We’ve been asked so many questions about what life is like in a tiny house with twin toddlers, so we thought we would answer some of your questions here:
Do you have enough storage space?
I would say that this is different from room to room. We designed our bathroom in a way that I honestly feel like I want for nothing in there (as far as storage is concerned). We have 1 small upper cabinet, the cabinet below the sink and a storage space behind the bathtub. This space is one foot wide and two feet deep and holds all the towels, sheets, dirty laundry and extra diapers, wipes, toilet paper and paper towels.
Our kitchen also has ample storage because we had uppers and lowers installed. We still had to get rid of a few small kitchen appliances, but it feels well organized and I definitely make it work. We intentionally built a large storage cabinet in the boys’ room that fits all of their clothes. We’re struggling a bit with their toys since we don’t have any cabinets they can reach, but we’re slowly figuring that out as well.
Finding enough room for mine and Kevin’s clothes is probably the biggest challenge. Kevin’s clothes are in the loft in baskets, but I know he doesn’t like climbing the ladder every time he forgets something. On the main floor, we had a 2 X 4 foot closet built for me, but I realize now that it should have be one foot wider. It holds all my clothes, but it’s such a long, thin space, it’s extremely difficult to access what I need. We’re continuing to figure this out as well though, everything is possible.
We also left a few things behind that we wish we hadn’t, most notably all of our gear…snowboards, skis, climbing gear, etc. When we settle somewhere, we’ll likely build a shed on the property to hold all the gear, but until then there just isn’t room for it in the house.
I will say that while the pairing down process felt good, it was still hard. We don’t want for anything on a day-to-day basis, but sacrifices do have to be made when you’re going tiny, especially if you’re a larger family.
What’s it like cooking in a tiny space?
This is honestly not an issue for me at all. As long as everything is put away (which it always is for sanity reasons), I feel as though we have ample space to prepare a healthy meal for the family. We can’t cook together, but we never really did before, so it works for us. One of us entertains the boys while the other one cooks.
We intentionally chose the L-shaped kitchen because I knew that I wanted two designated counter areas – one that was always clear for prep space and one that housed drying dishes, the toaster, etc. It has really helped having the two areas so there isn’t any confusion about where things should/can go.
You also get into a rhythm of cleaning up as you go and putting things away as soon as you’re done with them. It takes some practice, as do most things in a tiny house, but it’s a pretty simple, common sense transition.
Is the fridge big enough for a family of four?
The simple answer is YES! Ours is 11 cubic feet and, if it is organized and packed well, It fits enough fresh food for a family of four for a week. It isn’t as big as the fridge we had in our previous house, but we had an obscenely large fridge. This one suits our needs just fine.
What is it really like going to the bathroom in a compost toilet?
Okay you guys, I’m going to get real here for a moment because I don’t believe that any tiny house inhabitant has been real enough on this topic. I would like to say first that I LOVE my compost toilet, but that is not to say that it has been easy. There has been a learning curve and the company could definitely make some improvements. We have a brand called the Separett. I have my master’s degree in environmental science, so it was me more than Kevin who was fascinated by this invention and so excited to get one in our tiny, though I’m realizing it’s much more complicated than I had anticipated. Being able to use poop as compost rather than simply flushing it away is amazing to me though!
Men, let’s deal with you first. You will have to sit down on the throne. Unfortunately, there is just no way around it because of the way that the toilet is designed. All bodies are different, but for the most part the majority of men will feel their jewels touching the divider between the pee portion and the poo portion of the toilet. DO NOT WORRY… It is not dirty and you are not going to catch some terrible disease, but it will take time getting used to.
It is very important that the poo and the pee stay separate, so you want to make sure you use it properly so you there are no issues with smell or the emptying process. If used correctly, the pee will be diverted to your grey water tank, or you will need to empty a canister every few days if you do not have it diverted. I prefer the diverting technique since it makes life a lot easier. Depending on how much you poo and how much toilet paper you use, you will most likely be emptying that bucket every 6 weeks to 4 months (this is what the company says… I believe it’s more like 1-2 months).
If you are parked and stationary, you can create a space where you can turn your poo into compost. The process takes about a year (don’t quote me on that), but is dependent upon how hot your compost gets, in addition to a variety of other factors. If you are not stationary and are traveling, you will not be able to use your poo and will need to find an appropriate waste management station that will take it. There will be a fee.
Women, you’re next. I’m not going to lie, it occasionally gets a little tricky for us. The majority of the month everything works fine, but period time gets a little more complicated. I use a Diva Cup for my monthly, it creates zero waste and is the most comfortable way I’ve ever dealt with my period. It does however constrict my bladder and I’ve come to realize that it’s harder to get pee to go in the designated area. Emptying the Diva cup also gets interesting. I prefer to empty mine in the shower, but when that isn’t an option, I do it over the toilet. Since it’s a space that is covered in white plastic, it can get messy. I’ve learned to just keep a spray bottle under the sink filled with water, tea tree oil and lavender or vinegar if I’m getting really serious and I just spray it all down when I’m done. Super easy!
All in all, the compost toilet takes some work. Kevin would like to throw the thing our the window tomorrow, but I’m hoping we will continue to fine tune the process, and possibly, the company will come out with a better product.
What is it like raising two-year-old toddlers in a tiny space?
If you are creative, organized and patient, you can live with children in a tiny space. It has been really helpful that, so far, we’ve parked in places with beautiful weather. We can get up, feed the boys breakfast and get outside. We come back in around 1 pm for lunch and a nap and then we’re back outside riding bikes and playing. I know that colder climates will be a little more challenging, but it will just mean more bundling and again, a little more creativity.
The boys absolutely love the tiny house and call it their “treehouse”. I’m really grateful that we get to live this life with them. It was incredibly important to us that they valued experiences in life over things. We hope that this experience will give them an appreciation of family, travel and adventure. How could it not?
If you have any other questions, please let us know below. We would love to continue to add to this list and help other families make a decision about whether or not to go tiny with their little ones.