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5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Tiny Home

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Tiny Home

I’ve been traveling around in my tiny house for six months now. I’m very comfortable inside the small space, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few challenges along the way. Once or twice I’ve cried out in frustration, “it’s too small!” Other times I’ve been thankful for having less space to clean and maintain, and for the freedom it has provided. Bottom line: I’ve learned a lot from my tiny home, and I’d like to share the lessons with all of you. 

What I Learned from my Tiny Home (in the first six months):

1). I care MORE about my consumption

I know how much water I use on a daily basis  – approximately 15 gallons when I take navy showers. I know how often I need to dump the urine container on my composting toilet – every 3 days. I know how much propane I use per month – about 15 pounds. I know these things because I have to physically empty my grey water tank, fill my fresh water tank, refill my propane tanks, dump my toilet, etc.

I take navy showers and use the Nature’s Head to conserve water and propane.

Measuring my consumption in physical labor has made me more conscious of my waste. There’s a HUGE difference between seeing decimals and graphs on your monthly bill and having to physically refill your tanks. I use less. I waste less. I save more money.

2). I think before I purchase

I have nightmares about clutter. In a tiny traveling house, clutter can mean the difference between owning three mugs or four. I don’t shop often, but when I do I need to know: 1). What purpose will the new item serve? 2). Can it replace something else and/or increase the functionality of my daily life? 3). Where will it be stored?

If I can’t answer those three questions, I DON’T NEED IT and I DON’T BUY IT! Similarly, when I want to get rid of something, I post it on Yerdle.

I try to keep my kitchen counters empty. Everything tucks away and has a place.

3). I appreciate the imperfections

I’ve had the opportunity to tour many other tiny homes in the last six months. Sometimes I swoon over a great space saving idea or an innovative layout. I call it “tiny-envy.” I have to remind myself that my partner and I had zero construction experience before building our tiny abode. It’s not perfect, but my house is still pretty darn cool. And it’s mine!

When we were building I was so meticulous about everything. If something wasn’t perfect, I wanted to redo it. Now the imperfections that once made me cringe don’t bother me at all. In fact, I kind of like them! Each scratch and hole was a lesson and a memory. If you’re currently building your own tiny home, don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy the process, and recognize that imperfections can be beautiful. 

More on our window trim installation

4). “If you build it, you will fill it”

This is sound advice from my friend and fellow tiny houser – Art Cormier. Guillaume and I recently modified our staircase to have a few extra storage compartments. And now they’re full! Uh oh…the clutter monster is knocking at our door! We’re going to have to think twice before adding any new shelving or storage spaces in the future. If I don’t have a place to put new stuff, I don’t need new stuff! (See lesson #2).

My kitchen cabinet. I own three mugs, two cups, two wine glasses and a bunch of spices. It’s full!

5). I’m less needy.

Perhaps my partner would argue, but I’m going to make an assumption that I’m less needy now than I ever was before. I have less, but I want and need less as well. When I think about all the stuff I used to own and purchase, I feel overwhelmed. The tiny house has challenged me to unburden myself. I like the new care-free me!

Just for fun, here are a few more ways my life has changed from living in a tiny house:

I clean less. I shop less. I cook more. I consume less. I primp less. I dress better. I eat better. I sleep more. I read more. I watch TV less. I drive less. I play with my dog more. I hike more. I go to the gym less. I travel WAY more.

How would a tiny house change you?

*Article originally posted on



  1. cherie
    April 1, 2015 / 9:14 am

    My family and i saw you yesterday on the I80 going thru fairfiled, CA. Had to look into your story. We think what you are doing is great and we wish you all the luck. Best wishes!

  2. Dennis Soriano
    March 29, 2015 / 7:33 pm

    Great blog and wonderful pictures. The adventure is well worth the memories. The experience serendipitous. I love travel and exploration, nothing beats new experiences. It puts a big smile in my face to see two great people enjoying the world. “Joy to the world!…” -you know the song…


  3. Maria
    March 25, 2015 / 7:51 am

    Jenna – I LOVE THIS BLOG ENTRY. Thank you so much. I am going to a tiny open house at Mt. Holyoke College in MA where a 21 yo Architecture student just built her own tiny house. I am so excited. I love reading your blog, you are a descriptive lovely writer. I am grateful to have met you

  4. March 22, 2015 / 9:01 am

    Love this post and the insights you have provided.

  5. March 20, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    we live and travel in a 36 foot fifth wheel trailer and we don’t use that much propane a month. whenever we’re hooked up we use electric for the fridge and water heater….we love our small home and if we ever settle down tiny would be even better!

    always remember, if you bring it home, something has to leave!

  6. Toni Harris
    March 20, 2015 / 10:34 am

    This is really great.i love envy all your trip.i think you have design ed the best tiny house there a way to gift card you gas money without a purchase? Will u be traveling thru Seattle ? CheersToni

    • March 20, 2015 / 11:01 am

      Thank you Toni, it’s nice of you to say! We will be spending some time in Seattle, you can see when on our route page (though things change). As for gas money, that’s so very generous of you to offer! We don’t really have a good way to do so, besides our donation button.

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