Planning Process

The Planning Stage Of Building A Tiny House

Narrowing Needs, Forming Expectations
List everything you do in your home right now.
Think about what you do in your home every day and those things that happen every now and again.
Take this list and order it in terms of priority and then start to think about what you will need to achieve those things.
From this line of thought the form of your house will emerge.

1st Sketches, Map with tape to scale
Start sketching various floor plans until you come up with something you like.
Map out the entire floor plan to scale on the floor.
From there act out an entire day of your life and see how things work out.

Consider things like:
-where your trash or dirty laundry goes,
-clearances for doors,
-how wide doors and passage ways need to be for you to pass through them comfortably.

It is at this point that you will discover things that don’t work and need to be changed.
Make these and start the process over again.

2nd Sketches, Refine over many revisitations
After you have worked out a solid plan, set them aside for a while and then after a few days, revisit them. It will be surprising what things jump out at you that you were blind to before. You can even enlist friends to get feedback from them on the design; sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will be useful.

Be prepared to do a lot of research and work to come up with a solid plan. I would strongly suggest learning Sketchup which is free and pretty easy to learn.

Once your plans are drawn up consult with other Tiny House builders to get feedback on your plans, they will also be able to advise you on certain aspects that even experienced home builders will not have experience with because they are unique to Tiny Houses.

Final Draft
Finally draft a parts list of everything you will need.
Once the plans are pretty firm and you have had them reviewed by someone who has experience in building, set a few hours aside to mentally work through how you will build the house.

Formulate the Building Process
Think about the process of building, envision it, where do you start, then what is after that and after that? You will inevitably find some things that need to be rethought or given some thought when you discover the order will impact other parts.

From there consider work flow and your building site:
-where will you build?
-Where are your tools stored?
-Where will the materials be stored?
-Is there power on the site, if not how will you get it there?
-How will you handle trash?
-Where will you setup your work station?
-How will you get the trailer in and more importantly think about how you will get it out if you do have to move it?
-If you need to get materials brought to the site in the back of a truck or a delivery vehicle, can they get close enough to where you need them to be? 

There are a million things to think about, but take the time to work it all out.

Plan Purchasing Timeline
Next consider where you are going to source your materials.
The big ones are your
-trailer, roofing,
-dimensional lumber,
-and any specialty items.

Windows, trailer and roofing often take a few weeks to get delivered if you are special ordering them, so consider the time line on things. I would take your parts list to the store where you plan to purchase the bulk of your stuff and get prices and lead times on it all. If you are trying to use reclaimed materials then hit craigs list, restores and other sources for the parts.

Borrowed and reformatted from


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