How Much Space Do You Need?

There is no doubt that the Tiny house movement is growing more and more popular every year. Houses are getting bigger and bigger, the world is getting more consumerist by the minute, "Debt culture" is the norm, and there are more and more people who want freedom from it all, escape this world and live simply. The way it used to be.

My grandma lives in the same house that she has lived in since the 1930's. It WAS a 5 bedroom house. Now it is a 4 bedroom because one of the bedrooms has since been converted into the houses only bathroom [They used to use an outhouse before the bathroom was put in.] This house hosted a family of eight. This house is 1300 square feet. The average 4 bedroom house today is DOUBLE that. My grandma lives alone in that house now, and every time I visit her I stay in the same bedroom, Up the stairs, all the way down the hallway [maybe 12 feet of hallway] and its the last bedroom on the left. The room is a grand total of 8x8 feet, but the ceiling comes down in half of it so it feels smaller. Two people used to sleep in this room growing up, and compared to modern housing, it seems like you can barely sleep one.

I don't see why a person can't live perfectly happy in a 16'x7' space. If you think about it you don't need that much:

Bathroom: A must, safely disposing of your waste is critical to survival, so you need one, however it doesn't need to be big, just big enough to sit and do your business.
Total space: 9 square feet

A place to bathe: The bathroom can be a wet bath and dual as a shower.
Total space: Still 9 square feet

A Place to sleep: Now this can get a little tricky, because you COULD sleep in the same space you live and eat in, but for the purpose of this example I am going to say they should be separate. I do love my bed, but I also love to walk around, sit when soggy and rained on, etc... and I like my bed free of the elements thank you. SO separate space for a bed: I have slept in a twin bed most of my life, but after sleeping in a full size bed I find that it gives me a better rest because I can sprawl out on it without hanging off.
Full size mattress: 27.25 square feet
Total space: 36.25 square feet

A place to live: This is the space where you do everything from eat to use your computer, read, watch tv, do a puzzle, sculpt a bust of William Shakespere, play chess with yourself, whatever. There really is no minimum requirement for this space, but if you would like to have guest[s] over you probably want a place for them to sit, or a poster depicting how to make their stay less awkward in your house with no chairs. In my opinion, an 8x8 space is doable, you may want more, you may want less, but this is my example so :P
8'x8' Living space: 64 square feet
Total space: 100.25 square feet

A place to store and prepare food: Food is pretty essential to survival, and it can take up quite a bit of space if you let it. The amount of food storage you need is dependent on how often you can get to the store to replenish your foods. There are 3 types of food storage: Refrigerated food, Frozen food, and Dry storage. Some people say they can get by with one of those 5 day coolers, ice, and their food. I call bs, they either go to the store entirely too often, spending more on gas than food, or they eat Vegitarian / buy things that don't spoil. Add space for a refrigerator, depending on the size of your food needs your fridge may be larger or smaller.

I use a chest freezer converted to a refrigerator. for two reasons, First, I can store more food in the same amount of space. In a standard upright fridge you have shelves and ALOT of space. in a chest fridge you can stack things on top of things and store more. Second is energy efficiency. It is understood that heat rises and cold falls right? Right. Go stand in front of your fridge barefoot, now open the door. You feel that? That is all the cold air you had locked up in the fridge pouring out and onto the floor. Chances are your fridge just kicked on and started another charge cycle huh? That's because it's working to restore the set temperature inside. EVERY TIME you open the fridge this happens. There has to be an easier way! perhaps if you could block off that door so the cold air cant fall if you were to come in from the top...

If you had two identical refrigerators, size, insulation, compressor, everything the same. only one was an upright, and one was a chest refrigerator. The chest refrigerator would be around 10x more efficient than the upright. Simply because it holds most of it's cold air in when you open the door.

Now I've gone off on a tangent that I will expand upon later. anyways, the fridge is 4.25 square feet.

Frozen food: Depending on your use of frozen foods, you may not need a large freezer, you may not need one at all...but where are you going to get your ice to make your Margaritas? Personally I hunt, and I will come home with around 100lbs of meat [which is awesome btw because that saves me sooooo much money at the store buying meat. All it costs me is the 25 cent bullet I reloaded, and the cost to run the electricity to freeze it until I need it. which is around $30 per year.] Im on another tangent sorry. so TWO chest freezers, one converted to a fridge. 8.5 square feet

Dry storage: With my meat and my vegetables taken care of in the other two, my dry storage doesnt need to be that big. all I keep in there is flour, sugar, starch, pasta, beans, and rice. and maybe some canned goods and a bag of Animal crackers, but the animal crackers are probably going to be in my living room, so instead lets put some popcorn kernels in there. I could keep all this in an 18 gallon Tupperware tub, so maybe 2 square feet. but for the sake of making things even lets make it 2.25 square feet.

SO Two chest freezers and dry storage: 10.75 square feet
TOTAL: 111 square feet

Now you need a space to prepare and cook the food, but if you are following my example, you are using chest freezers, so the tops are counter space/space for appliances and such, then they can lift up for access to the freezers. how to do that system I will talk about in a later post.

Appliances: now you have a place to sleep with two freezers, how do you cook? In the world of Tiny houses you enter the world of Tiny appliances, or at least REALLY compact ones. tabletop burners, convection/microwave ovens [that's right, its BOTH in ONE] and a hot air popcorn popper [although you can just hook a heat gun up to a metal colander and get the same result] although I heat some pretty gunky stuff with that heat gun sometimes, I may just want to keep a dedicated popper, or not eat popcorn, but where's the fun in that?.... Everything I need fits on a 2'x5' counter on top of the freezers.

Total: 111 square feet.

So, In my opinion, one could live comfortably in 111 square feet and have the options to have guests over. but wait, square footage doesnt count if the ceiling height is less than 4 feet ie: a loft bed. so you COULD say that you could live comfortably in 84 square feet with a 27 square foot loft and have guests over.

What about stuff storage? if you use your space efficiently, shelving, under couch storage etc, you wont need a closet, just a hook for whatever you hang, and keep the rest in boxes. :) simple, Tiny, and 100% awesome.

NOTE: I was just reading over my post and realized that 16x7 is 112 square feet... Ill call that extra square foot the luxury foot, you can use it however you want. Ill put mine in the bathroom :)

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