It’s been seven months since Jeff + I made the leap and moved into our Tiny House! For nostalgia sake, here’s the move-in video we made:
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A lot has changed since that day. We added the open shelving, we got new furniture that was more functional, painted the door, and (most importantly) added baby Joy to our family.
It’s been SUCH a wild ride! A year ago if you told me I would be living in a Tiny House with a newborn by this time, I would say something along the lines of “I wish!” and “But definitely not with a baby!”
Ha, ha, naiive me. Just you wait.
After we first moved in, I did a months reflection on what Tiny Living actually was like, verses the perceptions I had moving in. In September, I wrote again on Tiny House Life reality vs. others expectations. Now that life has gone completely bonkers (running a business and a Youtube together in a small space and raising a kid in it is sort of crazy!), I decided it was time to add a wee bit of experience behind my opinions. So, without further ado- here is even more things I have learned, regretted, and experienced after 7 months of tiny house life. I hope these thoughts will help you with your tiny house or small space design!
Storage is a real factor. Like, nearly a real issue kind of factor. When you research about going tiny, you find a lot of people who just say ‘get rid of enough and that’s all there is to it!’ Well, folks, I am here to say we got rid of everything unnecessary and that still didn’t quite cut it. Clutter in this small space is [was] an issue. Some of it may be our stage in life- as I mentioned, we work at home (with a wedding photography business and attempting to maintain our YouTube channel) and share our work space/relax space/eating space/etc with a 2 1/2 month munchkin. We’ve moved almost everything online (as much as possible), but equipment and other important must-haves need to work in our small space.
Therefore, creativity in storage is key. No, not just places to shove stuff, but places to truly organize. Do you know how stressful it may be to open a cabinet and then have tons of odds and ends fall out on you? Just because it is hidden does not mean it is effectively stored.
A hand-made home takes a little more upkeep. We love our Tiny House, and the fact that Jeff built it makes it even more dear to my heart. Since he wasn’t a construction worker, and since there truly isn’t a whole lot online that covers the building process step-by-step, we’ve had to go through and make a few ‘fixes’. For example, our water heater needed a few adjustments to actually pull hot water for our sinks, and we had to re-work the plumbing in our bathroom because of a hidden leak.
Solution: Besides doing as much research as you can and getting help when you need it, really all you can do in your Tiny House Build is do the best you can and then deal with the issues as they arrive. It’s really impossible to foresee everything that may happen, unless you were a construction worker, then this whole point doesn’t apply to you.
Bigger is sometimes better. Example, our window seat/first couch. You may remember the small target-bought window seat from the early days of Tiny Living. However, for many reasons, we ended up purchasing a bigger futon that we could actually cozy up on and sleep on for those last days of pregnancy & early postpartum. Not only did it make our tiny space a LOT more comfy, but it actually opened up the space to make our house appear bigger. How? No clue, but that is the definite testimony from all of our friends & family who have seen before and after.
Solution: I know, since storage is such a problem and there’s hardly any room, it’s tempting to grab the smallest items on the market to ‘make use’ of the space you have. But a key to living tiny is also living comfortably. So use a few extra inches here and there if it means you’ll actually enjoy the space you are living in.
Entertaining is harder. I touched upon this a little bit already, but it’s worth another mention. When you first think about going tiny, it’s encouraging HGTV shows where they fit like 20 people (ok, exaggeration) into these small spaces and throw little parties… and although in theory there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with this idea, it is a wee bit unrealistic- especially in the winter when it’s super cold outside. Not only does finding good seating that fits comfortably in your space take a lot of effort, but it’s hard to find people who really want to hang out in the Tiny House. Of course, everyone wants to see it, but nobody wants to sit down and hang out for hours because, frankly, it’s a little bit uncomfortable. Not only is the bathroom within very clear earshot, but there’s a limit of things to do. The options include; eating dinner on your laps, playing card games if everyone squeezes onto the floor, and playing video games if you have it set up.
Don’t mistake me for a Debbie Downer! We have had quite a few people over a once, most recently family from Florida, which put a total of 6 people in our house for hours on end. The visit was incredibly enjoyable, and having everyone over kept Joy in a much better mood, but tight is a little bit of a understatement.
Solution: Like the outdoors. Become friends with it! We set up for ourselves a little ‘front yard’, with a firepit and outdoor seating, which has made entertaining really fun and doable- even in winter months! Also, if you are a social butterfly like me, you can still get together with your favorite people in restaurants, coffee shops, or their own cozy house!
When all is said and done, living smaller is so worth it. It’s true, living tiny is a totally different lifestyle. You have less, you make do with less. But, honestly y’all, I can’t even remember what things we got ride of. Countless kitchen utensils we never used, clothes that were tattered or just not our favorite, odds and ends for office + work that just fill up space, etc. Everything we have, we use. Living with less, and having it stored in a practical way, is incredibly stress-free and clean up easy. 😉
I love our tiny house, this home we built ourselves. I love the thought that we were forced to put into it, I love the details we’ve had to revise, I love how close together our small family has to be because of it. 7 months well lived, no regrets.
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