Marnie From Tiny Haus On Why Moving Into A Tiny Home Was Right For Her Family
If you had told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be living in a tiny 32-square-metre house with my husband and two children, I’d have nervously laughed and thought you were crazy. Now, I can't imagine my life any other way.
If you had told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be living in a tiny 32-square-metre house with my husband and two children, I’d have nervously laughed and thought you were crazy.
Now, I can’t imagine life any other way.
How I got to this point didn’t happen overnight. It was a journey that unfolded step by step, and it required courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Looking back, I can see how I was guided to where I am today by circumstances that showed up with what seems like divine timing.
And the earliest inklings of what was to be started showing up right after my husband and I got married.
So many things, but so little time (and not nearly enough joy)
A decade ago, my husband and I were newlyweds.
When we got married, we had already been together for 10 years and, like most people our age, had already accumulated quite a lot of stuff. I didn’t think much of it until we had to pack it all up for a move from Sydney to Darwin. We were barely able to squeeze our belongings (and it was only just the two of us at that point!) into an enormous shipping container.
After moving into our new three-bedroom townhouse, it wasn’t long before we managed to fill the space to the brim. So much so that I had to buy additional storage shelves at the nearby K-Mart because we’d already used up every square centimetre of our spacious home.
Two years later, our first daughter was born and we became a family of three. And so came more stuff. I had baby items for every scenario imaginable: bibs, booties, teething rings, toys, mobiles, monitors, and more baby clothes than could ever be worn.
Then came the day when we decided to move back to Sydney. Out came the shipping container once again, but this time, no matter which way we tried to cram all our belongings in it, they wouldn’t fit. We had to make some swift and painful decisions about what to leave behind. At this point in time, I didn’t want to say goodbye to any of our things!
We were living the dream…weren’t we?
Just 12 months after our move back to Sydney, I came across an article about minimalism that started the wheels turning in my mind. It was rare at that time for me to have any time for leisurely reading, but I was on six weeks of bed rest following a surgery. So for the first time in a long time, I actually had the time to ponder my life and really consider where I was and where I wanted to be.
The year leading up to this point was marked by diminishing joy. As a family, we had dug ourselves into a rut with a routine that left little to no down time. My days were spent shuffling our young daughter to daycare before heading off to work. It was topped off by a rushed nighttime routine, usually followed by some extra work before getting in bed and then falling asleep in front of the TV. Weekends weren’t much better, since I had to use the “free time” to catch up on housework and try to maintain a semblance of a social life.
This 12-month period was more than just an isolated bad year in my life. It was the culmination of my entire adulthood, and the result of the choices I’d made and the values that had driven me.
Although I’d always had goals, they had usually been centred around money. I had defined success by what I could buy and the holidays I could take. I had never seriously considered prioritising my lifestyle and basing my decisions around how I wanted our family to live and how we could use our most precious commodity, which was time.
By all acceptable social standards, we were successful. We were living the lives we were meant to be living. And yet, things didn’t feel right. My husband and I were like robots, going through the motions, doing what needed to be done to get from one day to the next, and our daughter was along for the ride.
Life was moving ahead at a steady pace, but where was it going? And why did we feel so…hollow?
Big changes led us to our tiny home.
Since that first article I read on minimalism, I’d been researching simple living and making changes in my life. I started seeing positive changes right away: I had more time, a clearer mind, a better relationship with my husband and daughter. Most surprising of all, I had more money. I had no idea that departing from the status quo could be so fun, so rewarding, and so, well, simple.
I had a profound realisation. Our family could craft our own life on our terms—and that included the house we lived in—in order to support the new lifestyle we were creating for ourselves.
We didn’t want to do it halfway. It was either keep on going the way we had been or commit to making a bigger change that would transform everything.
Where we are today and what’s ahead.
So we jumped with both feet into simple living. We knew we wanted a lifestyle that pushed us to be outdoors, so living in a large home no longer made sense.
We made the decision to build a tiny home in the backyard of the property we already lived on and started clearing out decades of clutter. It was a blissful relief to no longer have mountains of belongings that needed to be organised and stored.
Another incredible benefit of paring down our lifestyle was that we suddenly had loads more time on our hands. Our smaller home required far less cleaning and maintenance, so we were able to spend that time doing more of what we wanted: spending time outdoors and enjoying each other.
The best part is that the benefits just keep coming. Since we have more time to ourselves, we also cook more, rest more, read more, talk more, and create more. Our health and well-being have improved immeasurably.
It’s wonderful to know that what’s good for us is also good for the environment. Our ecological footprint is much, much smaller now, and we get a lot of joy from knowing that our lifestyle isn’t putting undue stress on the planet.
So that’s how we came to be in our tiny home! If there’s anything I want you to take away from my experience, it’s that small changes lead to bigger ones, and this lifestyle isn’t as difficult to adopt as it may seem.
If you’re envisioning a simpler life, I’ll leave you with these questions to ponder:
1. How do I want to be remembered? Are you living the life you will be proud to share in your older years?
2. Is my current lifestyle/stuff getting in the way of what really matters?