Tiny House as Experiment

Posted by on Nov 5, 2011 in Breathe, Recent Posts | 16 comments

Tiny House as Experiment

As I always have the tiny house family blog somewhere in my mind, I am looking for the story under our daily life. I feel appreciation for you, the reader. Knowing that I am writing for a real audience helps me to find the treads of meaning and try to weave them together with some sort of focus. Thank you for taking this moment to read these words.

Tiny House as Experiment

The true test of this experiment is winter. She’s been standing up the hill casting her growing shadow for a couple of months now. “I’m coming.” She says, with cool nights becoming cold and darkening mornings. She cast her shadow on my spirit.

Oh no, where do we put our coats? How will our winter wardrobes fit in our cabinets? Where do we put our outdoor stuff so it doesn’t rot away under snow? How do we continue to use outside as part of our space? How will we handle tiny house fever?

 Gone are barefoot days of summer and early fall. I wanted to stretch them out for as long as I could, and when school started, I felt a real loss. It was sad to see the summer I shared with the kids disappearing into history. Ah, the joy of knowing the sadness of passing time: to know each moment is only here for that moment.

The tiny house experiment has brought life into focus. We have to tend to each moment, or the next moment may be cluttered. Last night, we came home from grocery shopping hungry and irritated, but we managed to put everything away and harmoniously prepare taco night. As we got out of the car and looked up at the starry night, Papa said, “It’s too late for this.” I said, “We can still enjoy it.” And we did. In a bigger house, it would have been easy to leave the coats and other stuff from the car out in the garage or foyer and deal with them later—forcing the clutter of this moment into the future. I know this from experience. It used to mean a whole day of cleaning and decluttering. Here, the foyer is the living room and the living room is the dining room, so we have to put everything away, or chaos sets in. We pay attention and handle the stuff (less is certainly more) of each moment through to the next. I hope this practice is training us to do this once we have more space. I like the way it feels to put things away. (If you know me, you are cheering here.)

“Where do we put our outdoor stuff, so it doesn’t rot away under snow?” Papa has these thoughts way before I do and he gets right to solving the problem. His latest accomplishment is the shed. Now, our canned goods, out-of-season wardrobes, three cases of apples, sweet potatoes, lawn chairs, camping gear, tools, etc. all have a place to live. Hugest of all: We can stand in front of the washer to put the clothes in. –Such a luxury compared to having to work around the crates of canned foods piled around the washer in its previous home, our walk-in-cooler shed. But, there is satisfaction in making it work until the next phase. This whole experiment is a practice in making it work and working with the process. For the last six months, leaning over the canned goods to grab my laundry pleased me. After all, we had clean laundry! Now, it feels better than I thought possible to stand next to the washer in the new shed and lean in with ease. It is just laundry, after all! I have a constant awareness that we are doing much more than the laundry or dishes or gardening—we are experimenting –creating a design-as-you-go kind of life that is sewn, constructed, hammered out piece by piece just for us. As the new pieces show up they speak. The shed says, “More space is coming.” I speak back. “We want to build a just-right space, ever mindful of the lessons we learn from living tiny.

This makes me smile:

Brother is lucky enough to have a weekly social-emotional music class at his public school. His teacher is a friend and co-worker of mine, so I’m lucky to hear some of the things he says. After closing his eyes and listening to a bell chime, his teacher asked how it felt. He said, “I feel a lot of space.” If we can teach our kids to find space within and feel a deep connection to self, family and friends, then we will have done well. It is happening.

So does this:

Brother said when he grows up he is going to write a book about living in a tiny house. “Like it’s hard getting around. Everywhere you step there’s a pillow and a few more steps, there’s a person, so it’s hard.” And Papa says, “The tiny house teaches us patience.” (If you know Papa, you are cheering here.)

Tiny house sheds

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  1. What another wonderful post. I love the humility and awareness.

    • Thanks, Rick! With your permission, I want to share about our tiny house friends soon.

  2. Yeah, Team Tiny in training!
    … When I left Floyd, I left most of what I have carried around or stored. I now live in a very large house with two other people. Interesting that all three of us put things away in the moment and therefore the energy is clear and movement in the space flows well. Your experiment will surely reap great understanding of energy in shared space. Being mindful of your impact on others and how others impact us. And how much, of what, do you need?
    Less is more invites simplicity.
    I honor “Professor Patience” with a giggling smile. Feel the space Brother and please invite me to the book signing opening reception.

