Christmas Trees for Tiny Houses


Even in a large (regular)-sized house there is the point in the holiday calendar when the furniture needs to be rearranged a little to make space for the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations.

In a tiny house, or apartment floor space is usually a such a premium that adding even a modest Christmas tree means actually removing a piece of furniture to make room, or risk knocking all the ornaments off each time you brush past the tree.

One option is to do without a tree altogether but if that doesn’t sounds very seasonal to you, consider one of the following alternatives:

Table top trees

Opt for a small or even miniature tree which can fit on top of a table, sideboard or counter. This caters for both real-tree fans and those who prefer an artificial option. The tiny house benefit to using a real tree is you don’t need to store it for the rest of the year.

This little tree (ordered from Amazon) comes already decorated and stands just 28-inches tall. It’s made from Maine balsam  and comes pre-lit and decorated with real pinecones, faux holly berries and white Holiday lights. 


Corner trees

For a house with a corner nook, try a long tall ‘corner tree’. You may be able to find a real tree with these dimensions but there are also lots of artificial ones designed to fit in a variety of long tall spaces. This National Tree 7 1/2′ Kingswood Fir Pencil Tree, Hinged, 350 Clear Lights (KW7-300-75) again comes with lights already attached.


Wall trees

If you have absolutely no floor space or counter space to place your tree how about a wall tree – this is where you can get really creative. Wall trees can be made out of many different types of materials and decorations, think twigs, branches, lights, photos, ribbons etc.


Outdoor tree

And who says the Christmas tree has to be inside! Many tiny house families are lucky to have a much larger footprint outside their home than inside. Decorate an outdoor tree and use it as an excuse to spend more time outside in the fresh air admiring your work.




A Place For Everything


I grew up in a home with lots of sayings and superstitions, passed down the generations, from one kitchen table to another, across the years. By the time I was born most of these traditional quirks were thrown out there with a light spirit, but at the same time some were taken very seriously.

They ranged from the super superstitious,

“Don’t put new shoes on a table” (Bad luck)

“Don’t open an umbrella inside” (Bad luck)

To the inconvenient,

“Don’t cut your nails on a Sunday” (Bad luck again)

“Don’t cut your nails on a Friday” (More bad luck)

“Don’t cut your nails on a Wednesday” (50-50 bad luck)*

And there there was the just plain odd,

“Cream eats dirt” (Meaning a cream carpet or coat doesn’t ever get really dirty)

But in the middle of the old wives tales there was some old wives wisdom which was worth listening to.

My favourite was “A little bit of what you fancy does you good” but by far the most useful in terms of a tiny house life, or anyone who wants to keep belongings and clutter in check is:

“A place for everything and everything in its place”

It’s really the only advice anyone trying to tidy up and clear the clutter needs. And on the face of it, so simple.

Tidying up is still going to be a chore, particularly if you have kids and they spread everything they own and everything you own across every clear surface each day (or is that just in my house?)

But if there is a clear spot for each item to be tidied away then it’s a lot less onerous to be able to pick something up and put it straight in its place. If you don’t have a good place for it to go then you have to pile it up somewhere out of everyone’s way.

In a bigger house this isn’t much of an issue – you have a basement or a playroom which is just for this purpose and you can shut the door on the mess once you’ve moved it there.

But in the tiny house there are no dumping grounds out of sight, because there simply isn’t the space for it.

Without kids it’s a little easier to reach this zen-like state of everything having its own place (especially if both partners are on board with the concept.)

But kids act like magnets to stuff. Stuff of all kinds. Toys, books, paper, paper creations, school projects, play dough, old dried play dough which is apparently very, very, very precious and mustn’t be thrown away EVER. Bad Mummy.

But “a place for everything” is the goal in our house and working towards that goal involves a number of different techniques and processes.

And it’s an ongoing process, a constant work in process. And the start of something wonderful if we can just stick with it!

A place for everything and everything in its place.

That’s the mantra of our tiny house and making this philosophy a living, breathing motto will be the subject of this blog and covered in posts and observations falling into the following four categories:

Decluttering – making space

Organizing – creating the right spaces

Daily tidying  – maintaining the space

Training the rest of the household – not being the only one doing all the above!

