Reducing Toys

Parenting is such a process of ALWAYS learning right? Recently I got frustrated with the refusal to help pick up toys after playing. I love seeing them have fun! But it has to be packed up when they are done so things don’t get broken (and I don’t go a little batty)  

So I explained that I could help them care for their toys by taking away the ones they didn’t want to put away.  

MecoBlue Tiny Living - Toys

1st time eventually everything was put away after a lot of protests. The second time I set a timer for 10mins and said I would pick up whatever hadn’t been picked up when the bell went off and again explained that I was helping them to care for their toys and play better without mess by taking away what they didn’t really want to play with.  

Within 5 mins they had picked up what they wanted and gone back to playing. When the bell rang I sat down with them and asked if they were ready for me to help them now and pick up all the toys they didn’t want to play with. 

Yep.  

So I picked the rest up. It wasn’t a huge amount (we didn’t have tons to start with anyway but in such a small space it made a significant difference.  

MecoBlue Tiny Living - Toys

3 months later and they haven’t asked for a single thing in that bag. They play better with what’s left and fight less. 

But it was their choice.  

It has been about 4 months now and they have actually asked me to take away a few more things because cleaning up was too hard and they like it being easier! Interesting right? There are actually studies that back up the fact that children tend to play better with fewer toys too. When presented with too much choice kids can find the stimulation quite overwhelming and get frustrated rather than engaging in play.  

 MecoBlue Free Online WorkshopMeco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

The very first thing you need to do if you want to Build a Tiny House on Wheels

A few years ago, my husband and I came to the point of realising that ‘normal’ was never going to give us what we wanted. We didn’t want the 9-5, the huge house (and mortgage), every moment spent cleaning and our whole live spent trying to keep up.  

We wanted freedom. The freedom to follow opportunity, set our own work schedule and live by our own values. We realised our goals in a nutshell were Self-sufficiency – as much as possible without giving up our freedom and our plans to home-school, volunteer and explore. Family time where we really get to put in the quality time with our kids while they are still little and wanting our time. And control – or as much control as we really have in a world that’s always working.  

Build a Tiny House on Wheels

Like magic – we wrote down our list and suddenly appeared this idea of Tiny Houses. It was after posting in a mum’s group about our desires that a friend suggested I search for Tiny Houses. So, we researched. A lot. For most of a year! We paid for engineered plans to get an idea of materials and cost which showed us this was a viable option! Next step was to order our trailer, jump in and do it! After 11 months of work there we were standing in our new home! We have lived in our DIY Tiny House on Wheels now for coming up to a year and a half! This has been an awesome, wild and fun time of learning and transitioning done WITH 2 small kids!  

If you are at that same point and wondering how you could do the same, I want to give you the very first thing you need to do. This is your homework. Ready?  

Work out what you want from your home.  

Everything. Budget. Style. Location. Design. Time frame. All come down to this.  You need to know exactly what you want from your home. It sounds obvious right? Well I guess in a way it is. But this is the absolute foundation of planning your project. Knowing where you are going to end up is vital!  

So work out what your goals are. 

  • Do you want something as cheap as possible? 
  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want the flexibility to be able to move it? 
  • Do you want to be off grid? 
  • How many people will live there? For how long? Permanently or just part time? 
  • What can you afford to spend? 
  • How much time do you spend at home?  

MecoBlue Tiny Home Living

Get your intention right before you do anything else. I’ll give you some examples of why this is so important.  

Let’s say that you really want to travel for 2 years and explore the country in something as cheap as possible, sell it and then go back to ‘normal’ life. I can tell you a Tiny House on Wheels is unlikely to be the best option for you. A bus conversion project or even a caravan is probably more suitable. 

Now lets say that your goal is to live full time, save up money and then use your new asset as a home base while you build a home perhaps even setting it up as a B&B as an income stream. That sounds like your intention is to build something comfortable and practical that is going to last well! A Tiny House sounds PERFECT.  

Both of those options fall in the realm of Tiny Houses and both are amazing options! But do you see how different that path is? Setting your intention is vital! The thing I love most about Tiny Houses is they way they can be completely built to your vision! You need to have that clarity around your intention first though so you can set your direction. 

