Tiny House Living 2.0
by Rachelle Martin
Two adults and a Cocker Spaniel living in a tiny house in Florida. Sounds like a dream right? Or at the very least, an episode of a TV show. It’s close, but not quite. The reality is that our tiny house is a 1950’s mobile home that boasts a whole 400 square feet; and we aren’t located on the beach, but actually in the middle of Pinecraft. Our tiny house doesn’t feature sleek, modern decor or trendy fold out tables and we certainly don’t have a loft. Instead we have a blue kitchen sink, a gold bathtub and painted plywood walls. But what it lacks in trends, our tiny home makes up for in charm, storage space and cheap rent!
The condensed story of how we came to live here goes something like this: we lived a very consumerist lifestyle, always looking for the next thing to make us happy. One day we woke up to realize that we were covered in debt with nothing of worth to show for it. We made the decision right then that we never wanted to allow things to control us again. We started the process of getting rid of possessions and eliminating debt. A few years after that, we decided we wanted to live somewhere that we loved while also being able to work less, so we found this tiny house in paradise.
Not all of this process has been easy. I’ll be honest, I cried the first night we spent here. I had just sold or given away ninety-five percent of my things, and after that exhausting drive from Indiana to Florida, I wasn’t sure it was worth it. Beloved things like the curio cabinet and bedroom set that my dad built for me, the dining room table that had been my Grandmother’s and then my Mother’s, my wedding dress, my washer and dryer. All of these things were gone and for a brief moment, living tiny felt big.
However, a year later, I have to say that I would do it all over again! Living with less has been so rewarding and so freeing for both of us. Instead of focusing on the next best thing to buy or what others think of us, we try to focus on having relationships with people and making memories. We are continuously learning the importance of not comparing ourselves to others and being content with what we have.
Organizing everything two people own in such a small space is challenging. The only closet that works well for our clothes is in our office, our tent is currently stored in our bedroom and our dog’s crate is a prominent feature of our living room. But I did learn very quickly that less is more in a small space. We only own four place settings worth of dishes, four sets of towels and one set of sheets. The pros to this are that dirty dishes and laundry don’t pile up, however, I do need to wash more often. My biggest organizational tip is simply: keep things in their spot. That sounds pretty simple, but in such a small space, even one item left out makes the whole house feel messy and cluttered.
We also only buy enough food for one week. Every week, we sit down and plan a menu and then only buy groceries for those meals. If we buy a new item, something old has to leave to make room for the new. I love books and would love to have a large collection, but that isn’t possible, so I have limited my collection to my one bookcase. Once it is full, the only way a new book is added is if another book leaves. The same goes for our wardrobe, home decor, my house plant collection and everything else we own.
While living in such a small space isn’t for everyone, I do think it is important for us as Christians to not let ourselves be taken over by always buying the latest and the greatest goodies. We need to remember that nothing that we can buy will bring us happiness and we won’t be able to take it with us. Jesus admonishes us in Matthew 19-20, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (HCSB)
I have been married to Dennis for eleven years and love adventuring with him. Our adventures have us living in our third state. I also love reading, photography, and growing things. Feel free to follow along with me on Instagram.