Tiny House Impressions

I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I live in a tiny house. I still need to go through the history and journey that led us to this life but I will wait until another day for that. This blog isn’t going to be only about our tiny house, though that will obviously be a lot of what I write about. It’s our life, and it’s strange and new and different and exciting for us so it’s often on my mind to share with others. We have been living in it for six months now. We parked Lil Blue on the farm in April and have had a successful three seasons in it. Now is the time for the real test, winter. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It’s predicted that we are to have a mild winter this year which I am more than grateful for. I have no idea how the house will hold up against severe cold and ice—though it has managed to withstand 90 mph winds!

For the most part, I love our house. It’s cozy, beautiful, warm, and ours! Up until this point we have only ever rented apartment after apartment. At one point in my life, just a few short years ago, I said that I would be happy never owning a house, that I loved renting because we weren’t responsible for anything and it was easy. And then I quickly changed my mind. I grew tired of hearing my neighbors all the time—their barking dogs, blasting music or movies, fighting or having sex. It was tiresome and annoying and I would be thrown into a rage if it interrupted my precious sleep. We lived in one apartment building that looked like a scene from a horror film, with flickering hall lights and a dead body out front. I’m not even kidding. There was a murder while we lived there and the body had not been removed when we got home from work.  I soon longed for my own home, one where I could decorate and update and work on projects that didn’t have to be undone or painted over when we moved. I wanted my own private space, something beautiful, and something that was actually mine.

I am so happy to have my own home, even if it is on a minuscule size. But I will say, tiny house living is not for the faint-of-heart. You can Google tiny houses, watch shows on TV, or Pinterest to your heart’s content, but when it comes to really living in them, the cute factor may not be enough.

People, tiny house living is hard work! Yes there are others out there who are also doing it but each situation is so unique that trying to learn what you need to do feels impossible and like you are blazing your own trail. We live in a climate that is cold, very cold. We have horrible winds, lots of ice and snow, which makes things like keeping our water from freezing difficult. We also have tornadoes in Iowa…and tiny houses don’t have a foundation, let alone a basement.

We are six months in and we still don’t have it down. Each day brings a new challenge or repeats one that we still haven’t quite figured out how to handle smoothly. Our biggest ongoing challenge is water. We have to haul in our own water. We do not live near enough to a well to be able to pump it directly into our home. We go a mile down the road to fill our 35 gallon tank that lives in the back of our 1994 Ford pickup truck. Then we drive the truck back and park it as close as we can to our house which is parked on a farm in the midst of a large garden. Using a hose and various pumps (we were using a drill to manually pump water through the hose and are now trying out other faster solutions), we snake the hose into our house to fill our tank that hides under our couch/bench that we built. But the whole process takes about 3 hours, takes 2 people, and has to be done with the door to our house open. How are we supposed to do this in winter?! We are now in December and still don’t have an answer.

Whenever you look at pictures of tiny houses, many people are impressed at how clean they always seem to be. I have had lots of people ask me if our house is always that clean. The answer is, it needs to be that clean all the time because there isn’t any space to make it messy. I thought this would be super easy for me to keep up with. Overall, I pride myself on being an extremely organized and clean person. That‘s the way I like to keep my home, that’s the way I like to live, and it’s easy for me to do so. But it is not easy for me to do it in our tiny house! Why, you may wonder? I have no idea! I am definitely the problem out of my husband and me. I have such a hard time putting things back where they belong or keeping on top of washing my dishes right away. But all that does is create an environment of clutter. We can barely walk because of clothes and bags piled on the floor and we have no surface to set things down because it is covered in papers and dirty dishes.

We want to be in this house for at least two years. That was our goal when we moved into it. We enjoy it enough that I don’t think that will be a problem. But I do think this whole first year will be one long, slow, and sometimes painful transition as we figure out just how to live in such a small space. And not only small, but a space without running water, using a compost toilet, trying to lessen our footprint and our consumerism, and be more sustainable. There is a huge learning curve for us and not many people in our lives to learn from first-hand. We love it, but it is hard. I'm sure this will be a running theme for me in future posts. Overall, I would encourage anyone who is interested to take some time to live this way. Removing all that is familiar and stripping away typical luxuries really makes you aware of your priorities, your needs, and ultimately your desires. But it isn’t as easy as it may look on Tiny House Hunters or on Pinterest.