Once that is done then you can sit there with Pinterest or Tiny House TV shows making a list of the functions you want or need in your home. This is the fun bit.  

The clearer you can make this picture of what you want the easier it is going to be to start drawing up plans, making estimates, working through logistics and planning 

I found it really helpul to have a notepad nearby whenever I was looking at Tiny Houses online. I made a list of my non negotiables for my house. These were the things like a full size oven and 2 separate lofts that for me were vital pieces of the puzzle. Then I made a list of the things I wanted but were not essential. Some of them eventuated and some did not. The point of the exercise though is to get a picture of what you need in your home so you can start thinking about the floorplan with your intentions in mind. 

How exciting is that? So, what are you waiting for? 

Build tiny house

If you have read this but you are still feeling a little overwhelmed I encouraging you to reach out to us at www.mecoblue.com and one of our helpful team will help talk you through your goals and intentions so they become clearer for you!  

Good luck in whatever path you choose. I truly believe that your Tiny Living Dreams are there for a reason. 

Sarah 



Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

Identifying Your Intentions

Its time to talk about intentions.

I know – its a big word that gets pulled out when its time to talk about something seriously right? Well, maybe so!

But identifying your intentions are really important and can also be really fun. You see, this is about setting the direction that you are going to go.

Meco Blue Tiny Living Blog Post

Like scanning all those travel brochures and looking at the pretty pictures before you set your itinerary. See – fun right? The number 1 thing you need to do before going Tiny is set your intention!

Tiny houses are SO diverse and there are a lot of different types. Start by getting a really clear picture of what your intention is with Tiny Living.

Meco Tiny Living Blue Blog

Maybe you are looking just to downsize to a smaller place than you have now

Maybe you want to travel

Maybe you want accommodation on that bit of land your great uncle left you 3 hrs away

Maybe you want to put a Tiny House in the backyard as extra accommodation/income

Maybe you are wanting to jump into Tiny Living full time and cut back on stuff, expenses and stress?

Once you work that out your destination is selected; so finding the right Tiny House for you just got a whole bunch easier!

Then slip that word ‘intention’ right back in there as you sort out what to keep, what and where to build things in your home, and where to prioritize your budget/resources.

Meco Blue Tiny Living

This applies outside of the build process too. If your intention is to practice living in a smaller space by moving into a small unit then you are going to need to be really intentional about what you bring into that space.

Intention is a funny thing. Having clarity is like the magic that allows our goals come to life!

So what are your Tiny Living intentions?

Are you still not sure if Tiny Houses are for you?

Or is it time to pick a destination and start planning your route?


 

Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

Mess and Minimalism – Living your Best Life

There’s been a bit of a theme lately. Somehow Minimalism has become this construct that is defined by white walls, perfect décor and a perfectly tidy home that looks like no one actually lives there. Social Media and Pinterest have created this standard of perfectionism that most of us will never achieve – and the process of trying to achieve that standard leaves us feeling like frauds and failures.  

Meco Blue Tiny Living

Have I hit a nerve there?  

What I’m seeing is people (but mums especially) getting so caught up in trying to achieve this perfect magazine worthy home that they miss the whole point of the exercise.  I know because I have been so guilty of this. 100% have I got caught up in wanting my home to be perfect so much so that minimalism (or the process of minimising) became a  burden.  

So what is the whole point?  

In my opinion – minimalism is a process of learning to be intentional. To ask yourself what it is that deserves to be in your life. What truly adds value or brings you joy. Its learning to work out what is important to you. And then it is about getting to a place you can release the rest of it. Its about turning your back on the programming to consume and be deliberate about what you let into your life. This process should actually help us feel calmer, happier and less stressed. It should remove the surface clutter than doesn’t deserve to be taking up our emotional, physical and mental space so that we have more time and energy for the things that matter.  

For most people the things that matter are not things at all but people and the relationships that we have with those people. It is also about getting our time back and having freedom to work on the projects than interest us the most. So it’s a little counter-productive if we end up stressed out by this mission to achieve that white walled, mess free, magazine like home.  

