|Img credit: Tumbleweed Houses|
I was reminded of this story this past weekend.
My family of 5 lives in a pretty tiny home- only 484 square feet- and I sometimes wonder if we should move to a bigger place. Mostly its actually family and friends telling us that we need a bigger place, that we can't possibly be comfortable living in that size space with that many people.
We spent the weekend with my friend, Cara (yes, that same one who wrote this guest post on using bikes to save money on transportation) and it was really nice, because we've got similar outlooks on life, including a desire to live within our means and not always being out to keep up with the Jones.
I found it really amusing that Cara read my blog post on how to have guests on a budget before we came, and implemented the same tips I talked about. She did a superb job!
Cara and her husband live in an apartment that is 225 square feet. Over the weekend, it was my husband, myself, and our three kids, together with Cara and her husband in that tiny space. We were a little cramped, not much breathing room (and we slept at a neighbor's), but other than the small space, we had a really nice time.
When we got home, however, we realized just how spacious our apartment was! If we ever felt cramped here before, after the weekend, we feel blessed by how large our home is! Kind of like that man who felt how "large" his home was after removing all the animals from his shack.
This weekend, I was thinking a lot about the concept of tiny house living, and whether it is doable, both for singles, couples, and for a family.
You might say- obviously- I manage to live in a tiny house with my family of 5- but quite frankly, I don't consider my house to be tiny. Small yes, but manageably small.
There are people, though, that live in homes even I would consider tiny.
Cara's home is tiny, yes, at 225 square feet, but there are people who live in what is called micro studios, or tiny homes such as the Tumbleweed tiny homes, which are usually closer to 100 square feet.
A blogger whose blog I used to read talked a lot about potentially moving to a Tumbleweed tiny home with her family.
Is that really doable?
My first thoughts were absolutely not. Especially not after how cramped we were this weekend in a 225 square foot apartment- twice the size of a Tumbleweed home.
See, single people can manage in a micro-apartment. Because, unfortunately, most adults, it seems, are pretty sedentary- as long as there is enough space to put out a computer, eat a meal, and relax to read a book or watch a movie, that's enough for them.
Kids, however, need much more room than that. Especially once they're past the crawling stage and at the walking/running stage.
But then I thought to myself that these huge houses people live in today are a modern invention, that for so many thousands of years, people lived in tiny little homes, like one room log cabins, etc... Little House on the
Prairie comes to mind. Why is it that modern day kids need gigantic houses when kids in the past didn't? What changed?
I started thinking about my own small 484 square foot house and how we manage in a place that small with 3 kids. The answer, really, is that we aren't indoors all day! Kids need to burn energy by running around a lot and being active- but there's no reason why this has to be indoors. My kids spend hours and hours and hours running around outside each day, letting off steam. We don't have a yard of our own, but our home opens on to a grassy lot and area with trees, and then a beautiful flower and tree bordered walkway that leads to two playgrounds. They make use of them all.
We're not living solely in 484 square feet- we've living in that huge outside area as well.
That's how people managed to raise families in tiny homes such as the Little House on the Prairie. Because they weren't just living in those homes- they lived in the great outdoors, playing in forests and fields and meadows, etc...
Today, we live in such industrialized areas that we're missing much of that. Kids don't generally have the freedom to run around like they did in the past, both because most of us don't have that wide open space available, and because we're worried about dangerous characters taking advantage of our children.
When kids are cooped up in tiny spaces, when they aren't given the freedom to run around as kids need, they end up misbehaving, causing trouble, and showing ADHD like symptoms even if they don't have true ADHD. Sometimes, all kids need is to be able to run around. That is why kids in school do better scholasticly when they have recess and suffer when they aren't given that ability to run around and burn energy. In a way, I think sitting kids in a small classroom for much of the day isn't that dissimilar from trying to raise kids in a tiny home in the city. Kids need to be able to let loose.
Sometimes my kids start misbehaving and getting "cooped up" symptoms. When that happens, I generally realize that we haven't been spending enough time outdoors; we then go out, run around outside, and the misbehavior goes away.
In the winter, though, it is harder to manage with kids in a small space. We try to go on as many trips as we can in that season, to indoor playgrounds and other places where they can burn energy. We also do lots of projects in the winter to keep them entertained. But fortunately, we live in a place where there is good weather much of the year, so we're not confined to 484 square feet.
If push came to shove, would we be able to live with a family of 5 in a 225 square foot apartment?
Well, I wouldn't love to, that's for sure. I do need my elbow room.
But if we would need to, the answer would be- definitely not in a city. Only in a place like where we live, with wide open spaces to run around, so that we would be able to live outside as well as in our tiny home, like we do now.
How big is your home? Do you think it is too big or too small? Would you downsize or move to a larger home? Why? Have you ever considered living in a Tumbleweed Tiny Home or similar? Why or why not? Do you think it is doable?
If you live in a small space, what tips do you use to make it more manageable?