Why We Live Tiny

Alysha and kids tiny house

by Alysha Germain

We decided to downsize our life after losing someone very dear to us. This past March we said goodbye to my husband, and father of our two children, who passed away from complications associated with colon cancer. Pete was 32 years old. If you ask me, that is just too young to say goodbye. Despite the fact that it was short, Pete lived an inspiring life. That is why I knew I had to honor the life he lost by truly living the one I have been given. One of the ways I chose to do that was by downsizing our life and deciding to live with less.

Although, tiny house living is just one aspect of that, we could not be happier with the impact it has made on our lives and here is why:

  1. It is a lot easier than expected. In the beginning I wondered if I was really going to do this. I was a bit overwhelmed in the first week as I tried to figure out what was going to work best. Is this the best place for the dishes? My pantry is so disorganized. Do I need more shelves? Do I need all this silverware? All that kind of stuff. But as we settled in and began to get into our routine, it got easier. Way easier. So easy, that I can hardly believe I doubted myself. And it is even easier to spend time in the tiny house than I expected.
  2. It reminds me that we have everything we need and then some. We are no longer part of the never ending consumerism cycle. We do not yearn to purchase things we do not have. We are more focused on necessity as opposed to fulfilling our desire for more. Besides, we do not have all the space to put extras anyway. Tiny living reminds me that we are beyond blessed.
  3. We are more connected. Living in a tiny space and in such close proximity to family has been amazing. Not only are we closer as a family of three but we are closer with the rest of our family as well. I have witnessed my children blossom in ways they never would have if it had not been for this life change. They are more secure, more obedient, more loving towards each other and others, more imaginative, and just happier overall.
  4. We spend a lot less time shopping. We do not need much anymore and are far less focused on material possessions. That frees up time to do other things we enjoy like spending hours at the park. We spend more time enjoying simple pleasures. When we woke up this morning we watched the pink sunrise through our tiny house windows and discussed the beauty of God’s creation.
  5. We spend a lot more time just “being.” We are no longer busy for the sake of being busy. The tiny house has brought peace and serenity to our lives. It also gives me a chance to do less housework which, in turn, allows me to focus on my children more; they are what matters most. There are days when we have nothing planned for the whole day. The old me would have felt aimless, but the new me enjoys having that luxury.

Tiny living has inspired us to live simply, dream bigger, pursue joy, laugh more, focus on togetherness, and to relish life’s simple pleasures. It has inspired us to truly live intentionally and I know Pete would be proud.

tiny house

You can find more of Alysha over at www.anintentionalfuture.com where she writes about her own experience with loss. She also features the inspiring stories of others who are choosing to live beyond loss as well as her adventures in downsizing and tiny house living. Feel free to contact her if you would like to share your own story of living beyond loss.

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Sue Keller - November 8, 2013 Reply

Love the house…missing the bathroom sink, though.

Bill Irish - November 8, 2013 Reply

What a great article!!! You DID nail all the good points on realistic earth living. You DO do Pete a wonderful honor being remembered by you in this way He was/is a lucky man.

Donna McFarland - November 8, 2013 Reply

Thank you,so very much for sharing your heartwarming and oh so brave story! What a GIFT that you had such clarity to be able to take this direction with your lives. When so many would simply crumble, faced with what you were, you took the reigns and created a whole new “normal” that’ll truly honor your beloved.

Deepest sympathy on your loss!

Janice Stenger - November 8, 2013 Reply

I love the little green chairs outside…so sweet. I think you did exactly the right thing for your children. Being near your family will be worth everything. There is the security of knowing you have a house that is yours, we all need that. Yours is a loss that no young wife and mother should endure. Peter most have had the comfort of knowing you were a sensible woman who could finish the job of raising his children. What is a sad sad story is also one of hope and I know that your children will remember and admire their fine parents.

NESurferGirl - November 8, 2013 Reply

Inspiring story! I love the house tour at the end! Who makes/designs this tiny house model? I would love to live in one just like it 🙂

Rick - November 8, 2013 Reply

I was very inspired by your story. It is encouraging to see you make something positive out of such a deep lose. I am sure this will have a positive impact on your children. There are many reasons to like tiny houses; thanks for sharing yours.

jeff davis - November 8, 2013 Reply

Sorry for your loss.
That’s a very inspirational story and thank you for sharing it!

