Tiny Home with Kids, Impossible?
Tiny homes have become all the rage in recent years—and for good reason. The petite dwellings, measuring less than 500 square feet, are incredibly economical because they’re much cheaper to build and maintain than the typical 2,600 square foot American home. Imagine drastically reducing or even obliterating your rent or mortgage payments! Living in a smaller space is also appealing from an environmental standpoint; it significantly reduces energy usage and conserves natural resources, as well. You might think "tiny home with kids, impossible." But there are countless examples of families living tiny and loving it across the nation. But how do you squeeze 3, 4, or 5 people into a household that’s only a few hundred square feet? Or manage getting alone time? From carving out personal space to purging your property, we’ve compiled some advice and tips on how to survive tiny living with kids.
Massively purge your property.
Sound difficult? Get inspiration from Alysha St. Germain, who writes on xojane.com about how she slimmed her wardrobe to a mere 33 pieces (including accessories!). And in regards to the mountains of kid's stuff a family typically acquires, she writes, "I also reduced my children’s toy collection by approximately 75 percent. In the event they became bored with what they had, we made rocket ships out of boxes or went outside to explore. We also developed a rotation for old toys, which meant they instantly became new again when reintroduced into their environment...We also began to spend more time simply being together and enjoying each other’s company."
Set boundaries and carve out personal space.
Andrew Odom of Tiny r(e)volution lives with his wife in a tiny house with two teens. He says living in a tiny house demands a different parenting philosophy. Since everyone is in such close proximity, there’s not an easy way to escape when tensions rise. He advises that each family member claim a “sacred space” and make that known. He writes, “I think reading nooks, personalized seating, kiddy corners, etc. are great ways to offer a little personal and private space to each member of a tiny house family.”
Focus on the things you do have (rather than what you don’t have).
Debra Jordan lives in a tiny house with her husband and teenage son. She explains to the Sightline institute how mortgage free living in a tiny house has helped shift her perspective and cultivate feelings of gratitude. “I sleep every night really, really good. We never discuss money ... Our life is much more peaceful now... I’m not thinking about what I want to buy next or how I can increase my earnings. I’m content. I’m very happy and there’s a lot to be said for that.”
Consider your family’s primary needs carefully and design your tiny house around those unique requirements.
This might mean a bigger kitchen or bathroom, or extra focus on outdoor space for entertaining. Andrew and Gabriella Morrison live in a 207-square foot house in Oregon with their teenage daughter. “We’ve made it work by designing and building a space that fits our needs," Morrison tells Yes! Magazine. “Having large indoor parties is not really an option. We’ve adjusted for that. We built outdoor gathering spaces: a fire pit, an outdoor dining area, a wood-fired hot tub, and guest cabins.”
Still thinking “tiny home with kids, impossible?” Consider a trial run. Why not rent a tiny house for a family vacation? Lodging websites like Airbnb feature an abundance of adorable little abodes.
Check out this video of an actual tiny home dweller with a family explaining how they make it work.
Here's an interesting infographic that compares family life before and after the jump from living large to living little.