Just before Christmas, Kacey and I moved into the tiny house. As you might expect, we did not exchange Christmas presents because, well...you know... Even so, Kacey’s first day back at work, one of his co-workers asked him, “What did you get for Christmas?” Kacey paused and responded, “A new lease on life.”
Somewhat surprisingly, this tiny house has been liberating. I imagine that we tend to be drawn to large houses, large cars, and large spaces because we believe that they will have just enough room to contain our energy, hopes, fears, aspirations, disappointments, in short, our whole selves. I’m no different. I was so worried that, though our house is a showpiece in its detail and beauty, I would feel suffocated by it. Quite the opposite. Go with me on this one—since the space is small, it feels as if our energy fills up every cubic inch. The house seems to breathe our energy and hold it. Like tea bags in small mugs, the brew is strong, not so much an infusion, but an immersion. Then, as we move about the space, we re-absorb that energy so that our own brew is more potent. No longer are we expending energy to fill the large spaces we inhabit, our energy remains within us, ours to direct as we choose.
If I were you, reading that, I’d be like, “Yeah, Catherine, blah blah blah, you paint a pretty picture, but how do you really feel?” As someone I admire recently said, “This is not just a matter of No-Drama Obama.” I really do feel like our tiny house life is net-positive. Triple-net positive.
Lesson 1: Get a dehumidifier
Our first few nights in the tiny house were cold. Like the kind of cold that sits in your bones, keeps you up, gives you sweats, makes you shiver. Every morning, we’d wake up and there would be moisture on the windows. Not, “Oh, it’s just a bit of condensation.” Not, “Wow, someone just took a shower.” No, we’re talking water dripping off of the windows, onto the floor. “Hmmmmm,” we thought, “maybe we should try a dehumidifier?” We bought a 30-qt dehumidifier thinking it would be WAY bigger than we’d ever need. As another one of our national figures would interject, “Wrong.” We extracted 30-qts 30-QT from the air in less than 24 hours. We continue to pull between 5 and 10 quarts from the air every 24 hours or so. And, go figure, our house is much more comfortable. Even without the heater on, we are walking around in t-shirts.
Lesson 2: Deal with it
In a big house, we’d get a bill in the mail, put it somewhere else and deal with it later. We’d let the occasional sink-full of dishes remain unwashed because we’d go to the living room and watch TV instead. In a tiny house, there’s no “somewhere else” where we can “deal with it later.” Bills are to be paid as they come in. Dishes are washed just after use because the distance between the kitchen sink and the living room is negligible. We also must be more disciplined in emotional management. In a bigger house, after a frustrating day we could mosey off to different rooms, sit in stewing silence and emerge in an hour or so when the stress of the day had dissipated. Not so much in a tiny house. My emotional state becomes his and his mine. To some this may feel like a totally suffocating, impractical way to live. To us, it’s an invitation to find more joy (and less stress) in our lives outside of the house, to be disciplined and purposeful in our response to the world around us, and to engage in a level of emotional intimacy that we couldn’t possibly replicate in 3, 2, or even 1 thousand square feet.
It’s wild to be reflecting on being in a tiny house instead of building a tiny house.
|Shout out to Adam at Gneiss Wood for making us this sign of home on a piece of mahogany we had treasured for years.|
|Smiling at you from our front porch. Solar panels off to the side.|
|Everything you could ever need.|
|Believe it or not, it's almost always this orderly :)|