My story starts with a problem. My family and I lived in a quaint 2,200 square foot home on a beautiful five-acre property. We had animals aplenty, great neighbors surrounding us, and gorgeous views of stunning sunsets. Every spring, the thunderous roar of hundreds of frogs echoed from our marsh down the cul-de-sac, awakening slumbering creatures from hibernation. We loved our slice of heaven, but a hidden fire-brewed in my soul.
Like most families, we thought we were living the “American Dream.” Until one day out of nowhere, I awoke to the truth: I wasn’t happy! I was far from happy! I was tired, sick, stressed, and in turmoil.
I ran a licensed organic daycare in our home and also coached gymnastics part-time. I loved and excelled at both jobs, but I was worn down. A year-and-a-half into my daycare adventure, I became pregnant and lost touch with self-care. Almost every night I was up past midnight cooking, cleaning, doing paperwork, researching how to have a natural pregnancy, and trying to spend as much time with my husband as possible. I was walking on eggshells trying to be sure everything got done and everyone was pleased.
My health started failing after another year-and-a-half of living like this. I later learned I had adrenal fatigue and hyperthyroidism. With a heavy heart, I closed my daycare, thereby closing the door on teaching and caring for other children. Our livelihood could no longer depend on my gymnastics coaching. We needed a big idea to stretch our income.
That’s when we discovered tiny house living.
We have been living in our tiny house for over a year and can’t believe how our lives have changed for the better! It now takes about fifteen minutes to vacuum, mop, and dust. The more than two hours I used to spend cleaning are now dedicated to self-care, writing my latest book, and spending quality time with my family. We also have time to do what we love: biking, hiking, nature walks, rock climbing, swimming, and gardening.
Two hours per week spent cleaning, or approximately eight hours per month, were reclaimed for me. Multiplied by 52 weeks, I saved 104 hours per year, increasing quality time with my family. This has brought joy to my marriage and our relationship with our son.
We were always rushing off to work, running errands, or maintaining the house, garage, second garage, lawn mower, water filter, garden, yard, and landscaping. We sat in the same space, but didn’t mindfully engage with each other. Our tiny house ensures we are always within earshot of each other. Some may see this as a downside to living in a small space, but it provides us more time for self-care, so it all balances out. It encourages us to be more mindful of constructive conversations.
The financial freedom that attracts many to the tiny house community is not solely a financial benefit. Being mortgage-free has allowed me to homeschool our son, write a minimalist book to inspire others to love the life they live, and write a mother’s book on holistic parenting. I have had the freedom to harvest for organic farmers and have my own large organic garden at home.
My family loves to travel, but in the large house we felt stuck—extra income went into maintaining the property. We now live within our means and are stress-free, giving us ample time to reflect on our goals. This summer will be spent driving around our state exploring parks and lakes in our camper, which we had neither time nor money to do when we were tied down by the responsibilities of our large house.
Decide what you most value. Maybe your living arrangement doesn’t support those values, with possessions tying you down. Perhaps you’re living outside your means. A minimalist life doesn’t necessarily mean a less than 500 square foot home. It can mean living simply with great joy in your heart and with the Earth in mind.
Free yourself from your possessions by adding memorable experiences to your life and sharing those experiences with the ones you love!