So, as you all know, I have been planning to make many alterations to my Tiny House.
A project like this, even with a small space, can appear very daunting at first. The key is, as with any large project, to break it down into smaller stages.
I have been writing myself a ‘Master List’ of tasks, and here are some techniques i’ve used that I thought you might find valuable…
1.Do It Room By Room
An easy way to start off splitting the mammoth task is to do it by room, possibly using a brainstorm/spider-diagram at first.
There will be some tasks which are specific to each room – for example, plumbing for bathrooms, considering mattresses for the bedroom etc. – and there are some, like stripping wallpaper and general decluttering, which can easily be copy-pasted to every room, so once you have made a start the next ones become easier.
Also, by focussing on the rooms one by one, it will make you consider what you really want from each, where your priorities lie.
There will be things that fall outside the realm of individual rooms – if you want to insulate the roof or get new windows, for example; these can be put into a separate ‘Whole House’ or ‘Miscellaneous’ list.
2. Plan Tasks In Stages
I have broken down tasks in each of my rooms into ‘Pre-Work’, ‘1st Stage’, ‘2nd Stage’ and ‘Finishing’. There are some projects which have a through line, with tasks in each stage – for example, when wanting to plumb a new sink ‘Pre-Work’ would be going to stores, measuring up and comparing prices, 1st Stage covers getting ground work like tiling done around the area, 2nd Stage actually buying and installing the sink and Finishing would be making a splashback, tidying up etc.
Then you can complete all the tasks in each stage before moving on to the next one – by doing this you can always be sure you’re doing first things first and not rushing, or getting behind in a particular area. You could also make flow diagrams for specific big tasks to help you focus.
3. Separate DIY From Outsourcing
For every task in you list, you will probably have a pretty good idea about what you can do for yourself and what you should leave to the professionals – but it’s always best to think through and clarify this on your list, with a note to yourself as to what either approach will require. I mentioned above about contacting a plumber and getting a quote – I know I wouldn’t feel confident installing plumbing myself, so this is an essential task for my list, but it may not be for yours. On the other hand, if you do want to take the plunge (as it were) into plumbing, then a task for you would be to do some research and buy the correct tools.
Similarly, you may be comfortable painting, but not tiling, happy to put up shelves but not make furniture from scratch and so on.
This will also give you an idea of how much time each task will need – making a desk (as I am planning on doing – read more about that here) is a nice idea, but buying one is a whole lot quicker – likewise any task left to a professional is likely to be done in far less time than if you try it yourself.
4. Keep Adding, Keep Breaking Down
As you go forward, don’t ever be afraid of adding to your list, and dividing tasks into sub-tasks. The idea is to make each stage manageable, not slavish follow the first draft.
And try not to get frustrated – it’s only natural that your master list will grow a lot before it starts shrinking!
5. Start To Assign Budget and Costs
Once you have your master list in a reasonably comprehensive first draft, start looking at how much things will cost. There are two general approaches which you can mix and match – either find quotes and average prices first and drop them into the list, or decide what you would aim to spend on each thing, and add that, then go looking for something which meets your needs.
I think both are valid, but the second has the advantage that is shows instantly what you can and can’t afford, again forcing you to prioritise and not commit to anything too expensive.
Budgeting also applies to time costs; as I mentioned in point 3, you should consider how long something is likely to take. After all, time can be even more valuable than money.
Of course it’s often hard to guess at times, so try to put in the maximum estimate – or, in the case of tasks with deadlines, the maximum possible – amount of time for each task.
That will once again allow you to be realistic about what is achievable and what needs to go.
I hope you all found that useful, guys, gals and everyone else 🙂 Any extra pointers you can give me in return will be greatly appreciated.
Happy Tiny House planning everyone!