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Ten things you can’t bring to your new tiny home

By Pieta Woolley

Anne Bokma’s March Observer article, Extreme downsizing, profiles several people who choose to forgo the modern comforts of McMansions. Sloughing off materialistic gunk in favour of a simpler, more fulfilling life is trending among hip, young Christians these days. And idealists and utopian communities have conspicuously embraced simplicity for more than a century.

But all that Quaker-like goodness comes with a cost – practical and maybe even ethical. Here are 10 things you may need to ditch on your way to a tiny — or just smaller — home:

1. Your adult children

The Globe and Mail recently called “helping” your boomerang adult children a “financial burden.”  Whether you feel it’s a burden, a duty or a privilege, chances are if you’re a boomer with kids, you’ll find that this trend will resonate with you. Sure, it’s all dandy to let them move into their old attic room at 27 — or 42. But wedging them into your new 340-square-foot laneway home? Fergedaboudit.

2. Your aging parents

More than two million Canadians — the so-called “sandwich generation” — actively care for their aging parents, in many cases in their own homes. But a mother-in-law suite in that radical downtown Toronto loft? Unlikely.

3. The whole collection

If you’ve spent your young life collecting, say Kiss memorabilia, salt and pepper shakers or every t-shirt your children ever wore, moving into a tiny home is your chance to smooch them goodbye. Take photos of them, make the photos into albums and simply ditch the stuff, these downsizers advise.

4. Books and papers

Will the e-book replace paper books? It’s the debate of the century, but not for you. You’re moving into a tiny home. Donate those 1976 Encyclopedia Britannicas and file your taxes online, already.

5. Most of your electronics

Back in the dinosaur age of the 1990s, you might have owned a camera, a video camera, a TV, a stereo, a voice recorder, a VCR, a DVD player, an alarm clock, a wall clock, a phone and other bulky electronics. Now, all of those appliances are contained in a device smaller than a slice of artisan brioche. So, when downsizing, you can feel confident leaving that tank of a TV behind — that’s if you can just find someone with enough retro sensibility to want to take it off your hands.

6. The big comfy couch

This video was running its course on Facebook. Drool-worthy space-saving design? Or weird Euro-aesthetic? You decide.

7. Family heirlooms

Evidently, this is a big struggle for downsizers in general. So give them away now to the relatives who would have inherited them, not later.

8. That stuff in the garage

Sports equipment, tools, camping gear and that old Harley you like to ride every second year? All rent-able. Take the Toronto Tool Library, for instance.

9. That stuff in the basement

What is that stuff anyway? If you don’t know, it can go.

10. Your buying habits

At Ikea, you can walk through a sample tiny home layout and consider whether it would work for you. Of course, you can buy every single thing in that Ikea space, too, except for that fake flatscreen TV. So if something new comes into a microloft dweller’s space, something old has to go out. There just isn’t any more room to consume.

And, if all of this seems overwhelming, there is a very hip-looking eight-week e-course you can take to help you re-orient your mind to tiny living and allow your stuff to just roll away.

Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
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