Living in a tiny space — early thoughts

On my first night in our tiny house on wheels, I had a nightmare.

Like a lot of my weirdest dreams, it was set in a rundown house we lived in about a decade ago (though the house in the dreams never looks much like the actual house). In the dream, a woman had broken into the house and surprised Tom and me. Then other intruders emerged from cupboards and wardrobes and began saying mean things. I quarrelled with these people and grew angry.

Then I woke up in pain. The nightmare had made me lash out with my foot, and stub my toe on the ceiling.


(Actually the second toe. Tip: never Google images for “stubbed toe”. You will faint.

How often do you get to say that? Well, if you regularly stub your toe on the ceiling I don’t want to know the details, the point I’m making is that living in the tiny space of the Mustard Yellow House is testing my body in unusual ways. As it was bound to do — yet not as much as I feared.

Starting with that low bedroom ceiling. The loft is about 2.2 metres square, and the ceiling is about 1.4m high — high enough to sit up straight on the futon bed directly under the ridge line.

Sounds tight, but manageable, right? But in fact the ceiling is all bumpable angles. That’s because it’s not like the inside of a cube, but the interior of a gabled-and-dormered box.

Bedroom ceiling

The ceiling reminds me of those paper fortune-tellers that kids used to make with a sheet of paper, with questions and answers written under the folds. There are lots of jutting edges on this ceiling you can catch your head on.

But after a couple of bumps, I seem to have got used to them. Last night I climbed down the ladder three times in the dark to check on one of the dogs, and I didn’t bump or scrape at all. So the ceiling tally is two bumps and one toe-stub, and I’m hopeful not to add to the score.

The kitchen is smaller than I’m used to, but it’s well laid out and lavished with a lot of drawers and cupboards. All the kitchen essentials fitted in, with a bit of nesting and stacking and use of plastic drawers and tubs.

We’ve cooked lots of meals already, and Tom even had three pots simmering on the stove top at the same time.

We just have to be disciplined about getting the dishes done quickly and putting stuff away.

There’s potential for more cabinetry in the kitchen to create more storage, as our new fridge only takes up half the available upright space. We could get that built into a taller cupboard.

And we still have work to do in organising our limited cupboard space — my aim is to free up a whole shelf!

Foldout table

The foldout desk/dining table (shown above in its clutter-free days) has become a setdown spot — the place we empty our pockets on to and stack the library books. Which means the table can never get folded away. One possible plan is to shift the computer monitor to a wall-mounted arm, and swing it out only when it’s being used.

But apart from those few things, what stuns me is that I do NOT feel cramped in this house. The “great room” is remarkably open and easy to move through…

Great room

When I sit on the sofa, I see a space that is small but not claustrophobic, and the view to open land gives a sense of room…

View from couch

We still have downsizing to do, and some reorganising to house some of our things. But I can cross from my list of fears one that was near the top: that I might feel constrained and cluttered in this tiny house.

New Yorker cartoon

There are challenges: keeping the carpet clean, storing our recycling, getting laundry done, greywater, compost… they’ll be the theme of later posts.

But next post, I thought it was about time to introduce Phoebe and Connor to the blog, and to look at what tiny-house living means for them!

Dogs cute on couch



2 thoughts on “Living in a tiny space — early thoughts

  1. Great blog. I’d often wondered what it would be like when the rubber hits the road. Is your aim to have ‘a place for everything’ so you can put ‘everything in its place’? Are there any items you’ve realised you hadn’t planned a home for and now you don’t know where to store?


    1. We are working toward “a place for everything”! Slowly getting more organised, spotting a space that can be better used or a thing that can be better stored. It’s an advantage to have an overflow space such as a storage locker, at least at the start. The problem items right now are the dogs’ crates — we knew we’d have them around but they’re a pretty major presence in our great room! Thanks for reading, Colleen!

      Liked by 1 person

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