Across the country, folks have increasingly embraced the “Tiny Living” lifestyle. Whether creating homes from vintage airstreams, sprinter vans, micro apartments, or even shipping containers, individuals have willingly opted into 500 square foot (or smaller!) dwellings for a multitude of reasons, often stemming around the desire to simplify their lives, allowing them the freedom to focus on the things - and people - that matter most.
Admittedly, we can see the charm in whittling one’s life down a few carefully selected belongings that can be contained within a tiny house, forcing you to be mindful about keeping only what you *really* need.
But how does that translate when you bring a little one into the picture, ahem, tiny house? We chatted with a couple of our favorite tiny living mamas to find out what inspired them to downsize, how they’ve adapted with their growing families, and some of their baby must haves.
Whitney Leigh Morris
Whitney lives with her husband, her son West, and their 2 rescue pups in The Tiny Canal Cottage in Venice Beach, CA. Whitney is a firm believer that we don’t need to “live large” to live beautifully.
“We weren’t on a minimizing mission when we moved into our cottage — we simply fell in love with the space,” she says of her 362 sq ft home. “Since then, we’ve grown to love our tiny living lifestyle. It has brought us closer together, and allows us to focus our time, energy and resources towards our experiences, rather than acquiring/managing belongings.”
To prepare to welcome baby West into the tiny house, she and her husband converted their bedroom closet into a dreamy little nursery nook. Some of her favorite baby items include the Ergobaby Carrier, the Gathre Mat, and the DockATot.
“The ErgoBaby carrier helps circumvent the need to buy and store a stroller at the start when you have so much to plan and obtain. The Gathre mat helps cuts back on laundry and cleaning, saving time and water. (We place a small one over the DockATot when using it to change the baby’s diapers. Another sits under his folding high chair.) And the DockATot pretty much does everything else! West has loved both sizes. The Grand currently serves as his changing station, his bed, and a play area.”
Jace & Giddi Carmichael
Jace & Giddi Carmichael are adventurers and creators at heart. Like Whitney & her family, they didn’t necessarily intend to go tiny. “We wanted to travel and see the world so naturally we had to give up a lot in order to be able to move into a tiny space and see the world” says Jace.
They set off on their first adventure (pre-baby) in March of 2016, after converting a sprinter van into their first ‘home on wheels’. This jaunt from Arizona to Alaska was so successful that they were inspired to sell their van in order to build out another more baby-friendly version with the welcoming of their sweet baby, Juniper. In this van, they added a little more storage and a third seat for her carseat.
“It was an adjustment that was much easier than we thought it would be - I mean - as far as having her in the van. She was made for living in a van and traveling. We were afraid of so many little things, like how she would do on long drives, but it makes us slow down. If she’s awake, we are not driving, we rest and play with her, enjoy wherever we are at.”
For the Carmichaels, going tiny inspired them to put their energy into experiences, rather than stressing out about the “stuff”.
“It was so hard for us to get rid of things we thought were of sentiment or value, but honestly we’ve never looked back or craved for those things. The memories are much more sentimental than any object. It’s been so liberating and exhilarating to live small and love what little we have and learn to use it in lots of different ways.”
To families that are considering going tiny, they say: “This Earth is a huge playground. Your littles don’t need lots of toys and things to be happy. There is so much to enjoy outside of all the things we believe we need. We believe rocks are the best toys ever!”
Going “tiny” doesn’t have to be full time. For Priscilla and her husband Sean, the tiny living lifestyle will be a part-time venture. In an effort to unplug, the Vegas are mapping out an epic road trip through National Parks with visions of quality family time and discovering nature with their little ones, 4 year old Ina and 8 month old Oz. They were motivated to take the leap into purchasing an airstream after years of contemplating the idea.
“Both my husband and I love to work. Our daily lives are consumed with meetings, events and shows so when we have time together as a family, we really love to soak it all in.”
Their goal is to take off to a new place one weekend a month, starting with some local SoCal beaches for the first few trips then heading to the Central California Coast in the fall and Yosemite next spring. The Vegas have tested out their space by spending some time in rental parks near by. “Our 4-year old calls it a "house car" and she was bouncing off the walls the first night. I'm going to be honest, her energy felt like it quadrupled in a tiny space BUT it was also contagious!”
Priscilla has been busy planning for the adventure, thinking carefully about what essentials to pack to satisfy both little ones. “With a 4-year old and an infant sharing the space in the airstream, we want to be really mindful of the things we bring along to satisfy both of their needs. Since space is so limited, we are really going to focus our efforts on the basic needs such as a travel tub and an easy sleeping situation for both. At home, our little guy has slept in his DockATot since the day we brought him home from the hospital so it was an easy decision to bring that on the road with us. The in-between such as play will be satisfied by our surroundings.”
With planning well underway, Priscilla and her crew are ready for the adventure. “I'm really excited for the challenge of only taking the necessities on the road with us. When hitting the open road, less is definitely more… . It's the slow life and it's what I'm most looking forward to when we hit the road in our new trailer.”
Photos courtesy of the Vegas. Follow along on Priscilla's instagram & with the hashtag #VegabondsAdventure!