I admit it. I am a little obsessed with tiny houses.
I have dreamt of leaving it all behind and moving into a little cottage in the nature more than once. Oh, the sweet happiness of a simple life: running around barefoot, living with the seasons, spending the days gardening, crafting, writing, hiking or just relaxing.
No deadlines, no rushing, just living in the moment.
Sounds amazing, right?
But does the reality match the dream? Would a tiny house improve our lives or actually make it more difficult? And how is it really like to live in a small space as a family of 3?
This summer, my husband and I decided to give the tiny house experience a go and see if we are really cut out for it. The 3 of us (my husband, son and myself) stayed in a 30m2 (about 300 sq ft) cabin off the south west coast of France in one of Western Europe’s biggest forest, just a few kilometres off the Atlantic Coast.
In this post, I report :
WHAT WE LOVED AND WHAT WE DIDN’T
1. We loved: the healing power of nature
Studies have shown that we, westerners, spend about 90% of our time indoors. We work in an office, then sit in our cars, come home, stay in until the next day…and hit repeat. So much so that being out in the nature feels a little foreign to us.
I hadn’t realised how true that was until we settled into our tiny house. Little indoor space meant that we were bound to spend more time outside, close to the elements. We immersed ourselves in nature, biked through the forest, walked, went for runs, swam in the lake and in the ocean.
We only ever went in to cook or sleep.
As the days went by, I noticed a change : my energy grew.
I no longer felt the mid-day slump. Instead, I felt healthier, calmer and just plain happier.
It was clear that being out in nature day after day affected both my physical and emotional health in a big way.
The tiny house life reminded me :
- how essential nature is for a healthy body and mind
- that we don’t need much to be happy. Give me loving people, fresh air, nature and I’m in heaven!
2. We loved: the quality time x100
More house means more stuff, more space to clutter, more things to do and also…
…more room to hide from each other!
I find that back home we tend to spend quite a bit of time apart as a family, all hiding in our little corners.
Our 5-year old might be playing with the neighbours while I cook and my husband does the laundry upstairs. Or I might be reading while the hubby watches tv and the little guy plays in his bedroom.
The bottom line is that more house dilutes our quality time together.
Because even though we love each other and value our time as a family, we are distracted by a million things at home.
In our tiny house, we spent all of our time together. There just weren’t many distractions so we made our time together matter.
Our experience was a good reminder that the best quality time is spent outside, in the fresh air, away from Netflix, social media, laundry and other distractions.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE…
No sleeping in + No ‘me’ time
Small is cosy, yes. But when taken to the extreme like in a tiny house, it can also feel cramped. Very cramped.
I know, I know. I just said less house means more quality time together but I believe in finding a balance between family time and alone time.
I love my ‘me’ time. And as a (little bit of an) introvert I seem to be needing it more than the average person.
Tiny house living is not optimal if, like me, you need time alone to rest and recharge your batteries after too much socialising. The only two options in this case were to:
- Ask my husband to take our son out
- Grab my things and go outside on my own
Both feasible but not great options, especially if it’s cold or wet out.
Our experience was definitely closer to dream life. Overall we had a fantastic time with the chance to reconnect to nature and feel closer together. Our time in the tiny house reminded us that we don’t need much to be happy and that reignited my passion and desire to keep simplifying our lives.