My name is Amanda, and I’m a single mum of two beautiful girls aged 8 and 2.5. My best friend Emma introduced me to the idea of tiny house living when I was coming up with ideas about how to reduce overhead costs, give us something unique, and be environmentally friendly. I am lucky that I have the use of the side paddock on my parent’s property, so I contacted Aussie Tiny Houses based locally to me on the Sunshine Coast (Australia), and the process flowed perfectly without a single hiccup – it was meant to be!
I designed two tiny houses parked in an L shape with a covered deck in between. I designed two as I wanted my girls to have a full-sized bedroom each and to keep their bedrooms essentially the same as they had it in our previous house. Both of my girls are autistic, so keeping their bedrooms the same meant the amount of change they would have to cope with would be kept to a minimum.
One tiny house is 6.5m long, 4.3m high and 2.5m wide and weighs roughly 6t. It has both of my girls’ bedrooms with huge built-in robes. The other tiny is 8.5m long, 4.3m high and 2.5m wide and weighs roughly 6.5t. It has our living and dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and my main bedroom. I went with a white interior to make it feel bigger, and so I can change the interior decor when I feel like it, which always freshens things up! I wanted exposed rafters as I love them and heaps of big windows to capture the breezes. We have reverse cycle airconditioners in each cabin and gas cooking and hot water. We have an Eco Loo 750 composting toilet, which is working well for us. The only downside is that the chamber is too heavy for me to change each month, so my dad comes over and does it for me (thanks, dad!). We have a 5000lt water tank and two 100lt tanks, which we use to catch the rainwater for our water supply. Downsizing was so easy as I am the biggest ‘anti-hoarder’ ever, and I love a good clean out at the best of times! The whole move-in process was flawless. It was so exciting seeing our houses drive down the street to us! We connected the services, and my dad built a huge 6 x 6m deck (used pallets as foundations, so it is relocatable) and roof for us.
Living tiny has enabled me to work less and ensure that all the work I do is planned around my girls, their appointments, and their school events – I refuse to miss a single school morning tea, sports day, or concert! (I am a parenting mentor and Montessori trained early childhood consultant). When I buy my own land, I plan to move the tinies with us! They are so quick to clean, we still have so much space and storage, and we certainly aren’t cramped – I have so much more time free now! Everyone that comes to visit can’t believe how big they feel inside and absolutely loves them. I can’t think of a downside to living tiny except maybe it’s hard work to make my queen-sized bed now I have to climb across it to tuck the far side in – but if that’s my biggest complaint I think I’m doing ok! I wish I went tiny years ago. I don’t think I will ever go back to a normal-sized house as I love living tiny so much.
My advice to others considering going tiny is to do it! Go and see some tinies, think about what is important to you and make sure you factor those in (for me it was a full-sized fridge and full-sized pantry as I cook everything from scratch, I also wanted a deep sink, but I didn’t need a washer/dryer). There are so many options and ways in which to do it. If I can do it with two special/high needs girls, then so can you! Much rather regret something you’ve done than something you haven’t – do it!