Part of why I decided to go tiny was because I wanted greater freedom and more simplicity in my life. I relished the idea of being free to live wherever I wanted. I craved the ability to reduce my expenses enough to allow me to work less and travel more. I made it my goal to check off some of my bucket list items and I started focusing on the things I wanted to accomplish in life. I also decided to streamline my possessions enough to make me feel less “trapped” by my stuff. In some ways, my transition has allowed me to do just that, in other ways it is still a work in progress.
Tiny living has in fact allowed me to save money and travel more. Three weeks ago I traveled to Oregon for a week with my mom to spend time with my aunt. This trip was perfect in many ways. It afforded me an opportunity to get to know my aunt better and it allowed me to see my mom in her role as a sister. We visited the local zoo, toured some amazing waterfalls and I ran a half marathon (one of my bucket list items is to run a half marathon in every state). The trip was a great example of the freedom I am finding because of reduced living expenses and more free time.
Then last weekend I escaped to the beach. While I was there I tried paddle boarding for the first time and even took a paddle board yoga class. The trip reminded me of why I went tiny. It was an incredibly relaxing and fun adventure that allowed me to see new places and try new things. It reminded me that I love the ocean and want to eventually settle near the water and it allowed me to try something that was outside of my comfort zone.
I share my travel experiences because I think they hold important lessons for those of us who are pursuing a smaller life. Living tiny doesn’t take away from our lives, but actually opens us up to new adventures. Larger houses (and lives) require more time, more money and more mental energy to maintain. Living more intentionally has allowed me to slow down and grow more and I think that’s what most of us are trying to achieve by reducing our square footage.
But with all the flexibility and travel my tiny house has afforded me, I still haven’t quite mastered the simplicity thing. I certainly shop less and my cleaning routine has been greatly streamlined, but I still get overwhelmed with my stuff from time to time. Despite less shopping and less consuming, I have still managed to accumulate more than is comfortable for my space.
I have been living in my tiny house for just over 8 months now, and I love it! But I have noticed that I am starting to “collect” again. Not as fast or as furious as when I was in my “normal” home, but I still have more in my house than when I first moved.
When you live in a small space everything needs a place. Two pairs of shoes on the floor and a stack of mail on the counter can make a Tiny House feel like a storm has come through. Visual clutter still overwhelms me, and I have recently been reminded that even though I have adopted a smaller lifestyle I still have to be diligent to keep it simple.
So this weekend, rather than traveling and focusing on the flexibility my new life is offering, I plan on focusing on simplifying my space again. I am continually amazed at how little I use out of the things I brought with me when I downsized. I am still learning what things add value and what things don’t.
This weekend my goal is to remove all of the “extra” that has accumulated in my space. My goal is to reexamine everything in my space and cull through the items I brought with me eight months ago and those things that have found their way in to my tiny space. It’s a continual learning process, one that I am trying to enjoy as much as my traveling adventures.
I encourage you to take a fresh look at the things around you. Are they adding value to your life? Are you happy with the flexibility and freedom you currently have in your life? If not, what can you change to get it closer to your dream life?