A Year of Tiny House Living

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Breathe, Recent Posts | 15 comments

A Year of Tiny House Living

It is the solstice. Sunna, our sweet puppy, is barking large, fast circles around the property. I am up early to write from the garden, strong cup of coffee in hand. The sun is rising over the ridge and together with the forest paints designs on the wet soil. The bird songs are many and harmonious. Our woodpecker makes its echoing sounds trailing off to silence. The air is cool with a tint of warmth that tells me this will be a hot day. Summer solstice is here. I am happy to report that we’ve made it through a full cycle of seasons plus six-weeks in the tiny house.

Has it been easy? No. Has it been worthwhile? Yes. When I look back through my journal, I see growth. The cycles of nature give me a lens through which to view my own patterns. Living in a tiny house has brought me even closer to nature. I love having a view of the outside, no matter which way I look from my perch on our homemade couch, and the way the outdoors are so integral to how we live.

Moving in in spring, we had the chance to adjust to our small living quarters while also having the outdoors available as a retreat. It was a time of moving outside, just like the animals, into the sun to find food and sing. I felt joy! We made it to our big goal of living on our land and in our own mortgage-free house.

Summer, with her heat and light brought us out even further into the world. We made new friends, had deck gatherings, launched the blog and celebrated.

As fall moved in, I felt a need to gather strength. I feared the long shadows, the coming of the dark, the anticipation of cabin fever. But, I stayed with it. I felt the feelings, rather than running from them. We gathered up our outdoor stuff, Karl built a shed, and we cuddled up.

Winter sat on me with her darkness. I felt frozen, still. Though our home was warm and lovely, I felt lonely. I was seeking my way out of the darkness. I learned that being honest with myself about how I am feeling is courageous. To share the not-so-pretty feelings with others brings on a vulnerability which makes me feel happy to be alive.

I’ve said it before: there are many joys to living in a tiny space, one is that there is nowhere to go. Nowhere to hide from myself, no room to try to fill the voids with stuff (thereby avoiding the stuff of me, of my relationships to my family, to my friends, to the earth).

The contemplation and introspection of winter blossomed in spring. The garden was mostly free of rocks and the garlic I planted in fall popped up along with the lilies. Our house got bigger! I finished up a four-month public school teaching assignment and moved to working part-time for a non-profit with the mission of sustainability. I dug and planted and weeded so much that my fingers were stiff and sore when I woke up.

Now, it is the solstice, the longest day of the year. I am able to reflect on the sun’s dance across the sky and watch myself dance with her. It is at times an inward dance and at others an outward dance. All of it holds the glory of being alive.

After helping over 250 people get started on the path to mortgage-freedom, we've learned a lot more about what it takes, the pitfalls, the tricks and triumphs of living a zero-debt life of intention. We're taking what we've learned and creating a whole new series of courses to help even more of you reach your dreams. Sign up for our newsletter to get first dibs on the limited seats in our new course.


  1. Awww…..Hari. You have a gift for writing. I was caught up in the sun paintings in your yard. What a great journey you have been on. I am in Virginia this morning also taking in the longest day of the year by being on the seashore for sunrise. No finer way to start the day for me. Thanks for sharing and being a model of transparency and love.

    • Thanks so much, Karen. Yes, it is an awesome journey, life. We were together for sunrise! Your sweet compliments make my heart sing. ox

  2. Hari I am so proud of you and Karl, your accomplishments speak for themselves!!! There are not many who have the courage or the foresight to accomplish what you two have done. My hat is off to you!

    I love you.


    • How cool this that!? My almost-84-year-old grandma reads my blog and leaves a comment! Sorry grandma, but age is something we can brag about. 🙂 I love you, and hope to see you soon. Thanks for cheering us on!

  3. Have a joyous Solstice! My Wife and I lived in a tiny house, built from wood and nails. No, it was not as small as yours, and we didn’t have children. But, We went through alot of the same things you speak of. We got funny looks when people saw our house and had to host all of our gatherings outside….where the dinig room table was! It was a great time in our life and we look forward to returning to it as soon as my deployment is over! I hope that the land continues to return the treatment that you give it and that your “Tiny House” grows big enough to hold all of your children’s dreams!

    • Hi Jonathan,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate the work you do. Be safe! And a speedy return to tiny living to you.

      I love the thought of a house growing big enough to hold all of our kids’ dreams.

  4. I resonate.
    Dancing in joy, celebrating the courage to change, growth and manifestation.

    • Yes, dear Lora, Yes!

  5. Hello Hari,

    I am a tv researcher in the UK (England) who is really interested in developing a feature for a children’s programme about families living in tiny houses.

    I wondered if you were aware of anybody or any organisation who I could contact to find out more about families living this way in England.

    Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Yours sincerely,

    Joe Clark.

    P.S. I absolutely loved reading about your families journey. Your positivity in the face of adversity is very inspiring. Thank you.

    • Hi Joe,
      I approved your comment here, in case such a family happens upon our site. Check with Kent at tinyhouseblog.com. He features many stories of folks living tiny. He may have some ideas. Thanks for visiting and reading! Best to you!

  6. Hari ~ It is so good to have such a gratitude for life. I love the way you find such joy in all of God’s creation. I admire your strength and the way you are commited to following through with your dreams. Building such values is good for the soul for love begins at home. <3

    • Thanks, Kelly. It is nice to see you here 😉 Love to you.

  7. Thank you so much for being honest about both the good feelings and the bad! I know you’ll probably get flack for it sometimes – that type that likes to come in, point at one fact, and say that means you’re living your life wrong because they said so, but please keep that honesty for those of us who care!

    It’s important that people looking at this lifestyle have a true and complete picture of it, because it’s not for everyone…but someone who wants it deserves the most accurate image of the life available.

    I’ll probably never have a tiny house – three adults, four cats, so we’re sticking with “small” – but even for me…hearing you describe you experience is like a wake up call to examine my own.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Shadlyn. And thank you for appreciating the whole wide range of human emotion. I hope my honesty will help others embrace the moments of their lives. Best to you!

  8. Hi Hari! I am really happy to have found your blog! My family is just starting this process of ‘living tiny’- and I am so excited. Thanks for your inspiring posts!

    -Mindy Amita Aisling