The 5 easiest things to let go of when you first start downsizing (Tiny Transition & Downsizing starts this week!)

Guest post from Mariah Coz.

Tiny Transition and Downsizing, the 8-week e-course that shows you step by step how to downsize, de-clutter, clear your mind and space is currently open for registration (class starts on June 28th!).

The number one thing people ask me before taking the course is:

“Where the heck do I even start?! I’m so overwhelmed!”

I get it! I was overwhelmed by my stuff once too. It took me years to dig out from under it and get downsized to where I could live in the COMET Camper and then in my fun little Honda Element van. Let me tell you, the freedom is my favorite part :)

So today, I’m going to give you the answer to the “where the heck do I even start?” question. In the e-course, we call this “low-hanging fruit”.

It takes the pressure off to start with some easy stuff. It also builds up your confidence, momentum and motivation for tackling the tough stuff down the road. We get into all this stuff in detail in the Tiny Transition + Downsizing course, so if you need a kick in the pants and some stellar support, accountability and community, you should join us.

Downsizing your stuff to prepare to live in a tiny home or other small space is probably the hardest part of the whole process of “going small”.

There are a few reasons why it’s so difficult to downsize: emotional attachment, money or time invested, and the fact that many of our “things” represent an identity we want or used to want (we dive deep into each of these in the course).

But, as hard as downsizing can be for some of us – I’ve found a few good, easy places to start. And that’s the hardest part – getting started!

So here are five things you can purge this weekend to feel awesome about making progress towards a simplified lifestyle. And if you’re ready to take it further, come join us for class on June 28th!

1. Luggage and Bags
How many pieces of luggage do you have? How many purses? Probably more than you use! I used to have a bag problem. I had ALL different shapes and sizes – one for each occasion. But ultimately, you only need one or two great bags to make most of your luggage collection seem obsolete. If you’re hoarding this kind of item in your attic, time to let it go.

2. Craft supplies
This is a big one for a lot of people. Maybe you started a project or collection of quilting, sewing, or other craft supplies years ago but never found the time to actually use them. You keep telling yourself you’ll use all that yarn someday, when you have more time. Then you look at it and feel guilty – so you stuff it further back into the closet.

Sound familiar? Craft supplies often represent a “sunken cost” of either time or money and therefore are difficult to let go of. BUT – once you DO let go of them – you’ll feel so much lighter and more free. You won’t have that guilt hanging over you. So if you haven’t picked up the half-done quilt, the knitting needles, or the yarn in a few years – give it away to someone who WILL use it. You’ll feel so much better!

3. Sample-sized lotions + bathroom stuff
Those tiny tubes and little hotel-sized shampoos and lotions? Get rid of them! That stuff is gunky, funky, and probably past it’s expiration date. You don’t need a drawer full of “just in case” lotions and stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simplified, relaxing bathroom? This is an easy item to toss. Ask yourself, “why is it so hard for me to let of things that were FREE?” And while you’re doing this, throw away any old makeup or the lotions and products that are more than a few years old. That stuff DOES expire!

4. Your “some day I’m going to get this tailored” pile
I used to have a bag of clothes that were “going to have tailored” – dresses that were a little too big, pants that needed hemming, and other things that just didn’t fit me quite right. If you’re holding on to a pile of things you haven’t made the time to bring to the tailor, ask yourself why. Are you really willing to spend money making those things fit you? Do you have enough clothes in your closet already? Why haven’t you had them tailored yet? This also goes for shoes that you’ve been meaning to have cobbled but haven’t found the time to get them fixed.

5. Quitters
If you have a sock and underwear drawer that you haven’t seen the bottom of in years, it’s time to find and toss the quitters. Quitters are the underwear whose elastic has given out, so they no longer stay up. Quitter socks just droop down on your ankles all sad and uncomfortable. No one likes quitters. So go through your underthings and socks and get rid of all the old ones, stained ones, orphans (one of the pair is lost) and the quitters. This can be a yearly exercise to keep your undergarments in check.

These are just a few things you can downsize this week without getting into too much emotional territory.

Downsizing is a LONG and sometimes very difficult process. My journey from 1200 square feet (plus storage) into a 100 square foot vintage camper and then into a backpack for extensive travel took me almost 2 years! It doesn’t happen overnight.

BUT the good thing about starting now is that every tiny little baby step you make gives you momentum and confidence to keep making progress.

Once you’ve tackled the easy stuff, you’ll have the tools you need to start the big bad stuff – heirlooms, paperwork, personal items, clothing and more.

If you want to downsize your stuff, clear out the clutter, create mental and physical space in your life for more joy and happiness, you can join us for the next session of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Class starts on June 28th. You’ll get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges, guided step by step help, lifetime access to the private class forum, accountability, support and motivation from me and your classmates, and the tools you need to simplify your home and life.

The practical weekly lessons and private student-only forum allow you to make progress at your own pace within a group of like-minded friends on the same journey. We not only go through how to eliminate all sorts of crap from your life and space, but we fundamentally change your relationship with “stuff”. It has the cascading effect of positively influencing every area of your life.

“This class is changing my entire life. For the good, too. So glad I made the decision to spend the money to take this course!”
— Becky R.

This class has single-handedly changed my thinking and life. The email course is rocking my world with the “how” to do this, the access to the associated Google group is invaluable. You could lurk and never post with this group and it’ll change your thinking and life. Even if you just want to tread more softly on this beautiful jewel of a planet we live on, you will benefit from this course.” – Andrea M.

