Tiny houses are all over the internet these days. Micro-housing of all types (tiny houses, caravans, converted buses, old school trailers, etc.) appear stylish, gleaming, and oh-so-camera ready. The inhabitants of these homes are young, well dressed and happy sitting at their fold-out table while sipping an espresso. Pillows are fluffed and mugs are turned to just the right angle.
Admittedly, Aaron and I are guilty of perpetuating this facade. We have posted images of our caravan looking picture perfect, and spent hours cleaning and staging the ol’ gal before two home tour events here on Hornby this past summer. The fact of the matter is that these pictures and tours don’t really represent what life is actually like inside of them.
Now, I’m not here to discourage tiny-house living in any way. I still carry the “less is more” flag loudly and proudly, and have never come across any deal-breakers while living in 280 square feet. I merely want to acknowledge that there are a few things that sometimes suck about living in a small space. It’s always nice to present both sides of a story, so here’s our top 4 downsides to tiny house living.
- They get dirty/messy quickly.
Dirt is inevitable in all homes. In tiny homes, however, there is much less square footage for it to hide in. Without a designated entry-way/mudroom/foyer, the dirt we drag in from the outdoors easily makes it way throughout the entire house. We usually have to sweep the floor twice a day just to keep our heads above water. We apologize in advance if you catch us between our morning and evening sweeps.
Then there’s “messes”. These are the papers, clothes, books, toiletries and all the other random objects that work their way into our lives. Even a small number of accumulated things can easily make tiny spaces feel cluttered. You may often find us mindlessly tidying, stacking and arranging in order to win the fight against “messes”.
- Counter space (or the lack thereof) fills up quickly.
I may be painting with a broad stroke here, but I believe that tiny home living and the pursuit of a higher degree of self-sufficiency are intimately linked. If I follow this line of thinking, it leads me to believe that tiny house people likely try to prepare and cook as many of their own meals as possible. Tiny home kitchens are usually surprisingly well equipped, but the counter space can sometimes leave you wanting more. If you’re into cooking or baking, or are attempting to make anything more than a basic meal, you could be forced to get crafty with your counter space. Here’s a brief list of non-kitchen related surfaces we have used to help prepare our meals: stairs, dining table, floor, lap, patio table, dresser, dish rack, windowsill.
- Hosting guests becomes challenging.
The degree of difficulty in hosting guests really depends on the square footage and layout of the tiny home. However, I can say with confidence that hosting guests for dinner or overnight stays has been much trickier in 280 square feet than it has been in 900 square feet. Hopefully you have enough seating for more than two people, and if you do, maybe there will be enough room at the table in which to place a plate of food. Often times we have held our plates due to lack of table space, or sat on the stairs to eat a meal. Thankfully the company is usually captivating enough to make us forget about our awkward meal-time antics.
Hosting overnight guests is just as interesting. There are certain intricacies associated with living in a tiny home that just can’t be passed on to guests all at once. There will inevitably be questions on the part of the guest (Where do you go to the bathroom? Where do you shower? Where does the water from the sink go? Where’s the TV? Where’s all your stuff?), which you will lovingly answer, and hope that by doing so you don’t scare them away from tiny house living before they have a chance to fall in love with it.
- Lack of head space.
Tiny house living is all about saving space. Most tiny homes usually incorporate some aspect of lofts, ladders, pull outs, pull downs, slide ins, slide outs, etc., which will sometimes means that vertical space is compromised. We are not unusually tall people, but when we first moved into our caravan, we were banging our heads on a daily basis. Despite our loft space actually being much more spacious than most tiny house lofts, it still took some getting used to. Even seven months later there is the occasionally thwack, with Aaron and his extra inches in height to blame. Lastly, good luck trying to do yoga in the caravan; a full vinyasa is practically impossible, but I’ve got my ways.
So there you have it. It’s not all a tiny bed of roses. We have gained a whole new appreciation for indoor amenities like plumbing, laundry, bath/shower, fridge, dishwasher, etc. Going away for a few stays get extra special when it means flushing toilets and bathtubs! In the end though, what it really breaks down to is this: we are so lucky to have been given the chance to live in a unique home and experience it for all that it is, both good and (every now and again) bad!