Determining wants and needs through my tiny house/living fascination

If this house looks familiar, that’s because it belonged to Dee Williams!   Photo taken by Tammy Strobel.  Attribution:  By Tammy – Weekend with Dee, CC BY 2.0,


I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living simply and living in a tiny house for many years now, way before it became trendy. Thinking about living in a tiny home helps me to stop myself from buying things I “want” but don’t necessarily need. Kind of like when I was getting ready to move cross country.  The way I made decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of was to ask myself, “was there room for both this thing and my animals in the car?”  The animals were definitely going – that was not even a question.  It was more a question of whether there was room for this additional thing.

So now I sit and think to myself – is this object I’m perusing, be it a second-hand shirt or pillowcase, or whatever, something that I would definitely want to move into a tiny house when I finally achieve that dream?  Or when I move into a small bachelor-type apartment? If I can’t picture it, I don’t buy it.  Do I already have something at home that can fill the “need” it would otherwise cover?  Usually, the answer is yes.

When I first got out of law school, I should have done what I advise all students to do now.  When you get out of school, don’t live any differently.  Continue to live like a student while you pay off your debts and get started with your life.  Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean your home needs to look like it just walked off the pages of Dwell magazine.

So these days, I live frugally.  Like a student.  I have a roommate and it’s a one bedroom apartment, so my bed is in the living room and I’m totally fine with that.  Every morning when I wake up, I look at the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque.  It’s a beautiful view, especially when the clouds are so low they obscure the tops of the peaks. I have a large picture window that lets in lots of light.

Speaking of beds, mine is on a platform of milk crates. Guess what?  It’s pretty supportive on my back.  It’s also a good way of creating some built-in storage in a very inexpensive way.  My mattress cost me all of $129 from Walmart, and I bought it online so didn’t have to deal with transporting it in my small car.  It came in a box and once it was opened, my roommate rolled it open, and voila, in an hour or so, it was ready to go up on top of said milk crates.  And instead of buying heavy, hard to move bookcases, I have, guess what?  Milk crates!  When you have to move, you just turn them, your stuff is in them, and voila, no need to get lots of extra boxes to pack your stuff in, because it’s already packed!

You  know those plastic white bin type of drawers you can get at Walmart or Target? I bought those to organize my stuff in the fifth wheel I owned in Utah.  Still got ’em.  The old me of several years ago would have gotten rid of them as soon as I could afford a nice “dresser.”  But you know what?  It’s hard to move heavy furniture on your own and when you have a small hatchback type car.  Plus, these white drawers can be configured in a multitude of ways.  I can see everything I have in them.  When they’re too full of crap, it’s time to downsize.  Looking at them now, I see that yes,  it’s time for me to get rid of stuff again.  You really do only wear 20% of your stuff, 80% of the time.

I’ve been thinking of what I would want in a tiny house.  I honestly don’t need much, aside from room for me and my animals. I think about whether I would want a flush toilet or a composting toilet.  To not have to deal with a black tank would be awesome, so I’d likely go with the composting toilet. I’d like to do solar and have as  much of my energy needs filled off the grid.

Would I want my tiny house to be on wheels?  I sometimes think so, but then realize a shed that could be insulated, etc., might be a more economical way to go.  Just have to find a place to put it (and oh yeah, be able to afford that place/land.)  So I have begun to save.  It’s a small amount right now, but that online savings account is named “Tiny Home.”

You might wonder how all of my animals will fit into a tiny home.  If my roommate and I go our separate ways, Morgan will likely stay with him.  She does very well with training – her brain likes to be challenged, and she helps him in a great therapy-type way.  He has PTSD and a few other problems from having been in the army and Iraq.  Also, since Snuggles is so possessive/obsessive of me, he has become “her human.”  (It is a trait of weiner-dogs to be super possessive.)  Morgan adores him to the moon!   Yes, I’m her momma and the one who feeds her, but he’s the one who takes her on lots of walks, and snuggles with her and plays with her in the yard during the day when I’m at work.  When he is feeling down, she stays close to him.  Every time she hugs him, I see the bond that has formed between them.  It makes my heart feel good.

