Live Simply By Breaking Free

Live Simply By Breaking Free

For this week’s article we have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Andrew Odom of Tiny R(e)volution to TinyHouseBuild.com. Andrew has dedicated his life to his values and created a lifestyle that supports his ideals: working from home, prioritizing time with his wife and daughter, living the tiny lifestyle, living within his means, and enjoying all that life has to offer. Currently he, his wife, and their daughter are traveling the country together in an RV seeing the sites they’ve always wanted to see while still making a living. Sounds good, huh?! The Odoms are an inspiring example of the possibilities that exist once one is willing to live within their means and think outside the box. In this article Andrew shares valuable suggestions on how to live simply by breaking free. Enjoy!

Live Simply By Breaking Free

-By Andrew Odom

Let me make a formal disclaimer. I work everyday in a corporate setting. Well, that isn’t the whole truth. Let me try that again. I work every day for a corporation. I am a telecommuter and have a traditional 9-to-5 job (that is never 9am to 5pm mind you) in marketing. I went to a traditional college, earned a masters degree, and have worked hard to advance up the ladder in a white collar world. However, I have always done it in a non-traditional way. I don’t typically change from my sleepwear basketball shorts to my daytime basketball shorts until about 11am. I start work about 5am before my wife and daughter wake up allowing me to get in a full three hours before anyone else is even stirring. I take long lunch breaks almost each day and then work at inconsistent times throughout the rest of the day. I am very goal-oriented and a self-motivator so no one has to set a clock for me or sound the closing bell for me. With that issued I can’t rightfully write about my initial topic du jour: leaving the office grind behind.

You see, for the last 4 years my wife and I have dreamt up, designed, built, and lived in our 240 square foot home whilst I worked in my “tiny office” (80 square feet of dedicated space) in our backyard. It has been a less than normal situation. This past winter we traded in our tiny home lifestyle for a more traditional travel trailer and “snowbirded” in Ft. Myers, FL to enjoy the sun, the beach, and each other while I worked from a screened-in, outdoor room during office hours.

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Andrew and Crystal Odom’s “snowbird” house in Ft. Myers, FL. Visible is his portable office to the left of the photo.

The lifestyle isn’t for everyone though. Not everyone can stay motivated or focused. Not everyone is fortunate (as I am) to have a location independent job. Not everyone can be around their spouse and children as much as I am without growing weary or feeling crowded. But for those who can there are some lessons I have learned along the way that I think will allow you to enjoy the simple life in a beautiful way! But before I mention those I want to reiterate that escaping the 9-to-5 is not just about not working in a cubicle. It is a mindset. It is about refusing to be defined by your job but rather bringing your talents, passions, and personality to the workplace. It is about taking your time away from work and investing it in life; in those around you.

BREAK FREE FINANCIALLY

We could never have started our more simple life had we not realized two things.

  1. We are in major debt.
  2. We will get nowhere if we are in major debt.

When I asked my wife to marry me almost six years ago now I had little to present her with. To be more specific I had only $40,000+ of consumer debt to offer. I was beyond broke and I was bringing a huge financial responsibility to the marriage. She, however, brought none of that. From the moment she said “Yes” we began plotting how to rid ourselves of said debt. We didn’t turn to a financial counselor or a self-help book. Rather we took a look at ourselves: our weaknesses, our desires, our needs, our income potential, interest rates, etc. We realized that I was the spender and she was the saver. So we knew then that in order to make a dent in the current debt we could really do neither. We couldn’t spend and we couldn’t save. Our next three years were spent taking care of ourselves, our car, our little house, etc. so that every penny we had from my paycheck could go directly to principle debt. We knocked out credit cards first as they had the highest interest rates. Once one was paid off we simply hid it from ourselves leaving the account open to generate positive credit scoring but not tempting us to spend. We then looked at loans and knocked those out, oftentimes finding a way to make a double payment each month. We took to gardening to save on food costs and to stay away from the doctor. We ate less allowing us to feel fuller while just sharing a meal instead of having a full plate for each of us. The list goes on. But I am proud to say that we are (with the exception of our brand new truck purchase) virtually debt free. We live cash-on-the-barrel and have begun saving again. Our rule is simple. If we can’t pay cash for it we don’t need it!

BREAK FREE RELATIONALLY

If you are currently in a relationship or you end up entering into one in the future I have only one tip for you. LOVE! Love your partner/spouse/significant other with all of your heart. From that love will stem a number of things that will help you live more simply. From that love will come respect and enjoyment and laughter and understanding and compassion and empathy and support and fun! Don’t allow yourself to be afraid. INVEST. Invest in your ability to love. Invest in the other person. Invest in your time together. If you work from 9am to 5pm leave it behind at 5:01pm. Don’t bring it home because it is not your whole self. It is just a facet of who you are. Living the tiny life or the small life or the nomad life or whatever you want to describe it as requires that you dwell in close proximity to others almost all of the time. Because of that you have to connect with a significant other in ways you perhaps never knew before. You have to invest in that relationship and commit to it.

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BREAK FREE PARENTALLY

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The Odom family in front of their tiny house on move in day in 2013.

I have much to say on this topic because parenting in a small space is not as hard as some would like to think. It is actually quite enjoyable but it does come with its own set of rules and objectives. So much more is involved that it is actually a post of its own. Stay tuned for thoughts on that area of breaking free…

These are all just tips though. They are what has worked for my marriage, my pocketbook, my house, my daughter. They may not work for you at all. And because of that you have to figure out how to break free on your own. You have to challenge yourself to discover yourself and in order to do that you have to break free of what others have labeled you as on a number of levels. So please. Go ahead. Break free!

 

AboutDrewFounder of Tiny r(E)volution and author of the popular book Your Message Here : GAINING CORPORATE SPONSORS for your tiny house project, Andrew Odom is a social media strategist and content crusader amongst other things. He is also an accomplished photojournalist with work seen in Details, Relevant, South, Kitchen Drawer, and Tiny House Magazine. His proudest accomplishment however is his adoption and current advocacy of the tiny house/small house/unconventional house community as a designer, builder, and dweller. Having recently sold their 240 sq.ft. tiny house Andrew and his wife (as well as his 3-year old daughter) live and travel in a 27′ Aruba travel trailer.

 

16 Responses to Live Simply By Breaking Free

  1. Ron P July 14, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    I love this! Their story is a reflection of where I am RIGHT NOW in my life. Engaged and living with debts (some totally my own…some related to a divorce). Fortunately, I do have “some” retirement savings…so, I’m not totally broke…but I am engaged to an awesome lady and so committed to changing my life the way the Odoms have. I, too, telecommute and can work anywhere with electricity and hi-speed internet. I have become obsessed with the Tiny House movement and living a simpler, happier life.

    • andrewodom July 14, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Awesome to hear Ron. I encourage you to keep chasing those dreams. Make them realities and don’t let anything hold you back (so long as your betrothed supports them too!). I wish you well.

      • rebs August 25, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

        Hi. How can I get corporate sponsors to build my tiny home. O have a idea design that would really put tiny homes on the map. Aspects:.More safety and privacy, garden, space for pets which great for rescuers and fosters, service dog riom for vision impaired like me, store spot,! So can live and work from home. Can you help me get corporate sponsors? Being young, single, disabled, I teally need home I can also use dor a store. Also, can you help me get Amazon or Mercedes or other co with self driving cars to sponsor me, use me as test subkect by giving me one? I really need help designing way of.life for me around my impairments..Thx?

        • Gabriella August 25, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

          Thanks for writing rebs! Your very best place to start is to get the Corporate Sponsorship ebook from Andrew Odom. You can find it on this page: https://tinyhousebuild.com/diy-resources/ It’s an excellent read and will give you all sorts of ideas. Keep us posted!

  2. 2BarA July 14, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Excellent article! The Odoms are smart to get themselves out of debt and on track financially while they are still young. They will be able to provide well for their daughter and have a much happier life free of financial worries.

    • andrewodom July 14, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      That is what we hope anyway! Provision comes in so many shapes and sizes. Hopefully we can provide in many ways. Thank you for commenting 2BarA

  3. Katie July 14, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Great interview! I really liked his idea of the screened tent in the yard for the home office. I never thought of that one however it would solve the issue beautifully! AND I am super excited to read Adam’s book. I’m thinking of embarking on a Tiny Home Sponsorship idea of my own… 🙂

  4. Ronda July 14, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Hello, do you have any ideas for Tiny Houses for someone in a wheelchair or scooter? I was thinking that maybe when it is built on the trailer the tail gate can be used for the ramp and folded shut when being moved.

    • Jessica July 15, 2014 at 1:55 am #

      What about those “toy hauler RV’s”. They have the back designed to load and haul motorized toys. And the front is more living space oriented. I personally think they are cool since they offer more flexible interior organization. Also I can imagine having a screened I option designed for larving the back door down in hot climates/warmer months.

  5. jennifer July 23, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    I enjoyed reading your article. I became interested with Tiny house because I see it as a gateway to financial freedom. I have been going through my divorce for 3 years now and not yet finalize. All my children are grown and moved out on their own, my boyfriend bought a home 2 years ago for a reasonable price but I feel that we cannot keep up with the housekeeping and maintenance of our home. With just the two of us, we spent most of our time either in the kitchen cooking, living room and bedroom. He is 6’8″ and does not feel that he can fit in a tiny house. I wanted a tiny house for easy maintenance but would love to have a nice size porch for entertaining.
    I am starting to look into it more seriously and hopefully can come up with a house plan that will work for both of us.

    • Gabriella July 23, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Have you checked out the Tall Man Tiny House Jennifer?? You guys might just fall in love with it! 🙂

  6. Lucas July 25, 2014 at 1:43 am #

    Hi,
    Interesting article. That way of living is what is sometimes called “third world” living :). buy what you need and only with cash, don’t waste your energy/time in useless things, value moments over stuff.

  7. Pat October 3, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I loved your article. We have 6 grown children now, but when they all young from newborn to 14 years old, we lived aboard a 55 ft. motor yacht with 3 staterooms, (bedrooms). The boat was about 10 feet wide, but it was not like having say a 50 ft. trailer because it wasn’t square. The kids loved it. Later my husband and I traveled and lived on a 45 ft. sailboat with 2 staterooms where we cruised the Bahamas, etc. At one point in between large homes, we lived in a mobile home with 2 bedrooms and 4 children at the time. The children slept in small bunk beds in one room and we slept in the other. We were very comfortable. I love the living in small space idea. We currently have a 30 ft. sailboat and could easily live aboard anytime we like. We are each 75, so do have some pocessions like family pictures, etc. so having a storage place is helpful. I wouldn’t rent one, but am lucky to have some rental property with storage there. One tip I can give someone is that single bunks on boats are usually 6′ 3″ long by only 24 inches wide and are made for adults to sleep on, so you don’t need a lot of space for an adult or a child that is sleeping alone. I have been following the tiny house blogs for quite a while, but this is the first one I have replied to. I do keep wondering how anyone could live without A/C in hot climates. At least on a boat that is not in a marina but catching the breezes off the water, one can be comfortable. In a marina, forget it, at least where we live in Florida. You do need A/C at least during the day.

    • Gabriella October 4, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Pat, I am so glad that you took the time to write your comment. My next life I would like to come back as your child so that I can sail the seas through my childhood! 😉

  8. Kemosabe October 7, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    This is very interesting.
    Worked for Telco. Company many years traveled and stayed in trailers.
    way back… (Crackerbox Place) was the trailers name.
    live small injoy LARGE….

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