When we began exploring the possibility of moving into a home that was approximately 15% of the square footage of the house we were currently living in, we kept our children involved with every aspect of the move that they could understand. Although we expected to be met with some resistance, our children did not have any trouble with getting rid of some of their toys.
If you are considering a move to a tiny house or perhaps just looking to downsize in some way, here are some things that we did that you may want to consider to help make the transition smoother.
1. Downsize toys and only keep the open-ended toys. Most children have more than enough toys and most likely have many that they never play with. There will be a large amount that should be easy to clean out. For the rest, use the trick that we used, tell your children they can have the money for any of the toys they sell!
2. Consider what clothing is truly needed. Does each child really need 15-20 shirts? A good rule of thumb is to keep enough clothing for a week or possibly up to two, depending on how often you are able to wash laundry. We keep enough regular clothing for a week for each child (tops, bottoms, pjs) and then also have a few extras, such as a couple of nicer shirts, a pair of nice pants, and heavy and light jackets. All seasonal clothing is put away in a plastic tote until it’s needed.
3. If your children have a lot of books, have them pick out their favorites to keep within their space in your new home. If they are too young to do this on their own, pick the ones that you know they enjoy hearing over and over. Remind your children that they can always borrow any number of books from the local library.
4. If your children are worried where they will play, remind them that they are always able to play outside. A home is just a place for s to gather and rest our heads, the great outdoors is what we really need for play and exploring. Having some kind of defined outdoor space can help with this, even if your tiny home is mobile. A large rug can work if you have very limited space or create a playhouse haven for your little ones in your yard.
5. Create a small, indoor space for each person in your home. Even if your children are sharing a room, make sure that they have their own bunk, or at least their own corner of the home that they can retreat to when they need to.
6. Have a plan for the rainy days. There will be plenty of rainy or snowy days unless you live in the desert so be sure and make plans for those days. Have a list of places that you can visit outside or home, or perhaps have a special stack of movies/books that only get pulled out during those days.
Moving into any new home can be a big transition. Moving into a tiny or small home can be overwhelming, especially if you are coming from a home that is the typical American square footage. Since everyone will have to make sacrifices during this time, it’s important to include each family member in the process, even the ones that we think might be too little to understand. Doing this can help prepare their minds (and yours!) for what is to come and will remind everyone in your family that you are all in this journey together.