Family Update… and Some Rants…

This is a ‘me, me, me’ post, just warning… and the point is… it’s important to talk about all those things living in a tiny house gives you (rather than takes away).  That might help stop the consumerist thoughts in some people’s live’s.  We are led to believe ‘more things equals better’, so let’s talk about why that isn’t totally true…

The back story… (this is a bit of a [perhaps judgemental] rant, I’m sorry if it offends you) I was on a forum that a gal from the Tiny House People facebook page showed me about baby wearing (because I do that).  In that forum a different lady posed the question ‘how big is your house’ because her husband wanted to downsize from a 650 s.f. house to a 28’x12′ tiny house and she blamed the upcoming Tiny House Nation TV show.  Within an hour nearly 200 people replied, each one seemingly trying to outdo the others for the biggest house/newest house/coolest house and further making this woman feel like a weirdo unnecessarily, not only for having a husband who wanted to downsize but flat out telling her she already lived in too tiny of a house at 650 s.f. [there were a couple posts that said theirs was way too big and some that were thinking of going tiny too, but mostly it was this other type of reply].  The one comment that stuck with me was a younger gal who was bragging that her, her husband, her kid and a dog were building their second house ‘from the dirt up’ 3 years after building their first home from the dirt up and it will be 4,200 s.f. because their 3,700 s.f. house ‘wasn’t laid out well’.  She specifically pointed out that ‘as far as she’s concerned’ you already live in a tiny house and that her ‘hubs’ needed to be reeled in.  (I was offended)

I by no means think that everyone should live in a tiny house, that would be silly.  These comments infuriated me though… since when did wasting resources become a status symbol, the tone in these posts literally sickened me.  I know that I get into this stuff way too much but really?  Your layout didn’t work well so you’re ‘scrapping’ the first house you built to try out some things you learned in even a bigger footprint, for two people, a baby and a dog?!  My guess is that there is no designer involved either and if the layout is the cause of the ‘upgrade’ then I would think you would at least get a professional in to help make a better layout, not just add 500 s.f. and hope that that fixes it (I admit I probably read way too much into the comment, because I’ve been contacted by this type of client through my day job, but…).  That mentality combined with the fact that MOST new homeowners now want to build ‘from the ground up’ makes their ‘old’ house nearly obsolete.   How many people want to make a 3,700 s.f. investment without having that customized to them, the people that shop that market largely shop for their own custom house rather than making due in someone elses failed dream..  In my opinion it’s a selfish stance, it’s a wasteful stance and it should NOT be a status symbol to have a ridiculously large house yet the others surely saw it as something to be jealous of.  Beyond that they used that to make others feel bad about living within their means…  In my opinion there was a lot of shaming happening for those thinking about a more resourceful, sustainable and practical way of living.

I am not jealous in the least! I don’t for a second miss having a large home.  It makes me cringe to just think of cleaning that… to think of paying for that… to think of maintaining that… I want to know of a way to change that ‘bigger is better’ paradigm… but I digress…

Sorry for the rant… it sounded like the original poster was looking for that sort of feedback to rebuttal her husband anyway, if she was looking for actual advice she would have specifically asked for feedback from individuals living in smaller spaces rather than larger so maybe what she got was what she needed.  What I don’t like though is that I’m not the only one looking at this lifestyle as a pro rather than a con and any people in that group that were considering living smaller were alienated as well and flat out called weird.  I sat down and tried to think of the pros of living in a big house vs the pros of a small one, having lived in both I can very easily say I will never be in a large house again, my max will be well under 900 s.f. and will include a home office to earn a living from.

So, do I like living in my tiny house?

No, I LOVE it!  It’s amazing.  I’m sitting here in the middle of the afternoon writing on my computer while my daughter sleeps, not working on someone elses projects so I can pay a mortgage.   And man, she makes the cutest noises when she sleeps, I would be missing that without my tiny house!  I get to work on my own projects! Because I have no debt (yes, it is possible), I can stay home.  I have no mortgage so my bills are very limited and I should be able to make enough from side jobs and my book (soon to be books) to pay for health insurance (my biggest expense BY FAR) and other ‘necessities’.

  • The biggest benefit by far is time.  Time to spend with my daughter, time to see all the ridiculously mundane things she does that just amaze mothers… seriously, I think it’s cute when she blinks…
  • Lack of stress.  That stress that piles up on you before you even know it for that next deadline at work, wondering if you’ll be able to afford all the things you need to be able to this month, the stress from a lack of sleep and too many things to do (though I do kind of miss mowing the lawn…).
  • Being able to focus in on your own passions.  The saying is something like ‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’  Well if you can’t even quit the rat race for a week how are you going to be able to find out what you love and figure out a way to make money at it?  
  • Pride of ownership.  It still works with a tiny house :).  There is a whole different kind of pride that comes in building it yourself too!

While thinking of reasons a large house was more beneficial the only one I could think of that I can’t meet as well with a tiny house is that you can have large numbers of people over for a dinner party, which I enjoy every now and again… I can still have BBQs in the summer though!

I know this is the wrong crowd maybe to ask but there are plenty of people who read my blog who are still just considering tiny, I’d like to ask, what are the things you think you’ll miss if you take the leap and live in a tiny/small house instead of taking the ‘traditional route’ and buying a large house? Leave your comments below!

