Our Tiny House Experiment

Did I ever tell you about the time my family of 4 lived in 300 square feet for 7 months? This was during the summer/fall of 2015, while we were building our current 900 sf home. We downsized from a 2000 sf home to 300 square feet (full disclosure: we also rented a 10×10 storage unit, but much of that was for my husband’s business; we even had empty space in the storage unit).

Our 300 sf house had 2 bedrooms, a handicap accessible bathroom (it was the most spacious room in the house!), and an “open floor plan kitchen/living room”. This basically meant that we could grab a drink from the refrigerator while sitting in the living room. The bedroom our 2 kids shared was as wide as a twin bunk bed (basically, a 6 x 10 ft. room). They had 2 linear feet of closet space, and room for a small dresser. We put our 39″ tv in that room – that’s a whole lot of tv in a small space! So, it served as our media room on the weekends.

In the living room, we had 2 recliners, our electric piano, and a small side table that held our printer. The original floor was linoleum, but by laying down an 8×10 ft. rug, we had wall to wall carpeting, even in the kitchen.

The “kitchen wall” held our washer, our dryer, a refrigerator, electric range/oven, small sink, and 24″ of countertop space. Who needs any more than that? (Read with a sarcastic tone.) We also had a little dining table that seated 2 and held our microwave.

The “master bedroom” was as wide as the length of our queen size mattress, sort of. Two grown men squeezed that bed in sideways and then declared it would be impossible to remove. My 13 year old daughter and I proved them wrong one day when we were bored. This room also had DOUBLE the closet space of the kids’ bedroom (that’s a whopping 4 feet!) We also slid two totes under the bed in lieu of a dresser.

Living in this small of a footprint was completely doable for us, but I had already been practicing a loose version of minimalism for about 2-3 years at that point. The other benefit was we did not “overwinter” there. I think that would have made us a little more stir crazy. We also had the benefit of knowing that this move was temporary since we were building our current home. All in all, it was a nice experiment, and made our “new small house” seem like the height of luxury! And really, that was one of the main reasons we decided to take this extreme intermediate step. If we would have gone straight from our 2000 sf home to a 900 sf home, we all might have felt a little dissatisfied with the smaller footprint in the long haul, mourning the loss of a whole room dedicated to play, another whole room just to store our food, and an extra bedroom and bathroom for guests. But after living in 300 square feet for over half a year, moving to 900 square feet was so exciting! A bedroom for each of the kids! A couch to seat the whole family! Triple the closet space! It was better than Christmas when we moved in (never mind that it was ALMOST Christmas, a good month past our original plan, but that’s life for us – it always takes longer and costs more than we plan – another lesson anyone who watches HGTV as much as I do should know by now!)

In the coming days, I’ll share specific tips and tricks we employed to make the time in our Tiny House manageable, and enjoyable. I’m planning to break them up according to room, so stay tuned!

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