Tiny Home Living
Unless you've been under a rock for the last 5 years, you're very familiar with these words. There has been a huge surge in tiny home popularity, even HGTV has taken notice. And I would venture to guess that you've spent time daydreaming, at least once this week, about a simple life on the road. You know how I know? Well, first, because you're reading this post. Second, because I have too! All the time. Literally.
In fact, I finally talked my husband into it and we're going to move into an RV later this year to tour the national parks with our kids. I know! I'm pretty darn excited about shopping for and choosing an RV, remodeling and decorating it to fit our needs, being that close to my kids and my husband, road schooling the girls, and so many other aspects of our trip.
It's a pretty huge decision to move your family into a small space and there are a lot of things to consider, even more so if your kids are tweens or teens. But today I'm more interested in the reasons you feel compelled to make the transition and a few ways you can curb that desire until you can make the change.
Reason #1: Freedom to Roam
A house or apartment ties you down to one place. Sure you can move but every time you do, you have to load all your belongings into a trailer and cart them from place to place, in and out of boxes. With a tiny home, you're able to take your home with you and leave all your belongings where they belong. No packing required to go wherever the wind takes you. Sunny beaches? Snowy mountains? Family on the other side of the country? Just roll out!
Solution: Be a Tourist at Home
Someone somewhere thinks it would be the bee's knees to visit the place where you live. So imagine being that someone. Figure out the things a tourist would do in your region and go do those things as if you've never been there. I can think of at least a dozen amazing waterfalls within an hour's drive of my house which I've never taken the time to visit. This may not curb your wanderlust for long, but it could easily buy you a few months.
Reason #2: Closer Relationships with Family Members
As a mom, you're super busy! Running kids from place to place, constantly planning for and preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone, resolving issues between your kids, and doing all the work and other life stuff you have to do. It's easy to get this romantic idea in our heads that tiny home living will be one long vacation. No one will have things to run off to and we'll sit on the (small) patio and watch the sunrise, sunset, and stars. We think simplicity will grow this incredible bond which seems out of reach right now.
I totally get this reason (I think it all the time), but I'm going to be real with you: It's not a very good one. If your family relationships are strained right now, then magnifying the issues by squeezing everyone into a tiny home is NOT the solution. Living close to each other can bring your family together, but it can also send it flying apart in a thousand different directions.
Solution: Build or Fix Relationships Now
Maybe you're a mom of preschoolers and you feel like you've lost yourself in the grind of motherhood. Maybe you have teens and you can feel them drifting away from you with no way to reel them back in. Perhaps your marriage is strained or your mental health has you seeing things that aren't there or you made mistakes early in your parenting that cost you now. Whatever's going on, you need to address that elephant. Get help or have a family meeting. Take time for introspection, consult a trusted but honest friend about how you as Mom can be better or stronger or let go more. Major changes can heal families, but time and attention do it better.
Reason #3: Lower Financial Strain
Living in a house is expensive. You have the mortgage or rent plus the utilities plus the cost of upkeep if you own. Tiny home living still has expenses but, with a smaller footprint, you can usually expect lower bills. Especially if you downsize from a 2000+ square foot living space.
Solution: Find Ways to Reduce Your Bills
If you can't increase your earnings, think about decreasing your spending. Do you really need cable? Is that second or third car truly necessary? Can you turn down the heat or turn up the AC? There are a ton of ways to decrease your spending, all you need to do is get serious about implementing a few of them.
Another thing to think about is that full-time RVing and tiny home living aren't as cheap as you might expect. I've spent a lot of time considering the cost while planning our next adventure. When we break down our travel budget, we expect to spend about the same as we spend now on a newer 1800 square foot home. Add to that the start-up costs of purchasing an RV or a tiny home, anywhere from $10-100k+, and you might be better off staying put.
Reason #4: Design and Aesthetic
Tiny home living looks so darn cute on Pinterest, am I right!? Those adorable eaves and lofts, the uncluttered surfaces and well-designed layouts, and the picturesque views through the many windows and skylights are enough to make any design-minded mama swoon. And because the tiny home is, well, tiny, it's cheaper to design and furnish to our tastes. A tiny house can be dressed to the nines for the same price as one or two well-designed rooms in a traditional home.
Solution: Invest in Your Current Home One Project at a Time
Start small. Refurbish your dining chairs. Purchase a new piece of art for your main living space. Build your own unique piece of furniture. Invest in beautiful and functional window coverings. But make sure that whatever you invest your time or hard earned money on is something that makes you happy and fits your style.
And don't make the same mistakes I have. Design for the place you live now, even if you only expect to be there for a year or two. You never know when you'll end up spending three or five or ten years there instead. Second, design for the style you want. Don't buy or make pieces you don't truly love so that they fit better with that second-hand living room set you were given. Better to invest in what you want to keep than in what you can make work for right now.
Reason #5: Live Simply/Reduce Stress
A smaller home equates to smaller responsibility. I can't wait to swap my two and a half baths for our RV's single just for the time I'll save cleaning those toilets! Tiny home living also requires you to purge your stuff, meaning you have fewer things to wash and care for and store and put away. Think of all that time you could be saving! I'll be real with you, my knees go weak when I think of how quickly I could clean 300 square feet. For real, Mama!
The flip side, obviously, is that you have less stuff. Only a few kitchen items, a significantly pared down wardrobe, fewer books. There is less to take care of, but also less to enjoy. My books will be the most difficult things to part with, but I know I'm going to have to make some tough decisions.
Solution: Implement Minimalist Strategies Today
Start with one drawer. Clean it out and ditch everything that is broken or unused. My general rule is if I haven't used an item in the last month, get rid of it. If I've used it more than five times in the last month, it stays. Anything that falls between that range is judged individually but, generally, if I can replace it for less than $20, I don't hang on to it. This is especially true when you start clearing out larger areas like closets, sheds, and the garage. Will you really do something cool with that broken chair you've been storing for two years? If the answer is anything less than 'definitely' than, girl, get it out of your house!
What are your reasons for wanting to downsize? What makes you swoon over tiny home living posts and pictures? Let me know in the comments and, as always, may you be blessed today, Mama!
Blessing upon blessing,