Lessons from Living in a Tiny Home
In this guest post, author and avid traveler Margaret Littman shares her experience renting and living in two tiny homes for a writer’s retreat.
I don’t, by default, think small things are cute just because they are small. So, I wasn’t initially drawn to tiny houses for any reason but curiosity. The homes, which are typically less than 400 sq. ft., seem to appeal to all ages. According to recent reports, 63 percent of millennials are interested in buying a tiny home and 40 percent of tiny homeowners are older than 50. Even a pandemic that led us to work from home didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm for these artfully designed small spaces. I recently rented two different tiny houses for short writing retreats. I might not be ready to invest in one full time, but I did learn a number of lessons.
Organization is Essential
Making the bed, hanging up the dog leash, putting away clean dishes. Those might be nice habits in ordinary life, but in a tiny house, they are essential. In order to maneuver or access something hidden behind something else, everything has to be in its place. Otherwise, the magic doesn’t work. I’m hoping this habit sticks back at home, where it is easy for me to leave a sweatshirt on an empty chair or books piled on the floor.
Creativity Can Be Cultivated
With fewer distractions inside, I was my most productive self. I worked through a book manuscript that had stymied me. That was the point of the retreats, of course, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much tunnel vision I was able to have. It makes me think that those studies that show that less clutter leads to more focus might be true. This is motivation to declutter my home office for the long term.
Fresh is Best
The dorm-size fridge didn’t allow for a lot of storage of ingredients. While I did have an extra cooler in my car, I decided to make it a challenge. I only bought what would fit in the fridge. That encouraged me to use fresh produce right away and to eat any leftovers before making a new meal. Again, these are habits that will serve me well at home. I had less food waste than I usually do when cleaning out a rental kitchen.
Versatility is Valuable
After closer inspection, I learned the toaster oven was also an air fryer. The linen storage was also my desk. And my coffee table. That sort of efficiency is essential in a tiny house, but also useful in everyday living when I’m trying to consume less and reduce clutter.
Outdoor Exploration Matters
The tiny houses I chose had great views and plenty of outdoor space. That’s the real essence of a tiny house: It helps you use the outdoors as your living room, with the sunrise as your alarm clock and the stars as your ceiling. Because I was outside a lot, taking photos of the sunset from a pier on Mobile Bay, eating breakfast al fresco, I met the neighbors. Despite the fact that I was in town for a limited amount of time, I made some fun connections.