    • love to you!

  3. A lovely post as usual. I love your introductory remarks about finding the story under your daily life. I know that search so well, and the weaving and the sharing.

    I am struck not only by how well you all will manage space whenever you happen to have more of it, but also by how much the discipline of living in this way will shape your emotional lives (and eventually your souls if all goes well). There is definitely a trickle up effect with these things. To reduce clutter, to handle spillovers immediately, to be mindful of space both inner and outer, both intra and inter, will only be for the good. I am glad for it and glad to read of it.

    What, please, is the book being referred to above?

    Posting to Facebook as I always do.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Leslie,

      Thank you! I enjoy your comments. And thanks for posting to Facebook.

      Lora was referring to the book our son says he will write when he grows up.

      Happy November!

  4. A tidy mama and patient papa-love it! This post is as beautiful and inspiring as the others. I had no idea that the tiny house u and papa worked so hard on was going to be such a life lesson, creating new beautiful versions of each of you. I admit, upon hearing of your “tiny house living” ideas I was sure you two were crazy, but the crazy ideas born between you and papa are what I love and appreciate. Seeing now, what a journey this has created for you all warms my heart. I’m loving that the kiddos are having the opportunity to know life as something very meaningful- rich with beauty, simplicity, love, hard work, patience…the list goes on. So many little ones only know life as “things”, and and it makes me sick. With the holiday season on it’s way, I have been thinking of and missing brother and sister a lot. I wanted to decorate pumpkins with them, and today I thought it would have been great to come over to decorate a cloth scrap with all my sentiments of gratitude to add to the flag. Please hug and kiss them both for me, and you and papa do the same(happy 11th). I miss you all terribly, and I couldn’t be happier for you. Xoxo

    • Hi Amanda!

      Send us your flag pieces and we’ll add them to our flag. We are making one for the trees. Wishing you could come up and make it with us!

      Thank you for your kind reflections–we feel crazy sometimes, but also a bit like pioneers on an adventure.

      Go to Chisholm park on Friday (where we got married 11 years ago) and say hello to those trees for us, will you? oxox

  5. Hello I wanted to thank you for sharing your story and life with us.As a family with young ones it is great to see you making the the tiny life work.I hope it helps others with children make the jump to micro living as it will and can work if you want it .I am teaching by video how to build a micro home much like yours (gambrel roof) step by step to empower others to do the same. Please keep doing day in the life type post and videos on how you make this work and the benefits of this lifestyle.

    • We are very happy with the gambrel roof. Makes the sleeping lofts a tiny bit more roomy. I would add a window to one side next time to let in more light. Good luck to you!

  6. I have been contemplating the tiny house idea for quite some time for my family of 5 (3 kids and us). We don’t live in a large home now (1,152 sq. ft.), but a tiny house would still be considered a “downsize”. I have often wondered about laundry in a tiny house and was happy to see you address the issue. I am hoping you could go into further detail, as laundry is an issue that never seems to stop with children. A laundromat does not seem like a lifestyle point I would like to live with, in order to take on a tiny house of my own.

    Could you explain more how you hook up a laundry situation in your shed?



  7. Hi Wendy,
    Papa and I will have to write that one together. He’s the builder. Do you have specific questions?

    I agree, laundry is a big deal for a family. The shed system works for us!

    Thanks for your comment. Good luck!

  8. I am SO enjoying reading through your blog! Another awesome and inspiring post. Thank you!!!

    • Hi Caprice!
      I am SO glad!! Thank you for pinning us to your pinterest board. Are you considering moving into a tiny house?

  9. Hi Hari!

    I’m a writer and dancer in Chicago and just saw a video clip of your family and home! It’s so inspiring. I have always wanted to live like this, but am just unsure of how to make it happen. I am wildly in debt from student loans, etc. but dream about a day when I am not the hamster on the money wheel. Thank you so much for sharing what you are doing. Good luck and peace to you and your family.
    I can’t wait to read your book!



    • Hi Jessica!
      Thanks for reading and sharing here. I know the stress of wild debt. I’m sending you peaceful thoughts. We are launching an eCourse in the next month to help you plan for your mortgage-free, debt-free lifestyle. If you’d like to be notified of open-enrollment, sign up for the free newsletter. Wishing you lots of clarity and success.


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