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Showing posts from August, 2017

When the Laundry is out of Control

Alas, laundry is my nemesis.

Right now I have at least four laundry bags with clean clothes piled at the end of the beds in our tiny bedroom. I'm sure I'm not the first mom to struggle with keeping on top of the laundry, and I know I won't be the last, but living in a small home definitely adds to the problem.

We don't have a washer or dryer in our home, and while I hope that will change someday (a girl can dream, right?), the reality now is that I have to carry all of our dirty laundry next door to my parents' house. I know, I know, it could be worse: a laundromat could be involved. Or it could be much, much worse. I could be doing this:


Talk about a first world problem.

Nevertheless, laundry often gets the best of me. Between the number of hours each day someone is sleeping in the bedroom (where most of the clothes are stored) and the antics of my not-so-helpful toddler, it seems that I rarely find the time to collect and fold the laundry, let alone put it away. …

Challenging Normal: Do You Need a Toaster?

I am not a morning person. Neither are my daughters. We usually keep breakfast quick and simple around here on weekday mornings. This often means cereal or bagels, but recently I bought some frozen waffles because my three-year-old is in love with waffles, and I just don't have the energy to make waffles from scratch most mornings. 

For months I wavered over the idea of frozen waffles because we don't have a toaster.
I'm sure we are not unique in the small home community in this respect. Toasters cause a fairly significant energy spike: we are hooked up to the electric grid, but a lot of tiny housers have to be very mindful about energy consumption in their small spaces.
Then of course there is the issue of space itself. A toaster is not huge, but it does take up a fair amount of real estate in a tiny kitchen.
The space issue is what ultimately led us to do away with our own toaster, but it was not an easy decision for us. It amuses me now that we waited so long to go to…

Loft Face-lift

When we first were looking at park models, we intended to forgo a loft due to finances. I'm so glad we changed our minds. That loft has given us a lot more flexibility as a growing family than we would have without it.
Primarily, the loft has been my husband's "man cave," where he keeps his computer and gaming equipment, but we  also keep the cat litter box up there. For a brief time, we had a litter box downstairs, and that was a nightmare with cat litter being tracked all over our house. Never again.
When I was pregnant with Sunshine, we temporarily moved a queen mattress up there so we could turn the bedroom into a nursery. However, due to issues with the cat urinating on the mattress, we ultimately decided that wasn't going to work. (The cat is nearly twelve years old now. When, she dies, we will not be replacing her.)
With the big mattress gone and Chris's  stuff relegated to one corner, the loft sort of became a catchall for all sorts of random junk. …

Perspective

When Sunshine was a baby, we took her up to a lake in the mountains not far from our home. It is such a beautiful place. All summer long I have been wanting to get back there, but it just hadn't happened yet.
We ended up with a free afternoon this weekend, so on a whim we packed up a picnic lunch and hit the road. The drive was beautiful, and the weather was perfect.

Our lives have been busy lately, and the change of pace was so refreshing. Sometimes it feels a little like the walls of our small home are closing in on us, and getting out of the house together and into the wide open spaces of the world around us is just what we all need to gain a little perspective on life.

Enough Toys

One of my closest friends (who is also my cousin) lives in a multi-generational household spanning four generations. I have an incredible amount of respect for this lifestyle, and I am in awe of those who can make it work.
As you can probably imagine, they do not live in a tiny house. Their home is quite large and is the place where everyone in the extended family gathers.
It is one of my girls' favorite places in the world. There are so many rooms and toys and new, exciting things to do and play.

I won't lie: sometimes I wonder if we would do better by our children if we had more space for so many fun things. I know that there are a lot of great ways to raise children.
What if we could have chosen a better way?
Then I remember some of the great things about living small: We don't have the room to collect anything but the best. We have to truly weigh the value of every toy that comes through our door.Fewer toys are less overwhelming and foster a better development of the…

We'll Have to Find It Later

You would think it would be easy to find things in a house this small, but somehow we still manage to misplace stuff on a regular basis. Often it's some small toy that Sunshine (age 3) hasn't thought about for weeks until she suddenly wants to play with it again. Then of course mom (that would be me) is tasked with the job of finding the missing toy right this instant.
"Not right this minute, Sunshine. Please let Mommy finish her lunch. We'll have to find it later."
Or
"I don't know where it is, Sunshine. Let me think about it. We'll have to find it later."
Apparently this happens a lot.
Yesterday Chris recounted a recent incident that transpired at Nana and Papa's house.
Nana hid under a blanket, and Sunshine couldn't find her. (Aren't three year olds great at hide and seek?)
"Oh well," my darling child said. "We'll have to find Nana later."
I think I need to go find my mother in law and apologize. (And let h…

Fears About Living Small

When we bought our home, the tiny house movement was in its infancy, and we really didn't have any trouble placing our new digs on my parents' private property outside city limits. Nobody really cared. I don't know if that's the truth anymore, honestly. I admit that I still wonder sometimes if someone is going to come knocking on our door and tell us we have to leave. (Sometimes I have irrational fears. This may or may not be one of those times.) The county knows we're here. We pay taxes on the house.

Sometimes things change, though.

I try not to think about it too much.

How We Got Here

Chris and I married young and spent our first four years together living in a tiny studio apartment belonging to our university. We were basically living on love and the little income we made working part time while going to school.At the beginning of our senior year, Chris had a major health event that pretty much upended our world. He was unable to work for four months, and we exhausted our meager savings paying for rent and food. We ate a lot of ramen and boxed mac and cheese during those days! But somehow we pulled through. Chris went back to work, and we finished out our final year of college with a much more mature understanding of life.As we contemplated our future living situation, we knew that we preferred to own our own home, but this was 2008. The economy was imploding, and we had a newfound appreciation for health insurance. With Chris's ongoing medical issues and the lack of other employment opportunities, we didn't dare give up the benefits Chris's job provid…

Welcome

Our home is not what I would call "tiny" like so many of the tiny houses you see today. It is on wheels, but we would need a permit to take it on the road. That said, it is definitely smaller than the average family home in the United States.

We do life together as a family of four (plus the cat) in just under 400 square feet of living space. The half-height loft adds about 150 square feet. It's tight, but we make it work.

Some people who embark on a tiny or small house lifestyle do so purposefully. Some kind of fall into it by happenstance. We are somewhere in between. I'm not sure that we ever pictured ourselves raising a family in such a small space, yet here we are.

It's been nearly nine years since we bought our house, and our family has grown a bit since then, but we have found that living simply in our little home suits us.

Welcome to our world. We are the Small House Family.