Living in a tiny house… is challenging. But if I can do it, anyone can. My attitude about this particular issue has not always been positive, but I am very proud of what I have accomplished. In my dreams, we would have purchased a huge two-story farmhouse. In reality, we moved into a tiny, rundown, space designed for life a century ago. Our farmhouse is literally less than half the square feet of our previous home. Our current living space is about 900 square feet. Before we moved into the house, we spent nearly five months living in our 26-foot travel trailer. By necessity, we have done some major downsizing. Really, I am still working on it.
It has been a process. I wish I could say it has been a breeze. We just got rid of all our stuff and never looked back! But, that is just not true. It has been challenging. There is really no secret, Go through everything you own item by item and make decisions. Do the hard work. It takes a lot of time. I go through every single box, every single item of clothing, every single child’s drawing, and make very deliberate decisions about all of it while trying my best not to lose my sanity. I get rid of clothes no one wears, broken toys, all those other potions and lotions that seem to hang around. Organizing is not something I am naturally good at and this process has not been an easy one for me.
I organize everything. Anywhere a simple item will do the job, it replaces the complex. By necessity, we tidy up after ourselves. Even the girls have become much more aware of small housekeeping tasks. Living in a small house with three other people and two dogs, things get out of hand real fast. There is no taking a day off.
This process has fallen almost entirely on me. Just as the challenges of the physical remodel have largely been shouldered by Handy Husband, setting up a functional home in this space has largely been my responsibility. I have felt a wide range of emotions and It has been really hard work. I have really paired down my own possessions. But I am only one of four people living in this house. It has been a challenge to get my family on board. I suspect that all six year olds struggle with a desire to hold on to every scrap of paper, but that aspect has been hard. We talk a lot about making room for the things that are most important to us, and the importance of keeping things tidy so we can appreciate what we have.
I feel grateful for the blessings that have come with living in a small home. On the days I feel down about our space, I try to reevaluate my priorities. Our family has to share and cooperate in everything we do. There are days I desperately miss my solidarity, but we have all been pushed to work together in ways I believe have strengthened us as individuals and as a family. My children share a room. There are certainly struggles that come from sharing. Overall,I feel like it has forced collaboration and problem-solving skills. Neither of them is overly possessive over their toys and they share nearly everything. My younger daughter sleeps in a trundle bed that stores away under her big sister’s bed. The trundle bed is a huge space saver and allows the girls’ plenty of room left to play in their bedroom.
Our small space forces us to get outside. We do a lot more living outside the confines of our four walls. I drink my coffee on the front porch each morning. The girls play outside every single day.
We have modified our very small space in ways that work for us. A functional laundry room and storage shelves replaced a disgusting “second bathroom.” Storage spaces have been added wherever possible. The farmhouse does not have a single true closet, but by thoughtfully squaring off an awkward wall we were able to squeeze in a floor to ceiling linen cabinet. I select furniture deliberately. We traded out our large overstuffed living room set for a classic leather couch. A large vintage storage trunk serves as a coffee table. I utilize the space under our bed to store everyday items in easy to retrieve tote bags. The biggest challenge for me has been food storage. I am still working on that one, but expect more on this once I figure it out!