So in closing, if you started reading my blog because of my tiny house posts, never fear, I’m still very interested in them!  I still watch tons of YouTube videos about simple living and tiny houses.  Yes, I used to live in an RV and that one didn’t work out for me, but I feel like a tiny home is different and can be made much stronger and much better insulated than that fifth wheel was!  I haven’t given up on the tiny living dream, so don’t give up on me!

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I don’t like that they’ve become trendy and that the prices have increased so drastically over the past few years.  I think they can still be built economically, and I’m willing to put in the elbow grease on mine, if someone is willing to help me figure out what the hell I’m doing!

Are you interested in living more minimally?  In a tiny home?  Or an RV?  Let me know what you think, what you would prioritize, if you’d want it to be on wheels, etc., in a comment below!  And if you’ve liked the post but prefer not to comment, please hit that like button or share it! 

And as always, thank you for reading!



On my day off yesterday, I meant to get rid of a bunch of stuff. The day went by and the intentions were still there, but I hadn’t taken action. Until a friend told me someone from a woman’s shelter was coming by to take some donations and did I want to get rid of anything? They especially wanted yarn and knitting needles.

When you don’t have a car, it’s hard to get rid of stuff sometimes. It’s that extra effort of getting the stuff to the donation box or the Good Will, that stops you. Or, at the very least, slows you down. But this took that problem out of the equation.

Well, I ran around my place like a crazy woman. Got rid of pantyhose (they need them for interviews), blank note cards, resume paper, gift bags, and yes, yarn and knitting needles. The needles were my grandma’s and were the old school type-metal! I had been hanging on to them for sentimental reasons. Knitting had been important to my grandma, or at least I remembered her doing a lot of it. Ergo, they had to be important to me too, right. Didn’t that make perfect sense?  Long story short, I kept a pair and donated the rest.

I’ve bought a wand scanner with the intention of scanning photos and putting them into a digital photo frame. If I’m going to live in a tiny house, I need to economize where I put things. A digital frame just makes sense. But, I do have a fear of losing the printed photo and then the technology changes, and eventually, I just can’t see the photos anymore. Irrational fear? Perhaps.

Last night, I went to the boxes below my bed and started pulling out the photo albums. I then remembered that’s where I have kept the photos from my wedding and my married life, as well as the years leading up to my marriage with my now-ex husband. When I left, he gave me all the items that we had taken or accrued together of sentimental value. Some thought that to be harsh of him. i realized it was his way of dealing with things, so I took them. At the time, I thought I deserved the guilt of having to relive those memories every time I looked at them. Now, the question is–do I keep the photos? Do I scan them into a separate disk so I still have them but they won’t inadvertently show up in the random display of photos I want to see regularly? Because that would be like a dull knife stabbing me every time, I think.

I watched the video of Dee Williams (embedded above) a few weeks ago and a few times since. In it, she mentions she was engaged to be married at one point in her life. She said she kept the wedding engagement announcement for decades. She finally realized she knew that happened and could let the written record of that happening, go. She knew she could hold it in her heart and inside of herself.

Similar to Dee, I know it (our relationship) happened. I know we had 12 years together. I know that parts of it were very good but it just wasn’t meant to last forever. If it had, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And when I look at them, it doesn’t make me feel that great. I feel a tinge of sadness. So, I think I am getting close to letting the photos go. It doesn’t mean the memories aren’t in me. They will always be there unless I get a mental illness that robs me of them (please please let that not happen!)

I keep thinking of what Dee says in the video–what would you want to hold in your arms as you die? I know that my answer to that question may change over time but I don’t think it would be photos of my wedding and subsequent marriage which ended a few years ago.

What memories do you have difficulty dealing with? Do you have photos like I do that you can’t get rid of or have had difficulty doing so in the past?