It’s been a year now in our tiny house and we’ve seen all seasons. While there are things we really love about tiny house living, there are elements which are surprising, one might even say challenging. At least they are surprising for us. It’s nothing we can’t handle but some things are good to keep in mind if you are thinking of moving into a tiny house yourself.
Our electricity usage is higher than ever before
First things first, the only power generation in our house is electricity. We run everything through a connection to the main power line. So, heating, hot water, cooking is all electrical. We made that decision in the design process because we wanted to make things as simple as possible. And it is simple.
Now, that simplicity, unfortunately, is more expensive than we previously thought. Although we live in Sweden and temperatures are lower here than in places I’ve lived at previously, I was still shocked by how much electricity we are using.
Jut take heating for example. The statement that because it’s a small space it will require less power to heat up is, unfortunately, not true. While it does take less time to heat up, walls are still thinner than in ordinary houses and heat escapes quicker as well.
In short, tiny house living can be more expensive than you think because the boundary to the outside is much thinner than in a conventional house. That can be a good thing when it comes to indoor air quality but it’s certainly something to keep in mind when it comes to a tiny house in cold climates.
We had to learn a lot about our house
I guess anyone who has ever built a house will agree with me when I say that building (or setting up, in our case) teaches you a lot about plumbing, electricity, and maintenance of a house. I expected that it would come my way but I had no idea how much I would have to be involved in setting up our house. It started with electricity and plumbing, then it went to the toilet, and currently, we are battling with our foundation. It seems neverending and I’m so unsure about what I’m doing. And the fact that I’m dealing with my home (which weights 10t by the way) makes things actually somewhat frightening.
We need more outside space than just our house
As a family of four who had to downsize their belongings by two-thirds, we consider ourselves to be minimalists. However, that still doesn’t mean the house has enough space for all of our hobbies and equipment. And then there is the added difficulty of living in a country with four distinct seasons.
We are very lucky at the moment with our parking space because we can use a lot of outside and storage space. Although not everyone needs to have a separate workshop for soap making, a garden for veggies and chickens, and undercover storage space for skis, bikes, and hiking equipment – we do.
The most important space, however, is our extension of the house. We got an outside veranda installed which extends our house by two meters. And that veranda is absolute gold for us because it gives us a place to leave our shoes and winter gear.
There is no room for simultaneous usage
Tiny house living comes with limited living space – that’s a fact. As a family of four, we have to be very mindful of each other when using the living space because we can’t all do everything we want in it at the same time. For example, if the kids got their legos out, I can’t exercise. If my husband is baking, I can’t watch TV. It’s about compromising and we’re not too bad at it. But it is something we have to keep in mind.
But I don’t let that get to me. I still do everything I want to do. I just have to time it right.
We have to pick up after ourselves
One aspect of tiny house living that’s really annoying is that we can’t let anything lying around. Okay, we have corners where it’s possible to leave something for a little bit but it will be blocking something else. And that can actually get really annoying.
I’m sure that my kids think I really like tidying up and I know that they won’t be the only ones who think that way. But living in a small space as a family, being tidy is very important. Without establishing and keeping some kind of order, no one could do anything anymore.
So, we end up tidying up after ourselves – constantly.