What I Learned from a Summer Without Internet, TV, and More

During July and August, I lived in an apartment about the size of the future tiny house.  It was great practice for minimalist living not only because of the small space, but also because I chose to go without certain amenities that most people would consider “standard” in a home.  For example, I did not have:

  • Internet
  • TV
  • In-house washer & dryer
  • Basic furniture like a table for eating or couch/sofa.

Not having these comforts taught me a good deal about resourcefulness.  Additionally, I gained a greater appreciation for the little luxuries that many of us take for granted in our homes.

No Internet, no problem. Truth be told, the decision not to have Internet was born out of my own laziness. Because I was subletting the apartment for just 2 months, I didn’t want to go through the expense and hassle of setting up an Internet account, especially when I lived so close to places with Wi-Fi.  Although not having Internet was inconvenient, it taught me to be more intentional with my time (for example, scheduling time to go someplace to use the Internet; not mindlessly watching YouTube videos before bed). I had been accustomed to surfing the web at night, but without Internet I read books, went to a yoga class, worked on blog posts, or cooked meals instead. I did, however, rely on my iPhone a lot for quick online research and checking email at home, so I wasn’t completely “disconnected”. In the tiny house we do intend to have Internet.

Being TV-free was easy.  TV has never been a big source of entertainment or information for me. In fact, the place I’m living now does not have TV and I do not miss it at all.

The luxury of laundry. My apartment had communal laundry rooms, something I hadn’t experienced since living in the dorms as an undergrad. Having to use the laundry facility definitely made me appreciate the convenience (and cleanliness) of private in-house laundry. It wasn’t fun hauling a giant bag of clothes to and from the laundry room out in 90-degree heat. Fortunately, I was sometimes able to do laundry at other people’s houses or handwash small items in the sink.  All in all, living without a washer and dryer wasn’t too difficult, which is good because we won’t have these bulky appliances in the tiny house.

Forgoing furniture.  The only furniture I had in my bare-bones apartment were my bed, a desk and office chair, a papasan (circle) chair, and a couple of little end tables/night stands. No dining table. No dresser. No futon, couch, or guest bed.

I learned to make the most of the furniture I did have. Since my bed was out in the open (studio-style), it also functioned as a couch. I stored some clothes in the drawers of one of my end tables.  I ate meals at my desk, in the papasan chair, or outside. If I had friends over, we sat on the carpeted floor or on the staircase – no big deal. I actually had 2 friends stay with me for a weekend and we managed just fine.  When you think about it, much of our furniture can go unused or unneeded for days: it exists simply for decorative purposes and to fill the empty spaces in rooms.

My happiness didn’t suffer a bit when I lived in the bare-bones apartment. Instead, I came to realize what is actually important to me in a home. The two things I learned that I could NOT do without were:

  1. Comfortable kitchen. Besides being devoid of windows, the kitchen had an awkward layout and poor work triangle.  Luckily, the tiny house kitchen is located in the brightest, most open area of the home.
  2. Outdoor space. My minimalist apartment lacked outdoor appeal. Though there was a public lawn, there weren’t any picnic tables or places to sit other than the 3’x3’ concrete front stoop.   With the tiny house, we hope to add a detachable front porch for hanging out. When we eventually settle down on land of our own, adding a larger, semi-covered deck and a fire pit for entertaining may be in the cards.

Happy first official day of fall!  Stay tuned in October for a construction update

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