You Live Where?

Living somewhere new has given me endless opportunity to meet people. Between the various farmers swaps, play dates and sports activities, we try to stay social. Sometimes, we even invite a few kindred souls out for bonfires and playdates. I always feel like I need to offer a disclosure with the invitation.

Here is how 99% of the last 30 invites have gone.

“Sure, Little Johnny can come over and have a campout this weekend. Turn on our road, go three miles, past the gate, up the drive, and through the woods until you get the cabin.”

“Oh, I always wanted a nice big cabin in the woods!” (Victim Visitor)

“It is wonderful and we love it. But “big” isn’t the right word.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s about 250 square feet.”

Often, I learn that some folks have no idea concept on square footage. They often comment that they also have a very small house. How they downsized to just three bedrooms now that they only have one kid. Or that they have a double wide instead of the house they will build some day. So I find something of relative size and show them. 17 steps one way, 8 the other.

This conversation is always followed by the Grand Canyon pause and rapid blinking. Then the person nearly always blurts out something to cover the silence like “You must be crazy!” or “I would go insane living like that!” We then laugh and go about our plans. It never, ever sinks in until they get to the farm. Then the real fun begins.

“Does it have a bathroom?”

“Are you trying to get on tv?”

“I bet the kids hate it, don’t they hate it?”

And of course, always, some random comment about my sanity.

The truth is, I totally get their line of thought. My last Master bedroom was 20×15 and had a full bathroom with a jacuzzi tub next to a huge walk in closet on top of those measurements. The outside measurement of my current home is 20×12. The inside is insulated and drywalled, given it interior dimensions of under 235 square feet. There is one adult and three children (ages 12, 8 and 4) living here. There is a full bathroom, a kitchen with everything but a dishwasher and table. It even has a stacked full size washer and dryer.

I rarely let people inside. After all, the first thing you see is my bed and everything else is exposed since we decided cabinets were both expensive and would make the space feel smaller. But I love their faces. They are always shocked and most quickly become amazed and even delighted. More productive questions start to flow about privacy, electric bills, and long term plans about additions. I have even been “referred” to their friends and family who talk about downsizing. Only twice have I gotten very negative feedback and they were from family members. After all, not everyone can accept a minimalist lifestyle.

I do love our home. I love knowing exactly where everything is, including my children. It is easy to put away laundry when everyone’s things are in one place. Cleaning has to happen daily, because even a small amount of clutter is overwhelming in this place. It takes 15 minutes a day and an hour of deep cleaning and reorganizing on Sunday evening. The tiny electric bill has allowed me to pay down some debts and it has never been an issue to pay it. I can spend time on my true passions; my children, my farm and my work. I never have to choose.

Yes, my bed becomes the couch at movie time, desks during homework time and seats to eat dinner. And yes, privacy must be found in the bathroom or elsewhere on the farm. But they are small sacrifices for the security and peace that this tiny house has provided us. So even if a few folks think I am crazy, I still love living a tiny home lifestyle.

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