Tiny Home Living, Our Adjustments

Picture of the bottom of the small spiral staircase in Rimakej's parents' tiny home, and the door to the little storage space under the stairs.
Bottom of the small spiral staircase in Rimakej’s parents’ house with a tiny storage space under the stairs that Rima’s Mom named “The Hobbit Hole.”

Among the many adjustments coming to England has had in store for us, tiny home living is the most useful to our future path. One of the reasons our previous home didn’t work for us is that it was a little over 1400 ft² / 130m². We simply don’t need that much living space. 

Just How Tiny?

We’ve talked about downsizing and living in a tiny home for several years. This included debating on the most suitable parameters. I seem to draw the line at around 500 ft² / 46.5 m². Rimakej favors a smaller space. After two weeks of quarantine with her parents in 600ft² / 56 m², I think my numbers have won.

What Kind of Tiny Home?

Spending significant time actually living in this space has helped us decide on many things. Decisions on what features we like, what we don’t, and what we would want to change in our own design. Part of our future plans are to build our own house, most likely with an earth building technique, like cob or earthbag building.

Designing such a structure takes time and thought about usable space and functionality. It includes all sorts of little things, like how many plugs we need. Also, where the light switches are, and whether a door needs to open in or out.

Tiny Home, Tiny Kitchen

What I’ve learned the most about, and what has taken the most adjustment for me is the kitchen. We used to batch cook, bulk order food, grocery shop every two or three weeks, raise our own meat, and grow our own vegetables. There simply isn’t the space to do any of that here.

Picture of the approximately 4 foot/1.22m long counter space of our shared tiny home kitchen with gas stovetop, oven, and one sink above the mini fridge and mini freezer on either side.
Our current kitchen space.

There is no pantry, while cold storage is restricted to a mini fridge and a mini freezer. I have had to learn to cook two-person meals with no leftovers. This is since my in-laws have a very different diet and weekly meal plan than we do, and due to the limited storage space. To give you an idea of how challenging this is for me, I’ve been cooking meals large enough to feed 4+ people most of my life. Even when I lived alone in college, I learned my “single” meal could actually feed 4 people after several surprise visits from friends.

Countertop space is precious. I have had to forgo most ferments, or plan ahead and micro-size the ones I still do. The minimal cabinet space is already occupied with dishware, cooking pots and the water heater.

Adjusting Groceries

Purchasing groceries has been flipped on its head. Aside from limited storage capacity, which means no bulk purchases, we have no vehicle. Grocery shopping now consists of walking a few minutes into town once a week, and carrying back whatever is purchased. Managing to buy enough for us to last the week, while not crowding out the food space for her parents, has been even more challenging.

The garden space is around 6 ft²/2 m², compared to our ½ hectare (1.2 acres), and in a completely different climate than we are used to. Unfortunately, the newly repaired fence casts shade over the entire garden bed throughout the winter. 

Finding the Advantages

Even with the challenges, I still love the kitchen layout and am beyond excited to be cooking on a gas stove again!

Rimakej’s parents also have two chickens that they don’t feed soy to, so we still have eggs available to us. My in-laws also live near several natural walking paths, laden with food like blackberries and stinging nettles, that we can forage on. I’ve also been able to forage some of our medicinal herbs, like hawthorn berries for her, and passionflower for me. 

Picture of some of the herbs we've foraged, including passionflower, hawthorn berries, and rose hips, laid out on the kitchen counter top.
Some of the herbs we’ve foraged, including passionflower, hawthorn berries, and rose hips.

Our life has changed pretty radically since we’ve been over here, but we’re closer than ever to pinning down our future lifestyle goals.

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