I’m no extrovert. I often feel like a 12 year old talking to my friend’s parents when it comes to small talk. But when our minimalist-van-cottage lifestyle comes up it’s easy to just sit back and listen -- because of all the helpful input. We’ve heard everything from, “My house is only 1,800 sq feet so I understand,” and “Have you heard of composting toilets?” to “I could never,” and “We have a garage sale once a year.” Our limited experience has brought us to the conclusion that those with the most questions are more likely to try something new, and those with the most opinions will probably never venture too far from their recliner (and I am not saying that is a bad thing).
I’ve narrowed down a few key characteristics that might help you determine if you are a tiny-living candidate.
Would you rather arrange flowers or go for a swim? Drive the familiar roads or see new sights? Re-arrange your furniture or mow the lawn? Stock up on gifts and cards or go shopping for each special occasion? Pick up an extra case of canned corn and a few boxes of bandaids, or plan out what you need for an emergency and get it all at once? Keep all the pictures or scan them into computer? Take the time to plan a week's menu or wing it when the fridge is empty? Plan a budget or cross your fingers? Eat healthy or figure YOLO then start a new diet on Monday? Save all your kids' things, or make them take what they want and toss the rest? Invite people into your home or go out? Are you sentimental or practical? Do you decorate like a pro or get your fix watching HGTV?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you could live in a tiny home.
There's not one right way, and our comfort zones are a safe place. That’s good. If everyone was just out having experiences, who would be there to welcome the adventurers home with hot chocolate and warm showers? Those who keep the lights on create a haven of familiarity, while those who would rather get the crew together for a day of biking in the mountains create a different kind of bond.
I’ve been asked to describe myself. I love being a mom and wife. But I know the question is deeper than that. I have agreed to live small, but still like nice things and homey touches. That’s why we have area rugs that Marty has to move all the time to get to his tools. That’s why his tool drawers are covered with fabric. That’s why we have completely-unsuitable-for-a-van white dish towels, candles and other little touches that he doesn't consciously notice or budget for. But when he says, “Isn’t this a nice cozy place,” I know I’ve succeeded. And if you’re my people, isn’t that what you want, too? No matter how many square feet, on wheels or sailing the ocean, a nice cozy place to call home.