A few years ago Big Poppa and I spent a little over a month living in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn. It was a bitterly cold Winter and the apartment was heated by a radiator that we couldn’t manage to regulate. It was hot and stuffy. The gorgeous apartment was a real home, but it was absolutely filled to the gills with THINGS.
We loved staying there, but we learnt quickly that our threshold for stuff was a lot lower than we’d previously thought. We started to stash things in the already overflowing storage cupboard, just to get a little bit more foot space. We had to somehow find a way to bring our own suitcases and clothing into this space, too. Even beneath the bed and spare spaces in the bathroom were already jam packed.
The other thing is, as two over 6fters, we broke a lot of stuff. We didn’t mean to. We were really careful and very respectful of the apartment, but we were just clumsy and big and took up a lot of space. We tripped over each other and we tripped over the stuff. It was almost a daily struggle to ensure we didn’t break anything new today.
At the time our thoughts went something like this:
Mama: “Ooh this place is too small. I couldn’t handle living in a place this small all the time.”
Big Poppa: “Let’s never live in a place this small. This place is too small for big people like us.”
Mama: “Yes, too small it is.”
Big Poppa: “Too small.”
Mama: “Too small.”
Fact is, the place was more than small. It was tiny. It had three rooms and a large storage cupboard. One room was a bedroom just big enough to hold the bed and the other a bathroom just big enough to hold the bath. It was at the top of a five floor walk up, so if it weren’t for the open roof access I would have felt pretty trapped in there.
Being “interesting stuff” collectors we didn’t see the problem as being about too much stuff we saw is as being a ‘not enough space’ problem. Even though we now have a large home for just three people, I guess one day we hope to fill it with more people. One day this place might seem “too small, yes too small” and I want to do everything in our power to ensure that we continue to value the space we have and honour it by not having too much stuff.
Exploring tiny homes helps us big home people to realise the potential around us. These tiny homes don’t have stuff. They have beautiful things and space. I think the tiny homes have the appearance of much more blank space than our big home does. This is telling. We need to think hard about how we give ourselves an illusion of tiny when our home is not tiny at all.
We have wood pannelling on our roof and it’s worth remembering that it is busy enough without pictures all over the walls, too.
Benches are benches for doing benchy stuff…not a storing space for jars and utensils and stuff.
Tables are tables, not junk traps. If there is just ONE table you’re less likely to clutter it up.
Mounting screens gives you more space and also more chance of hiding our screens and limiting screen time.
Light colours create space, dark colours take it away.
Storage spaces don’t have to be full. Leave a little space!
Over decorating creates confusion more than interest. Leave the frame clusters to the hipsters.
If you are interested in learning more about tiny homes, I really liked Tumbleweed Houses, but there are heaps of interesting links out there for you to discover all on your own.
We’d love to hear the tips you’ve learnt from tiny homes.