Tag: tiny living

Downsizing – 5 Steps To Get Started

Before we knew our destiny of living minimally on a school bus, we were constantly “decluttering” our lives.  Every week I (Ashley) would single out a room, and tackle it….

Before we knew our destiny of living minimally on a school bus, we were constantly “decluttering” our lives.  Every week I (Ashley) would single out a room, and tackle it.  I would frequently day dream about the tiny containers that would fit perfectly within my bigger containers to organize my over cluttered life.  I spent more time thinking about it than actually working towards simplification. Downsizing was little more than just a pipe dream.

We had a 4 bedroom house with a pantry the size of my bus, two dining rooms and an enormous walk in master closet: all packed with my things. At one point I remember telling my husband “this house doesn’t have any storage!”. I laugh now looking back on the women I was.  So concerned with properly folded decorative towels and storage bins. I still am at times a princess about somethings but I have come so far! ::::patting myself on the back::::

I get asked a lot about how to start minimizing and decluttering so here I will share my top 5 tips.

  1. PRIORITIZE YOUR GOALS: Why are you wanting to simplify?  What are your goals? Things waste our time!  How often do you spend time looking for Tupperware lids, never to find the one you were looking for? Does cleaning your kids toys take more time than they actually spend playing with them? Life isn’t suppose to be spent organizing and cleaning things. If you choose to just keep cleaning things up, rather than simplify nothing will change. My “ahh ha moment” was standing at my kitchen sink while I was washing dishes and my child asked me to go swing with them.  I responded with “no, honey I need to finish the dishes”….WHAT?! Why are dishes more important than actually spending time with my kid? (Obviously I still wash dishes, and still have responsibilities around the bus, but they pale in comparison to what they used to). I was spending hours a day loading and unloading dish after dish from my dishwasher because I kept buying more and more dishes. I bought more clothes to satisfy my materialistic desires to be trendy rather than because I needed them. Which lead to more laundry, more folding, more stress and more mental over head. The fewer things you own the more your able to live the life you want.
  2. MAKE LISTS: I am a list maker. I find satisfaction in making long lists and checking off tasks as they are completed.  It also clears my mind to actually focus on the task at hand.  If you have too many things floating around in your brain nothing actually gets done. A large house full of organizing and decluttering sounds overwhelming which leads to failure.  Get out your pen and paper and start writing down the rooms, closets, dressers, junk drawers, cabinets etc. that are cluttering up your mind and your life. Figure out what is a reasonable timeline for yourself and aim for 1 room, drawer, cabinet whatever, per week. Start checking off those tasks and watch your list get completed!
  3. DONT QUIT: Decluttering isn’t fun.  Its incredibly tedious at times. I fought my boredom with audio books (mostly zombie fiction). I would start a book and not want to stop listening; it would keep me going for hours. The Girl With All The Gifts got me through my entire master bedroom, bathroom and closet! If you’re not into listening to books, 90’s hip hop is pretty motivating also. If you don’t know now you know! (RIP Biggie)
  4. NO MORE “JUST IN CASE”: Most of the clutter in our lives are the “just in case items”. We hang on to cords just in case, we keep those jeans just in case we lose 20 lbs, we keep that crystal pitchers just in case we throw a party. How often is the item actually used? Have you used it in the past year? If not get rid of it. If you can replace the item quickly and for under $20 its not worth cluttering your home with it.  Not quite ready to ditch it? Put the item in a box in the garage and if you use it within the next three months than keep it, if not wave goodbye!
  5. START….YEP GET STARTED: No more excuses, no more procrastination, no more “Im too busy”. I hate that excuse BTW because what you’re really saying is “its not a priority”.  Everyone makes time for the things that are a priority in their lives.
    So if you don’t have time…MAKE TIME.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
2 Comments on Downsizing – 5 Steps To Get Started

Tiny House Festivals: Some Observations After Attending

Over the past two years that we have been on the bus, we have attended multiple Tiny House festivals and meetups.  We absolutely love showing off our bus and meeting…

Over the past two years that we have been on the bus, we have attended multiple Tiny House festivals and meetups.  We absolutely love showing off our bus and meeting the amazing people that are part of the community.  Here are a few interesting things that I have discovered over the past year or so.

