Big Family, Small Home

One major hurdle we will need to over come on our quest for tiny living is finding a way to live comfortably and peacefully with our dogs.  Some of these concerns are more for us, including the ever present carpet of fur, surfing the counters for tasty morsels, barking incessantly at the mail carrier, and stretching out the entire length of the bed.  And some are for the day to day safety and well-being of our “fur children”.

We recently downsized from roughly 1,000 ft/sq to just over 700 ft/sq.  While there were some tears shed when we realized we were going to have to downsize our lives and begin to think smaller, we (and our animals) have adapted well.  There is no doubt that our transition was made easier by having a nice sized fenced yard for the animals to roam (except during the rainy Oregon winters).

When considering our move to a tiny home, one thing us humans are very excited about is the opportunity to have a sleeping loft in our tiny house on wheels.  I can picture us climbing a beautifully hand crafted ladder to our personal sleeping nook, and bedding down with-out a couple of dogs already stretched out across the bed.  No more waking up in the middle of the night and banishing them from the room.  No more early morning wake-up calls requesting kibble.  No more dirty dogs ruining our clean sheets!  While this all sounds pretty wonderful.  I am also a bit sad to think of a time where I won’t be able to lay in bed with my arm around a couple of wonderful pooches.  I’m a bit sad that I won’t be able to call one or both in to bed for an early morning snuggle-fest. Clearly there will be quite the adjustment period for the whole family, but there are a few things we can do to plan to make the transition smoother.

My first idea was to build a nice fenced area outside our tiny house.  This would be something familiar to the dogs, and would give Nikki and I the peace of mind to know that they won’t be running off and getting in to trouble.  Along with the fence, we decided we would need to pull our tiny house to an area that is fairly temperate.  This would allow us to keep the doors and windows open, giving us and the dogs additional space and freedom to move.  An added bonus would be if we were in a situation where the dogs would be welcome to come with us during our daily activities.  Once they have the appropriate amount of stimulation and are adequately fed, they seems to have little use for us and choose to rest up for the coming days activities (visions of mail-carriers dancing in their heads).

Another idea I had just the other evening was to design a lower “lounging area” where we could all (comfortably) occupy the same space.  A long bench seat and open floor area where we could all comfortably cohabitate during the cooler months of the year.

Perhaps one of the largest changes I can foresee us making in our move to such a small space is that we will be required to spend much more of our time outside of our home.  It will be less important to ensure that we have enough space inside our tiny home, and more important that we all get out and enjoy the world outside of it.

I am realizing that this is one of the major philosophical differences between the traditional and tiny house movement.  Specifically, that we become isolated in our “McMansions”, spending our lives amongst four closed walls.  Some may even live in a house that is so large they  become isolated from those people they live with.  I want for our tiny home to be a vehicle for connecting us back to our community.  We recognize that we cannot do it alone.  We intend to give what we have and find ourselves in a community that also desires to share what it can as well.  We recognize that we become stronger when we bond together, and that it becomes easier than trying to do it all by ourselves.

I haven’t found many resources that discuss living with dogs in tiny houses or small spaces in general.  I welcome any and all feedback, stories, and helpful hints that anyone reading has to offer.

Sincerely,

All of Us! (Mitchell, Nicholette, Bailey Roo, Cooper Dean, and Jesse too!)

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Getting started….

Procrastination (Pro-cras-ti-na-tion) “To put off intentionally what should be done.” (merriam-webster)

Procrastination is a word that has haunted me my entire life.  The only relief I’ve ever felt from the impending sense of doom it brings about is a little quote which goes something like “the hardest part of any job is getting started”.  From the stressful nights I spent with my mother, studying for the next day’s spelling test, to the nights I went sleepless while attempting to finish a term paper in graduate school.  I have always watched as those who are organized plan, follow-through, and even manage to leave a little bit of time so they are not pulling out their hair at the last minute.  It is important, however, to note that I have learned to embrace my lack of organization, and am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in my life thus far.  And, while the vast majority of those types of deadlines are now behind me, I am finding it equally difficult in my “adult” life to begin to self-impose deadlines.  These types of deadlines are very different from the ones of my school days, and are generally centered around a value or goal that will serve to move my life in “values-oriented” direction.

Since leaving school it has not always been easy to make adult decisions about how and where to invest my time and energy so that my life may bear the fruits of my labor.  For so long, I believed that if I followed through with school the rest of life (job, house, life, etc.) would unravel before me from that point.  One does not have to look far to learn that some 53% of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.  This leaves me with one pressing question “what next?” (and I’m not even facing retirement!).  If my education might not serve me like I hoped it would, if the economy may not provide for me like I thought it might, what then do I value investing my time and energy in?  Thankfully, I have had a wonderful companion on this journey (4 wonderful companions to be exact).  I am so incredibly grateful for my family who believes in my abilities, inspires me to dream big, and who helps to pick me up when the weight of the world knocks me down.

With that in mind, I introduce to you my attempt to begin one of the grandest undertakings of my life thus far.  To design and build a “tiny house” for my family and I (2 adults, 2 dogs, and 1 cat).  With that, I will begin where any good project begins, by researching and planning how and what I intend to do in order to make this project come to fruition.

Welcome to this blog.  It is my intention that it will serve as a community space for sharing ideas, troubles, and triumphs, related to radically simplifying our lives so that we may live more sustainably and harmoniously with each other and the environment.

Sincerely,

Mitchell Mast

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