The “Tiny House Movement” has been in motion for several years. You hear many of the awesome aspects and perks of “living small,” but maybe not so much about the other end of the spectrum.
While a tiny house lifestyle is incredible, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. This writer downsized from a house to a tiny home (a converted school bus, in our case) with my family a few years back, and we love it. But let’s talk about some realities of the day-to-day lifestyle.
Peace & Quiet
Finding “quiet time” can be complicated depending on the size, style, and sound barrier or insulation of a tiny home. This is especially so when you live with other people. You can often hear everything that goes on, so grease those squeaky hinges.
We have a running joke at our place: “There are no secrets on the bus.” Without bulky walls separating rooms, whispering without others hearing can be challenging. They might not always be able to tell what exactly was said, but they know someone has been whispering.
Temperature & Climate
While tiny homes are typically easy and efficient to heat and cool, they get stuffy without sufficient ventilation and circulation. Figuring out the new flow in a small place will take some getting used to.
The smaller the space you’re heating or cooling, the less energy is required. It didn’t take long for our tiny home to cool off during the summer, which was excellent, but it seemed to warm back up more quickly sometimes.
Finding Your Own Space
Again, depending on the size, style, and design, you’ll have to find or create your “own” space. If you’re living alone, that shouldn’t be an issue, but living with others in small spaces can get stuffy on an entirely different level. If you and your partner get into a heated discussion and want to take space to yourselves to cool off, you might be limited on options.
Little things like room dividers and hanging tapestries can provide a sense of privacy.
You can also buy awnings and canopies to provide roofing and basically build your own room. We had a two-room outdoor camping tent we used for showers and changing. There are all sorts of similar things that are worth looking into, including pop-up screen tents to enjoy dinner outdoors minus the bugs.
Utilizing The Outdoors
Because our first tiny house was extra-small, we created an outdoor kitchen. This freed up space inside, as well as kept down the temperature during the harsh heat of the summer. It doesn’t have to be an outdoor kitchen, but if you have some space in your yard or on the property, use it as an extension. It allows more space to move about and frees up room in the house.
Living in a small space means there aren’t many — if any — closets. And if there is, it’s likely not going to be much. Many tiny houses are full of inventive hide-a-ways and tuck-and-folds; they work quite nicely. If you have some carpenter skills, you could build these items yourself, but there are many on the market these days.
The little kitchen nooks with storage space in the benches, hide-away beds, and little drawers tucked here and there make storing things much more manageable. Trust me; it doesn’t take long at all for a space in a tiny house to look and feel cluttered. Again, utilize any outdoor space with storage chests and buildings to store various items.
Three’s Company, Four’s A Crowd
It isn’t easy to have too much company over all at once. Consider how holidays and events might go if you have a large family. Remember, this depends on how tiny of a house you have. It’s also why it’s beneficial to use the outdoors as an extension. You can have more people over if more space is available, but that also means considering the temperature and climate when entertaining. That’s something to ponder if you’re a social butterfly who enjoys frequent company.
I was flabbergasted to notice how often we had to straighten up and dust compared to living in a large house. There’s something about small spaces that causes dirt and clutter to build up noticeably faster. While this isn’t a huge issue, it can be annoying for neat freaks. Again, proper ventilation and circulation in a tiny home make a huge difference.
Financing & Insurance
It can be challenging to finance and insure a tiny home. This is because an accurate structure assessment is required, and the value can be tricky to determine. That said, keep everything you invest in documented, including receipts, costs, etc.
While some of these realities can be annoying or inconvenient at times, I love my tiny home. There’s a different value it can add to one’s life. A humbling takes place, and we can focus on the bigger picture with a clearer vision.