What if someone told you that to learn some of life’s most ultimate lessons, you had to live in a 200-square-foot tiny home with your family for three years — would you do it? More importantly, could you?
Well, I did.
Let me start by letting you know up front that the whole three-year part was unintentional and not part of a challenge from some guru trying to teach me life lessons. What started out as an idea to live in a tiny home (RV-style) while building our own “dream” home on 10 acres in the Texas hill country, turned out to be living for three years in one of life’s biggest adventures for us all. We got cozy, comfortable, and made our space so doable and functional that three years honestly flew by. Our two young boys, two dogs, my husband, and I survived some serious obstacles, and my-oh-my, do I have many stories I could tell!
If you’ve ever considered living in a tiny home or watched A&E’s Tiny House Nation and said, “I could do that,” then this is for you.
To spare you the effort, I have narrowed it down to the top five things I have learned from living in a tiny home.
1. Love your spouse.
I mean, duh, right? But no, really. You and your spouse gotta be tighter than Jay-Z and Bey because you will have to power through staying in super-cramped quarters for very long periods of time. Nothing will test your relationship more than multiple-day torrential rains or a freak polar freeze. Living in a small space will test your patience and potentially accentuate the worst (and best) in your boo. So, if you and your loved one can barely stand hanging out in a 3,000-square-foot home, tiny house living may not be your best bet. But if you feel like you have an adventurous heart and that Chip and Joanna kind of love — I say go for it!
2. Live with intention.
When you live in a tiny home, there’s no room for any BS. Every little thing has a place, a purpose, and a reason. You quickly learn what you do need and what you don’t. You have to be in a great practice of getting rid of the clutter. I feel like this is just a great metaphor in life in general. If you don’t love it or use it, it’s clutter. I have learned that living in a tiny home isn’t so much about living with less, it’s about living more with things that matter. I hope these are lessons from this experience that our young children will carry with them always. I know I will.
3. Make time for one another.
I’m sure you already do this, but I tell you what, you REALLY have to put in the effort when living tiny. Everyone is all up in everyone’s bubble and you have to truly dedicate time to your spouse, your kids, yourself… especially yourself. Schedule date nights with your loved one, spa days for yourself, and special date days with each individual kid. You tend to get comfortable doing things as a pack, but find that you each long for the individual one-on-one time. People always wonder how my hubby and I got any alone time and made “whoopee,” and I will tell you that you have to be very creative and utilize those moments when the kiddos are not home! It can work and dare I say… it makes it fun?
4. Outdoors for the win.
The key here is to utilize the outdoor space that you live on to grab a breather, take a walk, or have a moment. We were fortunate enough to have 10 acres to play on. I’ve learned more about snakes and critters than I ever imagined I would. You will spend more time in the great outdoors and realize that fresh air calms the mind. Nature is truly healing.
5. Must be willing to adapt.
It’s not all cute decor and fun and games. You have to know that there’s a mild group morphing that goes on. What do I mean by this? If one kid gets sick, you can pretty much bet that you all will get sick. And dare someone fart? We ALL suffer. Yeah, I said it. One kid misbehaves, and you basically have to deal with the situation right then and there because you can’t send anyone to their room. When tensions are high, or someone is sad, these emotions are tenfold in a tiny home. You just feel it on a whole new level. You talk more, you share more, nobody is locking themselves up in their room or closed away in their office. You have to just face the obstacle head-on and move on.
Over time, you all start to breathe the same, your hearts become rhythmic almost… you become über aware of everyone’s nuances and facial expressions. I know with just one simple look how my kids and husband are feeling and know whether or not they need space or a hug. This, this part of tiny house living is the most precious gift in my opinion.
I may be crazy, but the benefits of living in a tiny home far outweigh the cons in my opinion. You will save money, reduce your environmental impact, downsize and de-clutter, create closer relationships with your loved ones, and just have an adventure and experience that you’ll never forget. Like, never. I’m still talking about that composting toilet and how my closet was half the size of most people’s refrigerators. If I can do it, you can too!
Also, I feel like I should note that we just moved back to Jax into a “normal” average-sized home, and boy is this thing massive!!! I haven’t bumped into a wall or family member yet!