Tips for Living in a Tiny Space (NOT a Tiny Home), Part 1 - The Backstory

First - the backstory. 

Even though tiny homes are gaining popularity, the current housing trend seems to be “bigger is better.” Though I could go on to talk about that idea – and how it feeds materialism due to having to fill up a big house – I’m going on a more personal route.

Why is this post on a blog called “Spotlight on Stigma,” you might ask. Well… I’ll tell you.

It’s a stigma because living in a tiny space, not the trendy “tiny home,” is looked down upon. There are two big differences between the two.  A person must be very deliberate in choosing a tiny home as a housing option. Not being able to afford something large goes with being poor and unsuccessful.

Plus, a tiny home is made to have the maximum storage possible. Most have a full-service kitchen, even though it's small, as well as every other basic amenity that typical homes include.

I live in a tiny space. About 8 ½ years ago I lost my job (which you can read about in my other posts). One day my mom and I talked about my next step and she said that she and my dad were thinking about moving closer to my brothers, their doctors, and their church.

Another factor in this idea was that she and my dad were having more and more health issues, and my dad was also showing signs of dementia. She proposed they buy something big enough to include my daughter and me. She added that by doing this, I could live out my dream of becoming a full-time professional photographer.

I actually laughed. When I ended up moving from my hometown, I never wanted to come back. I loved where I lived at the time – a ranch-type house with three bedrooms, one double-sized, two big living areas, two bathrooms, a small study, laundry room, and kitchen. (I still miss it to this day).

It wasn’t tiny, but it definitely wasn’t large. It wasn’t crowded but had just enough space for our needs.

About her second point, becoming a full-time photographer was a dream I gave up years ago. I didn’t consider it a viable possibility.

But the longer I prayed about it, the more I knew it was the best option. As much as I loved where I lived and my home there – and, frankly, I was concerned about living with my parents after living on my own for over 25 years - I knew it was what I needed to do.

Finally, I called my mom and said yes.

I included the background story to show that even though it was technically a choice, it wasn’t one I would have made in different circumstances.

Anyway, though I’m overall a pessimistic person, I do like a challenge and try to make the most of what I have. When we moved, I had two rooms and a bathroom. My daughter had her own room and bathroom upstairs.

One of my rooms was my bedroom, obviously. It had a small closet but thankfully, I’m one of those people with only a basic wardrobe. As to the other room, it was a combination office and den.

Over time, I realized that, due to my eating disorder, having to share a kitchen with my parents wasn’t working. I knew I needed a space to put healthy food that I liked.

I came up with the idea to buy a long dresser for a pantry. I could use the top as a counter to prepare food as well as hold a toaster oven and a mini fridge. As the loveseat (for the den aspect) wasn’t used much, we moved it out to make room for the modified, basic “kitchen.”

It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it helped a lot.

I kept this or a similar configuration for about four more years until my boyfriend proposed. By this time, living with my parents had more to do with them needing help than my financial situation. I could have moved out after we married because I had his salary to combine with what I made as a freelancer.

It took a little while for me to finally ask him a scary question – where do you want to live? He responded that he thought he would move in with me and my parents. My daughter had moved out by this time, so we had the option of making it a booming THREE-room living space!

But, of course, we had a LOT more items to put in that space. We moved the “kitchen” (which now included an apartment-sized fridge instead of a mini fridge) in my former bedroom and made it a den/kitchen combo.

My old study became our study – with two really large desks and work areas and storage for our camera equipment. My daughter’s bedroom upstairs became our bedroom.

It's cramped, but it works, though when my husband lost his 9-5 job and joined me in the freelance business, it became more claustrophobic at times.

...Because you made it this far, you're ready to read the actual tips. Go to my blog "Tips for Living in a Tiny Space (NOT a Tiny Home), Part 2 - The Tips to find out ways I make living in this situation feasible.

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