Top 10 Tiny House Tips

An Indiana University grad student, Laura Yates, has been living in a tiny 176 square foot house since September.  Since that time she has learned a lot and decided to share her top 10 tiny house tips.  See if you have any you’d like add!

1. Be prepared to spend more than you budgeted

It will take longer than you think, and you will go over budget,” Yates said. “Without labor I spent about $27,000 on materials.”

2. “Tiny house camp” pays off

Yates traveled to Memphis last spring for a week of tiny houses lessons put on by Tennessee Tiny Homes along with Derek “Deek” Diedrickson from

3. Don’t shy away from showering at the gym

Yates, 24, keeps about 60 gallons of water on hand for her tiny house. To conserve her supply she showers at the gym after her morning workout.

4. Three mattresses are better than one

Instead of dining room chairs, Yates put twin mattresses on top of two benches in her eating area to make room for guests. The benches are storage as well.

5. Buy one, give one away

If I purchase a new item of clothing, I have to get rid of one,” Yates says.

Yates asked her uncle, Jeff Mongan, to help when it was time to build the micro home. He is an expert carpenter who works in construction management. They started in May and wrapped up by September.

7. Plan for tiny meals

Yates rarely goes to the grocery story without a plan. A limited number of items will fit in her tiny refrigerator. She plans her meals a week in advance.

8. Ditch the wheels 

Yates removed her tiny house wheels. She blocked it up in a number of places with cinder blocks and used jacks to give it a bit of extra support and keep it level. Without the wheels, she worries less about someone stealing her house, and it preserves the tires.

9. Don’t let naysayers get you down

In beginning, people would just look at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Yates said. But after they learned more about her plan, people were more accepting of her new lifestyle.

10. Keep it clean

Staying organized is essential to keeping a tiny house neat and clean, Yates says. There’s also the matter of cleaning the bathroom. Yates empties her composting toilet regularly. Once a week for urine, every two months for the other stuff.


Photo: Laura Yates

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