Two weeks after we got married we packed all our belongings and moved halfway across the country. We assumed that our only option was to move into a giant, overpriced house on base. Shortly after we settled in we began watching shows about tiny homes. We admired everyone that participated in the movement, but we assumed we would never have the courage to attempt something so bold. We had only been out of our parent’s houses for a few months and we already had an abundance of possessions that we were unhealthily attached to.
Fast forward six years.
I am currently nestled on the couch in our own personal tiny house. It’s the first brand new thing that we have ever owned, which is insanely exciting. The Spring breeze is flowing through the open windows. Scents of lavender fill the house while the warmth of the fireplace completes the cozy atmosphere. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the reality tv show excessively overusing the word “literally” in the background. Getting to this point has been quite a journey and the course hasn’t been entirely formed of rainbows and unicorns.
Over the past month, we have learned so much about our new lifestyle. And let me just make it abundantly clear how thankful we are for Amazon Prime. Two-day shipping has been a blessing and a lifesaver. Before moving we had done plenty of research on which model of home we wanted, but we failed to research how differently it would be actually living in the tiny home. We have never been camping or lived in anything other than a traditional home, so this experience has been quite a learning process for us both. If you are planning on making the switch soon, here are 7 things you may want to know before moving day!
1 – don’t face the water faucet toward the shower door
Maybe this is self-explanatory, maybe it’s not. Really, I have no idea. I’ve never had a shower door so I had no clue that when the water splashes onto the shower wall, it can and WILL seep out onto your entire bathroom floor. We learned the hard way. Our first night we could not get the water to heat so we left the shower running for a few minutes to see if that would help. Long story short, it didn’t help and we had a nice little pool on the bathroom floor. Unfortunately, it was way too cold for a swim that night.
2- measure everything twice – heck, maybe even 3 times
In tiny homes, most things are naturally smaller than what they would be in traditional residential homes. Sometimes appliances are labeled “residential” even if they are not. Whatever you do, measure everything twice before you purchase anything and you will be just fine! Don’t be like me and make 3 trips to Lowes just to get something cut to the correct size.
3 – add additional support to the clothing rod in your closet
Again, this may be self-explanatory, but it was something I had never even thought twice about. We did 6 rounds of downsizing our closet before we moved our clothes over to our new tiny closet. We had everything hung up with room to spare until that horrible moment… Chris went to hang up his uniform and the entire rack came crashing down. It pulled the screws right from the wall and broke the rod. After a little research, I learned that this is actually a common issue. Apparently, closets in RVs and tiny homes do not have the support which you would find in a traditional home. We have bought a few 2×4’s to add additional support. Hopefully, we will have a fully functioning closet and we will be able to get all of our clothes off of our bed tomorrow! (*fingers crossed*)
4 – consider a heated hose
We live up north where temperatures typically drop below freezing over half of the year. These hoses are pricey, but they are much cheaper than paying to fix broken pipes.
5 – toilet wand
Our septic system is comparable to what you would find in most RV’s. When cleaning the tank, things can get stuck and cause the gauge to show that the tank is full even if it is not. A toilet wand can help remove the debris so you can obtain a clear reading of your tanks and it helps keep things clean down there. We also ordered this plunger as well, but we have not had a chance to use it yet so I am not sure exactly how well it works.
6 – septic tank cleaner
These pods are my new best friend. No one wants a stinky septic system. The magical little packets help break down waste and tissue which helps eliminate any unwanted smells. You can find them online or at Walmart and TRUST ME they will not let you down. We had a lovely incident where we could not get the toilet to flush. We had no idea what was wrong, we even tried using a stick in place of a plunger. The chemicals used in the pods ate the bark off of the stick to where it basically disintegrated right in front of us. It took what felt like an eternity to figure out the problem. (Not so) fun fact: I actually had to pee in the shower because I was tired of going to Target to use the restroom while we were trying to solve the toilet fiasco. Good times. But, like my dad always says, “Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
7 – surge protector
One of the greatest benefits of tiny living is the ability to move the location of your home whenever and wherever you’d like. Plugging into different electrical outlets can actually be dangerous for all of your appliances. I read multiple horror stories about people losing all of their electronics, so to be safe we protected our appliances by purchasing an RV surge protector. Again, it can be a bit expensive, but it is much cheaper than having to replace all of our TV’s, computers and other electronics.
It’s easy to take pictures of your adorable aesthetic inside your tiny home without addressing the difficulties along the way. Chris and I want to be as transparent as possible throughout our journey. Although there have been a few speed bumps, we would not trade this decision for anything. Going tiny has brought us together more than we could have ever imagined. We are embracing having less stress, less clutter, less to clean and more time for what is truly important in life.