Written by Anna Hunt
Some may call it a leap of faith; some may have thought it was a crazy idea. But after living in the rat race of life and debt I wanted to find a way to live happily with less. Three years ago, my husband Landon and I and our two kids, Reese and Gray, moved into our 640-square-foot “tiny” house.
I have been asked countless times “what made you guys want to live in a tiny house?” Let me explain. Our interest in tiny houses began when our budget was stretched way too thin years ago. We had been through the Dave Ramsey class, so we made it a goal to become debt free. I was raising our two young kids and working a part-time job as a bookkeeper and Landon was working shift work while also running a lawn-mowing company on his days off. The opportunity for Landon’s dream to own property finally came and, even though it stretched our budget even more, we made it happen. We lived in a 1600-square-foot house in Choudrant and owned 20 acres in the country. Life was pretty stressful until I realized that we had an opportunity to become almost debt-free and we could live on the land we now owned. We could sell our house and things and live tiny with less stress!
It took me a year to talk Landon into building a tiny house and becoming debt-free. He wasn’t as open to ditching “the norm” as I was, but he eventually came around. If he made a rare complaint about having to work so much, I’d gently remind him that he didn’t have to because I’d found us a way out. A couple of things I did really helped show him how great this lifestyle could be. The first thing was to get rid of “stuff” we weren’t using, didn’t need, etc. He loved coming home from work and walking into our uncluttered house and opening up formerly stuffed-to-the-brim closets that were now actually usable space. Another thing that helped open his eyes was a trip we took to Lake Ouachita that summer. We stayed on a houseboat there and It inspired me so much. The layout and design showed me how little bedroom space we really needed.
After he was finally convinced, I began drawing up tons of plans on graph paper and we finally agreed on what we thought would be the best use of space. We would sacrifice bedroom space and separate closets to make our house smaller. Landon and I shared an 8’x 8′ bedroom with just enough room for two bedside tables and a queen-sized bed, and our kids share a 6’x 5′ bunkroom. We have a normal-sized bathroom at 6’x 8′ with a laundry room/shared closet attached to it. We have an open concept kitchen-living-dining area with vaulted ceilings and a
great back porch and outdoor area because these are the places we knew we’d want to spend the most time. There’s also a small loft above the bedroom/bathroom area for the kids’ playroom.
After the details were decided, Landon and a friend who’s a carpenter spent three months building our house. I spent my time making decisions, gathering materials to save on delivery costs, and searching for “scratch-and-dent” materials. It was very challenging but rewarding! The purchases I’m most proud of are my $45 farmhouse kitchen sink and my $50 soaker tub in the bathroom. Both were brand new with one nick each no bigger than a ladybug.
Life in a tiny house isn’t always easy. You don’t have a lot of privacy. We shared one bathroom for three years, so modesty is not a thing in our house. You have to be very intentional about making time to be alone as well. We homeschool, so we’re always together. Life also comes with lots of “stuff” and we all bring it in daily. Living in a small area, you have to learn to be more intentional about having a place for everything you bring in or clutter takes over more quickly than it does in a bigger space. On a positive note, it’s much easier to clean a small house because you can’t bring in as much clutter.
Honestly, the upsides of small, simple living far outweigh the downfalls. We get to have deeper, more meaningful relationships with our kids and families because we hardly stress about money and rarely feel overworked the way we used to. We get to live on the land we love and spend most of our time outside. One of our favorite things to do is build fires in our outdoor fireplace and watch the kids play in the yard. There’s nothing better than relaxing beside a fire. Reese is 9 and her favorite thing about living in a tiny house is that she has a loft for a playroom. Gray is 7 and his favorite thing about tiny house living is that we can hang a swing on the beam in our living room.
When we were done with our tiny house, we only owed 10k and we paid that off within 2 years. We finally accomplished our biggest goal! We really do love life in our tiny house way more than I ever loved the “stuff” we gave up to get here. I realized that time with my family was most important to me. I also realized that if we spend all our time working to make money to pay for the things we don’t really need, we’ll look back on life and wonder where it went because we didn’t invest our time in the things that are most important. When we get old and look back on our lives, or our children look back on their childhoods, I don’t think any of us will say that we wish we had more possessions. God tells us that Love is the greatest commandment and I think that this house has made so much space for more love in our lives. In that way, building our tiny house is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.