Meco Blue Tiny Living

Now don’t get me wrong, lots of clutter and mess overwhelm me. I remember walking into my home and feeling like the entire weight of my home settled on my shoulders. I could never ever get on top of the cleaning – it really felt like by the time I finished just one area it needed doing again and that was only a small portion of the home. I couldn’t live like that anymore. We HAD to cull our things. That process led us towards Tiny House Living as well which I’m so thankful for! We have been able to gain so much freedom!  

However – life can still be messy. But you know what? That’s part of what makes it beautiful!   

Play makes mess. Creating amazing meals makes mess. Getting all the clothes clean can make a mess. Being creative makes mess. Exploring the outdoors makes mess!  

And that’s ok!  

At some point we need to learn to find balance and embrace the mess. We put the hard work in to select what deserves its place in our home and let go of the things that don’t add value. At some point the scales tip and it becomes easier to get the house tidy after mess. But that doesn’t mean its going to be clean ALL of the time. Because your house is your home not a magazine backdrop and you are busy living your BEST life.  

If you are striving for Minimalism and feeling really stuck I’d like to invite you to check out my module on Decluttering and Minimalism so we can break through some of these blocks together.

 Sarah


Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

 

Please follow and like us:

My Favourite Homemade Zero Waste Mayonnaise

One of the things that really makes me happy is learning to swap out just one more purchase to a more sustainable option. Sometimes this means buying it in better packaging, package free or learning to make it myself. Mayonnaise is accessible in reusable glass jars – but the reality is that it is so much more expensive!  

So recently I decided to adapt my sisters Mayo recipe to use the very simple ingredients I had on hand. The original recipe has lemon juice, mustard and a blend of oils in it. However, in my Tiny House Kitchen I don’t always have these things on hand.  

The majority of us in our home are actually dairy free so we swap this out of sour cream in dishes like potato salad or nachos. Its thick, creamy and satisfying! 

You are going to want to do this in a blender and add the oil very slowly. If you go too fast it will split! So turn that baby on and take your time! 

  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 Tab vinegar (Coconut or Apple Cider Vinegar) 
  • Pinch salt 
  • 1 cup lite olive oil 

Blend the eggs, salt and vinegar to combine. With the blender still running slowly add the oil as a slow, steady stream. Blend until thick.

About half way through you will hear the may start to thicken and the sound will change. Keep going until you blend in that whole cup of oil. Once finished store in a clean container in the fridge.  

I used lite olive oil to avoid the heavy olive oil taste and because it was on hand. However my sister’s favourite combination is a 50/50 mix of extra virgin olive oil with a lighter oil such as peanut or ricebran oil.  

Feel free to jazz this up with some garlic, lemon juice or mustard.  


Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

What If – Addressing Hesitations

You know that moment you are standing on the edge of something really awesome ready to jump in but you remain there frozen thinking to yourself… What if? 

What if I hate it? 
What if this is a huge mistake?
What if what if what if 

I have to be honest with you and tell you we had that hesitation when we made the decision to “Go Tiny” 

Truthfully I think the moment I stood there hesitating the most was actually after we started our project. 

You see I had just spent days on the phone trying to get insurance only to find out NO-ONE would cover a DIY Tiny House on Wheels while under construction.. so we had no insurance. And then we had a huge rain and the water leaked through the tarp onto our sub floor. 

So there I was going “Oh Shit.” 

And about that same time when we finished the subfloor we got on the trailer and marked out the floorplan. Interestingly standing on the trailer with no walls and the whole wide world in our view, our house felt tinier than I can express to you. 

I stood there and my heart sank. 

I literally thought the words “What have we done?” 

We had invested money into our trailer, engineered building plans and materials. We had already forked over half of our build budget and suddenly I found myself Thinking “What if we have just spent all this money and we literally hate it? What if we have just made a HUGE mistake?” 

I’ve been there. 
I know how freaking scary it is to stand there and wonder if investing money is the right choice. 

