The tiny living movement is growing wildly in popularity, however, it is important to really evaluate things before you decide to downsize-especially if you have kids in tow.
We have been living in under 300 square feet for almost a year now and loving every minute of it. Our kids honestly thrive in this lifestyle and haven’t been concerned about downsizing their belongings or their living space.
When considering going tiny with kids, it is possible to not only survive but to sincerely love this life.
Here are our top 5 must-know tips for surviving tiny living with kids:
Downsize Their Toys And Upgrade To Adventures
When we were going through our purging stages to prep for downsizing, we had our kids lay out one bin of toys at a time. They’d count each of them all lined up in a row and then divide them in half. Half of the toys stayed and the other half were sold or given away. We repeated this process several times before we were ready for tiny life and now we do so about every 6 six weeks. We researched this method in one of our favorite books, Simplicity Parenting. This simplification was a huge help to our son’s sensory disorder as well.
This process of parting with things was much more difficult for us as parents than for our children. However, this gave them responsibility over what stayed and what went. This was really empowering for them and it took the ‘bad guy’ role off of our backs.
Now, instead of buying them an abundance of stuff, they now get most gifts in the form of experiences. Last year both kids got a membership to our local zoo and we have used that more times than I can count. Bonus: This counts toward our son’s Roadschooling hours! We’ve be able to afford to get them monthly subscriptions to educational packages or short trips that we wouldn’t have afforded before downsizing and they love it so much more!
Get Them Outdoors
This element is a crucial part of our tiny life. We are on the move even when we are parked. Our current spot is on a 20 acre farm that has a many mile bike path right outside our backdoor. The park is exactly 1.3 miles to the left and a local skydiving company is 3 miles to the right. Our kids have already seen and experienced so much more of life at 6 and 1 years old than I did by adulthood.
Some of our favorite ways to pass the time are rock climbing, park hopping, bike riding, and hiking. Our kiddos love to splash and explore in creeks, dig in the dirt, and swim anywhere we’ll let them. I cannot tell you what this type of free play in nature does for kids. They are learning real world lessons, leave no trace policies, survival skills, problem solving, collaboration, and natural consequences every single day. It. Is. AWESOME.
The bonus of getting outside together means you don’t even notice the reduced living space inside your tiny house because the outside is so vast. And nothing beats an afternoon nap in your Eno hammock!
Trade In And Trade Up
Our kids know that when we are in a new place or shopping at Target, if they want to ask for something new, like kids do, that they have to trade something in. They cannot get something new, just as we don’t, without giving something up.
Whether it is clothes, toys, books, or movies, our kids expect that we will do clean outs every few weeks and give away anything we haven’t used, played with, or worn since the last purge. They have come to enjoy the feeling of bringing joy to others through donating what they have been blessed with. It brings new meaning to generosity and gives them hands on experience serving others.
Give Them Their Own Space
When living tiny, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a special place in the house for each person. The kiddos are no different. They need a space that they can decorate and enjoy and run to whenever they need privacy.
In our kids’ room, we chose to remove one set of bunkbeds to build a space that includes a homeschool area for our boy with a folding desk and wobble seat as well as a sensory/calming area. This includes a bean bag chair (Click HERE for 66% off), a climbing wall, a reading nook, and access to calming toys.
Organize Their Must-Haves
If baskets were currency, we’d be rich! Our kids have two fabric bins each to put their toys. That means, if it doesn’t fit, they can’t keep it. All of their Roadschool materials have their own basket (Click HERE for 60% off) and we organize their school supplies in magnetic tins (Click HERE for 50% off a set of 2) and metal buckets that are stored in a rolling utility cart for easy access to taking school outside.
This type of storage makes clean up a breeze and allows us to take toys or school supplies on the go without a second thought.
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.