With that, here are some images of why I love my tiny house! (aka me living my life!):

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71 thoughts on “Family Update… and Some Rants…

  1. Hi Macy, the only thing I will miss when I go tiny is exactly what you said: entertaining large groups of friends and family in my home. But really, how often do I do that anyway? I will also wish I had a truly private guest room for visitors. Other than that, I know this lifestyle suits me. Cannot wait!

  2. Macy, I’m with you. I think all those home improvement shows totally lost their way when they started doing huge renovations for $100,000 or more, and all the tv shows that emphasize consumption. I think that Tiny House Nation will set off a tiny flame in a certain demographic, and it will catch fire. in this financial and ecologically sensitive atmosphere, it will be wild. Lots of contractors will build lots of them just like RV’s and some people will love that. Because of the low cost, I am designing exactly what I want in my tiny house, and am having an experienced builder do it. I’m disabled with MCS and fibromyalgia, and need to accommodate my limitations. I know I’m not alone. Women like me are very interested in these little sanctuaries. It’s hard to find a safe place to live, both in the structure, and the air outside. Laundromats are impossible, and so many other challenges. I can have it all, and be debt free soon. I am not the only female Baby Boomer that will see it, love it, and adopt it.
    Younger people that can’t afford room and board might go to college in them. I heard that there was a campus trying out a program like that. Young marrieds, too. My friends’ son-in-law gets transferred every few years in his company, and I’d highly recommend it to him, except that they recently had twins.
    I’d also recommend it to high schools to build in shop class, teaching kids the newest building and solar technologies, and preparing them for real life. I think that we’re on the brink of a tiny house boom. Meaning, of course, commercialization and crookery. I hope that more younger folks build their own, and learn what confidence comes from it.

    Wordy, I know. I’ll stop now. lol

  3. I love the idea of tiny and it would probably be good for me because it would (hopefully) force me to purge more often as I tend to ‘collect’ things due to being overly emotionally and attaching things to memories and such. The reason I will probably not end up in a tiny house however is that we live in a different state than our families, and having family come visit for extended periods now that we have a baby is important to us. I have a rare situation in which I love my parents AND my in-laws and enjoy having them stay at the house, so we really do need the guest quarters. I also really enjoy entertaining and often host baby showers, Halloween and Christmas parties as well as random dinner parties. While I don’t need to do these things, I do enjoy them. My house sounds huge in comparison at 2,100 sf, but we really do use all of it. My husband works from our home office nightly, and the bonus room doubles as the media, kid play area and my craft room. It will only get more use as my little guy grows. It also has a hide-a-bed, so it doubles as a guest room as well, which will be important when we have a 2nd child in a couple years and we convert the guest room to the baby room. I also have a piano that I love to play and I can’t imagine sacrificing it for a keyboard, although they do make some nice ones…it’s just not the same. I feel like for our lifestyle our house is just right. I don’t understand why people need more space than this though unless they are raising a large brood and need additional sleeping space. Since we do use all of our house, it all needs to be cleaned regularly, which I don’t love doing. I can’t imagine having even more house to clean. No thank you. I just have to think that people with larger houses must also hire people to clean their house, otherwise they would never want that much space. Anyway, I love the tiny house movement, and seeing how people make their small spaces work for them. It’s fantastic and I learn so much about storage and organization from them.

  4. What a great and perfect rant! I can’t wait to get mine built, looking forward to the freedom that a tiny will give. I was so happy to meet so many encouraging people this past week at my estate sale. So many stated they wish they could do the same, also got a few potential builders for mine :) they are excited to help! There is not a thing I am going to miss except a flushing toilet maybe, but then who knows once I get used to composting I may get used to it. I did spend my early years using an outhouse :)

  5. I want to live small! I I’ve what you are doing. Keep going, girl! In response to having large groups over, I would love an outdoor living space with beautiful string lights and chairs, etc. Outside is way better! Be encouraged! ~Chelle

    1. I hung string lights on the patio, I should post a picture! I just wish we had a longer summer so I could use the patio more, I feel exactly the same!

  6. Ranting is like chewing food 27 times … very essential for good nutrition. Changing your lifestyle requires a certain sense of self esteem .. a regard for yourself and for the world you create. It isn’t just sustainability or tiny houses … It is a way of participating in life … so many people know their worth from the outside in .. a presentation and then the life is filled in around all that … in that environment recognizing self worth is not a priority … making an impression is. I feel like a weird old lady making these comments … but the truth is that you can never please a person who doesn’t like themselves … there will always be a question and another need to fill the void …
    When I take a journey through your site I smile a big old grin … just the fact that people can ask questions and have opinions about something so real as learning to live in a way that presents goodness to the world … a wealth … an investment in honest do it yourself goodness … the house creates a container … for a life … a family .. folks like yourself and the community of people who investigate alternative life choices are becoming visible and are presenting alternatives that are quite dignified .. “no old hippie” junk ..(although as an old hippie time spent in those wonderful hand built Woodstock houses .. those memories are still deep in my heart’s mind ..) … I am not sure how materialists understand wealth … I have spent a lifetime in a workplace with people whose friendships I value and yet they live a life, willingly, that would kill every bit of my spirit. monstrous lawns care, mortgages, cars … I honestly don’t understand … I don’t actually feel a protest of their choices … I just don’t understand .. my intellect can get the data but the value part is different for me …. I still drive my ’74bug .. after 35 yrs it is like a family pet..my kids named it Filbert about thirty years ago. He used to be orange but now he is midnight blue. I am sure I participate in my own version of materialism…so there isnt a free pass for me either … i just cant find common ground with our culture’s value structure … It is just insane … to be expected to Willingly establish a reality … a life
    where i would need to work to keep a money base … for the purpose of being able to continue pay to continue to pay .. it just makes me sad that we have imprinted this terrible trick on our civilization.