It’s not going to be just work, work, work, I think we’re going to find time to add some fun and joy in there as well.

Join us on this journey and let me know how you are making everything your kids own fit into your small spaces.

Tiny House Garden: Our Planting Schedule

I only started to grow fruits and vegetable four years ago when I first moved into the cabin. It’s been a process of trial and error.

And a lot has depended on how much effort we have been able to give the garden or how distracted we’ve been by other things. Still that’s life, really, isn’t it?

I was full of enthusiasm in 2009 for the first garden we planted, that enthusiasm dimmed a little as I realised there was actually some more work to do between planting the seeds and harvest time. In fact, there was actually quite a bit of work to do.

Hmmm. ‘Fruit of my labours’, that phrase is starting to make sense. If you’re a vegetable gardener there’s going to be quite a bit of labours. Not quite so much fun as I had originally assumed. But still in the end worth it.

Then came a new baby and 2010 started with good intentions but is mostly a blur of lost sleep and feeding schedules. By the following year it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to start documenting our success and failures so that we could (theoretically) learn from them for the following years.

Self sufficiency is a long way off but we do manage to include our own produce in all our meals over the summer months and even into the autumn and winter.

One of the nice things about gardening is the chance to start afresh and do better this time. Mother Nature the eternal optimist.

So here is where I will record our 2013 planting schedule and scroll down for the brief notes I made on when we planted our crops the previous two years. (Remember we are planting in Virginia, which is I think Zone 7, so these dates may not apply to your garden)

Planting schedule for 2013
Planting schedule for 2012
Peas, potatoes (10th), spinach (24th), red and yellow onions (24th), Garlic (Dec 2011)
Tuesday 3rd: 2 rows lettuce, 1 row green beans
Wednesday 4th: 4 canes of peas, 1 row Swiss Chard
Saturday 7th: Peas, potatoes, spinach, turnips, yellow and white onions
Planting Schedule for 2011
Monday 14th: lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, potatoes
Sunday 3rd:  4 canes of peas, yellow onions, spring onions, radish, rocket
Thursday 14th: 4 canes of peas, radish, carrots, spinach, lettuce, turnips
Saturday 30th: lettuce, spinach, radish

Tiny House Design Books

Four great books for anyone interested in reading more about tiny home design and style.

Over 200 interior designs for tiny houses – 230 to be exact. Often these homes are built on trailers giving them the added benefit of mobility. But these designs could also be built on your choice of foundation. Each chapter focuses on one size footprint to show what can be done inside each size space – 14 in all, (8×12, 8×16, 8×20, 8×24, 8×28, 8×32, 12×12, 12×12 + Loft, 12×16, 12×16 + Loft, 12×20, 12×20 + Loft, 12×24, 12×24 + Loft). The book is mostly illustrations with a short introduction.

For the DIY enthusiast, here are photos, elevation drawings, and door/window schedules for six Tumbleweed box bungalows, plus an extensive how-to set of instructions that can be applied to any backyard building project. What they are not is home-center garden sheds. Though conventionally built, these handsome little buildings have real doors, windows, and skylights with interesting and practical details throughout. Paint them and finish them to suit your tastes and needs.

In this book are some 150 builders who have taken things into their own hands, creating tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). Homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, even homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses. There are 1,300 photos, showing a rich variety of small homemade shelters, and there are stories (and thoughts and inspirations) of the owner-builders who are on the forefront of this new trend in downsizing and self-sufficiency.

In his book, Jay reveals the ugly truth about residential planning and the needless overbuilding that is, in part, to blame for today’s mortgage crisis. Did you know that you can’t build a house as tiny as the one Jay lives in? That is, unless you know the loopholes! He’s done the research, and shares it with you. You’ll learn why it is necessary to build on wheels, and see the process of attaching a house to a trailer with step-by-step instructions and pictures. Jay Shafer, the author, personally built a dozen tiny houses and lived in 3 different ones. He is recognized as a leader in the Small House Movement.