Paulette - November 8, 2013 Reply

Alysha, what an inspiring story! Your life is going to touch and bless so many people. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and family with us.

LittleThings for which I am Thankful | Chasing Simple Dreams - November 8, 2013 Reply

[…] came across this blogpost, and it reminded me, I’m on the right track. Plus, the story, while being somewhat sad in its […]

Wendy Bailey - November 8, 2013 Reply

An inspirational and beautiful story. Your children will not remember that they didn’t have a huge house and every toy on the planet, they will remember the love and closeness they shared with you. I am so sorry for your loss and I applaud your courage and your ability to see what it truly important in life.

Irene - November 8, 2013 Reply

I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I think your purposeful living is making him proud as he watches over you and your children. I loved your story and your house is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. It was very inspiring.

Sierra - November 8, 2013 Reply

This is so inspiring! I have always wanted to live in a tiny house, but my boyfriend is skeptical that we would have enough space. If a mom and her two kids can do it, though, we should have no problem!

http://sierrabritton.blogspot.com/

Mary Kretzmann - November 8, 2013 Reply

Bless your heart… That is too young to say goodbye. Your tiny home is a beautiful cozy way to heal your hearts… As the children grow, you will need more room, beyond the family bed, but everything you are learning now will help you when that time comes. The simplicity of living small, can continue in a small cottage of some sort, with a small room for each child, since you have a boy and a girl.

My husband died of an aggressive cancer in August 2012. Our youngest of 3 children was 19. I am grateful we had the time we did. I do understand the heartache, and the need to redefine your life while also still cherishing the soul and memory of the beloved father.

All the best wishes to you and your children.

kir - November 8, 2013 Reply

Your family (and home) is beautiful. Thanks for being an inspiration!

Denis Paul - November 8, 2013 Reply

This is a beautiful little house. It feels pretty but not precious. Very livable and light-filled. It’s heartening to see a family living the tiny house life as a means to embodying more fully their values…which they are okay sharing. I have a feeling we would disagree about theology, Alysha’s story, and her style in telling it, make me want to learn more. Something tells me this is the kind of story that would gain more converts, to the possibilities of tiny house living, if not Alysha’s particular brand of Christianity. Brava, Alysha.

Khadija - November 8, 2013 Reply

I’m so sorry you lost your husband. What a beautiful home you have made for your family. I think my favorite accessory is your cat. 😀

kevINSIGHT - November 8, 2013 Reply

What a great outlook you have on life and a wonderful new beginning! The home is beautiful as a structure, a statement, and a family: tearfully inspiring and courageous. You do his legacy proud.

kyle - November 8, 2013 Reply

I absolutely love this! Imagine building them their own home with them as they enter teenage years! Then imagine them leaving for college and taking their home with them!

    Laurel Standley - November 8, 2013 Reply

    what a beautiful vision – building the family out in pods that they take with them. And thank you Alysha for your inspiring story. Your children are blessed to have you.

JP - November 8, 2013 Reply

A beautiful and inspirational story.You are one of today’s pioneers – leading the way into a lifestyle that will , hopefully, be the keystone of the future of our planet – using only what we need and sharing the rest while taking time to notice and enjoy the incredible bounty that Nature will provide us if we just give it a little room to breath.
I’m a designer and am currently working on a design for a micro home myself, and was just looking for some interesting ideas for small living. What a nice surprise to come upon your little jewel of a story – thank you for sharing it.And thank you for your example of actually living the life that we should all be pursuing.:)

Allan - November 8, 2013 Reply

Beautiful home. Beautiful family. And Im sorry for your families loss of your husband and daddy to the kids. Everything seems to fit together in that house perfect.

Ms. Minimal - November 8, 2013 Reply

Beautiful little home….. beautiful little family. The love is visible in every board and fixture. Bless you, your family & your future….. <3

Sal - November 8, 2013 Reply

You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your experiences and hope with us.

