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.)