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tinyhouseWith the small space market carving out its own niche, many are thinking about simple living. To get an insider’s perspective, we caught up with PhD student April Anson, who currently resides in her very own 120-square foot home, which she has been living in since 2012.

Anson was first inspired to make the change to small space living after becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” she owned. She began planning to build her own tiny home, with the help of a handy friend, in early April 2012, and purchased the trailer base that the home rests on in May. Anson built the home using a plan from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and the project was completed in about four months. Anson keeps a blog, AA Tiny House, where she writes about small space living.

Since building the home, and living in it, Anson has a good amount of advice for those interested in living in small spaces.

Looking back, Anson says she would have gone with a slightly longer trailer, and reversed the house so that the front door was facing the tongue, allowing her to build a fold down porch that extends over the tongue.

“I think that is the beauty of the tiny house–it is an experiment,” says Anson. “I imagine that anyone who plans one ends up with small things that they would like to change. There is no perfect tiny house- but, like people, the imperfections can also be the most endearing characteristics.”

Below are Anson’s top 5 tips for simple living in a simple place:

1. Make things work in multiple ways- furniture fold outs, under table storage, etc.

2. Give your old stuff to people directly- through friends, craigslist, curb set outs, rather than dropping them off at a donation site … I am not criticizing second hand stores; I love them. But I think it is far more rewarding to see your old things become someone’s new immediately.

3. Keep things warm. Living simply does not have to be a stark denial of comforts. Light candles, play warm music, fill the space with things that remind you of how lucky you are for what you have.

4. Give yourself permission to be cranky. Simple living is an adjustment with habits that take a while to grow accustom to.

5. Wash your dishes! They stack up a lot quicker.