Raising my child in a caravan when she was little was much easier and less stressful than when we had a whole house. We each knew where the other was all the time and neither of us felt alone, even though we might be doing different things at the time. A good time. I wish you and your children the same happy memories that you’ll cherish always.

JL - November 8, 2013 Reply

Where do the children sleep?

Deb Nixon - November 8, 2013 Reply

I could just hug you! Bless you and your children and thank you for sharing your story. btw..I dream of living small. It will happen. 🙂

Paul Jenkins - November 8, 2013 Reply

Sorry for your loss but it seems you’ve also gained so much! Sounds perfect!

MJ - November 8, 2013 Reply

A very touching and inspiring story. My own brother is fighting colon cancer than has spread to his liver. He is a husband and father of three. I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to honor your husband’s memory, while making happy loving memories for your children, growing up surrounded by family. Best wishes to you and your family.

jodie - November 8, 2013 Reply

I love the house it would work for me, but I have no children at home anymore that aren’t furry. I am wondering what you are going to do when your children get a bit older and need a room of their own, or even a real bed of their own, as I am assuming that they either sleep with you are on the sofa in the living room. That will not last for much longer dear. Do you have plans to expand the tiny house just a bit to give the kids the space they will need soon? What a joy it must be to live so compactly. The best of luck to you. ty for sharing.

    Patty - November 15, 2013 Reply

    I think it will be a few years before the kids need to leave the family bed. If she is practicing attachment parenting, then it’s child-led when that time will be…as per the advice of experts:

    http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-bed-sharing-rules

    By the way, the American culture is always pushing for people to spend more money by getting bigger and bigger places to live…including convincing people that each child needs their own room to grow up healthy…whereas in other cultures, families live in one or two or three room homes and bond very closely. Children grow up to become independent adults because they grew up so secure sleeping in a family bed before they hit the tweens. Also, many parents have children who leave their bedrooms in the middle of the night, climb into the parents’ bed to cuddle and get through the night easier. Those parents are fooling themselves in thinking they don’t have a family bed. Yet, so many eyebrows were raised in the comments for this post…people bewildered by where the children must be sleeping in this tiny house, LOL, or making judgmental statements to pressure the grieving widow to push the kids out of the bed faster. I think after losing their father, sleeping next to their mom is probably going to help them transition well to their new life. More families should consider tiny homes- save money, get closer to their loved ones, spend more time in the outdoors in the open space rather than being couch potatoes in a large house.

Don Beams - November 8, 2013 Reply

Just… Thank you…

Kenise - November 8, 2013 Reply

I’m so sorry for your loss especially one so young. But what did Indian Jones say, it’s not the years, it’s the mileage. It sounds as if his legacy is more than just your two lovely children. They have gained strength in your ability to carry on. He is still with you in spirit. The house is wonderful in so many ways.

Mishelle - November 8, 2013 Reply

Where do your children sleep? In your video it seems there is just one bed. Co-sleeping is great with children but when they reach teens would need their own bed.

Jean Martineau - November 8, 2013 Reply

Courage vous êtes sur la bonne route ! 🙂

Reda Herriott - November 8, 2013 Reply

Great video… talented.. music and all… Thanks so much for posting.. truly inspiring… Looking to start a company to build tiny homes… wow.. love the stove and oven.. please let me know what kind? Safe journeys and positive energy sending your way… Reda… Torrey, Utah

Nerida - November 8, 2013 Reply

Virtual hugs to you and your famil. Thank you for inviting us in to see your homye, it is the most beautiful/stylish, well thought out tiny home I have seen to date. Wishing you all the best for a bright and happy future.

Nicole Marie - November 8, 2013 Reply

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and your lovely home. Your children are very lucky to have such a mom and such a house! Best of luck to you and your family.

Chris K - November 8, 2013 Reply

So sorry for your loss. Very nice house, thanks for the tour. Two questions: What are the sleeping arrangements? Will you be able to maintain the sleeping arrangements as the kids grow?

Alexandra - November 9, 2013 Reply

Your home is really beautiful. I am so sorry that you lost your husband and the children their father however you are clearly providing them with a loving and secure life. The closeness you share in this home is so important right now. Instead of a huge home where everyone usually retreats to distant, private spaces you all remain together and in touch. I lost a parent as a child and grew up with my fantastic father. All turned out well as it will for your children. Fear not.
God bless.

wolfgang hirschlein - November 9, 2013 Reply

where do you live where they let you live in one of these tiny homes ?