    Great big well done to you … open up people’s minds .. find the big sky mind ..no limit ….. participate with honest human beings ..honest people are always interesting … . we need new communities who value our precious human life … people who have regard for a dignified life and a willingness to help that become the norm … and here your are a cyber community …. Now we have tiny houses and families that want to share how these choices have given them a world to explore not just a world to maintain … and the blog and FB are really the twenty first century building blocks for community … a community where self esteem can find root ..people have been confused and they hold to pride … and that’s a lonely place …. and very precarious ground for relationship …

    There is a Buddhist slogan “Generosity is the virtue that produces peace” …. generosity is an exchange of good hearted human intention ….. when I touch into this site I see the growing of our future … one human heart at a time … you are presenting alternatives … that’s a very generous way to present change … you are building enthusiasm … folks may never actually develop a life around a tiny house … but they understand the value that is being presented … you have changed their mind.

    1. Nor,
      Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, this was an amazing comment to read, I appreciate it so much and I hope so. I could not agree with your words more, I feel like I could have written them. Thank you for taking the time to write that. It means a lot to me and I am going to copy it and save it in a special place to read again :).

  7. Macy, I’m considering a lot of options including tiny but more likely slightly bigger than tiny. I’m probably one of your few followers who can see both sides of the coin easily.

    I’m not one of those folks into status symbols. But I used to (and still kinda do) really, really like stuff. Not just any stuff, though. Not the latest gadget or the newest car. Not the “right” house on the “right” street. I like stuff that speaks to me with its energy and its history.

    What makes me reconsider tiny (or very small)? Here’s a few.

    I like old things. Tiny would mean new, although it could use reclaimed old materials it’s not the same energy that a very old home has.
    Tiny also doesn’t have space for antique furniture that has amazing energy but isn’t terribly practical for use.

    Tiny means that I have to downsize my books, again (I used to have over 5,000, I am down to around 500 or so). And no, I really don’t like reading on an electronic device. I do that too much with my computer and lying in bed with a good book made of paper is important to me.

    Tiny means downsizing my wardrobe. I don’t dress up often anymore, but when I do, I like to go with what fits me at the time (my weight fluctuates a great deal so I keep many different sizes and styles) as well as what colors and styles feel right for me that day. And then there are the shoes… what ever do we do with the shoes in a tiny house? Alas, most would have to go away. It broke my heart just a little to recently donate 15 pairs of office and elegant type of heels… if I had to do the same with the rest of my shoes I’d be sad. Sometimes the right pair of shoes really can change your mood!

    Most importantly, tiny would mean having to let go of furniture and other items that I consider heirlooms. My father never could express love and stopped speaking to me when I was 31. But before that, he built me two amazing bookcases to house my paperbacks (each shelf the right depth and height for that size book!), and also a gorgeous Victorian style jewelry armoire. Lots of other things that are a bit smaller, but won’t fit in a tiny. There are also other special things: the triple dresser that was a wedding gift to my parents (yes, they were married in 1969 and I still use that dresser) and its matching nightstand. Boxes of wedding memorabilia that’s packed up despite the marriage ending (I will always love him despite him acting like a jerk and leaving me!). Lots of things that have special meaning to me, and that I feel love beaming out of when I touch or hold these things.

    So, I don’t think these reasons have anything to do with what the nasty people you read about meant when they were attacking that poor man. But they are my reasons, and the reasons why I waffle a bit about going very small.

      1. LOL! That doesn’t mean I won’t ever go small, maybe not quite fully tiny, but close. But you asked for reasons why someone might not want to, and those are mine :)

  8. Well, my husband would have no place to hang his trophies, I have way too many clothes, and there would be no where to put my pool table and dart board. Assuming the kids were gone, that would be about it and that stuff can always be sold. A lot of space is really unnecessary and we plan to only have as much as we need, when the kids are grown, with an extra space set up for when they visit. I think believing that you need 1000 square feet per person is just ridiculous and actually kind of weird. That girl seems a little out of touch.

    1. Trophies with fur and meat! I think for 6 people you guys manage your space very well, for what that’s worth! :) And you have chickens :)

      1. We definitely try. The one thing about tiny living that makes me worry is where would I put all my books? I cringe at the thought of sending them back out into the world of other people but, I could maybe deal with dividing them among my kids when they leave. And the chickens miss you. They’re sad because you haven’t visited them in a long time. I told them you’ve been a very busy bee but, you know chickens, they just ‘balk’ at the thought that they might not be important. ;-)

        1. Lacy, I know what you mean. I’m trying to downsize my books now, and I decided to rent a storage unit for them and my fabric, and my ‘once a year’ things. (Christmas, canning, roasting pans, etc.) I’ve made it a (not so) strict rule for me that I bring home a bag of books at a time, and then I can’t return them to storage. I either find a place for them in the t.h. or onwards they go. I’m hoping that over time, I’ll be able to downsize the storage unit, and get rid of it completely in about 5 years.
          It’s been an emotional time, letting some things go, and completely freeing with others. I’ve made a floor plan, and everything that I want to keep has to have a place before it goes in a box for the move. The first boxes were easy, but they get harder and harder now. lol
          It sounds like you won’t be able to downsize for a while longer, with a 13 year old, and it sounds like your daughter might be younger. Have you seen what a cute little house 13 y.o. Sicily built? http://tinyhousetalk.com/teen-builds-debt-free-tiny-home/
          or the one by Austin
          http://tinyhousetalk.com/teen-tiny-house/
          Maybe you could encourage them to go tiny first! lol

