Simplicity: Living in a Smaller Space

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In case you hadn’t noticed yet, it’s summer! I don’t know about where you live, but where we live, it’s been really hot, too. Miserably hot. The kind of hot that reminds me why I don’t really care for summer and makes me look forward to the fall. The fact that our house (apparently) wasn’t built to handle the heat just makes that even worse. You see, the top floor of the house is where the main living areas are. The lower level just has the kids’ playroom, one bedroom, a “half” bathroom, and the laundry area. The top floor is absolutely unbearable in the summertime. We just dealt with it last year, but this year we decided we weren’t interested in doing that. (The windows all open sideways, not up and down, so putting an air conditioner in is very tricky. Especially since it’s the second floor, not the first.)

So on July 1st, we moved most of our stuff – the stuff we need every single day, anyway – to the lower level of our home. Will gave up his office so that we could put our bed in the bedroom. The playroom is now the kids’ “everything” room, which really isn’t a big deal; most kids have only one room for sleeping and playing in anyway. The only times we go upstairs are early in the morning before it gets too hot and when we’re cooking or bathing.

We’ve done this partially to keep our sanity and partially as an experiment: Can we live in a smaller space than we currently have? The answer has been a resounding “Yes!” Why are we using this time as an experiment like this? Because Will has his mind set on us living in a “tiny house.” He’s been very interested in the tiny house movement for years, but we were never sure it was logistically possible – or feasible – with children. Now we know that, within reason of course, it is. He’s gone out and priced tiny houses, and depending on where you live, they’re really not so “tiny.” The one he’s looking at is 18×24 feet with a loft. That’s about the amount of space we’ve been living in the past two weeks.

We knew that in order to pull it off, we’d have to simplify even further than we already have. We’ve moved some of the boys’ toys to Will’s office at the church, and they play with those toys when they’re stuck there late on Wednesday nights while Will talks to his dad. A lot of Small Fry’s outgrown clothes are going either to our new nephew or the consignment store. Come fall, almost all of the quilts I’ve made over the years are going to go to a social service agency that can get them to families in need. Same with our extra bedsheets. The kitchen is probably the main “problem” area, but since we’re not planning to move for a few more months (or longer…), I’m not ready to think about that yet.

Until we did this, I was always kind of averse to the idea of tiny house living (I don’t expect that we’ll live in a huge house forever, but a tiny one?). There are times when I’m still unsure, but I know in my mind now that it is possible for us.

Have you ever done anything like this? Tried living in just a portion of your house?

How do you keep your house cool and livable in the summer?




  1. Sanz @ From The Mrs.

    I’m certain I have no less than 38 questions on this post! A TINY HOUSE?! I love to look at them and think they are so cool.
    1. Are you really doing it?
    2. What about outdoor type stuff? (I’m thinking bikes, and that sort of thing.) Will you have a little outdoor storage building?
    3. Will you buy a lot of land to put it on?

    Okay, so I don’t have 38 questions, but I still think this is just about the coolest thing ever. We live in 2800 square feet and the truth is, we use most of that space with the exception of a guest bedroom on a near-daily basis. However, the fact that we USE it, doesn’t necessarily mean we NEED it. Does that make sense?

    I don’t think we will move again. I think we’re in our “forever” home. Looking forward to hearing more about this!

  2. Hi Sanz!

    1. I don’t know. Probably? If we’re ever going to get out of the rental cycle, it’ll have to be this way.

    2. I don’t know. We probably will need a small external shed for the things you mentioned, as well as laundry facilities.

    3. In the short term, Will wants to find someone with a large piece of land who will let us put a tiny house on it. In the long term, buying land would be preferable.

    I totally understand the difference between using and needing. Depending on the season of our lives at any given moment, we can use every room in our home too. But we hardly ever need half the rooms. The playroom and sewing room are the most superfluous, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t nice to have ;).

    The comfort of being in your forever home must be nice. I remember when my parents bought theirs. I was 11. They still live there.

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