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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/2/2016

a tiny houseThe latest trend in minimalist and frugal living is owning a tiny house. If you haven't yet seen them on your newsfeed, tiny houses are loosely defined as homes that are 400 square ft. or less. As you'd expect, there are many challenges to living in a space so small; challenges both spacial and legal. Ask yourself these questions before making the move to a tiny home.

Do I really need all this stuff?

Part of the American Dream has always been to someday own your own home. Over the years, those homes have grown ever larger, even while family sizes are decreasing. Many of us have tried to make our lives more minimal in one way or another, whether its shrinking our wardrobes or cleaning out the attic. If you want to live in a tiny home you'll have to totally rethink what you consider to be the necessities of life. You'll have to prioritize and choose between things like having a television or having a bookshelf. Furthermore, you'll need to have items that serve dual purposes. Your dinner table, for instance, will also serve as a desk or working surface, namely because it will most likely be the only surface large enough in your home to do these things on.

Where will you park your home?

Finding a place to put a tiny house is one of the most difficult challenges tiny-home owners face. Almost all tiny houses are built on wheels. This is due to various state laws and zoning permits. You may also face difficulties gaining access to water and electricity. For this reason, many tiny house owners park their home on someone else's property and hook up to their utilities. Part of the reason many people want a tiny house is to be more independent, so this is obviously a huge barrier to achieving that goal.

Are you bashful about the bathroom?

There's hardly a thing that we take more for granted than bathrooms. If you're going to live in a tiny house you should be prepared to rough it when it comes to doing your business. There are some instances when you can hook your tiny house up to a sewage system. But in most cases, tiny houses rely on RV toilets or composting toilets. The benefits of disconnected toilets are that you can travel in your home and not have to worry too much about finding a bathroom. The disadvantages, however, will require some grit on your part. No sewage connection means you'll have to empty your tank or your composting toilet. This creates another obstacle to tiny living, as you don't want to be dumping refuse anywhere near your home. And if you live in a residential area there are state laws which regulate the use of composting toilets.

Is there another option?

Tiny living isn't for everyone. Whether you have a family or hobbies that require space, or just because you would feel claustrophobic living in a space this small, buying a tiny house maybe isn't for you. But there are other options. Perhaps you don't need a tiny home but rather a small and cozy one. Or you could try being more minimal in other ways like clearing out unnecessary items from your home and having a yard sale. Regardless of what you do, being minimal is a mindset, and having the intention of simplifying is already half the battle.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 12/4/2015

Do you have too much stuff? Are you making a move and looking for storage options? If so, the fist thing you will need to determine is how much storage space you need. As you are going through your things ask yourself if you really need to store everything, or is it better to donate or sell some things. This could cut down on the amount of storage space needed and ultimately reduce the cost. Once you determine which items will be stored take an inventory of your items. Make a list and have this information ready when you start calling storage companies. So what size storage unit will you need? Here are some standard sizing options that most storage companies use. Always check with your company first.

  • 5 x 5 x 10 = Small items, boxes, books, etc...
  • 5 x 10 x 10 = Small 1 bedroom home
  • 10 x 10 x 10 = 1 bedroom home
  • 10 x 15 x 10 = 2-3 bedroom home
  • 10 x 20 x 10 = 3-4 bedroom home
  • 10 x 30 x 10 = 5-7 bedroom home
Note: the measurements above are represented as L x W x H in feet  





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 3/6/2015

If you happen to find yourself moving to another state in the near future, you've got your work cut out for you.  On top of having to deal with the stress of relocating your family in an unfamiliar place, you'll have a lot of paperwork and research to consider before the big day.  Here are four things that you'll need to have covered if you hope to have a seamless transition into a new residence.  Keep in mind that the more bases you've got covered, the easier it will be for you and your family to get accustomed to a new state. 1.  Cost of living. - The cost of living can vary dramatically from state to state.  If you're moving for a new job, then make sure to research the cost of living close to your new place of employment.  If you lived in a metropolitan area before, then it may serve you better to move to a town surrounding the city and pull a commute than to take a gamble at throwing yourself into a new city that may upset your current lifestyle.  Alternately, you may find that the state you are moving to has a fairly low cost of living in the metropolitan areas compared to what you are used to paying.  Every state is different in this regard.  Doing the research now will save you major headaches. 2.  Moving companies. - Unless you are packing up all of your belongings yourself, odds are that you will be relying on a long-distance moving company to handle most of the work.  Prices of this service can very dramatically from company to company, so be sure to get at least three quotes from reputable moving companies as to ensure you're getting the best deal.  Also, make room in your budget for an insurance plan that you are comfortable paying for.  The last thing you'll want to deal with during your move is the worry of your possessions being damaged with no recourse. 3.  Taxes. -  You may not think that taxes are an important thing to consider this early in the game, but if you live in a state that doesn't collect an income tax, moving to a state that does can impact your cost of living.  Meet with a tax specialist and review any hidden taxes and expenses you may incur as a result of your move so you aren't surprised later on down the road. 4.  Neighborhoods and local culture. - This may be one of the most important steps that a lot of people overlook.  Just because you do a virtual walk through of a home and like what you see, doesn't mean you'll like where you're moving.  Do some detective work before you sign papers.  Look into crime statistics, school ratings, reviews of the city and neighborhood you're considering moving to, and local taxes and ordinances.  You can find all of this information online relatively easy.  If you can manage it, then plan a visit to your potential new home to see everything your new town will have to offer.  Look at the commute to your new place of employment, the sights and sounds of the local culture, and keep an eye out for anything you don't particularly like about a place.  You can make your transition a lot smoother by connecting with a reputable real estate agent who has a healthy knowledge of the area.







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