Year One in our Tiny House: A Reflection

or: Why I have to carry my dog up a ladder twice daily.

Our bedroom is lofted 7 feet off the ground, and accessible only by ladder or heroic pull-up, because for the past year I have lived in a tiny house. This tends to get people very excited-they’ve seen pictures, and TV shows, and magazine articles about tiny houses they say. I have marveled at those same pictures, and I too have squinted at the background, knowing there must be a second tiny house somewhere where these smiling people are keeping all of their actual stuff (my “second tiny house” is the basement of my parents and in-law’s homes. I suspect I am not alone in this.)

Despite having somewhere to stash a few boxes, my tiny house is not clean. At best, it is obsessively and meticulously organized, which is realistically the only way to organize a 160 square foot space occupied by a dog and two adults. I adore every crammed and cluttered 160 square feet of my small home. I can’t claim I’m “living simply”, but I have learned at least three things I think we can all apply to simplifying and downsizing, whether “tiny” for you is 160 or 1,600 square feet.

Why Not Both

Tiny Houses force you to prioritize. I love to buy things, and I can’t be the only one who has a snowboard, wetsuit, tent and backpack, electric piano… you get the picture. No matter what my closet square footage is, I only have 24 hours each day to do what I want to do. Having more options than hours guaranteed that I would stay mediocre at my myriad of passions. Living in a small space doesn’t fix this, but the lack of deep closets does force you to face this problem head-on. What are you truly passionate about, and what will you spend your time doing?


Tiny Houses force you to get your **** together. Literally. Living partly off-grid means using, and emptying, a composting toilet. Emptying a full composting toilet should always be #1 on your to-do list. It’s not just toilets- a small home forces you to finish whatever you start. Washing dishes can’t be postponed if you only have 1 sink, and projects can’t be abandoned if you only have one table. It’s the exact opposite of “out of sight, out of mind”, and like many things that drive me crazy, I know this is good for me.


Tiny Houses force you to go outside. Our homes are comfortable, but being able to watch an entire season of Walking Dead without leaving your sofa is a bad thing if Rick and Carl keep you from seeing the world. (Side note: Laurie has been intentionally excluded. We all know why.) I think a healthy dose of claustrophobia and restless leg syndrome is exactly what we all need to get out and do something meaningful. If it feels too easy to settle into a routine and stop trying to achieve your travel dreams, eliminating your rent or mortgage may just be the push you need to leave home and do something magical.

If this reflection resonated with you, or I you have any questions about living in a Tiny House, hit me up in the comments or @SimpleHedgehog.