Matt started construction on our tiny house conversion on Christmas Eve 2017. He had originally estimated needing 3 weeks once our tax return came in to fuel the project. Now, mid April we are still finishing painting, laying tile, and installing shelves.
These four walls became our home early March as soon as there was a floor and the door locked. We think we are about 85-90% finished with the *initial* build. We joke that we have to live here for “x” years in order to break even on our investment of time, energy, and funds. Every day we seem to come up with new projects and fixes. We are in it for the long haul.
Big Changes for a Tiny Life
It has been an adjustment to basically halve our living space and confront all my baggage (literally, like 90% of everything we own is mine and 90% of that came with me from high school). It has been easier than I thought to purge 26 years of junk. Most of my stuff has been hidden in closets, under beds, or under piles of clothes for years, so I didn’t miss it.
Some items have been more difficult to part with. Often, it’s a feeling of guilt that makes me question whether or not something should be tossed. I feel guilty for not using the item, guilty that someone gave it to me and now I am getting rid of it, guilty that I’ve neglected it, just guilty.
I read a great quote on Pinterest about sentimental clutter: no one wants the stuff they give you to cause you stress. If my feelings attached to items are negative, why do I want them? My mom didn’t give me this yoga mat so that I could look at it, remember that I don’t work out, feel guilty, and stress about whether or not she’ll know I haven’t used it. An item that was intended to help me relax is now a source of stress. Am I just hanging on to it so I can suffer for her sake? Like I’m justifying its presence and therefore clutter as penance? Suddenly organizing had become extremely introspective.
So far so good
This first month of tiny life has been extremely encouraging, though not easy. The studio-ish nature of our tiny house is not too much different than us sharing a one bedroom apartment. Even sharing a room in our old house, Autumn had a bed but always wanted to sleep in ours. Autumn again has her own bed and a “room” carved out in our tinyness. While her little nook is cozy and on its way to being princessified, Autumn still wants to sleep with Daddy, on the couch, or anywhere but her Big Girl Bed some nights. Not much has changed there.
Some positive changes have come from our new smaller lifestyle. Now, we can’t “send” Autumn anywhere but outside if she is too wound up, which is probably a good thing. Similarly, we can’t “take a break” or “get some space” anywhere but the bathroom or outside. Though it rarely happens, no one is able to storm off and pout. We are forced to communicate more effectively.
Autumn is never physically excluded completely. Her desire to be involved in everything gets met most of the time since she can see what is happening all through the house. Since Autumn can see everything from her bed, we can’t put her to bed and then stay up to watch TV. If we want Autumn to go to sleep, and believe me we do, we also have to turn in at the same time- for a while at least.
Going to bed at 8:30 when Autumn and Porter are sleeping has been wonderful for me! No, I don’t get anything done around the house in the quiet time after they are asleep. I am able, however, to muster more energy and patience during the day to accomplish the tasks I would have slogged through into the night. I don’t need to sleep when the baby sleeps anymore to be able to function throughout the day.
While I am eager to get more shelves and storage established, our first month of Tiny Life has reassured me that I CAN survive in a space without stuff. This transition period has been a great opportunity to purge our belongings as well as identify areas where we can streamline our lives. Even though our living space has been minimized, we are able to enjoy our time together as a family to the maximum!