01 02 03 400 Things: 33 Ways to Survive in a Tiny House 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

33 Ways to Survive in a Tiny House


That, folks, is the tiny house that our family of 7 used to live in. When I say "used to," imagine hearing the angels of heaven singing HALLELUJAH while you ponder the size of this little dwelling.

This little house had 960 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a tiny dining room that we used as a third bedroom. That meant that the dining table was in the living room (which was also our school room). The kitchen had one counter, a sink, stove, and place for the fridge. This is also where the washing machine was. There was a one-car garage, which also had the dryer. There was also a greenhouse attached to the back of the house, like a lean-to.

Shew! That tour was QUICK!

When we moved in, we had three kids, and it seemed pretty small even then. But it was "temporary." You know, til we located our dream home in the country. Little did we know that it would be 2 kids and 5 years more before we found that dream home and moved.

As our family grew and the time crawled by, I learned a few things about making this tiny space work for us.

The most important thing I learned was that my attitude matters. What God gave me, He could give me the grace to handle. And I can tell you, it took lots of grace, dished out in daily helpings, to get me through that.

As homeschoolers, we stay home the majority of the time, so we use our house constantly. Every room. That means picking up messes constantly and putting them...where? It means clearing off the table a gazillion times for meals, school, puzzles, sewing, meals, and more meals. It means having children and toys right underfoot...literally. All day!

This small table (built for 4) served us well for 5 years and seven people. 

So attitude became the most important thing for me to work on. I prayed, confessed, complained, and prayed some more and God worked in my heart. I never gave up the desire for a bigger home, but I learned to keep my desires in check while thanking God for my current home and implementing some pretty strict rules.

If you are in a tiny house and need encouragement and tips, please let me say that your day will come. In the meantime, see if you can implement any of these tips to save your sanity!

In general, keep clutter to a minimum. A small house can either feel homey or cramped. It all depends on the amount of clutter you have.

Reducing clutter:

In general:
In bedrooms:
In Bathrooms:

Kids and Toys:
The dining-room-turned-bedroom for the boys. Note the toy shelf. : )
Activity Boxes. 

The Kitchen:

Here is Nicholas (at about 3) helping make brownies on the ONE counter we had. You see the rest of the kitchen. This kitchen required more patience from me than any other room in the house. Did I mention we had no dishwasher? So there was usually a dish rack taking up this little bit of counter space. Sigh...

  • Again, contemplate purchases carefully. Only keep appliances and tools that you will use regularly, and find ways to subsitute for the fancy stuff. Do you need a mixer and a blender and a food processor? Nope. A blender does a fine job for most things. Do you need a special tool for coring strawberries, or can you do that with a paring knife? See? It's fun! 
  • How many bread knives do you need? Or mixing bowls? Or cookie sheets? 
  • Simplify your dishes. Have cups, bowls, and plates that are all the same, so they stack easily. Get rid of the cutesy cups for your kids and streamline your cabinets. I don't know how many character cups with weird lids and straw-thingies I've gotten rid of. They're mostly fun when you first buy them, and then they are forgotten anyway.
  • Hang recipes and substitution lists inside cabinet doors. Again, this reduces the cluttered look. Clutter is B.A.D.

These little humans seem to make us think we needs LOTS more stuff in the house. But I have found it's simply not true. Do you find that your little, tiny infant suddenly needs a swing, stroller, bouncer, walker, crib, bassinet, changing table, high chair, and playpen? The baby-gear manufacturers are sittin' pretty thanks to this mindset. 

I have five children and have never had a changing table. I kept diapers in my bedroom and changed the baby on my bed. Voila! One piece of furniture eliminated! My last three also never had a swing, bouncer, or playpen. Until number 5, who only slept in a Pack-N-Play, because there was simply no room for a crib! Baby number 4 had a high chair briefly, but it was so bulky, we got rid of it and used a booster seat in the dining chair. Walkers are handy for us, but studies have shown that they actually slow the development of babies. And they take up lots of space! Babies need to lie on the floor, roll over, push up, and crawl. 

I am proud to say that my babies all survived babyhood without the fancy equipment.


You will need to remind yourself of a couple of things:

Less is More!

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place!

Remember: God will provide. I remember asking a friend with 6 children one time how she dealt with hand-me-downs. She said, "Oh, I just give them to someone who needs them. God seems to provide whatever we need at just the right time!" That was a very freeing statement. Sometimes we let our thriftiness get the best of us, and then we're overwhelmed with all the stuff we've saved!

I started with attitude, and I will end with attitude. God is not concerned with the size or spectacular-ness of your house; he's concerned with your heart. Is your heart grateful? Does your husband know you are thankful for your home? Do your children feel blessed to have their tiny place? Mama sets the tone of the house. No matter what size it is, your home can be a happy place. : )

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