Before we made the decision to live in a tiny house, I had a list of expectations in my head. I thought it would be difficult to make such a big transition. I thought I would miss closet space and a dishwasher. I thought I would feel confined and stir-crazy. Most of my fears were totally off base. Though we do face minor, every-day challenges, I absolutely love our little home, and I wouldn’t change a thing. After a few months of living the tiny life, here’s what I know now.
6 Truths About Living in a Tiny Home:
1. You Find Out What’s Important to You.
Before we moved into the tiny house, we had to purge a lot of our stuff. At the time, I’ll be honest, it was painful. I had a lot of keepsakes from college, and clothes I promised myself I would wear someday. Mostly, though, it was junk I had accumulated over the years and had never been forced to sort through. At first, nostalgia for my belongings made it really hard to let go. But it got easier. Removing useless items from my life was refreshing. Now, a few months later, I realize that I haven’t missed even one thing that I got rid of. The things I kept are truly important to me, or serve a real purpose in my life. The clothes in my miniscule closet are worn frequently, our limited wall space is chock-full of sentimental photos and art, and our kitchen drawers have only the essential utensils and tools (no electric can openers in this household). Though what is important may have a different definition for every individual, living in a tiny home will force you to recognize what these things are to you. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
2. You Spend Less
Just as you must get rid of things before moving into a tiny house, you also can’t buy things as freely once you don’t have excess space for them. For me, this makes it pretty painful to walk through the home goods section of TJ Maxx. Home decor has always been a weakness for me, and it is sometimes difficult not to impulsively buy a new throw pillow or a cute holiday accent. Also, both Dana and I are suckers for outdoor gear, so we are having an especially tough time avoiding the Patagonia outlet in Santa Cruz, and the REI in Monterey. Our rule is that for every new purchase, we must get rid of an existing item. This makes it much harder to spend frivolously, and much easier to save money. The more often we walk out a store empty-handed, the easier it gets. And because of it, our self control and our bank accounts are growing.
3. Messes Happen Faster
It comes as no surprise that a tiny space can still produce a big mess. It only takes a stray sock on the floor and a few dirty dishes to make this place feel disorganized. If you are the type of person who likes to “clean as you go,” this might be less of an issue. That’s something we’re still working on. However, now that both of us are working full time, and spending almost every weekend away on an adventure, it is very rare that we designate time to clean. I am constantly tripping over shoes, and the pile of dirty clothes in the corner keeps getting bigger. The pictures we share on our blog are the cleanest our home gets, but most of the time it looks like a hurricane just passed though. To be honest, neither of us were all that tidy in our previous living situations, but living in such a small place definitely makes it worse. Sometimes it can feel a bit claustrophobic, and if you are the type of person who can’t stand clutter, you should consider whether living in less than 200 square feet is right for you. However, there is good news…
4. Clean-up is Faster
Though it may be easier to create a mess in a tiny home, it is also so much easier to clean up a small space. Our home can go from utter chaos to squeaky clean in less than 30 minutes. After all, it’s faster to dust, sweep, and organize one 8’x20’ room than an entire house. A mess in a tiny home is deceptive, because just a small amount of clutter can seem overwhelming. But luckily this means that just a small amount of cleanup feels very productive and gratifying. Cleaning our tiny space is so easy, we can’t imagine having to clean a full-sized house ever again.
5. You Still Lose Things
I have 8 lonely socks in my drawer. I am missing two pair of sunglasses. I can’t find my favorite water bottle. And I feel like I’m going crazy. How can things go missing in such a small space? Either there is a parallel universe where I never owned these items, or tiny houses have the same greedy black hole that inhabits every home. I can’t explain it, but things do still go missing.
6. The (Bathroom) Struggle is Real
Luckily I’m the type of person who wakes up and walks out the door 5 minutes later. I couldn’t imagine trying to straighten my hair or apply makeup in our barely 3×5 bathroom. Dana and I have to alternate who gets to brush their teeth first at night. And maybe not all tiny homes have an equally tiny shower, but ours does, and it’s no walk in the park. We built an outdoor shower (read about it HERE) to avoid it, but recently I’ve been showering inside when it’s too cold and dark in the mornings. Today I had to shave my legs in there for the first time, and it was a better yoga practice than the $15 dollar classes I’ve been to. I won’t lie to you, tiny bathrooms are one of the bigger challenges of this lifestyle. You do get used to it, however, and you’ll come to find a routine and tricks to make it easier.
So there you have it. 6 Things I’ve learned so far while living in a tiny home. The benefits greatly outweigh the challenges, and things get easier as you grow accustomed to this lifestyle. Have you figured out the black hole in your tiny house? Or come up with a great solution to the bathroom dilemma? Let us know your ideas or questions in the comments!
Thanks for reading,