          1. That’s a brilliant idea, Jane! My kids are all between the ages of 10 and 12 and they love crafts and architecture and think Macy is the coolest person we know. They would do great at building Tiny Houses. When we get our copies of Time (one for my hutch and one for the kids), I’ll make them start designing their own. Plus, it would make so much good sense for them to build something, while they’re in high school, to live in when they’re in college. I think I ought to nominate you for the Nobel prize or something. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it.
            Also, your moving process is a great idea. I have two boxes of books that I’m planning to get rid of because I’ve been trying to downsize, but they just sit there. I can’t bring myself to take them away. At least getting them in the box was a step toward completion.

          2. Girl, you just made my day. Although I’ve sent my daughter to Japan on a foreign-exchange program, and a 3-week trip to the Olympic peninsula to rebuild trails and their self-esteem, I’ve not succeeded in leading her to tiny houses, any farther than paying for mine. Life takes us in totally unexpected places if we let it.
            Thank you for your compliments, and keep on thinking out of the box. I think you have the itch.

  9. I live in a 940 square foot house, me, husband, 2 kids and a cat. I can tell you more pros. My husband always complains about the noise and thinks we should have separate play rooms and our room far away on the other end of a large house and I keep saying no. I know what the kids are doing. They will not be smoking pot some where i cannot see them, they will not be sneaking in and out at night without getting caught, they will not be sneaking people into the house at night. I see what they are doing on the computer and I see what they watch on the TV. I think that having kids live separately and always ‘with their peers’ in a separate living space while adults do their thing is one of the problems with America. I know what my kids are doing. I can hear them and when it goes silent, I know they are either asleep or up to mischief. The only thing I would like differently is a more usable kitchen and some decent closet space because we do a lot of games, crafts, recycling, donating etc… and I would like room to do those things with room in a close to store them.

    1. I don’t have children so can’t fully relate to that, but I am extremely sensitive to sound so would have trouble in a family environment without a bit more space, or at least some very good soundproofing, lol!

      I do have a close friend who has a 6 year old, they live in a small-ish house and are a distance away from me, I often wish they had a slightly larger home so that I could visit more often if there were a space for me to sleep over.

      I can appreciate what you said about being able to watch your children, though as they become teens they will want some privacy. I grew up in a small bungalow and remember how awful it felt to never have privacy to talk to girlfriends about boys, etc. We had one phone line and it was in the dining room in the middle of our little house. Walls were thin and everything I said was heard… it was tough because I was too embarrassed to openly talk about girl stuff when I knew both my parents could hear every word I said. JMHO!

  10. Those snotty, uninformed comments show up on Tiny House blogs, too. I used to work for a woman who thought highly of her own opinions, and there was just no changing her views. Honestly? I think you have to have a fairly high IQ to see the merit in using fewer resources vs. grabbing greedily with both hands.

    Since I’ve been living in a really tiny space for a couple years now (although not yet in my Tiny Home “Oliver’s Nest”), I know for certain what I miss the most, and it’s weird! I miss being able to do calisthenics indoors, LOL. I miss running like a loon through the house, my version of jogging. I miss dancing/flailing (depending on your viewpoint) wildly to groovy music. Well, I guess I miss having a huge kitchen, but my plans include a decent one, so no biggie there.

    Adorable pics!!!
    Parker

    1. Oh! I forgot to mention that. I’m in 900 sq feet now, but because it’s several small rooms, I can’t dance the way I used to in my larger home. Maybe that’s why I’ve gained so much weight, lol!

    2. I wish it was more common to covet a life within your means, we are destroying the economy and ruining the planet… and the family unit! I did miss yoga until I realized it’s more fun for me to do that in a class setting anyway so I get the calisthenics point… and I don’t think I’ve seen ‘running like a loon’ classes posted anywhere… Hmmm maybe a new business venture! ;-)

  11. Our current house (with 3 adults, a dog and 2 cats) is around 1200sq ft. One of those adults is our daughter who will be moving into her own place at some point.

    We are working to get to the point where we can sell our house and buy another with the proceeds (no mortgage!) and I want a one level house at around 900 sq ft. We don’t need much room and I hate the time taken to clean. I realized I couldn’t go tiny when I had the chance to tour a tiny home but I don’t want a big home either, so small is where I’m headed. We have started getting rid of stuff. Our plan is about 3-4 years down the road so that gives us plenty of time to downsize our belongings.

    We also love old houses and the other thing those awful home improvement shows do that makes me see red is to gut perfectly fine kitchens and bathrooms (save the pink bathrooms!) to do stainless steel/granite hey we look like every other kitchen/bathroom out there. What ever happened to quirks and individuality?

    My dream is to find a lovely old 1920-1940 cottage. One level. Ideally we’d have a little land where we could have a retro travel trailer to use as guest quarters, that is when we weren’t using it ourselves ;)

    1. I couldn’t agree more about the so-called “upgrades”. I LOVE an older home with real wood cabinets, and some of the other nicer touches that are often torn out and replaced with pressboard or other not so nice things.

