The appeal of tiny houses transcends generations. Everyone from baby boomers to millennials are seeing the appeal of going tiny.  While tiny living offers a wide variety of advantages, there are a few drawbacks that should be considered before making the move to tiny living.

With a limited amount of space, there are limitations on what you can store. A limited amount of space means that one must prioritize the items that will be moved into your tiny abode.

Babyboomer Retirees

Recently I was asked to help a retired couple go tiny. They opted to simplify their lives and streamline their belongings. The husband, a retired machinist, had thousands of dollars worth of high quality tools. He asked me, “Where will I keep all of my tools?” I responded as  delicately as possible – Will you really be needing them now that you’re retired and moving into a tiny space. He had a strong attachment to the tools that had helped him to provide for his family for over 60 years. He conceded that he didn’t think he would need them. He didn’t want to sell them and no one his family had need for them. Finally we settled on the idea that we would find someone who was in need and just entering the trades to give the tools to. It seems like a simple measure, but psychologically it was a real challenge.

The need to pare down your belongings is difficult for everyone, but more so for the children of the depression who were raised with a mentality that an item may be needed and waste is a sin.

The Crafter

I also worked with a widow who wanted to go tiny. Her problem was that she had a large amount of crafting supplies (an entire room to be exact.) As we went through the room it became clear that she wasn’t willing to part with any of the craft supplies. She did not want to donate them. She did not want to sell them. She wanted to keep them “forever!”

The thing about a tiny house is you can’t fit 10 lbs. into a 5 lb. bag. So I decided to take her through an exercise. I started, “Ok, if we’re going to keep all of the crafting supplies, what are you going to give up?” The reality proved to be that if she wanted to keep all of the craft supplies, she couldn’t have anything more in her tiny house.

After some creative deliberation, she decided to store the crafts at her daughter’s house in the basement. This would allow her to keep all of the crafting supplies and also spend time crafting with her daughter. PROBLEM SOLVED!

What Do You Need? What do You Want?

One of the things that’s helpful in determining what to take with you is to ask the question: What do you need to survive long-term? Food, clothing, work-related items. Just the very basics. Once you’ve done that, the next question is: What items do you want to take with you and which is most important? Ranking the importance of items makes it easier to further pare down if you still have too much “stuff.”

What are your tips on deciding what you can’t do without? What did you have to give up? Was it worth it? Please leave us a comment. In the meantime, keep thinking tiny!