5 Reasons Tiny Home Living Was Awful

Tiny home living is not for everyone. I thought tiny home living was going to be AWESOME! Then I lived in a tiny home for a year....  

5 Reasons Tiny Home Living Was Awful from www.goingzerowaste.com #tinyhome #zerowaste #minimalliving

I was so convinced that I was ready for tiny home living, I was looking at buying an RV so I could quit my full-time job and travel the US.

I mean, that sounds pretty awesome right? Travel the world, blog, and have no boss?? 

But after living in a 325 sq. ft. tiny home, I can attest... it was not that awesome. In fact it made my life pretty miserable.

As I'm sure you know, layout is everything. Living in a tiny home that's laid out well, might have been awesome, but The house I was living in was NOT laid out very well.

This tiny home was built in the 30s. There were three small windows and even on a bright sunny day, you'd have to have all the lights on in the house because it was just dark. 

The kitchen and bathroom weren't that bad.... but I definitely could have gone for some more counter space in the kitchen. I really like to cook and meal prep, and only having one small wedge of counter space made it difficult to prep large quantities of food. 

There also wasn't an appropriate dining area. It was hard to fit two people at the table.... so we definitely weren't able to entertain which is something I love. 

Another huge downside was not having a defined living and sleeping space. My bed was my couch, desk, and sleeping area. It was rough... especially rough on my posture. Add all of that to the lack of windows, and it was just a recipe for disaster. 

I started working for Pela Case freelance in February so I was working from home all day....

2 adults and a 50lb dog in a 325 sq. ft. is just really tight quarters. 

I don't regret making the choice to give tiny home living a try, but it's definitely something I'm glad to be leaving behind.

A couple of the points that I left out of the video are schedules and being creative. 

schedules: 

Justin and I are both on completely opposite schedules. He's a night owl and I'm an early riser. When we were living in the tiny home he was finishing his audio engineering degree and working at Fantasy Studios. 

He would often be working late night recording sessions. When you walk into the tiny home you walk straight into the bedroom/living room so he'd come home when I was trying to sleep. It would wake up the dog and get her all excited. She would need to go out.

Then I would wake him up when I tried to make breakfast and get work done in the morning. It was just a mess. 

being creative: 

The tiny home definitely forced me to be creative, like having to take photos in the bathroom at 4 PM with a piece of card stock on top of the commode because it was the only well lit area in the house. 

And, while that worked sometimes, other times it just didn't and I think my blog suffered because of it. I wasn't able to take pictures easily (lack of light) and I just felt stifled. I didn't feel happy, positive, and upbeat like I normally do and I think that came through in my work. 

For the other five reasons I hated tiny home living, watch the video below.

What do you think? Do you love tiny home living? Hate it? Willing to give it a try? 

Check out my pre-tiny zero waste home tour and my post-tiny zero waste home tour to see where I moved! 

6 Tips for Mastering Secondhand Shopping

It's here, it's here! The official Going Zero Waste guide to second hand shopping. 

I love second hand shopping. It's been my preferred method since I started shopping for myself around middle school. 

6 tips for mastering second hand shopping from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #secondhand #thrifting

I remember my first trip to the thrift store. I was in drama club (of course) and we went to Goodwill to buy costumes for a show. 

When I was at this mega Goodwill in San Antonio, TX, I found so many cool pieces of clothing! After that eye opening trip I would beg my mom to go to Goodwill and the answer was always, "No." 

My mom was not a huge fan of secondhand shopping. It wasn't until recently that she came around. Finding designer duds with tags still attached on eBay for a fraction of the cost!? She was sold. 

However, my love for Goodwill and other thrift stores has never wavered. Shopping for second hand clothing has always been a way for me to snag designer looks for less.

I love the thrill of the bargain. Being an actor most of my professional life, I haven't always had the funds to buy nice "new" clothing.

My favorite thrifted find was a long sleeve, black lace torch dress. It was cut high and straight across the neck and had a tasteful deep cut in the back. I bought that dress from an antique store for $8. 

It fit like a glove. That dress looked like it was made for me. I would wear it to the theatre all of the time and I was consistently stopped (by women with much, much more disposable income than me) and complimented. 

It's my favorite dress I've ever worn. I have no photos in it because cameras and phones were still two separate objects. I bought it when I was a junior in high school and try as I may, my hips will never, ever, ever, fit into it again. 

6 tips for mastering secondhand shopping from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #secondhandshopping #thrifting

This guide you're about to read has been years in the making. It's everything I've learned about creating a secondhand wardrobe. 

Of course, the secondhand market has changed drastically. There's a few differences between shopping in 2007 and now. 