  12. My current house is approximately 650-700 sq. feet with my husband, two cats and a 90 lb. mutt. The actual living area is open, kitchen-dinning-sitting area is one large room (not big enough for a full size couch to sit on), one bedroom and one 40 sq. ft bathroom. I enclosed the back deck into a room with a small closet for coats and it’s the main entrance to the house. We have a walk-out basement with a third of it a crawl space, that was suppose to be the ‘living room’ but I’ve taken it over for my studio. While the foot print is small we don’t really need more ‘living’ space other than a second bedroom would be nice to have for guests.

    Our problem is our studio space, my husband is a woodworker and needs more room to make furniture in than the enclosed lower deck off the walk out (we don’t have a garage). I am a weaver, quilter and make my own yarn and need more space for that.

    We will be building our retirement home in the northern Michigan woods (we have 10 acres) for now it will be a pole barn with an apartment in it that may be all I get but I will have space for loom and my other ‘hobbies’ and he will have his workshop. We have been working on the layout as an open layout for the kitchen, dinning and living area but with two bedrooms….. Like I said we don’t need a large ‘living’ area as much as we need studio space. We sit at the dinning table most of the time anyway, he does his carving there and I sit and spin. We have two vintage campers up there already for us and guests to stay in, if I can keep the chipmunks from eating their way in!! I can’t wait to move into the woods and live life more simply!

    1. That also sounds like a lovely plan!! One thing I do forget a lot is workspace! I also like tooling around, I m fortunate to have family in town with a shop I can use as wanted, if I didn’t have that I would need at least a garage for crafting/tooling about. Thanks for the comment!

  13. You mean the “spin” about how you got knocked up by your “landlord”? Sigh.

    Note to self: be highly skeptical of any interview I read henceforth.

    I LOVED this whole thing, unsurprisingly. I catch myself saying things like “I don’t judge people (like the woman on the forum)” but I DO. And I have a right to, I think, because their actions DO affect me and everyone else. If everyone lived like that, *no one could live on this earth*. Live simply so that others may simply live and all that. You make a wonderful point about huge homes and people who have the money to spend on them wanting them to be custom. What happens to the house they “threw away” is a wonderful question. My parents live in 3k s.f. and they would LOVE to live in 1500 or less. The layout of their house isn’t terrible but it’s just too much. Hard to find small in the areas in which they want to live.

    And your words about how great it is to have such low costs and the pride of ownership and builder-ship are intensely motivating as Casey finishes up our beautiful house.

    I think the thing I’ll miss the most is endless hot showers, but that’s more of an off-grid thing and not a tiny home thing. Plus, it’s super wasteful of me anyway in our drought!

    1. Also: I am totally with you that the thought of maintaining, cooling, heating, CLEANING a 4k s.f. house that I *own* makes me break out in a cold sweat.

      And and and DENNY and MiniM!!! Casey and I cannot get over how adorable she is. Well done, James and Macy!

      1. I’m confused by this. I’ve had several people comment to me about how when I move into a smaller space it will be easier to clean. I just don’t understand that concept.

        The largest home I ever lived in was a c. 1830 farmhouse that was app 6000 sq feet. Of all the places I’ve lived (ranging from ~200 sq ft studios on up!), that was by far the easiest to clean because there was so much space to move around freely! Cleaning was a breeze, plus was enjoyable with so much open space!

        I think that’s one of the things I miss the most about living in a really large space, quite frankly.

        I’m currently in 900 sq feet and dread cleaning here.
        My last home was around 2200 sq feet and was easier to clean than here, but harder than the farmhouse.

        Can you, Jessica, or anyone else please explain why you find smaller spaces easier to clean? I’m not criticizing, mind you, just baffled ;) Thanks!

        1. I cleaned a 5k s.f. house as my job for several months. The girl who did the job before me told me she also prefers larger spaces, so you’re not alone.

          Why I find smaller easier to clean:
          1) Less space to buy crap, so less space to put crap. Clutter is like gravy on a plate. Everything HAS to have a place in a small space.
          2) Sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, etc. fewer square feet means much less sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, etc.
          3) Spaces get dirty whether you use them or not. Five bathrooms in a big house, but you only use one? Too bad, you still have to clean the other four as well.
          4) I think it’s because I like a deep clean. In tiny spaces, a deep clean takes as long as a “quick” clean in a big house.
          5) Bigger house, more furniture more clutter… more things to move out of the way to clean underneath and around. Unless you’re a really strict “one-in-one-out” person…most people I know fill the space that they have.
          6) I have an autoimmune disorder, and some days I can’t walk any further than about ten feet without assistance because of pain. Other days I’m so exhausted I can’t walk further than ten feet. A bigger house would be absolutely impossible for me to even get to the bathroom in, much less keep clean.

          :-D

          1. Thanks, Jessica! Nice to know I’m not alone in that. I think that in my case, I haven’t had my larger homes cram packed full and so that made it easy to spread everything out. I also didn’t feel the need to really clean the bathrooms that didn’t get used except a light dusting every couple of months. In the really big house, I had 3 bathrooms and one was adjacent to the guest room. I didn’t have guests that often, so I would give it a quick swipe right before they arrived and another quickie to tidy up when they left. It made it really, really simple.

            I also have Lyme disease and fibro, so I can totally relate! When I lived in the really huge house, it wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now but I did have my days with issues where I stayed in bed much of the day. But even so, it still seemed easier to just use a huge dust broom (those really wide ones, like 3 ft wide) and floors were done in no time, whereas here I feel like most of what I’m doing is trying to get into nooks and crannies, and of course I have to use something much smaller so even more trips across the floor than in the big space.

