Why We Moved from the Tiny House to a Small Traditional House for the Winter

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The Small Cottage – Photo by Tammy Strobel

Background

Around the time that my partner, Tammy, and I were celebrating our three year anniversary of tiny house living we started our seasonal discussion on wants and needs. Every three months or so Tammy and I plan a discussion to reconcile where we have been, where we want to go, and our satisfaction with where we are presently in our lives. It is easy to get sucked into a routine and forget how tumultuous and changing life can be. Further, even if everything appears to be normal from the outside, subconscious feelings of discontent can lead to, as Thoreau put it, “lives of quiet desperation.” Following the death of Tammy’s father and the near death of my father, we see the constant flux that is just below the surface of the world we take for granted. We have experienced how fast life can change. Just by discussing opportunities to change and reflecting on the course of our lives, we tend to keep our creativity and happiness fresh and maintain the intentionality that we value. In this manner, as we felt the autumn chill in the air and began our seasonal reckoning, we realized that we both wanted to try a new adventure.

Tiny house living in the country may sound romantic and glamorous, but it is wise to weigh the costs against the benefits. After three years of tiny house living in several different locations, we are experienced and capable of handling the challenges of tiny house living. However, there was something about the dynamics in our present life that made Tammy and I consider a change to a traditional, small, and urban living situation. To help with our consideration, we made a pro/con list to understand a larger decision spectrum regarding a move to town.

Pro/Con List on Moving to a Small Winter Cottage in Town

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

-Better commute -Ranch family distance -More time weekdays -$ spending activities
-Winter comfort -May work longer -More activities to do -Potential cat danger
-Closer to family -Transition time & cost -More people to meet -Acquiring more stuff
-Less driving costs -More noise in town -New adventures -Risk of money disputes with spouse
-Tammy’s back health -Much greater expense -New tiny holiday house
-Indoor shower -Faster internets speeds
-Blogging material -Ability to host family and friends for meals and lodging

Living in the country allowed us to be close to family, save money, and be surrounded by natural beauty. However, since I worked 15 miles away in town, my commute by bike and bus was approximately two hours each day. Further, the nature of tiny house living is being intimate with the outdoor environment. This intimacy is a blessing in warmer seasons, however, after experiencing three winters in the tiny house we have learned that this intimacy can be confining in the winter due to the greater amount of time spent indoors.

The Decision

Once Tammy and I had talked about our needs and wants and reviewed our pro/con list above, we decided we were open to at least looking at “cute small cottages” as Tammy put it. Within just a few days of us being open to a new opportunity we found a wonderful small (~700 sq. ft.) traditional house in Yreka. This still wasn’t an easy decision. We love our tiny house and we were concerned regarding the dramatic increase in noise and expenses. Additionally, even if you espouse the merits of frequent changes it’s not easy to change your routine. In summary, this decision felt like it was the best one for us at present and we plan to treat this new experience as a short-term experiment. We will re-evaluate our needs when spring arrives. In the mean-time, we will likely return to the tiny house often to visit family and take holidays from our new urban life. I look forward to adapting our simple living principles and our alternative living experience to a more traditional way of living.

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The Small Cottage Interior – Photo by Tammy Strobel

5 thoughts on “Why We Moved from the Tiny House to a Small Traditional House for the Winter

  1. Thank you. I’ve been considering the creation of a tiny house and you helped clarify many of the challenges and joys in this pursuit. I am still carving out a future but also acutely aware of celebrating and enjoying my present, this is in large part due to the example you and Tammy provide. Grateful.

  2. That’s interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions concerning the change! I already read a lot about the cottage on Tammy’s blog and it’s fascinating to see how you look at it. You both have a very similar approach to the topic — how I see it.

  3. There is no “correct” number regarding sq.ft. :) If this is what makes you happy right now, then I’m glad you’re there. We have currently bought a bus and have decided to downsize in our retirement years… so we are going in the opposite direction! lol I wish you both a wonderful 2015! Please don’t stop posting!

  4. It takes a deep honesty and a pure heart to say you are changing your mind (even if temporarily) about what you want out of life. But if not for the ability to pivot, we would just wander like robots or zombies through life. Far better to sit down and re-evaluate from time to time, act on what you decide, and see how it plays out. Thank you for sharing your story.

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