More often than not, we get messages from our community members raving about how much they love tiny houses, the ingenious designs, and the idea of pairing down and living with less. However, many state that zoning regulations, not knowing where to park a tiny house, and fear of what others will think is holding them back.
But we want you to know that you're not alone—the same people you see living out their tiny dreams on your Instagram feed had those same concerns (and some still do!).
So fear not—there is always light at the end of the tunnel and more often than not, the difference between dreaming and living out your dream is pushing forward despite the challenges!
The most challenging aspect of going tiny for us has been figuring out how to legally park our home close to Bend, Oregon. Before moving to Bend, we heard how tiny home friendly Oregon was, but Bend and Deschutes County seem to be an exception to that.
Parking a tiny home on wheels anywhere besides an RV park is illegal, however, many of the RV parks are completely full in the summer months, so this has left us scrambling to find a legal option to park our home and weighing the risks of being parked illegally for the busy season.
I feel the most difficult part was just learning about codes, laws, and zoning. That's a world we never really had any experience with, but with anything new we learned the lingo and tackled the challenge. We had about 90 days to figure it out and we just consumed ourselves with it and used Google and the zoning department for most of our research.
We had a goal in mind and we went into it asking ourselves “How do we make the work?”, not “Can this work?”. We thought, how do we turn no's into yes? So, for every “No we don't accept tiny houses” we tried to find a way to bring benefit or value to the RV/Campground in order to change their mind. The biggest lesson we learned from the difficulty is that for every problem we are faced with, there is a solution. So, don't give up if you’re getting frustrated in your journey.
Well, I don't think there's been much of anything challenging about living in a tiny house…quite the opposite. Since our tiny house is leaps and bounds ahead of any other home we've ever lived in, living in a tiny house has actually been easier than any other home we’ve lived in.
For us, all of the challenging aspects came before we actually moved into the tiny house. Getting financing, in particular, was incredibly difficult. It's very nerve-wracking to stack three personal loans to pay for a 300-square-foot home on wheels. Fortunately, more options are coming online for financing your home, so hopefully this won't continue to be such a differentiating factor.
Our only real challenge right now is when we both have conference calls at the same time—and we both work from home. During the summer, it’s no problem; one or both of us can be outside, and Todd has even been known to take calls in our teardrop camper from time to time. But during the winter, when we both had calls at the same time, it took some creativity, and the occasional visit to my mother-in-law’s house to take call or two there.
Trying to convince our friends and family we’re not mad!
For us the process of moving into our small space was cleansing. We were able to carefully curate our belongings and remove the excess. This process wasn’t the same as “organizing” our belongings, it’s a much richer experience and has changed our lives for the better. It was easy to adjust to less cleaning, less maintenance and overall more time to spend together as a family.
Our family has been very skeptical since the planning stage of our home—they all said we wouldn’t last 12 months! Well it's been 18 months now (so there!) and we have no plans on leaving our home. Our parents were often saying, “alright, it’s time to move back into the big house…”. But just in the last 2 weeks, each set of parents have told us that they understand why we did it and they are proud of us! Well, what can I say… we converted the biggest sceptics!
For us, converting to living tiny was quite easy. We didn’t own any large furniture or appliances, and we had always lived in small spaces (such as renting a bedroom) in the past. While we found adjusting to the lifestyle a breeze, I think the biggest challenge of going tiny is getting there.
Building a tiny home is a huge time commitment, financial burden, and is very hard work. Buying a tiny home can be incredibly expensive, and not practical for everyone. Depending on where you live, finding a suitable place to park can be difficult as well. However, if you make it through those phases and get all set up and settled in your tiny home, it is a very easy and fulfilling lifestyle to live.
I think the most challenging part of going tiny, was just making the leap to do it. Diving into something that was completely unknown (at the time), and that no one we knew had ever done before, was a bit scary.
We were fortunate that most of our friends and family were supportive of our decision, but there was still that little nagging voice in my head that was telling me it was a huge risk. However, now that we've been in our home for two years, still love it, and have been making huge leaps towards financial freedom, it doesn’t feel risky at all.
This is a really tough question to answer, because I have loved almost everything about my journey to go tiny. Even downsizing all of my possessions was kind of fun!
But, as someone who has always been a host at heart, I would say that the hardest adjustment has been getting used to the fact that it’s much harder to host friends or family overnight. In my old apartment, I had a full-size pull-out sofa bed in the living room, so I could host a pair of friends for a few days without ever feeling cramped.
Now, when I invite people to come visit me, I want to tell them they can stay with me, but it’s not really an ideal option anymore. If my sister or one of my best friends is visiting, we can kick it sleep-over style and share my bed because it’s a pretty decent size, and I’m also working on building a pull-out couch. But given the amount of space I have, it’s unlikely there will be size for more than one person to sleep on it, and it gets much more difficult to move around when you have more than two fully grown adults in there.
If people are coming over for the evening, there is plenty of space outside to hang out, but it’s been hard to get used to the idea that my house can’t necessarily be the landing place for multiple visiting friends or family members anymore. But I also see that as an opportunity to instead travel -with- them more often!