Tiny House Reforms a Messy Housekeeper

Posted by on Mar 3, 2012 in Recent Posts, Simplify | 22 comments

Tiny House Reforms a Messy Housekeeper

With spring right around the corner, I am thinking about entertaining friends on our deck. I am remembering the last deck gathering I hosted and am celebrating how much I’ve grown.

If you are overwhelmed by your current situation, I want to give you encouragement. Sometimes, letting it all go is the only way to go (grow)! Blessings. . .

At the end of August, 2011, I had a group of women over for breakfast on the tiny house deck. We had just moved in a few months earlier, and I was passionate about giving my in-depth tiny house tour. As I was lifting one side of the couch to say “This is where we keep our dirty clothes.” I remembered our 1500 sq. ft. house where I spent at least a whole day cleaning before company arrived. It never felt like I wanted it to–and the laundry was certainly never part of my tour. I’ve never been much for house cleaning. I have always thought ” Why make your bed if you’re just gonna get back in it.” Luck would have it, I married the most hard-working, clean and neat guy around. We had many arguments over the cleanliness of our home. Our big house overwhelmed me–dusting, mopping and vacuuming all came AFTER putting away the stuff. And we loved stuff. We had decorative candles, ornaments, platters, memorabilia. I had shelves lining our bedroom just to hold sentimental collections of dust. Once we opened our restaurant, I gave up totally. When company came, I blamed the restaurant, but felt stress knowing my home was not a cozy space for entertaining. I was embarrassed, yet resigned to the mess, because I was taxed to the max–nothing left in me to give to creating a cozy, neat and clean home. My home was out of control and running me.

A series of unfortunate (now fortunate) events, including losing our restaurant (2008) and losing our big house (2009) have led us to this new and improved life. I will, with time, share more about how we made this transition.

What felt so great as I gave tours of the tiny house last August was knowing how much I’ve grown. My husband and I no longer argue about the order of our home–it’s rarely out-of-order. We got rid of most of the clutter through a series of yard sales and donations. What we kept for our future small house is boxed up and in storage. Living with only the things we use on a regular basis has freed us from the task of putting away clutter. Part of what makes it fun to give tiny house tours is saying “This is where we keep our plates, this is Brother’s clothing cabinet, this is where we keep our shoes,” and opening up the doors to expose the insides. There’s nothing to hide! We have put a lot of thought into how we live, what we use daily, and how to make this small space livable for our family. This intentional lifestyle has grounded me and freed me from the stress of too much stuff. I feel satisfied knowing my home is in order.

Thank you, unfortunate (now fortunate) events, for leading us to our new and improved lives.

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  1. Oh my goodness, i LOVE this post! We lived parallel lives, same time frame. Gary lost his job late 2007, we gave up fighting for he house in the summer of 2008. I think of these as unfortunate/fortunate events also! We know a secret …… I wish this upon EVERYONE! This is my forever home 🙂

    I enjoy housekeeping so much now, I LOVE washing dishes by hand, it is so tactile, down to earth. I actually TOUCH everything I own at least once a week! Yep, love our life. So happy to have found you!

    • Glad to have found you, too! Your home is beautiful. I like the thought of touching everything I own at least once a week. Can’t say I do that. I see some dust on the shelves :).

  2. We, too, experienced much the same. We (another Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother, and big dog 🙂 ) now live in a little house (16′ by 20′). We have all shuffled in-between our wants and our needs only to discover, quite bluntly, that actual experience is worth everything. In our larger home I only shuffled stuff back and forth! Now I feel I move myself in and around a simple desire to just be, to have time, and to enjoy. Wonderful blog!

    • Thank you! Do you have a loft in your tiny house?

    • Hi Laura and Mama,
      We are looking into downsizing and living tiny. We are in the military and would need a mobile home. Laura, do you have a blog or a site where my husband and I could read about your journey into tiny living? I am trying to take in as much information as possible before creating our own tiny home. We have a little girl who turned 1 today and another little girl on the way in a few months! We will be transferring to a new unit next summer (2014) and would like to make the transition into a tiny house at that time.