  • Clothes aren't made like they used to be. if you haven't watched the True Cost documentary, you should. Our thrift stores are being flooded with poorly made clothing that just doesn't last
  • Shopping secondhand is wayyyyyy cooler. Which is amazing!! But, it also means it's not as easy to find fashionable pieces. 
  • Deals are harder to come by. Most thrift stores are starting to mark-up designer brands. While it's still cheaper than buying first hand, it's still not as good of a deal as it used to be. 

So, let's get started. 

1. get comfy: 

When, I'm shopping, I'm a woman on a mission. I was never the kind of girl who wanted to go to the mall and browse. I like to shop and try on very efficiently. 

This means, slip on shoes with socks. Yes, I look like a total nerd, but it's SO much easier to try on shoes and clothes in the dressing room. I don't like putting my bare feet on dressing room floors. It grosses me out. 

I also typically wear a dress that easily pulls on and off. This way I can be in and out of the dressing room in a flash.

Moral of the story, dress like you're going to be undressing.... a lot. 

2. be prepared to leave: 

This one is huge, and what I struggle with most. If I've spent 30 minutes combing through racks and another 30 minutes trying all of the things on, you can bet I want to leave with a reward. 

It just doesn't work that way. You will leave empty handed more often than not. In order to keep my wardrobe small, functional, and not waste money - I have to LOVE a piece. 

I mean really, really LOVE it. 

If it doesn't fit perfectly, put it back. If you don't immediately say, "This is one of the best things I've ever put on my body!" put it back. 

When in doubt... put it back. 

How many times have you regretted leaving something on the shelf? Probably one one or two times. 

Now, how many times have you bought something, put it in your closet, not worn it, and regretted buying it? Probably more times than you can count. 

Better safe than sorry. Walk out empty handed. 

3. know thy wardrobe: 

Before shopping, you should intimately know your wardrobe. We're often drawn to similar items. My kryptonite is sweaters. I have at least 20 sweaters, and around 5 of them are pink. 

So, when I go to the thrift store and see an adorable pink sweater OF COURSE I'm going to pick it up because I love pink sweaters!!!

Because I know my wardrobe, I have the foresight to put it back because I don't need anymore pink sweaters. 

You have to know what's in your wardrobe before you go shopping.

6 tips for mastering secondhand shopping from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #secondhandshopping #thrifting

What colors do you reach for most in your wardrobe? 

Are there any particular colors you love, but don't wear? I love the color green, but I just don't wear it very often. 

I'm not drawn to wearing green so if I found a gorgeous green dress, even if I love the fit, chances are I'd pass over it simply because it wasn't one of my favorite colors to wear. 

What are your favorite pieces to wear and why?

Off the top of your head what are the five favorite pieces in your closet? More importantly why do you like wearing them? 

  1. Yellow Shirt Dress: It flatters my shape, it's a happy color, it has embroidery which is quirky, fun, and bespoke.
  2. Navy Blue Dress: It really flatters my shape, I like the short sleeves, I like how heavy it is and how well it hangs.
  3. Pink Striped Sweater: I love pink sweaters and it fits perfectly. I love wearing it with shorts! 
  4. White Cable Knit Sweater: It's tight but not too tight. I feel like a tennis player when I wear it. 
  5. Blue Wrap Skirt: I love the pattern. I love how it accentuates my waist and how it can be tied a number of ways. 

Check out the 10 x 10 challenge to see how many different ways the wrap skirt can be tied. 

After reading my list, what would you say are some of the important characteristics of clothing? There's a couple of words that are repeated like things that accentuate my waist. 

I'm pear shaped so having clothing that comes in at the waist and then drapes over my hips is very, very flattering. 

So, if I see an empire waisted dress, low-rise jeans, or long tunic tops no matter how much I love them. They probably won't get a ton of use in my closet because my wardrobe isn't built for that style.

I don't have the appropriate styles to mix and match and layer. The piece will go unworn. 

Are there recurring brands you like? 

I have a couple of brands that I just love. I know they fit my body and my aesthetic perfectly! I love NYDJ for jeans. I love Amour Vert because they design for pear shaped women. I also love Lacoste.

I can easily find NYDJ and Lacoste second hand because I know it will fit. When you find brands that you like and know how they fit your body, it will make your life easier. 

It will help shape your list and give you direction when shopping! See if you can find a few brands that you love the fit, look, and aesthetic. 

4. know thy self: 

I am pear shaped which means there are certain styles that flatter me and certain styles that don't. Pear shaped means the largest part of my body is my hips.

When I'm dressing I can balance my hips by adding dimension to my shoulders and chest through a ruffle, cinching in my waist and having plain bottoms.

Now, these are guidelines not rules. There's a way for every body shape to wear every style, you just have to be a little more careful. 

One of the easiest ways (especially when shopping secondhand online) is to know your measurements! 

If I have a shirt that's 22" in length, it will look TERRIBLE on me. If it's 24" or 18" it will be fine. But, when it's at 22" it hits the exact largest part of my body bringing all of the attention to it. 

