As a “brand new” adult, finding a place to live that isn’t completely infested with rodents, isn’t surrounded by gang bangers and doesn’t cost your entire paycheck can be hard. Even with a spotless reputation and references, you can’t always find what you dream of. (You lied to me House Hunters!) So when it came time for my husband and I to find a place to call home, we ended up in a less than 300 square foot, tiny, one room cabin on the side of a mountain in Vermont.
When I first walked into the house, the sun was setting, the peepers were peeping, and my deadline for finding a house was closing fast. As I looked around what seemed like a spacious one room cabin, I was eager to call my husband and sign the lease. And I did. And as we moved in, we really did fall in love with the place. But as time went on, and stuff accumulated, we became more and more cramped. And we became more and more unhappy.
But as we look at other houses and dream of larger dreams, we realize just how lucky we are. While most people our age are taking on massive mortgages and try and fill their enormous homes with things that don’t matter to them, it makes me realize just how lucky I am.
Instead of living in a cramped apartment, where the neighbors are always shouting through the wall, and the sirens are always ripping through the city and the ceiling is leaking in that one spot. (Which is what we could have moved into, had we not found this place), we are in a single home, where the nearest neighbor is across the street. The birds sing, the wildlife moves through and the landscape is breathtaking. Living here is like having God reach down each morning as the sun touches the earth. But instead of focusing on that, I’m too busy focusing on what’s inside of my house. And for me, that is not okay. So I decided to research what I could do about it. And for inspiration, I went to my favorite place: back in history.
Throughout the ages, people have always lived “tiny”. From the early settlers in America, to African tribes, and the pioneers, people have always managed to live small. From single men, to married couples, to even large families, (like Dolly Parton’s family), all managed to live in tiny homes until recent history, and managed just fine. Even some of America’s finest presidents (like Abraham Lincoln) lived in tiny homes with their families.
So when it comes to God’s daughters, I have a good feeling that we can manage. And thanks to our predecessors, we have a good idea of just how to do it.
1 | De-Clutter
I cannot stress this one enough. If you live in a tiny space, and have a lot of stuff, no matter how much you organize, you will never feel content and organized in your home. No matter how much you love all three of your serving platters, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Keep what you need, toss (donate) what you don’t. If you really don’t have room for it, but really want to keep it, maybe consider investing a small chunk of change in a storage unit until you are able to move into a larger home.
2 | Utilize All of Your Space
One thing we don’t think about when organizing larger homes is utilizing all of our space. Because in reality, we usually have too much of it. But when it comes to organizing a tiny home, we really need to think about every nook and cranny. At our home, we are so lucky to have two bookcases holding up the loft, which gives us a ton more storage. But other than that, we’re pretty much out of luck.
So when it comes to organizing your home, think of all the space you have. There are those larger spaces that could benefit from a shelf to hold more. What about adding hooks to the walls and inside of the cupboard doors to add more space. Think about adding shelving towards the ceiling to hold books.
One big space saver you can implement is to think of moving your children of the same gender into one room. There’s really no need for children to have their own room, and often giving them such things leads to selfishness, and greed. Let your children enjoy having siblings and let them learn important lessons of sharing, selflessness, and cooperation.
There are so many ways to add space to your home, and it only takes a little bit of creativity. 🙂
3 | Be Consistent in Your Cleaning
One thing with small houses, even if you don’t have much in them, is that they collect clutter fast. So make a point to set up a daily cleaning schedule, hitting all of your “hot spots” each day to keep your clutter from growing. Here are some of my hot spots that I am sure to clean each and every day:
- Shoe pile (needs to be put away in the shoe trunk)
- Bathroom sink
Cleaning these areas each day takes me about ten minutes and keeps my home feeling happy and healthy. And ready for when a surprise guest pops by!
4 | Constantly Purge
We have a very important rule in our home: for each thing you bring in, one thing needs to go out. In such a small space, constantly purging is important. Between replacing things that are broken, getting new clothing, or adding to our interests, it’s important to continually purge to make room for the important things. One thing to be sure is when you do get rid of one thing, make sure it’s of equal or larger size to its replacement item.
5 | Come Up with New Ideas
We are always coming up with new ideas on how to create more space in our home. From adding a few bookshelves in an open area, to adding lighting to a darker space, there is always something you can do to freshen up your home, and bring peace and harmony to your family.
6 | Keep a Planner
Being able to keep track of all of your tasks, all of your cleaning and all of your ideas for making your home a happier place and keep you sane. I personally recommend The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner by Sue Hooley. I personally use this one and it is an amazing tool.
7 | Give Yourself Some Grace
No matter what I’m talking about on the blog, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to give yourself some grace. We are not perfect beings, and we become tired, depressed, and just plain pooped. So whether you’re sick, or just need a mental health day, take some time to give yourself some grace. Ask your family for help keeping the house together and let it go just a little.
Small space living doesn’t have to be forever, but it can be a wonderful thing while it lasts. Learning to be grateful, and appreciative of what you have can change the perspective of your entire family. Take time to verbally show gratefulness for your home each and every day, and after a while, you will find that your family will too!
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