is always a concern in small structures. If propane is your choice for heating and cooking, then you may also need a dehumidifier.

Wood heaters will not only heat but will keep the air dryer eliminating the need for a dehumidifier.

An additional benefit of some wood burning heaters/stoves; if you have one with a solid top plate you can use that surface as a cooktop.

In summary, there are two popular sources of heating for a tiny home. Wood burning stoves are efficient, relatively inexpensive to operate and have little environmental impact although they need a little extra room than most other sources of heat. Propane heaters are clean burning and efficient, and propane generally easy to locate.