“This was the most helpful and inspiring course I have ever taken! I have learned so many things, gained new friends and have become more inspired to downsize my life. My life is forever changed (all for the better) after this course!” – Shelby

“In fact, I am more convinced than ever that taking this course to figure out how to ease into the whole downsizing process thoughtfully and gradually was one of the best moves I could have made, especially because of all the incredible support that this group provides in so many ways.” – Jack

I hope you’ll join us and I look forward to supporting you on this journey!

5 Tiny House Design Tips (That You Can Use No Matter Where You Live)

This is a guest post from Mariah Coz from COMET Camper.

I’m Mariah Coz, and I live in a 100 square foot vintage trailer that I renovated and re-designed. I teach the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, which is now open for enrollment for the session about to begin on October 5th. I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned from my experience designing and living in such small spaces!

Whether you live in 10 sq. ft. or 1500 sq. ft., I think it’s a great idea to incorporate “tiny” design features to create more room and less clutter in your space.

My tiny home on wheels, the COMET camper, has some pretty nifty features you might never notice if I didn’t point them out! Everyone who visits my tiny home is surprised at how much function I have in such a small area. I want to show you how I do that.

Today I have 5 tiny house design tips that you can implement no matter where you live!

COMET Camper - Worm Compost


1. Create a vermi-compost or “Worm-bin” system under a bench for indoor, odorless composting!

Most people living in tiny homes don’t “own” the land they live and park on, and so are limited in their composting options. And if you live in the city or in an urban area, you might not have your own yard to create a big, open compost pile. But that’s what worms are for! In the COMET, I have a vermiculture (composting with worms) set-up underneath the front dinette bench near the door. The worms are red wigglers (I got mine on Amazon) and they are tiny BEASTS let me tell you. They eat ALL of my food scraps, including eggs shells and coffee grounds. The worms live in a “rubbermaid” type bin, you just throw your green and brown scraps in, and they make short work of it. This system is tiny and odorless, perfect for apartments and tiny houses or mobile campers and RVs.

COMET Camper - Deskturniture

2. Fold-Down desks save on space

I love my little fold-down desk. I made it out of an old hunk of plywood and some vintage Formica tabletop that I salvaged from a table that was mostly damaged but had this one good piece that was stuff re-usable. The fold down desk was really simple to make, just a few hinges and a slide lock to hold it up and out of the way. It’s nice to have the space in the back of the trailer so convertible – it’s a couch/relaxing area, a work area during the day, and when I fold the desk up it becomes my bed area at night. It’s only big enough to fit my laptop, but that’s all I need in a desk at the moment!

COMET Camper - Kitchen

3. Use the vertical wall space

My kitchen counter is about 2 sq. ft. total, when you take out the space for the sink and cooktop (that’s why I added a fold-up counter extension for when I need it!). In order to keep the counter clear, I use all of the vertical space around the kitchen area for storing kitchen items such as spatulas, soap, sponges, and more. I got a few small things from ikea that help me keep everything organized in the tiny kitchen. I recommend getting lots of hooks and small shelves, and getting as much stuff OFF of horizontal spaces as possible. It makes the whole place feel much bigger, and there’s no clutter on the tables, counters, etc.

COMET Camper - Transforming Beds

4. Your spaces should serve multiple purposes.

“Multi-function” or “stacking functions” is a term I use a lot in reference to permaculture, but it applies so perfectly to small space design. I have a few examples of this in action in the COMET camper. The back area, which is my couch and convertible workspace/desk area during the day, is also my bed at night when it folds down. That same area of maybe 15 sq. ft. total is my living room, home office, and bedroom. And in the front of the camper, the dinette (kitchen table) doubles as a “guest” bed when folded down. Technically my camper could sleep 6 people, but we’ve never tried that!

Tiny Transition E-Course 800 Button

5. The less crap you have, the easier it is to design your space.

This is where the downsizing comes in. The honest truth is that it’s much easier to design your living space when you have less crap, and hold onto  just a few things that you totally love. Giving your beloved items the space they need to shine is what this whole tiny house thing is all about! You don’t need to be a complete minimalist either, I’m certainly not. I love tchotchke’s and weird knick knacks, so I have a small shelf devoted to those things. Once you downsize your stuff, you’ll see how everything falls into place around it in your tiny house.

If you need help, support, and the motivation to start downsizing in preparation for a smaller life, the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course can kick-start you into gear. When you join the class, you get 8 weeks of downsizing bootcamp (lessons, tasks, challenges, reading and writing prompts) and lifetime access to the private class-only forum, so you can meet and connect with others on the same journey as you.

The class will not only get your house, mind, and life decluttered and cleared out, but it will help you change your relationship with stuff. If you feel like your stuff owns you instead of the other way around, I hope you’ll join us in the next session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing, which begins on October 5th 2014. You can find out more and register here.

How to Find a Tiny House Builder

Tiny House Map is a great place to begin a search for tiny house builders near you. It’s a simple mapping tool that Dan Louche and I dreamt-up and Dan coded. Anyone can post their tiny house related effort on the map including workshops, houses for rent & sale, open houses, and businesses.

The view pictured above shows all the tiny house builders listed on the map in the U.S. It’s a world-wide map but most of the listing are in the U.S. so we have it defaulted to that. Most experienced builders of big and small homes could probably build a tiny house, but the folks listed here specialize in tiny homes.

  • If you’ve got a tiny house or related cause and you’re not on the map be sure to add yourself.
  • If you’re looking for something tiny house related give the map a search.

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