            About the bathroom – it’s all in layout, too! Here in my 900 sq ft place, it is about 3x as far to the bathroom from my bed as it was in my ~2200 sq ft place. Made it REALLY hard when I was bedridden a couple of years ago.

            Hope you’re having a pain free day with lots of spoons :)

    2. LOL! I was told the ex husband wouldn’t be mentioned because really he has zero part in the ‘story’ she assured me that it was about the house and the economics of it, he wouldn’t be mentioned… then, the opening line is something about my college sweetheart??? He never even went to college, we BARELY dated in college… there were liberties taken… And James was in the pictures but I guess that would make the ‘story’ less appealing?? I agree with every single thing you said as always! endless hot showers was on my top ten list… and I use it with my on demand water, I figure I offset that with the waterless toilet! :)
      I can’t wait to see your finished house!!!

  14. I completely agree and the berating of the woman and her husband was just plain wrong. It is so sad to know there are people so oblivious to the trappings of status when it relates to STUFF!!

    Congratulations on the anniversary and MiniM she is just getting more and more beautiful!!! I baby wore all of mine and it was the best time of my life with them… Miss it…

  15. I’m guessing if I went as small as many of the tiny homes that I would miss on-site laundry facilities. And the idea of living in a legal grey area is scary.

    1. I heard about this! Smaller appliances are more spendy anyway because they arent mainstream and thus mass produced… People get upset and think tiny houses should be so much cheaper than they often are because they are small but if you think about it they have all the same parts as a big house, just less room meaning mostly specialized (spendy) appliances! Great link, thanks!

  16. Amazed is the simplest word to described the feeling when I explore your blog and the highlights of your tiny home and life. My family and I are living a downsized life and yes there has been struggles but there has been less stress as of lately as we are still in the process of paying off debts. I would love to live in a smaller home, we left a home of almost 2,000 sq ft and now living at a friend’s in his split level basement less than 700 sq ft. I am thinking that it is almost perfect we have 1 bedroom and bath, the den is being used as a kitchen and my daughter teenager, is on a futon in our living room. How big do you think a family of three needs per square feet, what is the rule of thumb? We are planning to move in about 6months to a year and we are really trying to determine the size. I want to simplify or lives completely. As always I really enjoy your blog posts.

    Have a blessed day, Allie.

    1. I suppose that depends on the family, I am designing a 650 square foot 3 bedroom house with an office, I think it will be just about right for us (two adults and potentially two kids)! Thank you so much for the kind words as always!

  17. Hi – I stumbled on your site and I am SO excited. I’ve been collecting pictures and things of tiny homes for the last year or so. When I mention living in a smaller home (we’re now in 900 sq ft) people think I am crazy…. so I’m so happy to see others here!

    I have two kids – we’re doing more than fine on 900 sq feet but lately with health issues and things I’ve given serious thought to going seriously in this direction.

    The Big thing I’m really wondering about is where to “park” it — ie: do I have to buy land? (which is not cheap in my school district) zoning laws? etc? HELP?

    Allie – I saw your comment… 7 years ago I lived in almost 3000 sq ft…. 4 years ago it was 2000… Now we’re at 900 and I still look around saying yeah I see how we could down size again. We’re a family of 3 – two kids and me. I’m not sure if it’s a rule of thumb or a lifestyle thing in determining how much room you need. We don’t do a lot of things that take up a lot of room (not big sports equipment etc). Not sure if that helped?

    1. I will plug the facebook page that is growing like a weed, I started it a couple weeks ago and there are 600 people, all passionate about tiny houses and in various stages, lot and lots o supportive people! https://www.facebook.com/groups/tinyhousepeople/, I did just eently do a post about exactly that thing, it is the primary concern, whee can you park, http://minimotives.com/2014/06/25/where-can-you-park-a-tiny-house/. It’s not super happy and easy stuff but it is the reality for now… (soon to shift I hope!)
      Thank you for the comment and welcome! :)

    1. Yeah, the cat left that bag… It’s a hard thing to keep secret when you have a mouth like mine! (I’ve never been good at secrets :)

  18. I contemplate a *smaller* house, especially once my kids are grown, but I could not currently go tiny or even very small. Part of this might be a reaction to growing up in a 900 sf house with 10 people and one bathroom–I do love a little breathing room! But I also am fully aware that my ca. 2000 sf house is MORE than enough for my family of four.

    That said, there are some things that I feel I could not do w/o in our current situation:
    1) our son is 13. It’s kind of nice to have a little space to let him have his teenage attitude w/o it driving us nuts. Also, I have one boy and one girl, and the older they get, the more they want separate spaces (privacy and all). So I could have *small* rooms for them, but I think I’d still want separate ones.
    2) My husband and I both work from home a lot. Office space helps sooo much. I am completely pavlovian and work best in my office.
    3) I am a historian. In a word: books. I am digitizing a lot, but some things would be more hassle to digitize than it’s worth, and I do love having some books around me.
    4) Kitchen storage space. I use almost everything in my kitchen on a regular basis…and the few things that I use only once in a while are things that I really, really appreciate having when I use them (the roasting pan, the kitchen aid).

    For me, though I am still contemplating when and how I could live smaller and more simply, tiny wouldn’t work. However, I love that your blog and other things I read get me to think about what I really need and want, and how much I can learn to live without–and already have. We have cleared our house of so much clutter in the past couple of years, and we have set up our spaces so that they get *used* all the time. To me, these are things that are in the spirit of the tiny house movement. (We’ve also been working on paying down/off our debt, which is of course also central).

