Five months into our tiny home adventure and the romance period has ended. Now it’s time to think about living in a tiny home for the long haul. It’s easy to think you could live a sparse life style, but when you commit to a long term arrangement you are truly tested. Tiny Living can be comfortable, freeing, and adventurous and close quarters can allow for some terrific family bonding, but it definitely takes an evolved personality to successfully live in a small space with family members.
There’s not much space to “tune out” an obnoxious or irate member of the group. And there’s not much space to be left alone in silence for personal enjoyment. As a unit, you need to be great listeners and allow each member to be heard. Mediation plays an important role in dividing up a small space when different needs have to be met, especially the single bathroom. The good news, quality time should reach an all-time high.
Learning to share a small space and co-exist are invaluable tools to pass down to our future generations.
Working it out
The most wonderful part of our tiny living experience has been living on the beach. We could not ask for a better location for our family. That, in itself, is vacation living, but it comes with its cons when you plan it as a long term situation.
In a tiny home, the sunrise is a surefire way to get woken up. This may sound great, but you might be sacrificing some lazy day sleep-ins. (There’s not much square footage to get your bed away from the windows.) We’ve had to adapt by making sure we get to bed on time.
When you’re sleeping in your hide-a-way day in and day out, you need to make peace with the sounds that will find their way into your tiny home. The sound of the waves lapping the shoreline can be a relaxing way to fall asleep while you’re on vacation, but when they get more aggressive with windy days or pick up rhythmic speed from water traffic, you may find it makes you anxious. Hiding from noises in the back of the house won’t get you very far in your tiny home, especially when you get unplanned visitors.
In times of extreme weather, you will also need to be prepared for the unexpected. A small roof leak becomes a major problem when your space is limited. High winds and flooding can make a major impact on a smaller home.
Our area is susceptible to flooding and high winds during hurricane season. Tides rising above average can easily catch you off guard. We have been fortunate that our tiny home was built to expect storm surges by not only sitting on stilts, but also having a high retaining wall separating it from the water and preventing erosion of the property. It is unusual for the tide to rise this high, but these photos were taken during a Nor’easter at a full moon-phase high tide. Thankfully, it was no Hurricane Sandy and we were able to relax and enjoy the feeling of living on our own deserted island. (Based on our location, if the storm were stronger we would have considered leaving until it passes.) There’s not much of a reprieve from calamities brought on by Mother Nature when you’ve only got 250 square feet for shelter.
In the Zone
When you truly love where you live, you find a way to adapt to your surroundings in a peaceful and joyous way.
After several weeks of the shore line’s changing rhythm keeping me awake, I naturally began to accept the changes and embrace all of the bay’s sounds. Oddly enough, I’m sure it’s a similar experience to learning how to fall asleep in your New York City apartment with all of the sounds of the street below. After a while, you can’t fall asleep without it. It’s too quiet.
You even begin to get in sync with your neighbors which is especially important if you share the environment. It’s been interesting to watch as the local nature population gradually accepted us and began to feel comfortable with our presence. No, we didn’t feed or try to pet any wild animals. However, it was nice to be able to live alongside them and see their frolicking tracks in the beach sand.
Pros and Cons
Just like any relationship, there is the need for flexibility and concessions to make it work. Living in a tiny home is no different. Those who choose tiny living are generally looking for an improved way of life. They are willing to concede many social expectations and venture towards a more natural and spiritual way of life. Tiny Living relies on your natural surroundings to compliment the quality of your life.
Here are the Pros vs Cons we have experienced that need to be considered in tiny living:
- Close to nature vs. natural calamities
- Quick to clean vs. quick to dirty
- Family bonding vs. invasion of prviacy
- No clutter vs. no storage
- Lower overhead vs. smaller living space
- Communal spaces vs. unavailable space
- Strengthening relationships vs. stressing/testing relationships
Trend vs. Reality
There is an enormous amount of publicity on tiny homes. People are fascinated by living simply. You could dismiss it as a passing trend or incorporate it into our society’s economic reality (see Rat Race). Either way, tiny living is not for everyone. It takes a particular person to step outside of their comfort zone or even stand up against societal norm to let go of the material and begin a new life of experiences and spiritual connections.
Is this a trend or reality for you?