Lessons from Vacation

We had the privilege of spending four days at my aunt and uncle's beach house earlier this week, and it's always eye opening for me to experience a little bit of what it's like to live in a normal-sized house when we stay there.

It's always been my goal here at Small Home Family to be upfront and honest about the joys and the trials of living in a tiny house. To that end, I have to be honest here:

I really didn't want to come back to our small house.

Living tiny is simple and complicated at the same time. I think those of us who have embraced small home family living find ourselves defending our choices so often that we tend to sugarcoat the negative aspects of our lifestyle. I don't believe it when anyone says living tiny with a family doesn't have its drawbacks.

At the end of the day, I really do love our home. It has given us the gift of time with our children and each other. It has enabled us to become home owners rather than renters. It has been good to us.

But there were a few eye opening facets of living in a more normal-sized house that I discovered on our vacation, and I want to share those with you here.

Having enough real bedrooms for everyone is nice when you have kids.

I think of our home as a two bedroom home if we count the loft, but the loft isn't quite the same as a "real" bedroom. Aside from the loft, we just have the one dedicated bedroom space, and that is hard for obvious reasons. I don't think I need to elaborate too much on this one!

Wide open spaces really are relaxing

We don't have any wide-open spaces around us really. Our house is small and surrounded by trees, which are beautiful, but they do block the light and make us feel like the world is closing in around us at times. Being able to just stretch out and dance around the room is a beautiful thing.

Having your own washer and dryer is a game changer.

I have never in my adult life had my own washer and dryer, so I don't think I realized just how much easier life is when you don't have to plan your week around doing laundry. Having my own washer and dryer would make my life so much easier. It would also mean we could get by with less clothing, which would save us on storage space. I am hoping to have my very own laundry center someday, but I don't know how long it will be until we can make that happen.

Having a dedicated dining table is valuable.

For a long time, we didn't have a dining table set up at all. Then last fall, we rearranged and got rid of some stuff so we could set our table up again, but there really isn't room for more than one or two people to sit around it at a time. I would like to get a folding table that I can set up in our living room at meal times, but it's not in the budget right now. At the same time, having a table that is ready to go at all times is actually a huge blessing that I had not really understood before. My girls could sit at the table to eat or play, and it was just there ready to go. We could sit there as a whole family if we wanted to do so. This is a freedom that a lot of people take for granted I think.

If you are planning a small or tiny house build, make room for that table if you can.

Cleaning a larger home is easier than cleaning a tiny one if that tiny house has a lot of stuff in it.

I have talked about this issue before on both sides of the coin. All things being equal, it's easier to clean a small home because it's, well, smaller. But rarely are all things equal. In a tiny house, clutter builds up so quickly that if you are not vigilant, you will soon be required to move things every time you want to clean around them. It's frustrating, and it does make it hard to tidy up at times.

There is also the issue of making beds. I made three beds before we left (after washing all of the sheets), and it was so easy compared to trying to put sheets on beds in a tiny house where you don't have standing access on at least three sides of the bed. I was actually surprised at how much less work it was to change the sheets in a bigger room.

There was also the issue of having kids underfoot (or rather, not having them underfoot in a bigger home). Now, this is something that I think is a bit of a mixed blessing. I love the fact that our family is close. We spend most of our time together because we don't really have any other options. At the same time, though, I had no idea how much easier it is to clean a house when you aren't constantly tripping over little ones.

I think I actually cried a little when we came home and it all hit me that my job as keeper of the home is made harder on so many levels because our house is so small. It seems so counter-intuitive to me that this would be the case, but apparently it is. I'm not exactly sure what to do about it. Chris and I have some ideas, and I think continuing in our KonMari journey will be a big part of that, but the truth is that some of these issues won't ever go away. And that's something we need to come to terms with while we continue to live in our little home. We have no plans to move, and I'm honestly still not convinced that the trade off would be worth it for how much it would cost us to live in a bigger home. Everything comes with a price, and for us, right now, giving up our time as family so that we could work more to afford another living space is a price we are not willing to pay. I guess we'll have to see what the future holds.