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Could You Downsize to a Tiny Home or Small Cottage? 

click to enlarge The dream: tiny home and cottage, all in one. - BEN CHUN | FLICKR
  • Ben Chun | Flickr
  • The dream: tiny home and cottage, all in one.

With the recent proposal for a cottage home community in Bend, I am curious again about tiny homes. Tiny homes have been a hot topic for a few years, offering an affordable home ownership opportunity—but with that come hindrances including building codes and zoning laws, not to mention financing. In regard to the proposed community in southeast Bend, where a builder hopes to build a community of several dozen smaller homes, I remain interested in how it will develop—and how it may help create similar opportunities across Oregon.

Undoubtedly, the novelty, simplicity, smaller carbon footprint and financial aspects are the main attractions in this movement. For myself, I would find the downsizing of my home to be the biggest challenge to living in a tiny home or cottage. Many of us are stuck in the dilemma of living large, with the financial burden of a higher housing payment and drain of time in maintaining homes that are too big for our needs.

I did some research on downsizing. If I surrounded myself with only the things that are important to me, I realized I could easily be without half of my possessions by simply getting rid of things I have not used in the past year. Some other downsizing tips may be useful for those considering moving to a smaller living unit. There's also helpful for those who need to de-clutter and make their homes more attractive for selling.

  • Look at your lifestyle and assess what you need. Ask yourself if you really need everything you see—extra furniture, books, accessories etc.
  • Go into all of your storage areas: kitchen cabinets, linen closets, clothes closets, shelves, garage, file cabinets, attic, basement, etc. Take away all the stuff you haven't used in the past year.
  • Don't forget file cabinets and papers. Keep the originals of documents including birth certificates, passports, etc. But our digital age allows us to scan and save other documents electronically so that many files can be eliminated.
  • When buying new furniture, look at multi-purpose furniture like coffee tables that convert to dining tables, sofas and ottomans with built-in storage, storage beds, etc.

If you have too much stuff you're not willing to part with, but don't have space in your new home, consider boxing it in transparent containers and putting it in a storage unit. This keeps the clutter from your home and makes you evaluate the worth of keeping those items. This is also a good first step if you're planning to move into a smaller home or you're de-cluttering when your home is for sale. You can later easily donate those items to charity or have a garage sale at the storage unit.


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