Joe Green - November 9, 2013 Reply

A very nice story! I have read many similar stories. They have one thing in comon, they are all young people! Does anyone who is not young live in tiny houses?

Ken Sturmer - November 10, 2013 Reply

First let me say I am so sorry for your loss. I love your little house! This would be perfect for myself and my dog Buddy. The big problem I see is, most communities I have lived in would not permit a place of this type. First it is on a trailer chassis. Most communities do not permit this. Second places like where I currently live, have a minimum of a thousand sq feet for a permissable dwelling. How do you get around this?

Carol Bartosiewicz - November 10, 2013 Reply

Absolutely beautiful home and story. God Bless!

Jenifer - November 11, 2013 Reply

Wonderful, pretty, and comfortable home. Very nice!

We have chosen to live small rather than tiny, but we have the same experiences that you do — and particularly enjoy the closeness of family.

We spent the last month visiting family and friends across the country. Their houses are large, the smallest being 1700 sq ft. Having our son in a bath, with us in the next room, was disconcerting, so my husband and I sat in the hallway to read. Then, having the kiddo up stairs, sleeping, while we were downstairs chatting — so we went up into the hallway to read again. I’m sure we seemed nuts, but it was so pleasant.

We are currently living in 600 sq ft, which is bigger than we need, but it’s nice, too. 🙂

Terrie - November 11, 2013 Reply

I just love the house, but I saw absolutely no closet for clothes. Where do you hang your clothes or put them away? Also I saw only one bed. Do all three of them sleep in the same bed? Just things I would like to know as it’s only my husband and myself now and I would love to downsize. Living with a disability. (Fibromyalgia) it’s hard for me to keep up with the house cleaning now. Awesome video.

Bryan B. Stegall - November 11, 2013 Reply

I think you should have two separate sinks, one for food and one for hygiene. Practice sterile technique.

john - November 11, 2013 Reply

Life and death happen without our permission, we are part of a vast cycle we have no say in. It’s a helpless feeling, it hurts a lot sometimes…it’s also beautiful, amazing, and a miracle. I’m truly sorry you three lost Pete.
Human beings have a limited ability to focus, we can only give 100% to one thing at a time, that’s the reality we live with. The more you have going on in your life, the more divided your focus becomes. Houses, careers, and physical items are similarly greedy for our attention.
By minimizing those things that claim portions of your attention and focus you free that portion for what is most important to you…in your case family. It’s an absolute brilliant move.
Parents often confuse security with big houses and possessions. It has the opposite effect, it also sends the wrong message about what’s important to your children. It explains a lot about American society and our ideas of what success means…it leads to financial ruin in many cases, it teaches children to be irresponsible with their resources when they grow up, and it ignores the most important lessons in life….family trumps all. Interpersonal skills are important. Closeness is not something to be feared, emotional or physical. Embrace each other, overcome issues together, be as close as you can live with…life is too short for anything less.

wolfgang hirschlein - November 11, 2013 Reply

I like the tiny homes too but where can you put them to live in them ?

Living with Less | holding a peach - November 11, 2013 Reply

[…] partly why I love the Tiny House movement so much (and the Cabin Porn blog), and recently read this family’s experience of downsizing to a tiny house of their […]

Teri - November 11, 2013 Reply

My husband was 42 when he died suddenly of an aggressive brain cancer, leaving me at 33 with a 3 yr. old and 13 mo. old. Within a week our lives were changed forever. The only thing that kept me together was holding my children close. Now with the kids grown, I’ll have my own tiny house soon and I can feel Steve smiling with me. Sending you a hug and a thank you, Alysha….

Naomi - November 12, 2013 Reply

Thank you very much for sharing, I am blessed with your story and wish it is all well with you!!!

Living with Less | Vinton - January 29, 2014 Reply

[…] partly why I love the Tiny House movement so much (and the Cabin Porn blog), and recently read this family’s experience of downsizing to a tiny house of their […]

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