Portland was an awakening, to borrow a concept from Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life, and her interview on the Mad Fientist’s podcast.
We felt at home in Portland at the Tiny House Conference. We were surrounded by our people, people very similar to the FIRE folks I met at FinCon.
When we arrived, we checked into the hotel and grabbed dinner before the Tiny House Conference mixer where we met people young and old who seek a simpler way of life, one that’s no longer dependent on housing or time or money.
Many of the folks seeking to downsize to a tiny house had similar motivations…
Retirement (early and otherwise)
Money (to save for a goal)
Time (because maintenance)
Change (new career or city)
Whether the conference attendee was 25 or 65, s/he saw the impact that housing has had on his/her life…
Silicon Valley middle managers working 12 to 16 hour days to be able to afford $4k/month in rent or a mortgage…
Retiring Boomers who want to reclaim equity and time they can reinvest elsewhere, perhaps a new career or passion…
Freelancers who plan to work on the road while traveling the country using a computer or WOOFing or with seasonal gigs…
Folks who simply want to stay put and cut their housing costs to cut back on hours worked in favor of a creative pursuit like music and art…
The list goes on and on. If I had thought of it, I would have recorded everyone’s downsizing plans. There were so many plans, but no matter how you slice ’em, they boil down to the same principle…
Downsizing the number one expense – housing – to save money and time.
I like to think it’s one of the principles of financial independence.
We downsized our inflated lifestyle, sold our home, and got rid of a bunch of junk. Consequently, we were able to save tons of time and money. It seems so simple in retrospect.
Instead of working for banks, we’re working for ourselves. I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it is, being debt free and focused on saving and investing.
Tiny house people and FIRE people think the same way, that there is more to life than working to age 65 in jobs we can just barely tolerate in order to afford a life only loosely constructed by the things we value most.
Consider this blog at the intersection of these movements. We’re going to keep writing and sharing to do what we can to advance both because too many people are counting down the years to retirement instead of using our precious time to create lives worth living.
Living in a tiny house for a few days also showed us the lifestyle changes we could make today that would bring us a step or two closer to FIRE and that lifestyle we designed for ourselves at the outset of this journey. Living in a tiny house also showed us…
1. We don’t need as much space as we thought…
At 160 sq ft and two lofts, the tiny house hotel we stayed in was still much too large. We’ll do well at 160 sq ft and no loft. If you’re into tiny houses, we’re looking at a tiny house on a trailer that’s 8’6″ by 20′ or a 20′ high-cube shipping container on a foundation.
2. I don’t need as many products as I think…
It’s time to purge and not replace. I don’t need all the hair products; I don’t even really know how to use them to tame this frizzy mess. Very important when considering gray water matters in the future tiny house.
3. Our kitchen won’t need much either.
Yes, we can live without energy hogs (like microwaves).
4. 6 windows…about right.
It’s amazing the impact that windows have on perception.
5. First-floor bedroom is a must. Think minim.
We tried sleeping in the loft. No way. Heat rises. Trailer shakes. Must have a bed on the first floor.
6. I can enjoy a cup of tea in every room. Hahaha. Tiny house joke.
So. Much. More. We learned so much during our trip, too much to share in one post.
To make progress on the next adventure, downsizing from 500 sq ft to 160 st ft in preparation for our trip across the country, we boxed a bunch more of our belongings/clutter and put them in our storage unit where our teardrop camper lives. (Honestly, I don’t even remember what we got rid of, so it’s likely stuff that will be donated later this year.)
Now that we truly have just two cups (and two plates, two bowls, etc…), we’ve elected to wash our two cups, two plates, two forks etc…by hand. I’m thinkin’ the dishwasher is optional, too. But it’s just the beginning of this experiment, so we shall see.
I’m thankful for what we have. Minimizing our stuff and downsizing was the best decision we’ve made, so I’m excited to see what the next adventure will do for us. Financial independence, here we come!
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