Before moving into our Tiny House I wrote about my fears in going tiny. For me, the benefits outweighed the challenges and this helped me squash my fears and take the plunge into drastic minimizing and tiny house living. These benefits included increased freedom from work and less financial burden, more flexibility to pursue passion filled projects and ultimately, more time and energy for my family. 6 months into tiny house living…I can definitely say I am enjoying it. Those benefits have either already come to fruition or they are fiercely close to it.
However, there have been a few benefits that I wasn’t expecting.
1. Newfound confidence. Having the courage to embark on a drastic lifestyle change which included building our tiny house (yes, I learned to use power tools and literally sheded tears, sweat and blood building it) and embarking on an unfamiliar journey in an effort to get out of the rat race has increased my faith in myself. I have let go of 70% of my possessions (this includes shoes and anyone who knows me can say that is a MIRACLE!). Increased confidence stemming from successfully downsizing and building a tiny house would be expected (although that benefit didn’t occur to me prior). But how I see myself and how I feel now has surprised me.
I feel good…and not just the “I lost 20 pounds and fit into a bodycon dress” type of confidence (which I have definitely not done recently). But the kind of confidence where I can be out in public with no makeup, a messy bun (and NOT the cool Meghan Markle worthy of coronal rebelliousness kind of bun), with a kid (or husband) throwing a tantrum, no flashy corporate title, clothes, jewelry or car to show off and… I STILL FEEL CONFIDENT. I know I’m a strong, capable, loving, intelligent, beautiful woman who is doing everything she can to live with intent and purpose and be the best mother, wife and friend she can be. I care less of what others think of me. I am enough. I am damn grateful.
2. A clearer head and open heart. Clarity has hit me like waves hitting a beach since we moved into our tiny house. The clarity comes crashing down but then slowly recedes only to quickly come pounding back. However, I feel that every time it recedes it doesn’t completely leave and wave after wave chips away at the obscurity and worry…leaving a much more clearer head and open heart.
There is also a higher level of transparency, love and honesty that needs to be embraced to successfully embark on this transformative journey and that in turn helps break down the complexity. I’m clearer with my goals, my shortcomings and expectations overall. I feel I’m offering others (particularly strangers) more grace but I can still be astute, assertive and will cut you down if you hurt someone I care about.
3. Increased desire and motivation to help others. Prior to this journey, I would have said I liked to help people. I have come to realize this was only if they were in my inner circle, or I felt them “worthy.” I didn’t prioritize helping others outside my circle. After settling into our house and our new life…I’m actively looking at how I can help not only my friends and family, but strangers as well. I am better able to consider that a person’s negative or bad predicament is due to circumstances and not their character. This allows me to be more empathetic and willing to help.
I’m volunteering more, smiling at strangers more. People that have recently met me have said (to my face) that they think I’m “so sweet” and “super nice.” I’m still in a bit of shock and conflicted over this, as I was always the strong, loyal friend, the kind you wanted by your side in a fight but not the kind you wanted to upset. I was definitely NOT the nice one (I mean, are you surprised? Did you read the last sentence of benefit #2?). I still don’t consider myself (or care to be) nice, but now I can do kind and own it.
4. Decreased need for personal space. We designed and built a big tiny house at 36ft long by 10ft wide. It has a private bedroom and two lofts. One loft for our son and one to serve as our closet/spare room/reading nook. We also set up a few areas outside to comfortably have extra living space. We strategically designed our house so that we could “get away” and be able to enjoy some personal space (as best possible in a tiny house). Our previous house was 2,000 square feet and I was incredibly nervous about feeling claustrophobic and having the need to constantly get away in a tiny house.
However, since moving in…I haven’t felt the need to “get away.” I say we because I did confirm this with my husband (and no, I wasn’t twisting his arm or any other part of his body). He legit said, “Naw, I feel the opposite. I actually miss you more now when you’re not around because I feel and see your absence so much more in a smaller space.” Swoon. Let’s remember we’re only 6 months in and potentially in the “honeymoon” stage of tiny living (we’ve been married 11 years). I do plan to revisit this in the future…and will definitely let you know how our son reacts when he literally outgrows his loft or when my husband inevitably changes his mind.
5. Knowing everything my child is up to (at least inside our Tiny House). Since his loft space is open and I can see and hear him from most areas in my house, it’s easier to correct any negative or unwanted behavior. I don’t have to get up from what I’m doing. I don’t have to go into his room. I just have to say his name and give “The Look.”
I’m there and ready to stop or correct him when he:
– Wants to start drawing on the wall instead of the white board
– Sneaks a pack of gum and is ready to chew it all in one sitting
– Calls his glitchy robot “stupid shit” and is ready to throw it down the loft
And I don’t need to get up and put down my phone, computer, book, coffee, chocolate or wine glass.
However, I’m also there to praise and enjoy when he:
– Rocks and cuddles his favorite toy and tucks him in for a nap
– While playing with his toys says “you are the best, just like my mommy”
– Starts singing and dancing in his underwear and shaking his butt to the beat
of his favorite song
And for that…I will very happily put down the (insert any of my favorite vices here).
Sarahi Nunez Mejia is an organizing wizard, events mastermind, wife and mom. She lives in a 500 sq ft tiny house with her family in Los Angeles and blogs about the lifestyle of downsizing and minimalism, prioritizing experiences over things, and using your money smartly at Tiny Living In LA.
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