Monday, January 12, 2015

8 reasons why i secretly love our tiny home.

we (and by "we" i mean myself, james, alice, and two cats) live in a one-bedroom apartment. a small one-bedroom apartment. in a mediocre building. in a lame part of town. to be completely honest, when we first moved here, i hoped and prayed that this apartment would only be temporary. heck, i was only willing to sign a six-month lease because i was sure that within a year, james would get a real job and wed be able to move somewhere decent. 

never mind that we had just come back to california with a new baby, no jobs, no savings, a car that was literally falling apart, no place to live and a moving truck filled to the brim with everything that once filled the large three bedroom house we rented in arizona until james got fired two days before christmas. oh, i never told you the story about how we moved back to california? its a real doozy. the bad kind of doozy. (is it just me or is doozy a really ambiguous word). but i digress. 

i was determined that we would have a "real" home as soon as possible. after we moved here, i was constantly scouring the area for two (or three) bedroom places that we could make our forever (well, long term) home. i analyzed rents and deposits and calculated exactly what dollar amount we would need to bring home each month in order to get that extra bedroom (or two) a reality. sure it was an unhealthy obsession, and maybe we had some huge expensive things we needed to take care of (like a not-falling apart car and a savings account), but i was so embarrassed to be a married adult with a kid living in a crappy one bedroom apartment on the wrong side of town that for a long time this was of the utmost importance. 

now, its been about two and a half years, and were still living in the same one-bedroom apartment. and even though james has made that dollar amount that i thought would equal a bigger apartment, and we have taken care of most of those big expenses, but we dont have plans to move. were not even looking. 

why? because through these past two and a half years, ive learned to be content with what we have. more than that, ive really fallen in love with small-space living. really. yes, sometimes, people ask and i do pretend that im unhappy with our current living situation that i hope it will change soon, but thats a lie. today i want to come clean with why i secretly love our tiny home:

1. theres less to clean. this should be obvious: less rooms, less rooms to clean. i can clean the whole apartment top-to-bottom (kitchen, bathroom, floors, etc.), by myself, in about an hour. sure dirt and messes show up faster because the space is smaller, but we also spend way less time cleaning then we did when we had a bigger house. also, i spend a LOT less time looking for lost things, because, well, theres less places for things to get lost. 

2. more family time. one of the great things about our home is that we (almost) never all sit in separate rooms watching netflix on separate things and ignoring each other. partially because there arent a lot of rooms to all be in separately, but also because there isnt a whole lot of extra room for doing things. so if were all home and need something to do, we usually end up leaving the house. which is awesome. 

3. weve learned to be content with what we have. to be completely honest, james and i used to spend a lot of time shopping. we both had long, long lists of things we thought we needed and were always bringing home something from a thrift store or yard sale or clearance rack. but after we got settled here, we realized, we didnt need any of that stuff. actually, we dont need/use/want most of what we already have, and instead of filling our spare time shopping, we spend it cleaning out drawers and closets getting rid of stuff. and i love it.

4. we put a greater value on experiences over things. because of the lack of space, we no longer put a heavy emphasis on the acquisition of more things to own. instead, weve changed our focus to the things we want to do, the things we want to see, the places we want to go. and since we arent spending all our time and money on filling and maintaining a large house, we can actually do those things. 

5. theres constant opportunity for creativity. for a long time after we moved here, i never moved anything because i was so frustrated by the small space that i thought it wasnt worth it. but after a while, i noticed that in a small space, small changes can make a huge difference. so now every day we constantly look for new ways to make our space more comfortable and more efficient. 

6. we save tons of money. and no, im not talking about the $300-400 a month in rent/utilities that it would cost to have a second bedroom (though thats nice too), i mean the money that we dont spend on clothes, toys, furniture, appliances, plants, decorations, and big projects that we dont have room for. and every dollar we dont spend on a thing we dont have room for? thats another dollar for us to spend on something that might actually make us happy. 

7. less stress. less space to clean, fewer things to own/organize/maintain, lower rent/less bills to pay = less things to worry about. and as a naturally anxious, easily stressed out person, i cant think of anything better than having less things to worry about. 

8. more freedom to pursue our long term goals and dreams. living in a small space for so long has really helped us to detach ourselves from being consumed and defined by our home, from pouring all of our resources into it and all of our time into perfecting and maintaining it. we have free time to dream up the kind of future we want to have, and we have leftover money to use to build it. sure our attitude toward our home is very utilitarian and distinctly un-american, it works for us. 

so yeah, this tiny apartment that i had hoped was temporary, its done a lot for us. its taught us some important lessons about contentment and priorities, its given us the opportunity to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, and the freedom to dream even bigger than just a two-bedroom apartment. 

and i love it.  

there. i said it. 

what are your thoughts on small space living? what do YOU love about your home?


  1. This is so awesome! It's such a good way to look at it. When my parents moved from the Maine suburbs to Boston, we all got rid of a ton of just extra stuff that we didn't need. But now that I live here, it definitely took some getting used to - small space living is definitely an adjustment!

  2. My husband will soon be retiring from the military. We just recently sold a house and don't have plans to buy one until we are permanently settled somewhere, but we talk about it and look at houses on line. He wants like 4+ bedrooms, 3,000+ sq. ft, and I'm thinking 4 bedrooms max, closer to 2,000 sq ft. We have a little bit smaller than that now and it's perfect for us. All we need is a bit more storage and a bigger laundry room and I'm a happy girl. Why do we need all that space, just to fill it up with crap we don't need? We lived in a tiny 3 bedroom apartment in Japan and we were fine.

  3. thats so funny! i agree, your pick sounds MUCH more pleasant: plenty of room for kids and guests, not overwhelmingly huge. i think 3000+ square feet would give me major anxiety!

  4. oh totally, it takes a long time to get used to, but once you embrace it, its like "why did i even think i needed all that space/stuff?". i mean, were obviously not going to stay HERE forever, but we will DEFINITELY never go broke over a huge house with a spare room thats just for storing crap again...

  5. My family moved into a small house back in August (4 adults in a 4 bedroom 1 bathroom house. Yikes), but I've found that it's not been as bad as I thought it would be. I spend a lot more time with my dad, it's easier to keep clean, and our cats really love the layout. Sometimes smaller is where it's at. :-)