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Tiny Home

(s0urce)

 

This is a love letter to my tiny house.

It’s not 500 sq. feet-NYC-apartment-tiny, but it’s pretty darn small for married-with-three-kids, which is exactly what I’ll be in three months.  How small?

-I don’t allow people in my kitchen while I’m cooking, because the presence of one other body (even Sam, who is exactly 34 inches tall and weighs 25lbs soaking wet), makes it impossible for me to turn around.

-When we moved in, I gave away our coffee table because, were a moderately-sized coffee table placed in my living room, nobody with chubby calves could walk around it.

-I have no pantry, and (outside of the bedrooms) a single, small closet.

I also have no plans to move.

Because I LOVE my little house.

The tiny house makes me do what’s good for me – the things I know I should be doing all the time, but sometimes need a little kick in the pants about.

The tiny house forces me to stop keeping everything “just in case.”  The tiny house makes me purge my closet: no “when I lose 5 lbs” pieces around here.  When a new piece comes in, an old one goes out – one for one.

The tiny house makes me use the library instead of amassing books I read 7 years ago, started, or intend to start.

The tiny house makes me give away the toys my children are finished with, and keep the ones they love now.

The tiny house is easy to clean.  Well, actually it’s really hard to clean if you can’t let go of the stuff (because then it’s overflowing and toys are everywhere ALL OF THE TIME).  But once you learn to let a couple of things go – things like coffee tables – it’s magical.  You flop all the toys into their respective bins, sweep one floor, and wipe 3 square feet of counter space and BAM!  Martha freaking Stewart lives here. The tiny house helps me to keep a clean space all the time, not just when someone is coming over.

The tiny house is easy to decorate.  A couple of shelves, a couple of frames, a couple of vases with flowers.  I went shopping on Black Friday and for the first time, didn’t want to buy something for my home.  Christmas decorating took 20 minutes.

The tiny house makes me practice what I preach – I’ve been vocal about challenging the assumption of “need.”  About living sacrificially to better care for those living in poverty, in our back yards and in the third world.  The tiny house challenges my assumptions about what I need.  A room for each child.  A linen closet.  A coffee table.  A food processor.  An office.  A guest room.  A pantry.  Extra blankets, extra towels, extra dishes – all superfluous.

The tiny house is cozy.  A single candle fills it with scent (this month it’s frasier fir).  The floor plan is open; the living room, a hub.  The cat lives outside now, and comes in to eat and snuggle.  He makes it feel warm, somehow – maybe it’s the fur.

Suddenly, because of the tiny house, our home is clean*, our home is simple, our home is put-together.  We are physically close, physically warm, and I’m more content than I have ever been.

If you’ve been struggling with wanting more space, maybe take a deep breath and start trying to love your tiny home.  Your tiny home will love you for it – and pay you back for your efforts a hundred times over.

 

*Except for the colossal, embarrassing explosion of clothing in my bedroom, which is top secret and nobody knows about except for me, my husband, the grad student who watches our kids, and now you.

 

 

 

  • http://www.eatprayreadlove.com/ Kelli@eatpray{read}love

    Love love love this. Our house is plenty big (too big?) and I find myself wanting more sometimes. Then I realize I’m crazy- we have way more than enough.
    My kids love the 2 bedroom cabin we go stay in a few times a year and beg for a house that small- maybe they are on to something.

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      I find myself wanting more sometimes, too – mostly a bigger (or another) closet in our bedroom and a guest room! I would organize the ever-loving-snot out of a big closet: nice hangars and colorful bins and shelves, oh my! More practically, I really, really, really want a guest room. No matter how small it is. I want to be able to entertain all the time: friends, family, the students we work with, people passing through! It will be a priority whenever we feel it’s time to leave this little house. :) Tiny house with a sweet little guest room – yeah, I’m cool with that.

  • Megan Volnoff

    I love having a small home, too!! I have never been one to want a big home… I could still purge some stuff,though!

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      Purging stuff is seriously one of my favorite things! I get on a roll and can’t stop; my husband has rescued more than one box of books on its way out the door. :) I’m addicted to the space I get as a result!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33504 Theresa Civantos

    This sounds so beautiful, Kate! Do you think perhaps you could do a little photo tour of the darling tiny house? I would love to see how it all comes together and I’m sure other readers would too!

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      That does sound fun, Theresa! I’ll see what I can pull together!

  • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

    Full disclosure: We have a piano in the living room (TOTALLY worth the lack of coffee table) and a little storage room connected to our car port – which is full of bins of our kids’ old clothes. For the future Conner babies that I want (and that my husband is desperately trying to get me to CHILL OUT about). :)

  • smallblessings

    Ok, I think this was an answer to a prayer. Not the answer I was looking for! Ha ha ha. I just prayed (again.) this morning about our “needs” for a larger house. With 7 of us, plus pets in 1,000 square feet (that’s w/ 2 floors) we’re going crazy. I want room for my kids to run. The 5 kids can’t rough house etc, in this tiny space but they certainly don’t stop trying! I’m guessing this article is God’s way of saying “I love you, but you have a good house, I’ve provided for you. Love it.” Arg. So, I may go pout for a while. lol! Thank you for this article. I will try (yet again) to embrace a love for my tiny space and be more thankful for this blessing! :-) (And we will attack all the Junk. Again.)