The thing is there literally is no “Right” choice 

Everything in life is a risk. 
You could buy a house and then the market could crash 
You could buy shares and the company could go bust
You could invest into super or bank accounts and STILL lose everything 

Meco Blue Tiny Living

So it is time to 1) make sure we are looking at money with gratitude not fear 2) accept that it IS renewable (even if it takes hard work – it is always possible to go make more) and 3) get really clear on WHY we are spending it. 

We can combat that fear, hesitation and “What if” with reminding ourselves of our goals and our intentions. 

For me when I stood there going “What the heck have we done” we sat down and went back to our list of whys. All those things that we wrote down about WHY we wanted to Live in a Tiny House on Wheels

-Less stuff
-Less cleaning
-More Time
-More Freedom
-Steps towards Self-Sufficiency
-The ability to move our house with us onto land when we buy it 

Sitting with those reasons and intentions helped settle my fear. 

I was still nervous if we would like Tiny Living. But I knew that there was so much benefit it was worth at least trying it. 

And truthfully it has been amazing. 

Yep – there is still a house to clean. But now it takes me 20-40mins to tidy compared to a few hours or even days to tidy just one room. 

Meco Blue Tiny Living

Yep – it is small. But it is actually so much bigger than I thought it would be that day that I walked it out on the trailer. It is our home. Its is where the girls play. Its where our baby learnt to walk. It is where I work at the table and feel proud of what we created. Amazing meals come out of our kitchen. We all enjoy snuggles in bed and reading stories. And outside time has become a part of every single day which is so important. 

No. I don’t hate it. 
Not even a bit. 

There are days I feel overwhelmed by the noise or how quickly the floor gets messy. 

But I wouldn’t take our decision back for anything. 

We are so much closer as a family. 
I know I am so much more aware of our culture of consumerism and much more intentional with what we buy.  

I’ve gone from being someone who would hide away at home for an entire week dwelling in my own thoughts to someone who frequently plans the week around outings and friendships.  

And we have loved living in our Tiny House. 


 Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

We are 18 months in – Now its your turn

This month finished our first 18 MONTHS Living Tiny! Yep we’ve been living our version of freedom, intentionality and simplicity for 18 months while sharing, teaching and inspiring others to do the same. I have to confess that we really didn’t know just how big (pun intended) would be when we decided to go Tiny.

The research, planning, designing and building was such a learning curve! But we really didn’t truly understand what life would be like in a small footprint. I think many people are in the same boat. They are keen, but are really unsure about if they could do it. So I have shared. You have watched. People have asked questions because they really want to know HOW they could do the same! So many DMs, phone calls and questions. Each one from someone who has felt drawn to Live Tiny but has not known where to next.

Stop putting it off! You want it. You CAN do it (We did!). Honestly there is never going to be a perfect time. But there is a reason that your dream is there.

There is a reason you are here in front of me with my mission to help you move into your Tiny Living lifestyle. Its time to listen to that little voice inside of you and show up for yourself.

And for the record.. Tiny Living with kids is possible! Tiny Living without being a perfect minimalist is possible! Your version of Tiny Living is about YOUR needs, goals and values not a picture-perfect image you saw on Pinterest.

Nothing changes without change right? Make the decision now that you don’t want to keep living to work to pay bills and repeat. Make the decision now that YOU want to take a leap and trust your dream is there to pave the way to a life that aligns with your values and gives you freedom back. Or I mean you could do nothing and keep things the same? (yawn..) I’ve got the answers to your questions. You can take on this project with experience rather than facing costly mistakes! Coz seriously do you want to do this the hard way or the fun way?

Link to my course Talking Tiny is

www.mecoblue.com/talking-tiny-registration/

Lets move forward together. . .

Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

My Favourite Things in our Tiny House Kitchen

When we designed the Tiny House we knew we wanted a functional kitchen. We eat mostly home cooked meals and I spend a fair chunk of time in the kitchen. As such the space is carefully planned and each item in the kitchen has earned its place.  

I thought I’d share a few of my essential things!  

