When the tiny house movement began to grow over a decade ago, it mostly belonged to an underground group of environmentalists who wanted to leave a smaller global footprint. Many were single or young and newly married. Fast forward to the age of HGTV and tiny houses began catching on as a means of affordable retirement for older people who wanted a sense of adventure without the pressure of driving an RV across the country full-time.
But what if you are a family or a couple who knows they want to have children? Can you still enjoy tiny living?
As a family of four with a dog, the Burger family has lived tiny for over a year, Roadschooled their children, and been both stationary as well as on the road with their kiddos and their tiny house. Here are four reasons they believe going tiny isn’t just for singles and retirees, and why they actually tell folks on the road that tiny living has been their best decision yet.
It Affords You More Time Together
Before living tiny, we owned a 2200 square foot house on 15 acres, so the upkeep was unreal. We spent most of our time working insane hours to pay for the mortgage and, when we were home, we had to mow the lawn, make home repairs, and spend hours cleaning what had been lived in all week while we worked. We felt like we were running on a hamster wheel and, though we lived on our dream property, we never had time to enjoy it.
Since selling our home and land and downsizing to a 36 foot gooseneck, our family is able to be a one income home. This allows us to be together more often, Roadschool our kids so their individual needs are met, and make memories together that we’d never have had the time or money for before. The best part, they boast, is only needing 45 minutes a week to clean the entire house, laundry included. You never know how much time you waste cleaning rooms you don’t even use until you don’t have to anymore.
It Provides Great Non-Traditional Parenting Opportunities
After spending years in the public school system, mom Brynn Burger of The Mama on The Rocks says, “We spend so much time trying to teach kids to be kind by just telling them. Now that we live tiny, we are given opportunities both to model that for our children as well as for them to practice kindness to others.”
During our initial purging process, we learned a lot from our kids. The ‘stuff’ they wanted to keep may not have matched what we would have chosen, but it was a great lesson in allowing them to accept responsibility for their own things. Now, we still purge about every six weeks and they now get excited to take the toys and clothes they haven’t worn, played with, or have outgrown in that time to give to another family who needs them more than us. They are truly experiencing the blessing that comes from living kindness.
It Allows You to Save Money
Our monthly expenses used to be well over $3000 when you consider mortgage, taxes, healthcare from two jobs, two vehicles, utilities on a large home, etc. We now pay just under $1000 a month for our house, vehicle, phone, waste disposal, and our lot rent which includes our electric, water, and trash. The amount of money we are saving has allowed us to pay off debt, build a savings, and travel more in the last year than we had in the 13 years we’ve been together, combined.
It Offers the Chance for Children to Experience More of Life
From traveling the country and learning from people in different cultures, socioeconomic statuses and backgrounds, to having a spontaneous dinner with a woman from Germany staying on the farm where they are currently parked in Ohio, this family is able to watch their kids experience life every day.
“Instead of just going to school like I did before, I get to learn wherever we are and I get to play a lot more. It is way better,” said their seven-year-old son emphatically.
With a special needs son, being able to Roadschool has been an indescribable blessing. We’d never have been able to afford this before and now our kids are both learning from traditional classroom environments as well as trips to museums, the library, professionals, cultural experiences, and more. This is like a child’s dream come true…and it’s pretty fun for the grown-ups too.
Tiny living may not be for everyone, but simplifying your life can bring about changes you never even knew you needed. Going tiny is not just a dream achievable by retirees and single millennials. Families and growing couples can (and should) consider this new way of living. The freedoms that come with it are incomparable.
Brynn Burger lives tiny, loves big, and laughs always. Writing with honest hilarity and violent vulnerability about parenting, adulting, downsizing, living tiny, and raising an extreme child is her attempt to escape the painful isolation that comes from a life of hiding to instead connect with people who are raw and real. Check her out at www.themamaontherocks.com.