If you can pinpoint why you don't like the way things look, you can make better decisions in the dressing room. Here are a couple of things you should know. 

  • Measure your bust, waist, top of hip, full hip and inseam. 
  • Know what colors flatter your skin tone
  • Know your body shape and what type of silhouettes are flattering and unflattering
  • Figure out your style! 

Check out this post on finding your style and this post about how I found my style and how it's evolved. 

6 tips for mastering secondhand shopping from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #secondhandshopping #thrifting

5. have a game plan: 

Before going shopping, you should know what you're looking for.

What are the gaps in your wardrobe? Do you need another pair of jeans? Maybe you need more tank tops for summer? Or more winter blouses for work?

Write down what's missing from your wardrobe and focus your attention on finding those things. If something else jumps out at you, by all means give it a try, but try to focus on the list. 

By staying focused on the list and task at hand you're more likely to walk away with something you'll actually wear. 

6. know where to shop: 

There are different levels of secondhand shopping ranging from Goodwill to high end consignment shops. The more work you have to do with hunting through the bins and racks, the cheaper they are. 

The more highly curated, the more you pay for that service. Here's a list in order of shops might want to visit. 

thrift shops:

Some of the most common thrift stores are Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers. You have to do a bit of digging, but you'll typically find the best bargains at these stores. Also check around your town for a family owned thrift shop. 

resale shops: 

These shops have buyers, who go through and accept clothing like Buffalo Exchange and Plato's Closet. They tend to sell stuff at a decent price. Most of the clothing in the store is current and in fashion. 

If you're short on time, you should definitely hit stores with a more curated selection. 

consignment shops: 

There are a lot of high-end consignment shops. Instead of being paid a small sum upfront like with resale shops, consignment shops pay out after the items have been sold. 

This means they're very picky and selective with what comes in. While they still have good deals, they often cater towards a higher end brands. If you're looking for nice office wear or something to wear to a cocktail party a consignment shop would be your best bet. 

online: 

Shopping secondhand online can be risky as you can't normally send the items back. Double check your measurements with the measurements of the garment before buying. 

Or shop somewhere like ThredUp where you can send the clothing back if it doesn't fit. 

I love shopping at ThredUp because you can search and typically find exactly what you're looking for. If you haven't used ThredUp before you can get $10 off your first purchase*. 


I hope that you have found this guide to second hand shopping helpful! Let me know if there are any questions you have. 

I'm working on posts for ethical basics because I find shopping for basics to be a challenge at the thrift store. 

All of the tank tops I've bought from ThredUp have been kinda wonky. People don't typically donate perfectly good basics, so I often need to purchase those first hand. 

For the first blog post in the series, check out my guide to sustainable everyday underwear. 

This post contains affiliate linking. It's denoted with an asterisk. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a slight commission for referring you. You can read more on my disclosure page

10 Pieces, 30 Outfits

This season I decided to participate in the 10x10 challenge! The 10x10 challenge was started by Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee and it's pretty simple. 

You pick 10 pieces from your closet and create 10 different outfits with the pieces that you've chosen and wear them over 10 days. Don't worry, undies, socks, workout clothes, pjs etc don't count towards your 10 pieces. 

10 pieces, 30 outfits from www.goingzerowaste.com #capsulewardrobe #zerowaste

I picked out 10 pieces from Amour Vert, and it became clear to me that 10 outfits was just wayyyyy too easy. So I decided to up the ante and go for 30 outfits!

I actually wound up with 32 outfits and I'm sure if I thought a little bit more I might be able to come up with a few more. 

I've been a big fan of Amour Vert for several years. They're locally made in San Francisco which is only a couple of miles away from my house! They're committed to using all natural fibers and plant a tree for every tee that you buy. 

I reached out to them for this 10x10 and they sent me a couple of new pieces for this challenge. We also went out to lunch and they bought me tacos. It was the best day ever. 

I've always bought Amour Vert in store which is plastic free, but I've heard that they ship in a plastic bags which they're phasing them out for compostable ones. 

10 pieces, 30 outfits for the summer 10x10 challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #capsulewardrobe #10x10challenge
10 pieces, 30 outfits from www.goingzerowaste.com #capsulewardrobe #zerowaste

These are the 10 pieces I chose! 

  1. White Tee
  2. Romantic Shirt
  3. Bird of Paradise Blouse
  4. Striped Tee
  5. Jumpsuit
  6. Navy Twill Pants
  7. Denim Shorts
  8. Blue Wrap Dress
  9. Blue Checkered Wrap Dress
  10. Flora Wrap Skirt

A lot of the capsule wardrobes I've seen are fairly neutral. And, I love neutrals! But, I also love color so I thought I'd really try to get creative with color.

Here are a few of the outfits put together. 

But, if you're looking for some true creativity then watch the video. Let me know which outfit was your favorite in the comment section below!