Little House, Big Life?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacker

The house in which we live isn’t very big, about 1100 square feet. There isn’t any private space outside of the bedrooms and baths, just one big open room. It’s worked well for us and I actually prefer a small space for a number of reasons. The first, most obvious, is that it’s easier to keep clean. If I lived in a 2 story home with a couple thousand square feet, it would be a hot mess!
Another reason is that when I have lived in a large home, my family members tend to go off into their own world. As we live now, I get to enjoy the music that they listen to, be involved in conversation with them, and just be closer, in general. And that’s a good thing!

When my kids were ages 0-6 we lived in a house that was about 800 square feet. There was 1 bedroom that fit a queen sized bed (with just enough room to walk around and get in it) and a dresser. The other room was 10×12 and had an old-fashioned small closet. We were 4 kids, plus 1 that visited on the weekend, and 2 adults. It not only worked, but was cozy, happy and tidy. In a small house, organization is critical! I had the kids in bunk beds with a trundle for the weekend kid. My 14 month old was in her crib and my newborn slept in a basket on my dresser. Each of the kids had 2 small storage boxes, one for toys and one for sock, undies, hair ties, etc… It sounds crazy, but we had everything we needed and it was a very sweet time in my life.

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” – Henry David Thoreau

Recently, my family had the “opportunity” to move out of our home for 3 days while it was tented for termites. Always wanting to be a glass half full kinda chick, I took this opportunity to pretend we were going on vacation, which John and I have never done!

Three minutes from our farm sits a KOA campground (which they spell with a K, but I just can’t do it!) and they have cabins. This would make it easy to do the twice daily animal tending and give me a chance to work on the farm without tech distractions.  So in we moved!

John and I were in love with as soon as the door opened!

Talk about efficient living spaces!

All of this (and a bathroom with tub and shower) in a 400 square foot package!! The only thing that would have made it better is an actual room for the girls, but for short-term living, the bunks built into the hallway were fine. (The company that makes these has a version with a loft bedroom and extra bath, that is gorgeous)

I looked up the manufacturer, Cavco, and found that they are an RV company. Yuppers, these puppies are on wheels, mobile, registration fees vs building permits and extra property taxes!  And they are available with upgrades, like bamboo floors and slate counters.       My mind was blown!

The only pricing I was able to find was on a Tiny House Blog post. In 2008 the solar models had a starting price of $47k and were about $70k for the maxed out version.

“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” – Donald Horban

If you think about how much space you actually use for living, and how much stuff you (and your kids) actually NEED to be happy, I think you’ll realize that living in a tiny house like this is totally doable! Having less house to clean, and fewer distractions means you have more time to spend with the people and projects that make you happy.  John and I were able to take leisurely walk & talks with our dog, sit in the hot tub, and generally enjoy each others company. The girls (who moaned and groaned the whole way to the cabin) also took the dog for walks. They read, they played ping-pong in the game room, they went to bed early and got up well before noon.

I’m not in a rush to move, but as we look to buy a home, we are definitely looking at the upside of living a simpler, more sustainable life in a smaller home.

If you’re interested in the possibilities, check out these links:

Tiny House Blog

The Not So Big House Book Series

Sustainable living in small homes

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