    Thanks for space to “think this through.” Hope I wasn’t too wordy!

  19. Your tiny house looks perfect and I am so impressed you did it yourself – and manage to live with that beautiful BIG dog in it as well! We did a not-so-cost-effective downsizing 2.5 yrs ago, moving from a smallish 1500 sq ft house in the country (with a big garage for the overflow from our previous downsizing – when I thought I was being ruthless in the downsizing to it from a smallish 3 bedroom cabin with a big basement) to a 999 sq ft condo in Toronto – with a smallish storage space. Again, felt like I was really clutter-cutting and reducing but there is still stuff in that country garage, with the house rented out. Long winded way of saying how I imagine you may have had to be strict with what stays and what goes. I know that I don’t really need all that stuff, but the connected memories make it hard for me to let go. Still, compact is great in many ways, with less to clean, as you say, and no room for added clutter so I have to be strict with my inner packrat and it’s getting to be a much easier struggle. Still have a way to go, but your example is encouraging! Hope you have a really big and happy BBQ party this summer! We rented our condo party room for our joint 60th and it was lovely I with the media room for the kids to watch their movies… a luxury but a fun one.

    1. Thanks Maureen, sounds much simpler to me still, you don’t have to be as extreme about things as I am to be helping yourself! :)

    2. Hey, Maureen,
      I feel your pain regarding getting rid of those memories. Aren’t we lucky to be living in a time when pictures are easy, cheap, and digital, so that we can get rid of the analog (real) and still have the digital? I’m photographing everything, and keeping it on digital so I don’t have to take care of it anymore. I’m so enjoying letting go of the physical, and only keeping what I use. It’s freeing. in ways I’d not even anticipated. Let it go.

  20. Hey Macy, I’ve been reading your blog for just a bit now (I think I actually found you by googling “tiny house blogs” :))

    My boyfriend and I recently moved across the country (AZ to WA) and only took what we could fit into our two cars! It was a big exercise in downsizing and I think was maybe a little harder for him than it was for me (he used to live in a house… garage, etc.) but now we live in a decently sized studio that we’re renting.

    We’ve been talking about this tiny house movement as a someday dream, but for now we’re committed to spending all our efforts paying off student debt. We’ve been talking, too, about the limitations of such small spaces, including how we’re limited by our space right now!

    Though we’ve learned to be very creative with our current space (maxing out space under the bed for his tools, in the closet with tubs, etc.), a few things have stood out that we think we’d like to incorporate if we were to go that route. If you know of any designs that include feasible options for these things, would you please leave me the links?

    -Larger shower- You often mention, ahem, bedroom activities… we are far more prone to take those to the shower, and our current shower is so small that has been pretty limiting. So unfortunate. :(

    -Toilet- while I surely admire you for your courage in going forth with the composting toilet, I think we’ve both agreed that we would prefer to be “on grid” so to speak. We both enjoy the more urban lifestyle (I think you have made mention of this in Boise) and would prefer that the toilet situation be less maintenance than is my understanding of composting toilets right now. I know the water that’s wasted is excessive, but I’m not sure of what other alternatives there are.

    -Bathtub- (are we noticing a theme? :)) We both really miss the bathtub that our current place lacks! From bathing pets, to being able to soak after a long hard day’s work, it’s sure been missed. And I really really want a claw-foot tub! Have you noticed that at all about bathing MIniM? The want for a bathtub?

    -Kitchen- We both really really enjoy cooking. The current place only has maybe 5-6 sq ft of usable counter space (Of course, that hasn’t stopped us from overflowing onto the stove surface area) and a single basin sink for washing dishes (no dishwasher, besides that handsome guy!) which is actually causing us to cook dinner less often because it feels like so much more of a hassle!

    -Laundry- How do most people handle this? Do you just go use a laundromat? I know you mentioned you have been using your washer/dryer unit for cloth diapers (awesome, btw!), but what about clothes? For right now we’re using a laundromat, and I really miss being able to just throw a load in as the hamper starts to fill up. Now, I have to wait until the hamper is stuffed full to justify hauling all the laundry down two flights of stairs, driving it to the laundromat, and spending an entire afternoon waiting around for it. Not my favorite. Has anyone built full-size units into a tiny home?

    -Work-space- like you’ve talked about, Casey seriously enjoys his tools and I want to get back into pottery again! We’d need a studio space for building/creating to make tiny-living work.

    With all that in mind, I think we’ve come to the conclusion we’d probably more lean towards small-house living (as opposed to tiny). But I will say, we have both enjoyed how easy it is to clean our space! It takes the two of us working for only maybe 30 minutes (not including the mountain of dishes :)) to get the whole house straightened, vacuumed, wiped down and presentable! It’s been so freeing!

    Thanks so much for being so transparent about your experience, as we all learn more about what part we play in all of this! And sorry that was so long, just thinking through all this :)

    -Chelsea

    1. Hi Chelsea!

      First off, haha, do I always mention bedroom activities, well I suppose there are worse things to talk about! :) My shower is pretty good sized, it was one of my priorities, not for activities per say but just cause I like it! I believe mine is 42×36, I know I have seen other nice sized showers and even tubs but I can’t think of any right now (if you happen to have one and read this leave a comment!)

