Tiny House Decisions Review: A Giant Resource for Your New Home

Tiny House Decisions Part 1 Sample

“Building a tiny house is like making a huge deposit in your ‘choice' bank. When it's done, you can kick back and enjoy not making choices for a while.” – Ethan Waldman


With today's Tiny House Decisions review, a wonderful guide from Ethan Waldman (which I'm a proud affiliate for), I might as well declare January “Tiny House Month.”

Here are two things I want you to know up-front:

  1. I've been following Ethan's work for years and, even when he creates something that I think won't jive with me, it normally does.
  2. I have no plans to build a tiny house. But I learned a ton about minimalism, simple-living, and being intentional through Tiny House Decisions.

So yes, this resource is primarily for people crafting their current or future tiny house strategy. However, you'd be surprised by how much learning about ancient zoning codes or being resourceful off-grid can be applied to your day-to-day.

This review is ideal for people who:

  • Want an overview of the complex tiny house planning process.
  • Need to convince their partner, friends, or family that downsizing your home leads to upsizing your freedom.
  • Like pretty pictures, wonderful storytelling, and simplified data.
  • Enjoy exploring minimalism in highly practical ways.
  • Ask, “But, what about … ?” to every other answer they get.

Ready to get tiny? OK. Let's hit it!

What I Like

Tiny House Decisions CoverI'm a dude who normally analyzes decisions with a spreadsheet.

But the way Ethan structured this resource – the big “why” decisions first, engaging stories second, and hard numbers third – worked for me. The stunning layout for Tiny House Decisions is also something that even spreadsheet minimalists like me can appreciate.

Getting specific, here were my favorite parts of Tiny House Decisions:

  • The “pros” and “cons” decision framework was familiar and refreshing. I don't remember thinking, “But did he consider this?” Case in point: his quality commentary of vapor barriers to prevent moisture from damaging the fabric of a building. I doubt anyone will think about vapor barriers before they read Tiny House Decisions, but everyone will after they're done.
  • Beautiful shades of grey. I was fascinated by Ethan's nuanced approach about everything from heating systems to tiny house technology. It took all of one page to illustrate his deep knowledge from his personal tiny house building experience, stellar research, and targeted interviews.
  • The tiny house stories are well-done. Ethan asks the right questions and targets a diverse set of tiny house owners in his interviews. These stories feature a house without a trailer, a couple who had their house built for them, one fella who tried to repurpose materials and do the whole thing himself, an unsuccessful attempt to make a used trailer work, and more.
  • Tiny House Decisions Keeping It RealEthan keeps it real. You might need a composting toilet and a bucket of sawdust if you have a tiny house. There's no glorifying certain realities of the tiny lifestyle here.
  • The electrical systems chapter rocked. I learned more about AC, DC, and RVs in a few pages than I have in the last decade.
  • There are vivid, practical examples everywhere with hyperlinks to even more information for the full context.
  • The guide is pretty. There are lots of pictures and they're directly relevant to – and build upon – the text around them.

What might get lost in any Tiny House Decisions review is that it's not just a guide.

Ethan has a second level package containing video interviews – good video interviews – with icons like Tammy Strobel, Logan Smith, Andrew Odom, Laura Lavoie, and Macy Miller.

But the top package has twelve system video tours filmed by Ethan in his own tiny house. He gave me access to check some videos out and I get why he considers them premium content.

As a simple-living enthusiast, I became even more compelled to support the tiny house movement as I read passages like this one (featured above as well since it's so good):

“Building a tiny house is like making a huge deposit in your ‘choice' bank. When it's done, you can kick back and enjoy not making choices for a while.” – Ethan Waldman

What I Want to See Changed

Even the best resources aren't perfect. So there are two things I'd like to see Ethan do in a future Tiny House Decisions version:

  1. Make it less United States-centric. The guide is completely relevant to people planning or building a tiny house outside of the U.S. However, some portions make assumptions that are only true in the U.S. For example, Ethan writes that propane is “easy to find anywhere in the country [U.S.].” That's not true in parts of Canada or Australia (let alone other less developed countries).
  2. More resources for on-grid tiny houses. Ethan strongly advocates for mobile tiny houses that can easily be off-grid. I get that. But I see a vibrant future for tiny houses in urban areas where traditional utilities like water, gas, and electric are plentiful. I'd love to see Tiny House Decisions be the vanguard of guides for getting more people to build small in the city. Do you also want Ethan to expand his guide to be just as powerful for city slickers?

My Final Recommendation

I recommend Tiny House Decisions if you fall into any of these categories:

  1. You don't have the time or patience to spend hundreds of hours doing your own research.
  2. You like having beginner, intermediate, and advanced content all in one place.
  3. You need “why to” resources as much as “how to” resources.
  4. You appreciate a balance of stories, data, and pictures to make decisions.
  5. You're actively planning to build a tiny house or are simply fascinated by them.
  6. You want a deep understanding of the minimalism and simple living movements from a unique perspective.
  7. You enjoy simple, yet comprehensive, resources that eliminate the need for many others.
  8. You need to understand how biased our zoning codes, environmental practices, and our general culture is towards “bigger is better.”

If tiny houses are your thing – or you'd like them to become your thing – I can't imagine a better value than a Tiny House Decisions package.

Tammy Strobel said it well when she wrote:

“Tiny House Decisions is insightful, honest, and thoughtful. If you want to live in a tiny house, this guide will empower you to make informed decisions.”

The guide itself is great, but the video interviews in the second package and the system tours in the full digital edition add even more to your tiny house journey.

Click here to explore the Tiny House Decisions packages and see which one fits you the best.

Now it's your turn to review this Tiny House Decisions run down.

Do you have experience with another product or service similar to Tiny House Decisions? Leave a comment, share your insight, and let's get tiny together.


P.S. Ethan has a book called Tiny House Parking which is all about … you guessed it: where to park your tiny house. I've read it as well and, besides being super, it can be a great supplement to Tiny House Decisions.

Photo Credit: Ethan Waldman pictures from Tiny House Decisions