      • We, too, are a military family looking into the idea of a home that is mobile to accomodate our nomadic lifestyle. I look forward to browsing through your blog here and gleaning helpful information from your experiences. Our current military housing is larger (1600 sq. ft.) than anything we have ever experienced in our (or even our parents’) military careers and I find myself increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. I find that I am becoming more and more intrigued by living in a smaller, more easily maintained home and wish that we could start on the journey of downsizing our home now instead of a few years from now when we return to the States. These next few years will be spent paring down our belongings so that we can work on the actual home size the moment we get to our next duty station. Thank you for sharing your journey with those of us just starting down this road!

  3. This post makes me soooo excited to move into our new tiny home we are currently building! I am looking forward to only having to deal with items we need and use every day. I am a super organized person and find organization beautiful BUT all our stuff has gotten in the way and I am sooooo ready to let it all go and be more in my element.

    • You will love it, Mandi!

  4. I feel validated reading this entry. July of 2011 I quit a great paying job because even though the work itself was great, the management created an unhealthy work environment and I couldn’t take it another year. At that point I had to figure out what I wanted to do moving forward. We are currently transitioning from apartment living to a mobile home out in the country. We want to use salvaged materials to convert the mobile home to an aesthetically pleasing tiny house. We don’t have land of our own yet, but I’m certain we will within the next 6 months to a year. We’ve got mounting college debt as well. As a matter of fact, I am writing a book about excessive debt. Let me know if you would like to be in the book. I am looking for interesting stories of how no matter how well intentioned one is, that debt can loom right around the corner. I switched subjects a bit there, but anyhow, great site, and I look forward to reading more of it.

    • Hi April,

      I am so glad you feel validated by this post. Making the choice to leave an unhealthy work environment and realizing you DO have other options is very liberating!

      We know a man who used a mobile home frame to build a tiny house on one end and a large deck on the rest of the frame. It is beautiful! I know you will enjoy the process of salvaging and creating your home. It’s quite an adventure!

      Debt: bleh. I have much to share about our experience with excessive debt–a topic that will help many. I’d be happy to share my story with you for your book. Thanks for your comment! I wish you the best.


  5. Oh, and Brene Brown was one of my graduate school professors in school. I noticed you had a book of hers that you recommend for folks to read. 🙂

    • I imagine that was an interesting class? I love her books!

  6. Hi guys!

    I came across your blog, and I think this concept is so awesome! I am doing a show next week about unique ways people save money, and I would love to chat with you to see if coming to NYC to tape with us is something that you want to do!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your life in a Tiny Home with us! I just found your blog tonight, and have been reading through the posts. There isn’t very much info out there on families living in tiny spaces, so reading this is so inspiring!

    • Hi Caprice,

      Thanks for your comment! I feel happy knowing you are inspired.


  8. I am going through your blog and much much thankfull 2 you for sharing your experiences and new discoveries regarding livlihood and hope in near future will have my own comfy tiny house.

  9. Less to clean/ tend is so appealing!
    So many friends are clearing clutter this year, some combined with moves, others because “

  10. I am very interesting in tiny living and have been for some time. I look forward to reading new blogs and comments. Thanks to all for sharing your stories!

  11. After 15 yrs of senior care and the care of my mother and grandmother during their final years, I have come to realize I have neglected my own needs. Need of education and higher earning. I am finding in my late 40s its very difficult to keep up with the bills and clutter of my 2 bedroom rental. I have started research on downsizing my life and home. I would greatly appreciate any advice from those that have made the change to a simpler way of life.
    Thank you all Sincerly

  12. HI.

    • Thanks! We have DSL for Internet access.

  13. Absolutely perfect timing. We’ve had several years of bad bumps, wrong decisions, and uncontrolled things that happened. We are at the end of THIS road. Trying to decide what to do. Hard when there’s little choices. This gave us another one, hopefully. We have a multi-generational family, so hard to go small, AND get all on the same page. Thanks, love the positiveness of this, instead of poor me. Need that BIG time.


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