I wanted to share a little bit about how we are preparing to live in a tiny house. It’s pretty obvious that transitioning a family of six from a 1,000 sq. ft. house to a 300 sq. ft. will be a big change. Thankfully, our journey to living in a tiny house has moved at a snail’s pace, so we have had plenty of time to adjust our lives. We thought about the tiny house for a year, we’ve been building it for a year and a half, and we still have another year to go.
Trent and I are major planners, so we have talked many, many hours as we have decided how we will make our tiny life work best. I do think it is possible to raise a healthy family in a small space! This is how we are preparing to live in our tiny house, but this list might look different for another family. If you are thinking about living in a tiny house, forge your own path! Everyone’s needs are unique.
We are living outdoors more.
This is quite literally the only way we are going to survive living in such a small space. I was very challenged about my dedication to the outdoors when I read “There is No Such Thing as Bad Weather” by Linda Åkeson McGurk, a book that illustrates the outdoor culture in Sweden. The Swedes lead the way in their love and dedication for the outdoors. It is part of their culture to send their kids outside, no matter the weather, for several hours each day. They even nap their babies in strollers outside on very cold days. Their secret to success is their clothing: all the kids have great snowsuits for snowy days and rubber pants for the rainy ones. I am making a conscious effort to get the kids (and me!) outside more, even on the cold rainy days. It extends our living space, helps our immune systems, gives the kids more muscle coordination, and inspires new wonder for nature. All the good stuff.
We are slowly getting rid of our stuff.
When space is limited, you are forced to look at your stuff and ask, Do I really need this? Thankfully, this is pretty easy for Trent and I because we aren’t sentimental people. Things don’t mean a lot to us. In fact, for me, having stuff that we never use stresses me out. We are starting a “get-rid-of” pile in the basement in preparation for a garage sale. So far in our decluttering journey, communication has been key for Trent and me. We have to be honest with each other and work as a team to whittle away our “keep” pile to the things that really matter to both of us.
We are identifying multi-use items we want to keep.
For us, this mostly applies to the kitchen gadgets. Mason jars are good for canning and for dry storage. My Ninja blender has one base with three top attachments. On the other hand, we don’t have room for kitchen appliances that only do one job, like a egg poacher or quesadilla maker.
We are relying on the library more.
Our kids love books so I’ve wondered where will we put all the books in the tiny house? We will have a few bookshelves, but not unlimited space. I have noticed that our kids only look through a book a few times, and then they are bored of it. Also, once we have enjoyed a chapter book together, we usually put it back on the shelf with no intention of reading it again. (With exception to a few of our all-time favorites.) The library has been a good answer to this, especially in light of our tiny house book dilemma. We can check out lots of books, enjoy them, and then take them back to the library. We have also loved checking out movies and audiobooks too. I plan to have a shelf for our library books in the tiny house, which will hopefully be a delightful revolving door of new books.
We are adjusting our parenting.
We are working hard to teach them good communication with each other. We are teaching them to communicate their needs and wants to each other (and to us!), to listen to each other’s needs and wants, and then to work together to an agreement. These are important life skills to know anyway, but they are extra important when you live in a small space.
I am also practicing knowing my kids’ cues. When they get annoying, it usually means they are bored. When they are wild, it means they need to go outside. Then, rather than just feel frustrated as a mom, I can suggest some activities that might work better for that kid at that time. It has helped us all live together with more peace.
We are also teaching them that being alone sometimes is perfectly fine. And if someone wants to be left alone, it is not respectful for the others to be invading the other person’s alone time.
We are potty-training the baby.
I have had a baby in diapers almost constantly for the last seven years. For the last three years I have used mostly cloth diapers and I love them, but they take up a lot of space. We simply won’t have room for them in the tiny house. Thankfully, our “baby” is two years old and is interested in potty training, but I want to make sure I try my best to have this process completed by next summer when we move into the tiny house.
I want to encourage any other families thinking about living in a tiny house to give it a try! I believe with some careful planning a family can be happy and comfortable in a tiny house.