Tiny homes are all the rage lately, and there's a reason why. They're efficient, cost-effective when it comes to energy and electric bills, and honestly, tiny homes are adorable. Brandon Medina and his wife, Denise Vega, have been planning and plotting their own tiny home mission for over a year. When asked why, Medina had one simple response: "We didn't use 60 percent of the house."
Medina went from living in a one-bedroom apartment to a 4-bedroom, 2-bath home, but once they started learning more about tiny homes, they realized they could be living simpler by living smaller. With the decision to go small comes the need to declutter and reorganize not just your closet, but your life.
"Ultimately, the hardest thing is admitting to yourself what you truly need to give up," said Medina.
Are you thinking of investing in a tiny home? Make sure you check off these boxes before making any real moves.
1. Stay in a tiny Airbnb
Before you decide to build or buy a tiny home, it's a good idea to emerge yourself in the tiny home way by staying in one. Make sure you stay for numerous nights to get the full effect.
"We absolutely loved it; we even booked a second Airbnb in Denver and it was a condo. It ended up being so bad that we called the first tiny Airbnb back and they let us stay there instead. We LOVED it," said Medina.
This is when they realized they could actually live in a tiny home, and thus the search began.
2. Binge-Watch Tiny Home Shows
Start watching shows prior to booking an Airbnb so you know what to expect the best you can.
"We started watching shows about a year before booking an Airbnb. We even looked into building one before staying, but luckily they were too costly at the time," said Medina.
From watching the shows, they found out how efficient storage options are for less things in less space, especially from an environmental standpoint.
"Not only that, how much one tiny home can help conserve the earth. That was a big draw for us," said Medina.
3. Check Your Budget
A year ago, Medina and Vega were falling in love with tiny homes, but the price was too high. If you want to build a custom tiny home, it's going to cost more, something you should be aware of when looking into investing.
"We ultimately decided to go with a builder who was local, already had set plans for tiny homes, but will customize within the set plans. It ended up being about a $90,000 difference in cost," said Medina.
If your budget allows the total customization, be aware that you'll be paying the price of a regular-sized home. If you want the most cost efficient option, go local and leave the customization for the interior.
4. Go Through Your Closet
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There's a lot of downsizing that takes place when you decide to go tiny, and the first place to start is your closet. Though there are spaces for your clothing in a tiny home, it is limited, and this is generally where we carry the most of our extra baggage.
"I started with my shoes, being that I had over 50 pairs. I either had to find some way to store it smart or get rid of some. You then realize what things you think you wear, but you don't," said Medina.
5. Sort What You Have in Storage
There are always nooks and crannies where we stuff extra belongings in our homes, some even using the garage as their own personal storage unit. Before shifting to a tiny way of life, go through your belongings. All of them. You'll see what all you can and can't get rid of to help decide whether you truly can manage to go tiny.
"This has been the longest process for us, with the garage and the kitchen being the biggest challenges. After doing all we could, we hired a company, Junk Busters, to come through the remainder of the house and get rid of what's left," Medina said.
6. Consider Your Home Goals
If you want to have large quantities of guests over every night for social events, a tiny home may not be in your best interest. But if you don't mind living a simple life, and enjoy partaking in the outdoor hangouts that living on the land can give you, going tiny may be the home goal just for you.
"As long as I have a space for everything, then I don't feel claustrophobic or like I'm giving up anything," said Vega. "We have a guest couch that people can stay the night on, so we aren't giving up the amenities that we once had to go tiny."
7. Do Your Research
Medina may not have ever known that there were other options on the tiny home market if he hadn't have waited and done adequate research, something everyone considering going tiny should do.
"You have to know what kind of plumbing you want, if you're house is going to be on wheels or stationary. If you want solar panels and rain collection; that'll all add to your budget. You should take about a month, at least, to look into it and see if the space is workable," Vega said.
It's also wise to look up city codes, because certain lots won't let you have anything but a traditional home with square footage minimums.
8. Mentally Prepare Yourself
A lot of prep goes into the decision of simply wanting a tiny home, and it's not just about what you can and can't get rid of belonging-wise. It takes a full-on mental cleanse to really prepare yourself for this shift of living.
"You have to change your mindset about what's important to you, and kind of let go of materialistic things and greed. The way I look at purchases now is that I'm buying it for the rest of my life. It's really just being more environmentally conscious about what you're running through, whatever it be," Vega said.
Ultimately, a home is where you should relax and have your necessities, not something to showboat around just because you can.
If you have been thinking of getting a tiny home, what is the most stressful or rewarding part of the process? Let us know in the comments below.