When planning a family most people think about upsizing their homes to give kids their own bedrooms and make way for all those ‘essential’ baby items. But all that comes at a great financial cost and doesn’t necessarily give kids a better start in life. With all that stressing over rent or mortgage payments, increased heating and electrical costs and often the big childcare bill, tiny house living makes a great deal of sense.
We’ve found tiny house living to be a fantastic adventure. It’s amazing for our kids who love being close to us and we all love having a lot of time together. We’re lucky enough to have a lot of outdoor space so our children benefit from a deep connection with nature and ample opportunity to grow and learn outside. Our relationship is stronger than it’s ever been despite the difficulty of restricted private time.
For us, tiny house living works most of the time (we have our days!) but we’re not planning on living in 20 square meters forever. Most days are full of joy and we’re grateful for our tiny home and the opportunities it brings to our family. It works because everyone understands the rules and if we don’t abide by them, things go wrong very quickly.
Here are the top 8 rules for tiny house living with small children
1. Everything must have a place and must go back in its place
Without proper storage for all your stuff, things get hectic and frustrating really quickly. We’ve been designing our little house bit by bit, creating places for each of our possessions as we found our feet. If you’re thinking about tiny house living, make sure you understand how much stuff you have and plan your storage to make sure everything has a place. Once you have everything organised you’ll find that it’s much easier to create a calm space and keep it orderly day-to-day. You’ll also have less breakages from curious little people.
2. Clean up often
Our little house is really easy to clean; it doesn’t take long to get everything in order. But it also doesn’t take long to become a complete mess. With little ones bringing out every toy in the box and multi-purpose spaces around the house, you’ll find that things get messy in no time. Clean up little and often to keep your space a place you want to be.
3. Throw or give stuff away often
Having a clear out is essential for tiny house living. Children are especially good at collecting things and before you know it your carefully planned storage is stuffed with things you don’t need or don’t want. Having more belongings than your space can accommodate makes everyday life difficult.
4. Just say no
Prevention is critical to success! Don’t be afraid to say no to that lovely yet bulky toy someone is offering and spread the word that you don’t need stuff. Our children are happiest playing with sticks and mud but if someone offers them a toy they happily stash it away in the overflowing toy cupboard and insist that it’s vital to their life. Make sure those around you understand that you don’t need offers of toys etc and do your best to convince family to change their Christmas and birthday gifts to experiences rather than stuff.
5. Organise your storage and reorganise and reorganise
Having a place for everything is all well and good when you’re a couple living in a tiny house but once you throw small children into the mix you’ll find things get more complicated. We have boxes and boxes of clothes that we’ll need for our son as he rapidly grows. These are organised by age/size and we have to review what we have and make sure we can access the next ones easily. Kids grow rapidly and their needs change just as fast.
6. Get the kids outside
One of the best things about tiny house living is the connection with nature that you and your family can form. Most people living this way have lots of outside space, use it. Before long you’ll realise that kids thrive on nature, they’re calmer outside and more creative. Even if you love your little space you’ll need to stretch out sometimes!
7. Keep the things that are multipurpose
There’s a mountain of stuff you can buy for your family and especially for babies. Sure some of it is really helpful but we’ve found that most is unnecessary. We keep the things that help with multiple tasks and offer us the comforts we need but if you have stuff that’s just for one thing I’d pass it on to someone with more space.
8. Have fun
For the most part tiny house living suits us perfectly. There are things we’d change about our space if we could but we also like ‘making do’. Sometimes when we’ve had no sleep and the baby is grizzling we forget why we moved to a tiny house to begin with. It’s important to appreciate your surroundings, the closeness of your family and most of all to have fun.
If you want to know all the best bits about tiny house living with kids, take a look at our blog Benefits of Tiny House Living.