I Didn’t Know Tiny Living Was For Me

We didn’t start our tiny living journey with the idea to get rid of all our stuff and move into the smallest space possible. We started it because we wanted to travel and explore. Living in a small space was just a function of that. And honestly it was a bit of a scary one.

I’ve never considered myself a minimalist. In fact, I have always been really good at saving things for sentimental value or because I might use/need them some day. And wait for it….I like stuff…things….cardigans, craft supplies, tea mugs, books, art, all the kitchen and baking things you can imagine (and yes I am a 30 something grandma)….the list could go on. I haven’t read all the books (or any of the books actually) on simplifying your life, minimizing your stuff etc. On top of that Adam and I are both introverts (read – we need our alone time and space to thrive). So I never thought I would be living in less than 100 sq. ft. with my husband, our daughter and a dog. And I definitely did not know that tiny living was for me.

Like with anything in life there is give and take. Since we wanted to travel we needed to downsize into a small space and when we wanted to travel differently than we were in our Class A we chose to downsize again. Two years into our journey it turns out what we thought was “a give” –living in a small space – was actually a take.

Living in a small space with my family isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. There are moments – hours – days – where I wish for more space. For a tiny bit of privacy. For a bit of space that is only mine. I long for the day that it’s not required that I make the beds and play a game of juggling everything around just so we have a place to sit and eat breakfast. For a day I can close a door and sleep in or where I don’t have to think about where I am going to put something before I buy it. But that day is not today, or tomorrow, or next month. I don’t know when that day will be and I am completely okay with that. In the grand scheme of things I have learned that those “gives” are small and the “take” we have received from living in a small space is a big one.

The truth is living in a small space has given me (us) a lot more than expected.

It increased our awareness of what is actually important to us. 

It created less worry/upkeep over material things thereby allowing more time for relationships/people/activities that bring us joy and relaxation.

It has allowed us to live more within our means and actually save for our future.

We have come to realize that being (and living) outside of your comfort zone can sometimes actually be a good thing. It’s challenging and it has taught us a lot about ourselves and our relationships with others.

It has strengthened our relationship and our communication, as husband and wife and as a family.

It gets us outside and active more than ever. And we are happier and healthier because of that.

But the biggest thing I think living small has given us is it forced us to be intentional about how we live. We no longer just buy something on impulse or go about our day without purpose. We think about everything we do and we know we have control over our own happiness and how we choose to live our life. We live by what we truly value. Not by what is expected of us. And we now have the courage to do that.

And even in the moments – days – hours of questioning we are happy in our tiny little home on wheels. So while I know living in less than 100 sq. ft. is probably not our forever, whatever that next home will be it certainly won’t be what anyone would consider big – because even though I didn’t know tiny living was for me it turns out it was just what I needed.

This post was written for inclusion in the June collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on the truth about living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!

Minimalist Meg– “The Truth About Living SMALL” : What does living in a small space look like for a family of 4? Probably not a whole lot different from you.

Little Bungalow– “Less Space, More Happiness” : In a small home, less space doesn’t equal more happiness. Except, of course, when it does.

600 Square Feet and a Baby– “The Truth About Living in a Small Family Home” : Living small as a family of four is sometimes uncomfortable, a bit awkward and never boring. Sharing the awkward and imperfect of living small with 4 humans that you always wanted to know (or maybe you didn’t.)

Shelley Vanderbyl– “Five Things You Don’t Need in a Small Home” : Gatekeeping is about recognizing what things you don’t need or want, and trying to keep those objects from coming into your home.


The Streamlined Life– “The Truth About Living Small: Less Possessions, Greater Value“: Just because you’re a minimalist family doesn’t mean you aren’t sentimental.


The Justice Pirate– “What Small Home Living is Like” : No matter if I lived in a cardboard box or a small home, I just like being with my family, who are my home.

Our Nest in the City– “The Truth About Living in a Small Family Home” : My post gives three challenges to living in a small home with our family of five, and counters them with three ways we “cope” and thrive despite it all 🙂

Fourth and West– “You Can’t Have it All” : Small space living requires compromise and sacrifice.

RISING*SHINING– “The Truth About Living in a Small(ish) Family Home” : A smaller home is why we’re able to live such a full life.

Family At Sea– “The Meaning of Space: Thoughts from a Former Tiny Home Mom” : After moving onto a boat, I thought the hard work of decluttering and downsizing was done, but I didn’t realize that living in a tiny space was the beginning of the real work of the soul.


Real Food Simple Life– “The Realities of Living in a Small Home with a Big Family” : A look into the benefits and challenges that a family of 6 (going on 7) experiences living together in an 800 square foot home in Scotland.

Tiny Ass Camper– “I Didn’t Know Tiny Living Was For Me” : My thoughts on the give and take of living tiny.

Family Pedals– “Location Trumps Size” : The truth is, it has been our home’s location–not size–that has determined our happiness in a given space.

Birch and Pine– “It’s Not Always Easy” : Living tiny often means defending your own life and choices: daily.


About Jenn

Jenn has created 27 entries.


  • Kate @ The Streamlined Life

    This is such a beautifully written post, Jenn, and it really spoke to me. It has been so great watching your family’s journey these past few years, and I’m continually inspired.

    Now come visit! 😉

    • Jenn

      Thanks! You’re pretty darn inspiring yourself.

      And you know how we are always changing our plans … we decided to take the summer slow so we aren’t headed to Canada and you may just head your way on our way east. ?

  • Victoria the Justice Pirate

    What an excellent post.
    My husband is an introvert too and we would love to live in this tiny of a home even though we are in a small home (but not THAT small). Do you ever get to just relax somewhere outside in the woods or off by water or something to make you feel like you are unwinding?
    I really loved everything you shared and it gave me a picture of what life for you is like and I think that is awesome!!!!

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Victoria! Sometimes I feel like I’m still figuring out the whole being a mom and an introvert thing – on top of the tiny space- but yes, I try to take as much me time as I can. Sometimes that looks like spending 30 min reading in the hammock, or sometimes it looks like my husband taking our daughter out on a date so I can be home and have the whole tiny place to myself for a few hours. We are definitely getting better at finding the balance!

  • Sandra

    I loved reading your writing. You are so eloquent in your choice of words and how you put them together. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jenn

      Thank you. ❤️

  • Brittany @ Real Food Simple Life

    I really liked your piece! Thanks for your insights. I can relate to so many of them–except having to put my bed away before breakfast…It’s nice to hear from someone living in an even smaller space than me. It’s puts things into perspective when I think I don’t have my own space. Traveling so often sounds amazing! I’d love to do it someday.

    • Jenn

      Thanks Brittany! Not many people can relate to putting your bed away before breakfast except other folks who have a home with wheels. ? We are a little extreme in our tinyness at the moment but the travel (and everything we’ve learned about ourselves) definitely makes it worth it.

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