Tiny houses are a great way to not only cut down clutter but also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
However, the transition to a tiny home is not always an easy one to make.
Most people find that they run into a few unexpected problems along the way. While everyone’s experiences will be different, the most common problems can be found across the board.
Knowing the common problems ahead of time can help you better prepare for the difficult transition ahead. This way you can spend less time worrying about how to adjust and more time enjoying your new lifestyle. Here are some of the most common problems that people have with their tiny houses.
Zoning Restrictions can be Challenging
The main problem that people face when setting out to build their tiny home is trying to comply with their state’s zoning laws. It may take around a year to build a tiny house so by the time you are done you need to know that you can actually park it where you want.
While there are ways to work around certain zoning laws in your area, most people find that this is where they get into the most trouble. While the evidence showing that tiny houses are a great alternative for people looking to live a greener life, the law hasn’t caught up yet.
Most of the times the laws surrounding tiny homes are there simply because the state isn’t sure how to regulate them.
When building a house you have to make sure that certain things are in the right place. Like power sources being a certain amount of distance from water sources. While these regulations are easy to follow in typical homes, it isn’t always so easy for tiny homes.
You shouldn’t let the zone regulations in your area to stop you from living your dream.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of people who have already done the legwork for you. Whether it is finding the best state to call home or finding creative ways to work around certain zoning laws, you are covered.
Check out Why Are Tiny Houses Illegal in Some States to learn how to work with the laws of the land in order to still have the tiny home of your dreams.
We also wrote this article about whether you can actually park your tiny house on your property.
Lack of Privacy
Perhaps the most common problem that owners of tiny houses run into is a lack of privacy.
One thing that larger homes offer is a great deal of privacy. From several rooms to occupy when you’re looking for a little space, to multiple bathrooms for private use. Moving your life from a house filled with ignored luxuries to a make smaller way of living can be difficult.
One thing that surprises many people who live in tiny homes, is the curiosity factor.
While tiny homes have been around for the better part of a decade, it is still a pretty new concept to most people. This means that your beautiful home is destined to get a lot of attention, no matter how unwanted.
This is especially true since a big part of tiny homes is incorporating the outdoors, indoors. Large windows allow the space to feel larger than it is, but also doesn’t offer a ton of privacy from onlookers.
It isn’t only the privacy of strangers that will shake your foundation but also the privacy of your family. Families are full of love and often times there is nowhere in the world you would rather be.
However, families can also get on your nerves fairly quickly. This is especially true while living in confined spaces like the ones in tiny homes.
The little things like being able to freely flow from one room to another without bumping into each other on the way are what people miss most. Not to mention being able to use the bathroom without waiting in a line.
Finding the time and space for a little peace and quiet is a big part of self-care.
Solutions to Your Privacy Problems
While a lack of privacy can be jarring, it doesn’t have to deter you from living in a tiny home. There are plenty of privacy solutions that can help you live in the tiny home of your dreams while still enjoying your little slice of privacy.
One of the best things you can do is install motorized retractable shades in the windows of your tiny house. This way you can not only allow for some extra privacy, but you can also help to keep your tiny home cool when the sun is the highest in the sky.
The best part about motorized shades is that they can be controlled from anywhere in your tiny home so that you can customize the amount of privacy you want.
While protecting your privacy from strangers is fairly easy, it is a different problem when it comes to getting privacy from your family. While tiny homes lack space, there is one thing that they have plenty of.
This is creativity.
Finding creative ways to get privacy is fun and easy in tiny homes.
Don’t feel like you need to be restricted to the inside either. The great part about tiny living is that the outside world is an extension of your home.
So find a little spot outdoors to hang a hammock or place a lounge. In the end, you may learn that you have found your new little private slice of heaven.
Keeping the Temperature Comfortable At All Times
Another common problem that tiny house owners find they run into is keeping their home at a comfortable temperature.
It may seem like keeping a smaller home warm or cool should be easier, but, that isn’t always the case. One of the biggest appeals of a tiny home is that the maintenance costs are far less than traditional homes.
This includes heating and cooling as well as general electricity costs. So, why is it harder to keep the temperature consistent in a tiny home? This is because tiny homes hold heat differently than larger homes which makes it unpredictable.
This is especially true when it comes to heating a tiny home.
While keeping a small home cool can be easily controlled with a few open windows, heating a tiny home is a different ballgame.
This is mainly because air moves differently in a smaller space, which means you will need to adjust how you heat your home. Luckily for you, there are plenty of people who have already been through the trial and error of heating their homes.
Solving Your Heating Problem
While heating a tiny home is proven to be difficult, it is certainly not impossible. While having a central heating system is ideal, some owners have found more creative ways to heat their tiny house.
Smaller heating units that run on green energy are a great option for tiny homes.
Not only are they compact enough to save space, by they are right on brand with greener living. If you would rather use traditional forms of heating for your tiny home, you have options.
One thing that will help you to better regulate your home’s temperature is to use a smart wireless thermostat. These thermostats link to your home’s WiFi so that you can easily control them with a touch of a button.
Best of all, you can even control your home’s temperature right from your phone.
