After 4 months, these are some things that surprise me:

I still lose things.

“Where did I put my …?” “Where is the…? I still spend time looking for things! I have to admit, we are not the most organized of individuals. Yes, all of our belongings (minus our bikes) fit into our tiny dwelling, yet it is probably not in the most functional order it could be in. This is why we are reaching out to our friend, Lina Menard, who knows all about living tiny, and we’re hoping she can help us with the flow and order of things in our house.

Our neighbors are open-minded. 

I have been outside taking pictures when someone walking by will call out, “cute house!” and in another instance, a gardener stopped by to ask if our landlady needed any trees trimmed and he commented on how cozy and efficient our house seemed. And last week, a nice couple left a card on our doorstep, interested to talk to us about the process of having the house built and about how we found our spot. I guess I had anticipated more resistance from neighbors, and maybe it’s just Portland, or maybe it’s just our open-minded neighborhood, but so far I haven’t felt as if we have anything to worry about. Most show an appreciation for the cute and coziness of the space and a general curiosity. We have had a neighbor ask to make sure we aren’t dumping black-water into the yard, and we assured him that we are not and we explained our systems to him. We’ve tried to be very open with neighbors by introducing ourselves to them and talking openly about our tiny house. We want them to know we are happy, healthy people who care about the neighborhood we live in.

The cat has adjusted really well.

I’m really pleased at how adaptable my little furball has been.  He is quite at home in our tiny house. I think he might even prefer a smaller space because he spends a lot of his time sitting in a shoe box.  He goes in and out of the catdoor like a champ and cozies up with us in the loft at night. He races to climb down the ladder with us and explores under the reading nook bench. At 14 years of age, he’s still quite the frisky kitty.

Our small space feels big and cozy.

The space has not yet felt cramped. The most cramped area is in our “one-butt-kitchen” and it’s something that we are mostly used to now. I’m surprised that two adults and a kitty can co-exist in such a small amount of square footage comfortably.

Cleaning with vinegar/water and biodegradable soaps isn’t so bad.

I have not always been a fan of the smell of vinegar, but I know that it is an excellent and safe natural cleaner. I’m surprised that I’ve gotten used to the smell and now associate it with “clean”. I love how it sanitizes too. We also use Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap for our dishes which works really well and makes our greywater smell minty. I feel in the past I may have been sort of a “soap snob” and more in favor of flowery-fruity smelling cleaners, but the peace of mind that the cleaners we are using now are earth-plant-animal-friendly is so much more important than any fragrance.

We make messes. 

This shouldn’t really surprise me. It’s so easy to do! The house remains easy to clean and easy to make messy. We’re still working out a “landing zone”; that space where you plop down your bags and jackets once you get home. Currently it’s the bench and nook but I’m finding we have to move things around from place to place and it would be better if we could find a home for these things.

We have a lot of work to do. 

We now have a long to-do list from Derin from Urbanest NW who met with us last week to consult on things in our home we would like to improve. He was really open and honest about what changes are worth our time and money. And he brought up the topic of quality and how there was much that could be improved in our tiny dwelling. I’ll write more about that later, but it was as we had feared that there are many tasks that need tending to including sealing the wood and floors properly, replacing the caulking in the tub, sealing the kitchen, and replacing the bathroom door and trim. There’s a lot for Tomas-the-handyman-Villa to take care of!

We’ve made it through winter.

Mostly. Basically. Okay, fine we have 6 more days, but spring is almost here!!! I’m really excited for warmer and drier weather so we can paint the exterior and sand and seal the wood. And we have an opportunity to garden at our site, which is something that I think could be very relaxing and rewarding. Part of the tiny home lifestyle that appeals to me is spending time outside the home and in the community. I think spring will make that a bit easier.

The vulnerability has lessened.

This is surprising, and I feel very grateful for it. I’m a rule follower, yet I now live in a structure that is “a-legal”; not quite legal and not quite illegal. It’s an interesting existence and I’m grappling with the feelings that come along with that. I think it would be easier to have a tiny house if we had a large house with land or piece of property of our own to put a tiny house on. But the point of this life experiment for me was to try something other than the typical 30-year mortgage family home. Ultimately, I am hoping that this lifestyle will afford us the opportunity to save money and build financial security. I see having debt as more of a vulnerability than living tiny.

This is real.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s actually working. We are living in a tiny home. Pinch me? We’ve had a lot of traumatic surprises through the build process and I’m so happy we are almost through with that part. I’m surprised by how much we’ve learned in such a short period of time and I can’t wait for more (happy) surprises in the upcoming months!

Thanks for reading,