Three years in a Tiny House. Wow, that’s a long time. For those of you who have been following me since the beginning, you know that this house has seen me through many chapters and will continue to evolve as my life evolves. It’s time for my annual update, reflection, and a glimpse of the road ahead.
The first year after I finished building my Tiny Home, I traveled over 25,000 miles with my house in tow. I recall that year with such joy; it was one of the best years of my life. The second year I traveled less with the Tiny House, but more abroad. I shared my Tiny Home with someone else during year one and two, but that abruptly ended in early 2016.
Three years in a Tiny House… and this year has been very different.
For the first time in my life, I lived alone. I bought my ex-boyfriend’s portion of the house, and it became 100% my responsibility. When something breaks, I fix it. If the house is dirty, I clean it. When I want to upgrade an appliance or change the decor, I do it without asking for permission. At first, that made me very sad. Sharing a home, even a tiny one, has its comforts. Living alone can be scary and, well, lonely. It was a difficult transition for me.
At some point, and I can’t remember the exact moment, everything changed. My new found independence became liberating. The quirks that I see inside my home every day still feel nostalgic, but in a good way. I remember every screw, nail, and crack with warmth. And new stories have begun. Today, my house embodies my personality and mine alone. No one will ever care about this sculpture of wood more than I do.
My house hasn’t moved, not even an inch, in more than a year. There were many nights when I sat alone in my nook, listening to the rain tapping on my roof. In the mornings, as I slowly open my eyes, I have watched many times as sunbeams break through the tree branches above my skylight. I’ve become accustomed to the place I live. The sounds and the smells are familiar. My house has expanded beyond its walls.
Living small is about constant redesign and rediscovery.
I did a lot of work on the house over the past year to make the house more me. My construction and creativity skills have flourished. I built a winter skirt, installed new cupboards, shelves, and a bathroom door, replaced the curtains, pillows, bedspread, and I hung new art on the wall. I started a garden and bought myself a set of power tools. My Tiny Home received a makeover and, in many ways, so did I.
Living small has changed the way I think about material belongings and consumerism. Whenever I’m in someone’s large home, I find myself counting all of the unnecessary items. I’m amazed at the things people surround themselves with. A fake bowl of fruit? A frame without a photograph inside? A collection of spoons, shot glasses, teddy bears, or… really any collection at all? When a large space is cluttered, it’s almost unbearable for me. I wonder how anyone can live this way. It’s ironic because many people ask the same of my lifestyle.
I want to help everyone downsize. I’d like to strip my friends’ homes of trinkets and give them their money back. But I bite my tongue. It’s just so difficult to witness others filling every inch of their humongous homes without a thought. A revolving wheel of buying, filling, storing, and items gathering dust. It’s almost like they can’t stand seeing empty space on the wall or a gap in between pieces of furniture. They have to fill it. But why?
Learn to love the empty space in between.
Not only in your home, but also in life.
The ability to cherish emptiness is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned after three years of living tiny. In many ways, this year has been my empty space. It has been my time in between big chapters. A time for me to push the reset button, and get ready for what’s next.
After three years, what is next?
Year four has already begun, and my house is evolving to meet my new needs. I’m doing more redesign, and I’ll be making a big announcement in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
My home works for me, whichever “me” that I currently am or decide to be. As I change and age, my house will too. Our relationship is one of symbiosis. Three years may seem like a long time to live this way, but there are many more years ahead for this relationship to grow and expand. Although, the walls will always stay in place.
Photo credit: Dylan Magaster’s video tour of my Tiny Home
Drone shot taken by Jonathan Benabed