You Can’t Take it with You

… or at least I can’t take it all with me. I had already decided to take on My Things Challenge by the time I realized I'd be Downsizing from a Tiny House to a Tinier House (from a 121 square foot tiny house on wheels to a 114 square foot yurt!) But I knew the smaller space would help hold me accountable. It certainly has. As I began Inventorying & Packing Up (which took quite a while!) I realized that some things just wouldn’t fit comfortably with me in the teeny space. So I put a big pile of things near the street this morning with a free sign and posted an ad on Craigslist. One of things I gave away was the big green velveteen foam-filled pillow chair I bought from Robb’s Pillow Furniture at the Oregon Country Fair. I’ve enjoyed it a great deal over the years, but I knew I wouldn’t have space for it and I figured it was time to pass it on. I was delighted when Rocky, the guy who taught me to tile told me he’d snagged the pillow chair from my pile on his way to work. Hopefully his kids have fun jumping on it!

I wheeled out the big suitcase I’ve only used when I went studied abroad in Italy in 2003 and whenever I schlep my possessions from one house to the next. I haven’t checked luggage since 2003 – see Packing Lightly vs. Packing Densely – so I realized I just don’t need it. I set out the clothes that don’t fit me just right and when I came back out with another armload I was pleased a woman my size had stopped to go through the pile. She was as happy to add my stuff to her wardrobe as I was to get rid of it! (For more about tiny wardrobes, check out The Minimalist's New Clothes.)

By evening my free pile was gone and those items had been dispersed across the city. Hopefully they’ve found good homes!

So did I get down to 100 Things? Nope, not quite. This year I'm doing My 200 Things Challenge. But Who's Counting Anyway?

Tiny House on the Move

tiny house on the road again! My tiny move only took me a few hours. Packing was a piece of cake. My to do list read like this:

  1. Wrap breakable kitchen items (dishes and mason jars of rice, lentils, oats, etc.) in towels and put them into a storage tote
  2. Snug shiftable things (spice rack, olive oil, office supply basket) into laundry hamper
  3. Take wine bottles out of rack and tuck them into dresser drawer (ditto with candles)
  4. Strap kitchen drawers and refrigerator closed with a bungee cord

Since I was taking my whole house with me there were all sorts of things

drawers & fridge strapped shut

I didn't have to pack up at all. My jackets remained on the rack, my shoes in their basket, and my pots on their shelf. My bed stayed made up and ready for another night's sleep. I left all my clothes in their dresser drawers and just strapped the drawers shut with a bungee cord. For me the last step of feeling settled in a new place is getting art up on the walls, but this time it was already there!

tuck breakables into clothes in dresser drawers, bungee closed

A few neat tiny house details made the move simpler, too. I have a little shelf with a bar across the front for my empty mason jars (read: drinking vessels, aka glasses), so I left them where they were.  Since my dishrack hangs on hooks I knew it would likely sway a little but that nothing would fall and break. So I just left the dishes drying in the rack. I even decided to just leave my Christmas cactus hanging from its hook on the ceiling! No problems there. As I design a tiny house for myself that will be more mobile than this one, I will try to remember these little tricks made hitting the road much quicker and easier.

pulling the tiny house into its new parking spot

Once I knew everything was secure inside I headed outside to disconnect the house from its utilities. I unscrewed the water supply hose and disconnected the waste pipe from the corrugated drainage pipe of my greywater system. I unplugged my electrical cord and unscrewed my propane line and wrapped the lines up with zip ties so they wouldn't drag along the way. Then I closed the shutters so they would protect the windows in transit. I removed the wheel covers and tire blocks. With the propane tank, front steps, and jacks safely tucked inside the house, we were ready to roll.

We got the tiny house parked in its new spot, stabilized on jacks, and hooked up to water, power, and propane. Simplest move I've ever made!