Sharing Community Of Tiny Home Dwellers

This is my absolute favorite thing about the “tiny” movement.  Ashley and I have been a part of numerous subcultures over the years (school, extra curricular groups, churches, coops) and have never found a community more inviting and accepting that the tiny home community.  Especially the DIYers.  Everyone seems to share similar values of living sustainably and treating others with love and respect.  It’s absolutely incredible.

Often we are asked why we spend our time and money to attend tiny home shows/meet-ups.  Usually, they are unpaid gigs that involve quite a bit of work for all of the folks attending.  My response is always to spend time in community with other tiny home dwellers.

Almost out of no where, each night after the guests have left, a huge party materializes.  Everyone in the show brings food to share and there are often (sometimes obscure) musical instruments that get pulled out and an on-the-spot band is formed.  I feel like we are immediately among family after knowing these people for less than 12 hours.

Huge Difference Between DIY Tiny Homes And Tiny Home Builders

I’m totally not knocking on people who have their houses/busses/vans built for them or the builders who do it, but there is definitely a difference in the mindset between the two.  Most of the festivals have separate areas for DIY vs Corporate.

A few other observations about the actual structures of DIY vs Built:

  • DIY tends to have more character while manufactured feels like a “home builder”
  • DIY people tend to be more savvy as they have acquired the skills needed to build their structure
  • Cost: The cost to have a tiny home or bus built for you is almost double that of doing it yourself
  • Reasons for living tiny: I feel that DIYers are more inclined to be living tiny because of the movement instead of the trend (again there are plenty of exceptions, I’m only speaking in generalities).  Also, the DIY community seems to be more “stick it to the man” in this regard.

People Think We Are Poor

So, Ashley, together with a few super talented friends of ours created this super cool logo/sticker for Trebventure.  She had a cool idea of selling stickers at $3 a pop to go into our gas fund (we get 7 mpg so we can use all the help we can get).  Well, people purchased about $60 worth of stickers, however every now and again someone would slip me a 10 or a 20 and not want a sticker.  When I pressed them on this they would say things like “I know what it’s like to have kids”.  I humbly accepted the money (and put it into the community beer fund), however I really want to convey to people that we choose to live this way.

One other time this sort of thing happened, we were in Washington.  The Nomadic Millers and us had pulled into a parking lot at a local laundry mat to get some laundry done when a car pulled up.  The woman got out and proceeded to give us a case of water and balls for the kids.  Again, while we were super grateful for the generosity, I’m still not super sure how to react in these situations other than to say “thank you”.

We are houseless not homeless.

Everyone Has Road/Traveling Issues

“How much have you spent on bus maintenance?” – This is an extremely common question we get asked.  While we have been incredibly fortunate to have less than $1,000 in maintenance so far, many of our peers haven’t been so lucky.  We have heard stories of multiple transmission replacements, clutch jobs in parking lots, rebuilds on the side of the road and more.  Almost every time we are all ready to leave a convention, someone’s bus won’t start.

Road issues aren’t just common in the busses either.  Many of the tiny home folks dealt with flats, truck issues, near misses on bridges, etc…

Tiny Home Dwellers Love To Talk About Poop

At every convention I go to, I ultimately find myself in a conversation (not started by me I promise) about human waste / disposal.  We use a composting toilet and absolutely love it (OK maybe I start some of the conversations).  Since it’s such a unique thing and way of disposing of waste, people are always intrigued.  Not to mention, there are still a few challenges associated with it that only frequent users will understand. That post is for another day.

Some Final Thoughts

We absolutely LOVE attending tiny house jamborees/festivals/conventions/meetups.  If you know of one in your area, we absolutely encourage you to go (also let us know and we might check it out ).  Building our bus has been a labor of love and an expression of our creativity. Nothing brings us more joy than being able to show case our hard work to the world.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
4 Comments on Tiny House Festivals: Some Observations After Attending

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search

Subscribe to our mailing list

(All the cool kids are doing it)