  • My big blue enamelled cast iron casserole dish! This gets used on the stove as a pot as well as in the oven. Honestly I owned this for a long time before moving into our Tiny and it wasn’t used much. It was hidden in the back of an awkward cupboard, and given its weight, wasn’t pulled out very often! But it has become a favourite! It only takes cooking a casserole in the oven to warm up the house nicely on a cold night.
  • Glass cookware with lids! Gone are the days of cupboards full of coloured plastic containers! Our space is precious! Using oven safe glass cookware that can then double as storage in the fridge or freezer with a lid is much smarter for us. Plus it’s a lot harder to lose leftovers in the fridge if you can see the contents! 
  • Recycled glass jars. I use glass jars for everything from pantry/fridge/freezer storage, snack boxes, coffee cups and drinking glasses! They are so easy to come by from every day grocery shopping and so multi purpose. Plus its always better to re-use rather than buy  brand new (even an eco friendly option)!
  • Chopping board big enough to bridge the sink. Originally the plan had been to use the sink cut away to make a board that slipped back into the sink and created extra working space. But unfortunately this was not possible after an issue during installation. So instead a nicely sized bamboo chopping board is perfect!
  • Wall mounted drying rack! This has been a perfect solution for us! Mounting the drying rack to the wall above the sink meant it wasn’t taking up the limited working space and it actually becomes the storage location for our plates! Win Win

There are many other things I have found amazing in my tiny kitchen like a multi-function cooker, beeswax wraps, glass mixing bowl that is used to make and serve anything, my kettle and my thermos. However the above mentioned 5 things are my essentials. The things that are the most useful to me in my small space as I go about making delicious food for my family.  

Sarah  


7 Day Tiny Living Workshop - Meco BlueMeco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

What You Need to Know About Financing A Tiny House on Wheels

The 3 big hesitations I hear from people about their dreams to build a Tiny House are 1) “But I have kids” 2) “Where can I put it?” and 3) I don’t have the money. 

To the first hesitation – I say sooo? Kids are actually highly adaptable! They actually thrive on less (note I’m not talking about neglect here! I am talking about intentional lifestyles and minimalism.) Kids thrive on more time outside and more time with YOU.  

To the second hesitation – see my video here  where I talk about out experiences. There is no 1 national or even state wide classification or policy for Tiny Homes. Every council has a different interpretation of and so its impossible to make any kind of blanket statement. However there are options and there are councils getting on board with the Tiny House Movement. 
For now though I wanted to take a moment to talk about the other big hesitation – finances. There are different options to consider that may or may not be applicable to you. 
I want to start by stating that at this stage in time most banks are not ready to offer a mortgage on a Tiny House. It is a totally different set of liabilities for them and it really doesn’t belong in the same box as a mortgage. Some people have had success with securing a caravan loan for a pre-built Tiny, but I haven’t heard of anyone managing this for a DIY build through a major bank. Some have taken on personal loans knowing that despite this being a high interest rate they will be able to pay it off quickly and end off much further ahead once they can get rid of their rent bill. Another option may be to find out if your chosen bank offers any kind of loan that would accommodate a vehicle undergoing major conversions in the case of a bus home.
While writing this I actually came across a Tiny House Mortgage Broker and a Tiny House finance specialist! I am not affiliated with either company and I am not aware of the underwriter for these companies, however this is another option to finance your Tiny House!  
In any of these situations it is also vital to be aware of your ability to service a loan during the build time (if applicable).  
Another option is to enquire about financing through a Tiny House building company or through a trailer maker. This is an alternative to a bank loan that allows you to commit to your plan without all the money up front. Be sure you are away of all of the terms and conditions as well as the companies reputation. If you are trusting someone to build your home you need to know they are going to build it WELL!  
You could also plan to build it bursts. So save (or get a small personal loan) do to ‘phase one’. For example you could plan a phase to buy your trailer/bus/van, then a phase to get your build to ‘lock-up stage’, then another phase to finish the interior, and then a final phase to finish it. You can save for each burst and tackle your project in pieces. This still requires careful attention to your spending and a desire to put that money aside! But it means you can start working on your project ASAP rather than trying to save the whole chunk (I guess I could liken this to saving your home deposit rather than having to save the whole purchase value).  
Another option is to jump in head first and put that chunk of money you have been stashing away for a home mortgage and build with that. More or less this is what we did. We had a chunk of money there ready to buy land. In fact we actually went looking and seriously considered a piece of land with a hilltop view. But we took that chunk of money and built our home instead. This fitted with our goals, dream and values so much better and we know it was the right decision.  
Whatever option you choose you are acting on your dreams. Crunch the numbers. See what works. Find extra ways to bring savings in. And always have your eyes open with your creative cap nearby – you never know when some kind of bonus, initiative or grant might just pop up and be just the right fit for you in your unique situation as you take your steps on your Tiny House Journey.  
Sarah