This way you can ensure that your home is warm and cozy upon your arrival. It is always a good idea to keep in mind how you will heat your home before setting to build your time home. This way you can make sure that the home will be properly insulated so that heat won’t escape as easily.
Storing Your Unused Items
One of the more obvious problems that people face when living in a tiny home is where to keep their things. A big appeal of smaller living is that you don’t have to take all of your cluttered baggage along with you.
However, there are some things that just can’t be parted with. This leads many people to search for alternative ways to store the things that don’t quite fit into their home. Along with finding storage space comes unforeseen costs.
While renting storage units is an obvious choice, that price can add up quickly. This is especially true since the appeal of smaller living means having smaller costs.
Using storage units isn’t your only options, however.
There are plenty of people who have found creative ways to store their goods without breaking their budget.
One thing you can do is find a friend who has room to spare who is also on board with your cause. Temporarily storing items at friend’s homes are one way to keep things that matter while still not spending any more money than you are prepared for.
Another thing you can do is build your own storage unit. If you have purchased a larger property for your tiny home, you should have the yard space for a convenient shed. Luckily, many sheds these days are portable and lower in cost and can be easily installed in a day.
This way you don’t have to worry about where your stuff is because it will be easily accessible on your own property.
Keeping Groceries in the Home
Another common problem that tiny homeowners face is learning how to adjust when it comes to grocery shopping. Large fridges offer a ton of options for storing a large number of groceries. This also applies to keep things frozen.
Many families save money by buying in bulk, however, this isn’t always an option for smaller living.
This is because while tiny houses offer many things, one thing they come up short on is space. Refrigerators tend to be smaller and more compact so as not to take up too much precious floor space.
With a smaller fridge, there are fewer options when it comes to storage.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to abandon your budget shopping dreams. There are plenty of ways to still keep costs low while buying in smaller batches. Besides scouring local ads to get the best deal, many people prefer to keeping their shopping locally.
Buying from local farmer’s markets will help to keep costs low while still buying food that is healthy and good for the environment. If you are still hoping to buy in bulk, there are some ways that you can creatively store unspoiled goods. Many people prefer to purchase a larger freezer for their tiny home.
While there may not be enough space inside to keep it, you can consider storing a large freezer outside the home.
This way you can vacuum seal meat, fruit and veggies and freeze them until you are ready to use them.
Keeping Smaller Spaces Cleaned and Organized
A tiny home only works as long as it is properly cleaned and free of clutter.
Most people dream of a tiny home with the hopes of finally freeing themselves from a hoarding existence. A Tiny house is also pretty heavy already so it’s important to keep storage to a minimum.
However, when it comes to living in a tiny home, keeping things clean is easier said than done. This doesn’t mean that you have to live a life of clutter either. It just means that you have to get more creative about how you keep your place tidy.
One of the main things you will want to do is to create storage where there isn’t any. The best way to do this is to fill your home with furniture that doubles up as both.
Furniture pieces, like ottomans, can easily double up as storage pieces.
Another good place to get creative is the walls.
Box storage cubes are a great way to not only have a place to display precious keepsakes but also work to keep things off the floor. However, one thing that is difficult to regulate is the amount of cleaning you will do.
While in more traditional houses, de-cluttering can wait a day or two, in tiny homes this is not the case.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find ways to take the worrying out of keeping your oasis clean? With certain technology upgrades, you can do just that. Robot floor cleaners are one way that you can help ensure your floors stay clean and clear. You should also look into installing sweeping vents.
Floor vents that double as built-in dust pans will help you quickly and efficiently keep your home clean.
Garbage Storage and Disposal
When you live in a tiny home, tradition garbage removal may not be an option for you. This is especially true if you are unable to store any trash inside the home.
While most garbage removal companies work either weekly or bi-weekly, there are other options to get your trash out quickly.
Consider skipping the roadside garbage pick-up and opt for using a landfill instead. This way you can regulate how often you need to rid your home of bags of garbage. While this isn’t always the best financial option, it will save you some heartache.
While living a completely trash-free life is almost impossible, there are ways that you can keep your trash build-up low. You can start by reducing your trash intake by switching to reusable products.
Reusable travel mugs and bags are only the beginning.
Try to store dry goods and other bulk items in glass jars instead of plastic containers. Another way to help reduce your waste is to start composting your food. Composting keeps foods like fruits and veggies from wasting away in the trash and puts them to good use.
The best part about composting is that you can make something beautiful out of nothing. Composting is a great way to create organic mulch and soil to build the garden of your dreams. Best of all, it will help you stay on your mission to reduce not only your space but also your carbon footprint.
Don’t be Discouraged!
With anything new will come challenges.
This is why you should be prepared to begin a journey of trial and error when moving into a tiny house. You will need to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
What helped one tiny living family may not be quite right for yours. This is because not only is everyone different, but their expectations are as well. One important thing to remember is not to get discouraged.
While yes, things may be difficult to adjust to at first, you will in time find your own rhythm. At the end of the day, a home is only home because of the people you fill it with and the memories you will make.
Sources: cox.com, countryliving.com, Tumbleweedhouses.com
Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.