We have had a lot of people ask us why we want to live in a tiny house. It seems crazy, I know. But it really isn't. Paul grew up in the Philippines, where much of the country is still developing, and many people live in utter poverty. I grew up in the middle of Africa where most of the people I knew lived in mud brick houses with thatched roofs.
Lots of people lived in small space, cooked outside, and went to bed when it got dark. Life was often difficult, the only possessions were necessary, but joy was great. We have both found in our many travels that money, status, and possessions do not often bring true joy. We have found many of the poorest people we have interacted with to be the most generous, joyful, and kind people. And it proved to us that have more does not always mean having what is important.
We were married the summer of 2009 and we lived in a small 800 sq. foot apartment that we filled to the brim with crap. Frames and books and furniture and things. It was literally FULL, and not organized at all! I look back and feel so embarrassed by how it looked, and how we lived. After a year and a half of marriage we moved to France for a year to work with a mission organization. We had to leave all of our things behind, and settled into a small 500 sq. foot attic apartment. We never missed all those things. Not once!
One of the my favorite memories in France was ride our bikes for 3 weeks down to the coast of Spain. We woke up before sunrise, packed our bags, road 40-60 miles, got to a campsite, made up some canned beans for dinner, put the tent up, went to sleep. And the next morning we repeated it. It was wonderful and hard and rewarding. And you know how much stuff we needed? Not much! We only had what was on the back of our bikes. Again, we realized we didn't need much to live day to day. We were happy, tired, and fulfilled.
I have always been a person that stays BUSY, and I often feel the stress of overcommitment. My time in France was the first time that I ever felt relaxed as an adult in my memory. I learned to cook while I was there, read lots of books, and made some of my favorite memories of my whole life. Paul and I have traveled to over 20 different countries and that little French village is still my favorite place. I dream of moving back there one day because life was simple and I felt fulfilled and satisfied with what I had.
Then we moved back to America. There is something about this place that makes me want MORE! I have spent so much time around people that have so little, and in those places I find no desire for more than I need . Yet the moment I step back into my home, I start to get this longing desire for more and for better. WHY? Why can't I hold on to those moments of simplicity and satisfaction?
We have been back in America for 5 years and have lived in a very simple 1,100 sq. foot home. Since we knew we didn't want to live in Indiana forever, we bought something small that we knew would be a great rental property for the future. It is SO FAR FROM PERFECT, but it has been a great home for us. I often pray and thank God for the fact that we have a warm home and a fridge full of food when so many people don't. I have beautiful custom pieces of furniture all over my house that Paul has made for me. I have a great backyard and live next door to my sister, who is one of my best friends. Even with all that good stuff, I find myself wanting more all the time. More space, better grass, more closets, taller ceiling, fresh paint, a new front door, better flooring. . . I could go on and on about the things I "want" when I already have way more than I need.
At this point in our lives it is just the two of us living in this house with Sage, our dog. And somehow all the space is full. The extra bedroom has been used as storage for CRAP. I mean, honestly, that is what it is. I store that pretty rug I found on sale, and the pretty fabric I may use for new curtains one day, and picture frames I have no place to hang.....And why? Why do I do this? I have a space full of things I do not need, and yet find myself wanting more. I am a fairly messy person and things tend to look untidy very quickly. I feel like so much of my time is spent rearranging all that clutter that I don't need. And I am so tired of cleaning. I am so tired of organizing. I am tired of my house looking messy from things that don't bring me much joy.
So we have decided to change. We decided to FORCE ourselves to live with less. To live simply. We decided to build a tiny house on wheels. We want to move out the the West Coast so that we can experience and enjoy the beautiful world out there. When we started to look at housing, we realized that we were either going to have to work 90 hours a week to afford a home, or live in a tiny apartment that didn't want our dog (and still pay three times what we pay for our mortgage here in Indiana). Building a tiny house gives us the freedom to have it all.
Living simple doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality. In our 300 sq foot tiny house we are building an incredible home that will have everything we actually need to live in. We will have a kitchen, couch, and a place to sleep. We will have a bathroom, washer/dryer, and amazing windows that let natural light in. That is so much more than most people have! And we are going into this experience knowing that this will be for a season of our lives. We want to use this experience to challenge ourselves to think differently about the possessions and space. We want to use this time to save money for land and home, build experiences, and have an adventure.
We are excited about leaving a smaller footprint. We are excited about the challenge of living with WAY less than we are used to. We are excited about having NO room to buy more stuff. We are excited about all the time we will get to spend outdoors because of all the extra time we will have.
We really feel that God has given us so much more than we deserve in our lives. We believe that our lives should be about using those gifts to love and help others. We think this tiny house, in our season of life, will give us the ability to do those things with our time, money, and home.
We are so excited to start this next adventure!