Ask the Expert: Tiny House, Big Home

Think you could live 400 square feet or less? Tiny home living started as a small movement (pun intended), but it's slowly starting to creep into the mainstream. From a solution to end homelessness to a way of life in popular in vacation destinations like Myrtle Beach, where they're now grappling with how to incorporate tiny homes into the existing community.

So, how do people make the transition from traditional homes to tiny? We asked Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, a blogger, author, and tiny homeowner, how she not only adjusted--and thrived--in her tiny home. 

What’s the hardest thing to get used to about living in a tiny house?

It's the first thing, really, which is getting rid of the unnecessary in your life. In a tiny home, everything must have at least one function, but it's better if it has multiple functions (a coffee table that is also a desk, for example).  

What’s one thing you thought you’d miss but definitely don’t?

I thought I would miss having my own space away from my husband. In the city, we had a 3 BR, 1 1/2 bath home with both a formal living room and family room. We also had 5 televisions in the house, so if we wanted to watch something separate, there was plenty of space. We've actually grown closer since moving here where we are forced to be in the same room at the same time. LOL  

What is the most liberating aspect of living in a tiny house?

Once people get past the elimination, they typically find that they feel liberated of the unnecessary clutter. The key is choosing things you love while also making them functional.

What are some must-haves for tiny house living?

Besides a willingness to downsize and patience with your new lifestyle? Again, you must have things that are functional, that you love and want to be around 24/7 and that serves multiple purposes, if possible. Ikea has some great furniture for small space living. A dining table that has storage when it's folded up comes to mind. I have an ottoman in my office, for example, that opens for storage as well.  

What’s one skill you have to learn quickly when you move into a tiny home?

Maneuvering around multiple dogs on the floor! It's like a game of Twister, but we haven't had any major accidents. 

How do you deal with storage in your tiny home?

We actually thought ahead very well with this and built a large pantry/laundry closet off of our kitchen. Our bedroom closet is also very deep. The clothes closet was hard to get used to at first, but when you come to the realization that you really don't need 25 pairs of shoes or 50 outfits, it's all good. We also have the "one in, one out" rule. If we buy something, something else has to leave the home.

Is there anything you miss about living in a traditional home?

No. I love the fact that I don't have as much to clean, our utilities are cheap and so is our mortgage. My only regret is that we don't have room for my china cabinet and my mother's beautiful wedding china.  

What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone transitioning from a traditional home to a tiny home?

Start eliminating stuff now. Do it in phases. Make a plan, if you don't use it/wear it in 6 months, donate it.  

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell is a writer and author who lives in a cabin in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and 5 recycled (rescued) dogs. Her book, “Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480-Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband and One Remote” is scheduled for release spring 2016.