      -Toilet- understandable concerns, just to note, there isn’t less maintenance with a flush toilet, you just shift that maintenance off your plate and to the wastewater plant ;-). There is absolutely no reason you can’t do a flush toilet, it can make finding a place more difficult, especially in an urban area as you need to find a place with a sewer connection, it can be done but it’s more limiting. There is also the incinerating option. For incinerating you can look at the MiniM house (I believe) and also clothesline tiny homes. There are a lot of houses with the flush option, Just a Smidgeon is one (there are a ton!)

      -Bathtub- I sure missed putting a bathtub in while I was pregnant but I am glad again to have dedicated that space elsewhere. She still fits in the sink, when she needs upgraded we will get a rubbermaid tupperware that will sit in the shower and work well for a couple years and also a water ring sling so she can shower with me, there are cool small claw tubs that would be awesome, japanese soaker tubs are also a great option as well as various trough situations, it all depends on budget I think at a point :)

      -Kitchen- my kitchen actually works great! I HATE every rental kitchen I’ve had, same problem, room to sit a single pot maybe, very inefficient. James and I can both cook in mine, I love it. If you want a dishwasher there is no reason you can’t have one, they are generally standard 110 power so no special needs.

      -Laundry- I prefer going to the laundromat to get out and about honestly or I would just toss them in the wash, for me it’s been hard to make a habit. I will say most people don’t do the washer/dryer but I think it’s more to do with cost… I think it would be very easy to do a stacked w/d in a tiny house, I know I’ve seen it before but I can’t think of where. A thing to keep in mind is a full size dryer takes 240v power so you’ll need to account for that in your electrical.

      -Work-space- I plan on having a garage at some point, some things just take more room, sometimes you can rent those cheap though…

      I think for most people small does work better than tiny, in either case a well designed space is key!

      you have an excellent thought process! Thanks for sharing!

  21. My first solo bedroom as a kid was a converted closet 4×6 feet=24sq ft. I loved that room! It got my imagination going for how to maximize the space, and ignited my life long interest in efficient design.
    As an adult I think the largest place I have lived in solo was 800 sq ft. It was a 2 br apt with a deep closet off the bathroom. The guest bedroom came in handy as temporary rental income from overseas guests. That income possibility would be what I’d miss most if I were to go very tiny.
    The smallest apt I’ve lived in was 175 sq ft. Two rooms side by side so it gave the illusion of spaciousness. The only thing I didn’t like about that place was the cigarette smoke coming thru the walls from the neighbors.
    Currently my apt is around 360 sq ft, 19×18 ft square and it feels like just the right amount of space for me. I’d love to customize the storage and redesign the kitchen cabinets for more counter space though. Living small really teaches you that it’s just so important to have good efficient design.
    I oh so know how that person felt after the onslaught of “go big, not small” steamrolled over her. If you have preferences counter to the majority…shaming sucks. It’s sad to see so many frightened, non-risk takers. It’s a balancing act to keep them on your side so they don’t become an active combatant in your own quest to make your dreams a reality, especially if/when those dreams are VERY non-main stream.
    There is a tax forfeited lot in my town that is considered unbuildable due to it being spongy peat bog a few feet below the soil. I keep looking at it and testing out mentally what could go there- no matter what -it needs to be light weight, strong and flexible to move should it need to. Due to the peat soil, and my lack of financial resources, the foundation will be the biggest challenge – well, next to getting a variance for it from the town council! It is a fun challenge to find a creative solution, an inexpensive solution, to what other main streamers call unusable. Some people I know keep steering me to “better” lots, meaning high cost for land and building on it, taxes, etc. Their disapproval and bewilderment will ratchet up several notches more when I reveal that this peat bog lot on a pond might just be the right lot for a YURT and a pontoon terrace on the pond. There is great spaciousness in a 20-25′ diameter Yurt. It would mimic the space-feel of my current apartment, but with higher ceilings. It could be just right, I think. The high ceiling would be bonus! I could have a loft that guests could use, maybe! Aw, wish me luck!
    We all have creativity and imagination that needs to be celebrated and embraced. Life is so much more fun when we do.

    I love the design of your tiny house, Macy. Such soothing aesthetics, too. You give me courage to forage ahead!

    1. In order to get that variance maybe you could site the changed lawes in Brainerd MN, HERE as a case study for your town to follow suite. That is the best way to win them over usually! Good luck!

  22. I am fascinated by the idea of having a tiny house. Some of the things that I wonder if I will miss: bathtubs, a very comfortable place to sit/lounge and read books, room to do creative things and to store art supplies, a freezer so that I can store raw cat food for my cat, space to have friends over. I also have some concerns about where I would have my tiny house.

  23. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple (few–pre-MiniM!) months now. I don’t think I (nor my husband) could actually go tiny, but I am thinking downsizing as we approach retirement. However, as renters in southern California, I am intrigued by the idea of owning (without a mortgage) a home.

    In the meantime, I enjoy reading your freedom from “things”! I have long been put off by conspicuous consumption, and especially the excess displayed by million/billionaires. At a friend’s house, the TV was on a show about a couple building their dream house, and I was simply disgusted. I sometimes go through horse/wine country near here, past what a friend called “starter castles.” I prefer the disdainful “McMansions,” as those are as far as most of those people will ever get! Still, it goes against what Jessica said: Live simply that others may simply live. I tried telling my stepkids how incredibly privileged they are, and that there’s no way the entire world could live like Americans. Although the way you are living is much closer to achievable, and gentler on the earth.

    You get pushback? That’s pitiful. I admire your tiny life. You are stepping lightly on the earth (a core value of mine which I am less successful at).

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