Henry decided that he’s really into superheroes this week.
Bless his little heart. He actually calls them “superheroes.” Not Superman … just a superhero.
And there’s something very comforting about the stories of superheroes – it’s a world of black and white. There are good guys and there are bad guys.
And some days, I want to strap on a cape and embrace my inner Wonder Woman because – good Lord – I’ve lived with my family and two pugs in 320 square feet and haven’t killed anyone.
I. AM. AWESOME.
But sometimes, I realize that there really isn’t much in the world that’s black and white. There is a lot of grey. And that’s exactly what I’ve found as I approach 6 months of small space living. It’s not always fun or perfect or easy.
And it ain’t always pretty.
There are lots of great things about tiny spaces to love. I still stand by these points – living small can be really liberating.
But, there are moments where living small can also be a little stifling. So in the interest of full-disclosure, here are a few things about living in 320-square-feet that I could do without.
There’s nowhere to hide.
This is the hardest part of living small for me. I can’t get away from my family. I love them so very much, but sometimes I desperately need a moment. Just a single moment (or a few single moments) to relax or work or sleep.
- When Henry goes to sleep, we pretty much all go to sleep. Because everything is so close to his bedroom, it’s not really possible for Henry to calm down unless we turn off the lights and get into bed, too. It’s just too distracting. He usually falls asleep fairly quickly, which means we can get back up and turn on the television or get a snack. But not always. (And he freaks out if we try to close the door, so that’s not something we’re willing to do.)
- I was sick a few months ago, and there was nowhere to hide from my family. There was nowhere to lay down and relax because the bed is also our living room. I couldn’t hide out in Henry’s room because there’s only a tiny toddler mattress.
- When I need to work on the computer, there are very few options. I either try to use my computer at the island – and know that I’ll never get anything done because there are distractions in the form of a sticky-faced 2-year-old. Or I leave the house and drive 20 miles to a coffee shop for a latte and wi-fi.
- If I need to take a phone call, well, I just take it. And apologize to the person on the other line because there’s no such thing as privacy.
- I’m also certain that Ryan would love some privacy, too. He usually goes to sleep earlier than me, when I get on the computer and watch television. It’s not super ideal for him either.
There isn’t always a place to put everything.
Sometimes, I just want a closet or a drawer to stick junk that I want to keep but doesn’t really have a home. Is there anything wrong with that?
This just not possible in the barn.
I tried desperately hard to work storage into every nook and cranny. We tried to purge and get rid of excess. We added built-ins and drawers and a wardrobe and shelves and cubbies. And it really does a pretty good job for 99 percent of what we need.
But sometimes, I have a few gifts for Easter that I just don’t have a place to store. Or some paperwork that I’ll need to reference. Or a little crafting I’m working on. These things either clutter up the counter, get piled in the garage, or stay in my car. None of these are really great long-term solutions.
There’s no dedicated living space.
I miss having a dedicated area that is always our living space. I think people feel awkward when they stop over and sit on our bed.
There’s no dedicated bedroom for Ryan and I.
That leads me to something that really would be a must if we were to live in a small space forever.
A bedroom – it’s sort of a necessity. Ryan and I make the living-slash-sleeping arrangement work and don’t really complain about it. But it would be nice to have a space – even a small one – for our bed and a dresser.
In the big picture, Henry having a bedroom was simply more important to us. And it still is. He loves his little room and it’s important that he feels at home.
But while setting up our bed every night and putting it away each morning doesn’t take long, it can get a little annoying. We’re tired. We don’t want to deal with it. But we do it.
Because we are grown ups and chose to live in a tiny space.
Entertaining is sort of impossible.
If you bring more than 5 people into the barn apartment, it’s tight. With just the three of us, it’s really quite comfortable. Cozy – but comfortable. We can move around and play and eat and sleep.
But with just two additional people. it can get a little uncomfortable. There really isn’t enough seating. There’s nowhere to eat. You can’t really walk around.
I love to have people over and it’s something we just really can’t do at this point. I’m hopeful that once it gets nice, we can have people over again and just entertain outside. But for now, it’s a bit of a bummer.
Finally … the weather.
I’m always ready for spring, but this year we’re especially needing some nice weather. Winter is a little harder in a small space than ever before because when it’s nice, our space increases exponentially. We can eat and play and walk and work outside.
I simply cannot forget all the good.
I hope this post doesn’t depress you. I’m just trying to be honest and real – living small isn’t always unicorns and sunshine. The honeymoon has probably worn off a bit.
But there are some things that have 100 percent been a non-issue:
- The small kitchen: I cannot believe it, but I love our tiny kitchen. It’s pretty and practical. I love that it’s open and has plenty of storage for everything I need. I also have no trouble finding things because there isn’t that much junk around. It’s pretty much awesome for us.
- Henry’s room: I’m learning that kids don’t need big spaces. Henry loves his cozy little room, and I love it, too.
- The view: I will never tire of living in the country. The view is worth it all.
- Cleaning: When we build, I’m going to hate cleaning. I’m calling it. If our apartment is so disgustingly dirty I cannot stand it, it takes around 15 minutes to whip it back into shape. I love that so much.
- The perspective: There are few things I miss that are in storage. Which is pretty crazy since about 85 percent of our material things are in storage right now. I feel like that perspective I’ve gotten from temporarily downsizing is worth its weight in gold.
Ryan and I have talked a lot about what we think of this tiny space. Mostly positive, but a few negatives. He thinks he could live in a tiny space forever if it were just him and I. I don’t think I could. But it’s a great experience for us.
I think this year of small living is a great story to tell. And I believe it helps us appreciate the home we’re building. Who needs Wonder Woman anyway?