Meco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us:

Tips To Sell Your Unneeded Things

Every week I dedicate some time on Monday to Minimizing. 

I don’t want to be decluttering forever and I’m pleased with how much less ‘stuff’ comes into the house now! But for now, even in our Tiny House, there is still a need to intentionally sort through our things and really consider what deserves its place in our home. I find it helpful to focus on what to keep rather than finding things to cull.  

If you are at the start of your Tiny House journey this may be a huge task for you right now! I remember very vividly the HOURS that went into sorting through everything we owned and downsizing into our Tiny.  

As you go through and sort things you may be left trying to work out what to do with everything!  

First up I recommend sorting things into Piles 

  • Recycle 
  • Bin 
  • Giveaway 
  • Sell 
  • Keep 

You will likely also need a ‘Maybe’ pile as it can be overwhelming know exactly what should stay and go the first time around. Once you have sorted all your piles deal with the recycling and the bin piles straight away. Check if your local second hand stores are taking donations before you take it around – if they aren’t taking donations try a local women’s shelter, church or list for free on Facebook or Gumtree. The reality is sometimes that our stuff only has value to us and its possible no one will want it. Try as much as possible to seek out willing recipients where possible.  

decluttering

Selling your extra stuff can be a really good way to make some extra money and there are a ton of options to do so. Garage sale, Car Boot sale, FB Marketplace, Buy/Swap/Sell groups, Gumtree, eBay and many more!  

If find garage sales probably give you one of the lowest prices for each item on average (everyone wants a bargain!) but it can be a really fast and effective way to move a lot of stuff at once rather than listing them individually (or as groups) online. If you don’t have enough for a garage sale you could look at a car boot sale or team up with others in your local area to have a big group garage sale!  

My tips!  

Sell big things locally on Marketplace or Gumtree. I’ve found these tend to be the places that bulky things go fastest! We once listed a fireplace on Gumtree and in under an hour I had 13 people asking to collect it! I was really surprised as its one of the most expensive second hand items that I had sold second hand. But watching the patterns that emerged I found local listings to be the fastest and most effective way to sell big ticket items. 

Pick the little/post-able things to list on Ebay. If you want to spend the time doing lots of listings Ebay can even be a great place to move $2 items. But I think its helpful to look at what your time is worth too and if you really want to take the time to do that.  

Make sure everything is as clean as you can possibly get it. I promise a clean item will sell better than if it is dirty!   

Set up somewhere with nice lighting and take all your photos at once. Have a plain background like a blank wall, or clean dining table, or even lay things on a white sheet. Make sure the shot is uncluttered. Mess is distracting and will make your item look dirty and this will devalue your item.  

Try to take nice pictures even if you are just using your phone.

This video has a couple simple tips on phone photography 

Its helpful to do a Facebook search for any groups specific to that brand (eg Bonds baby clothes, Montessori toys, Planner BST etc). Generally, I find things go fastest when advertised to a highly interested audience. The extra few minutes to find the right group can make a big difference in the sales!  

decluttering

And my final tip is to have a rule about how may times you are going to list something. I list things up to 3 times. If they don’t sell its time to give it away and move on!  

Hope this helps!  

Sarah  


7 Day Tiny Living Workshop - Meco BlueMeco Blue Tiny Home Specialists

Please follow and like us: