Community & Support
One of the biggest benefits of attending a tiny house workshop in person is that you get to meet a room full like-minded people all on a similar journey as you. This sense of community, understanding and support is oftentimes one of the most important takeaways from a workshop and usually inspires people to work towards creating physical tiny house communities as well, to bring that supportive feeling into daily life.
It is often very inspiring to hear other people’s desires for going tiny, to see their plans in progress, and to help them in way you can. Networking at a tiny house workshop can often lead to life-long friendships, helpers for you build, or connections to experts in related fields who you may draw on in the future.
Tip: Attend a workshop in your state if you can, but don’t be afraid to travel to attend something out of the area that you are drawn to. I traveled half way across the country for my first tiny house workshop (to attend with a company I knew and respected) and would absolutely do it again.
Tiny House Tours
Most everyone’s favorite part of a tiny house workshop are the tiny house tours. Getting one or more in-depth tours of local tiny houses can often give you far more info and insight than you could ever get from looking at photos online. Every house feels different when you are actually inside, and most people are surprised that a tiny house feels substantially larger or smaller than they were thinking based on the photos they’ve seen.
In addition, the ability to talk to actual tiny home owners — to ask questions and discuss specifics of tiny houses you’re touring — is an invaluable way to learn what tiny living is really like and to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Tip: make sure the workshop you choose offers tours of actual lived-in tiny houses (no empty manufactured houses) so you can see what it’s really like living full-time and can ask specific questions to the homeowners.
You can do online research until you’re blue in the face (and you probably should), but nothing can replace the experience of receiving a wealth of information in person, directly from the experts.
Unlike online courses or DVDs, an in-person tiny house workshop gives you the chance to interact with an engaging group of presenters and participants, with helpful visuals and hand-on demonstrations, in a focused environment. The ability to have group discussions, questions and input can be priceless.
Tip: Look for tiny house workshops with multiple presenters so you get a wide range of opinions and personalities — make sure presenters have built their own tiny houses and have years of experience living in them.
Important Critical Thinking
Most workshop participants are happy to have so many of their questions answered, but the biggest takeaway is often to be made aware of all the questions they did not even know to ask. Smaller groups in an open, dynamic setting allows for a wide range of topics to be covered, with expert presenters at the helm tying together various part of the puzzle and helping you wade through all the possibilities.
Experienced presenters and engaged participants allows the group to address important topics, big and small, such as legal and zoning issues, toilets and waste disposal, size & weight limits, tiny house systems, floorplans, 3d design considerations, and much more!
Tip: Look for workshops with presenters who are active in the tiny house community and who you know to be generous and open with their knowledge and experience. Be wary of those who claim they have all the answers or say they know the only right way to do something.
Personal, Intimate, Hands-on Experience
Though this is not the case for all tiny house workshops, smaller workshops allow for much more one-on-one time with presenters. A smaller group in a comfortable setting will help all participants to ask questions and receive answers to many of the specific personal issues they may be facing. In a smaller setting (think classroom vs. lecture hall) you can get to know your presenters as people and form real connections.
Smaller groups also allow for more personal attention for things like individual design reviews (looking over your floorplan) and impromptu Q&A sessions during breaks.
Tip: Look for workshops that are smaller and more intimate so you get the most one-on-one time with the experts and don’t feel like you are just a number in a large crowd.
Independent, Unbiased Information
Some of the largest tiny house companies offer many workshops all around the country each year. The problem is, these companies make a lot of money selling completed houses, trailers or tiny house plans, so they often spend a good bit of time talking about themselves and pushing their products.
What’s most important, however, is that the tiny house workshop you choose gives you access to a broad rage of unbiased information, coming from multiple viewpoints and locations.
Different climates, jurisdictions, uses and personal values will require different considerations and techniques. A good workshop will help guide you through the decision making process, giving you all the info you need to make you own choices.
Tip: Look for workshops that are NOT run by tiny house builders or larger companies who might prioritize selling you a product over giving you the best information and experience possible.
The Tiny House Collaborative is one of the only groups offering workshops who are NOT affiliated with any tiny house company. They won’t push any products on you and will only give unbiased, honest feedback about various products, techniques & builders. Tiny House Collaborative workshops are intentionally kept smaller than most other companies and they always have 2-4 expert presenters at every workshop — so you are guaranteed to get the most bang for your buck!
2017 Tiny House 101 Workshops
- Washington DC — March 18-19
- Chicago — May 27-28
- Denver — June 10-11
- Seattle — July 8-9
- Brattleboro, VT — September 1-2
- New Orleans — November 11-12
Tiny House Community & Zoning Workshops
Author: Alek Lisefski