On occasion, my husband and I make an effort to get away for family time. We don’t want to be distracted by chores, social obligations, and other responsibilities that cut out time together or interfere with it. It easy to get distracted from what is truly important when we are home. Since we welcomed our 3rd little one into the world, this has become expensive and challenging. This trip we decided to forgo the hotel and rent a tiny house. Imagine my excitement when I realized I was going to live my dream (even if it was only for 3 days)! I tackled it like an experiment: Could my family of five actually live in 400 square feet?
My answer is YES and MAYBE. I determined I could surely live in a tiny house with my family while my kids are young, but being there for just three days, I realized over time it may not be practical. Here is what I loved, liked, and found bothersome about my experience.
Less Is Best
I always wondered if my family could really live with significantly less. On this trip, I came to the realization, yes, we can. If we could live on all the items we packed for three days, plus what the tiny house was furnished with, then why couldn’t we do that long term? The older kids each packed three or four toys they wanted to bring and they were completely content with those items. They even played with these toys in a new way. I saw their imaginations soaring and did I mention clean-up was a breeze?! Good-bye toy room filled with toys my kids never occupy themselves with. If researching and practicing minimalism has taught me anything, it’s that my family has WAY TOO MUCH CRAP.
Say No To Cleaning
This is most obvious: cleaning 400-square feet is faster and less complicated than cleaning my 2,400-square foot house (even with 3 kids around). In three days we cooked, cleaned, and did many of the normal chores one would do inside a big house, except it was simplified. This means less time cleaning and more time having fun with the people I love.
Yes To Closeness
I absolutely enjoyed the close proximity to my husband and children. It forced us to interact, play, and just simply be involved. No one could hide away in an office or in a bedroom. I could hear my kid’s sweet conversations up in the loft. At home, if they are playing upstairs, I typically don’t hear anything until someone is yelling, crying, or fighting. This was enjoyable (and amusing at times) to listen to them be kind, interact positively, and appreciate each other’s presence. Of course, there was the occasional argument, but it was quick to end because I could hear arguments begin before hearing the cringe worthy “MOM!” shriek.
Too Much Noise = No Sleep
This is the number one reason I feel a tiny house may not be functional for my family. My kids still go to bed early. As I mentioned in a previous post, bedtime is very important to me. In the tiny house, the kids slept in the loft over the kitchen. My husband and I had to sit in the dark or outside on the porch until the kids fell asleep because it was too bright and noisy if we tried doing anything else. Once the kids were asleep, we could go about our evening watching TV, talking, and cooking (they can sleep through almost anything). I found that the time waiting for them to fall asleep could go two ways: I enjoyed it because it gave me an excuse to sit on the porch and read or I was annoyed I couldn’t do anything else like shower or talk to my hunk of a husband.
Later, We Need Privacy
I can imagine, at an older age, the kids won’t want to share space and would need more privacy. One bathroom would not cut it with teenagers. It would also be inappropriate for boys and girls to share a room at an older age. Changes to the design might solve some of these issues.
All in all, I loved my trip! I feel living in a small space would be a great benefit to my family. I want my kids to value life’s experiences not worship the things they have. Trying out a tiny house made me feel that this is possible. We spent so much more time outside enjoying nature, swimming, and playing at the park. It was wonderful!