Big Lessons from Living Tiny

We’ve been living in our tiny house for almost five months now, (Wait, what? Where did the time go?!) and it has been an adjustment to say the least, but not in the ways I anticipated. Well, not only in the ways I anticipated.

I knew we’d have to get creative with storage and learn how to do the galley kitchen dance, but I never thought about how “in your face” undone projects would be or how long unpacking would take.

Because clutter of all kinds is amplified in such a small space, we’ve had no choice but to deal with things sooner rather than later and that has been quite a lesson and a gift.

So this week, I’m sharing three big lessons from living tiny that you can apply to your life regardless of the size of your home.

  1. Clean up your mess right away.
    Although our kitchen is bigger than most Manhattan studios’, the limited space doesn’t allow for a full sink of dishes or ingredients left strewn about on the counter. When I make a meal, I put things away as I prepare the dish instead of leaving them all out until the end. And Melissa cleans up right after dinner because wherever you are in the house, you can see dirty dishes and who wants to look at that? In 240 square feet, there’s no such thing as “out of sight, out of mind,” by leaving the room.

    These tight quarters also prompt quicker cleanup of communication messes. If Melissa and I are snapping at each other, there’s nowhere to go to “get away” without leaving the house. And while that’s an option if one of us needs space to process, we’ve been much more mindful of communicating cleanly and clearly.

    Cleaning up messes sooner rather than later is a good practice in any home or relationship. What messes need your attention?

  2. Intentional selection is the name of the game.
    When you have fewer items to manage, fewer cabinets to clog up, and fewer places to put things, you spend less time searching for items (I’m looking at you, scissors!), are more intentional about what you purchase since you have to store it, and you pay closer attention to how you live and what you actually use.

    A small space does not afford you the luxury of having five half-used bottles of shampoo or any “I might wear this someday” clothes. And honestly, it’s a luxury I don’t miss. I have always gotten incredible satisfaction out of using a product right to the very end. If ever I buy something I end up not liking, I give it away versus tucking it in the back of a cabinet to never be seen again.

    With less, you feel more alive. Brighter. Lighter. Even if you have the physical space for a lot of stuff, it doesn’t mean you have the energetic capacity or mental bandwidth to manage it all. Watch out for the “have space, must fill” mindset.

  3. The purging never ends — nor should it.
    Despite us paring WAY down, we’ve made three or four more donation runs since moving in. If you know me at all, you know I love to get rid of things. I love the space it leaves for me to expand into. And once I’ve created that space, only the thoughts, things, or people deserving of occupying a precious slot in my life are invited in.

    Being super selective and curating only those things we truly love, need, or use is a bit like dead-heading a plant. We get rid of the dead or dying leaves and flowers so the nutrients (energy) can be given to the parts that are healthy and thriving instead of being wasted on trying to heal what is beyond repair.

    And I’m not talking just plants here. I’m also talking about plates, perspectives, and people!

    Continuously reevaluating what you allow in your life is such an important part of blazing your own, unique trail. By being present, mindful, and intentional, you’re more available to see and grab opportunities that present themselves along the way.

    So whenever you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself what you can get rid of today? What item, fear, or naysayer is no longer worthy of your time or attention? Bushwhack that mess and continue on your journey.

Now I want to hear from you! How might you apply these ideas to your life? Let me know in the comments!

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