A couple weeks ago I received an email from a reader wanting some general small home advice. He and his wife are considering building a tiny house, and they had some good questions. I don’t seek to give advice much but I’m happy to share our experience. (That is, after all, what this whole blog thing is about.) So I figured I’d expand on our answers for the rest of you. Without further ado, here’s a Q&A session compliments of reader Aaron.
Do you have any do-overs, regrets, or 20/20 hindsights that you can offer?
If I had the chance to go rewind 4.5 years and do it over, I would absolutely choose the Shoebox again. Yes, even with the ups and downs and quirks and with how much our family has grown. We had no way of knowing that we would be settling here for longer than one year and welcoming three darling children into our fold instead of the one we were currently expecting. I have no regrets about downsizing to move here at all.
Then again, if we were going to get a do-over, our crystal clear hindsight would suggest that we handle our possessions a different way. Because we thought the move was a quick detour in our “real life”, we chose to keep things that we thought we could just get by with for one year. Much of our nicer stuff we boxed up and stored. We have paid $50 a month for almost five years for a stupid storage unit full of stuff because we had no idea the ride would last this long. That’s a lot of wasted money. In short, I wish we had thought through the downsize from a more long-term perspective and truly embraced joyfully living with less then.
Oh yeah, and a Murphy bed. I’d absolutely let Caveman build that Murphy bed he wanted.
Anything you know now that you wish you knew before you did the tiny house thing?
Gosh, yes. Can I say everything? 🙂 We think the biggest thing we wish we had known then was our need to “spill” outside. We can make the small home work, but with three energetic kids there comes a time every day when we need to just.get.out.of.the.house. Although we use our little entry extensively, having a larger patio or usable yard right outside the door would be really nice. We like the idea of a smaller house on a larger plot of land and using the outdoors as wider living space (think big outside dining table, etc.).
Anything to offer on legitimate space issues for children or guests?
(I paraphrased that question.)
We truly believe that the size of a home doesn’t matter as much as the layout and how the area works for your family and lifestyle. That being said, although the Shoebox houses us well, as the kids get older we do feel that some space issues seriously cramp our style.
The living room, main walkway and entry as our bedroom, for one. I’m not sure I need to say more: it’s a privacy issue. Let’s just say that Caveman and I look forward to a separate room of our own. With a door.
Secondly, it is very important to us to eat meals together as a family. We sit down to eat dinner almost every night of the week and most weekend meals. Now that Little Lady is old enough to sit in the high chair, there is simply not enough room for us to all enjoy a place around the table. So for our next home, having a large dining area is on the must-have list.
The same goes for having guests. This morning I had a friend and her kids over and we all ended up sitting on the floor because it was easier than trying to negotiate the squished eating nook. People are generally gracious, but if there aren’t enough seats for everyone it gets a little awkward.
Ok, your turn! I know many of you are small living experts, so lets share the wisdom. In YOUR small living experience, how would you answer these questions, or one of them, or whatever. Any advice that you would give to someone considering an extreme downsize to a tiny house? Comment below, friends! 🙂