    • http://kateelizabethconner.com/ Kate Conner

      1,000 sq. feet with 5 little ones IS tiny! (Especially when they are school-age!) And there’s certainly nothing wrong with praying/moving towards a bigger space! I’ve just found that loving my little house (and getting rid of things every day, ha!) helps in the meantime. I seriously gut our books, clothes, toys, and “decor” every couple of months. It’s addicting – the space it frees feels like I can breathe again! I’ve found it’s much less about square footage, and more about contentment. :)

  • Katie

    Thanks for the tribute to small houses. We’re about to be 5 and a dog in a small three bedroom (with a piano in the living room and no garage). Purging to make room for baby has been better preparation than nesting a nursery ever was. Everything you listed above is true at our house too, and I don’t miss the bookshelves I no longer have to dust or the kitchen gadgets that fell on my toes.

  • yeoldcollegetry.wordpress.com

    We were in 700 square feet with two kids before we moved to our current house. I loved our small space for all the reasons you listed. My least favorite cleaning task- the bathrooms- took about 10 minutes per week, because we only had one! Also, because of that small space, we were forced to stick it out until our kids got the hang of sharing a room. If we had a third bedroom, I totally would have broke and put the kids in separate bedrooms. But I love that they share now. It’s really fun, and might not have happened if our small space hadn’t forced the issue:)

  • http://twitter.com/lemead Lindsey Mead

    My house is very small too and I feel similarly affectionate towards it. Love these reflections. Thank you. xox

  • http://twitter.com/ElouiseBates Louise Bates

    Oh, this is lovely. We currently have four people living in a two-story, four-bedroom house, and while I relish the ability to sprawl and breathe and have elbow room, I do sometimes think life would be simpler in a smaller space. We will find out for certain in a few months, though – my husband starts grad school next fall, and this summer we will be moving into student housing. There will be much purging both before and after we arrive, I am certain!

  • http://twitter.com/slackersaver Sharla

    Thanks for this. The topic of our small (rental) home comes up frequently around here, and I bounce between being content with coziness, quick cleaning, and cheap against spacious, storage, and quiet. We would still like more space, but I’m trying to be content here as long as God has us stay.

  • Heather Dinkenor

    My smallest apartment back in my single days: 400 square feet and 75 years old, and while I lived there alone, I absolutely loved the coziness I felt in those tiny two rooms. I never felt alone. I never worried about where I was in life. I never wanted to move. And then they tore it down and built a neighborhood of million dollar McMansions. And I bet none of those people there now in their 10,000 square feet is happier than you are in your tiny blessed home.

  • Lesley

    We have a little house too, although, it feels big compared to our first apartment. I hope we can stay here awhile and that my attitude will remain what it is now: our house is blessing for all the reasons you list above. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Connie Budin

    This article could not have come at a better time for me. As a current senior in college, my everyday thoughts are now consumed with what I will be doing six months from now for a job, and where I will be living. Kate, your words somehow calmed me in letting me know that I can make any space I live in as comfortable, warm, and inviting as I wish it to be. Thank you!

    As a child, I grew up in a very small house similar to ones others have mentioned with just my brother and parents, before moving into the large house my father built where my parents and three other siblings now live. Don’t get me wrong, I love the space our current house gives, including the extra blankets, the linen closet, each child’s own room. However, I often catch myself thinking about the cozy atmosphere of that old house where people shared rooms, the kitchen could have three people max in it, and there was room enough for one person to walk down the hallway.

    Reading this makes you appreciate the peaceful parts in life, and makes me think of the quote “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” I am lucky to be where I am now, and am lucky to have had the past I did as well. Now onto a bright future ahead!

  • Chrissy Boerman

    This post makes me so happy. We live in an 800 sq foot house and feel very content. And yes.. Christmas decorating is easy… And the best part is we know The Lord has chosen this for us. I can NOT wait to see a house tour…

  • http://twitter.com/Motherese Kristen @ Motherese

    Hi Kate – Just stopping by on the recommendation of Lindsey at A Design So Vast and very glad I did. I think this is the perfect time of year for your recommendations since I seem to be more tempted than ever to fill my house with stuff I don’t need or even really want. I adore that William Morris quote and am grateful for its reminder and for yours.

  • http://twitter.com/NinaBadzin Nina Badzin

    YES!!! I love this post so much. So glad Lindsey Mead pointed me here!

  • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

    I love this. I needed this. We have three kids and sometimes I want to move to where we all have space and our own rooms. But I think I’d miss all of the sharing we have to do.

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  • Rudri Patel @ Being Rudri

    I love the quote and the reflections in this post. I recently wrote a post with a similar theme called “Purging the Noise.” Clutter reminds me of physical noise and this past week I went room by room eliminating items that were completely unnecessary. Thank you for sharing this post and I am grateful to Lindsey Mead for pointing me in your direction.