The Secret Danger of Minimalism (and why we took the plunge to go “tiny”)

By Tico+Tina

Last updated September 26, 2022

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This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Embracing Small to Live BIG

I promise we’ll get back to our downsizing process and the outcome of our stupid decisions on Craigslist, but we had to wait several days, so it’s only fitting we’d drag it out a bit on here as well.

The question I want to attempt to answer for posterity (and whoever else is curious in the now), is WHY we would decide to “go tiny” as a family of 5.

There are several reasons:

  • We’ve long loved tiny houses, admiring the efficiency and intentionality of design. Regular houses are straight up boring and wasteful with their use of space.
  • Living in the real estate market that we do, we’ve only put pretty much the bare minimum into fixing up our current home because we knew we wouldn’t be able to get much back out of it. We have been soooo ready to create surroundings we can feel more inspired in, and since a tiny house is a small space, a small budget can go much further.
  • Most years since 2011, we’ve been leaving the Midwest for warmer climates most of the winter. We’ve been blessed to be able to stay with family in Mexico, Texas, and Costa Rica, but as our family grows that gets a bit more complicated. We’re still not sure how it will work out, but in theory, it will be nice to be able to take our home with us and have our own space.
  • Having a home on wheels creates the potential for more flexible travel to different locations.
  • But the biggest reason of all is that minimalism ruined us for normal.

Minimalism is great, but there is a danger you should be aware of if you're considering it... | #minimalism #minimalistliving #simpleliving

The Danger of Minimalism

You don’t have to get very deep into minimalism before your appetite for simplicity becomes ravaging.

Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s been our experience that tasting a bit of the freedom only made us want more – our threshold for what felt like clutter was lowered so much! Whereas I could choose to turn a blind eye on a mess in the past and relegate the frustration with it to my subconscious, it now crept into my consciousness and felt more stressful.

Simplicity is just. so. beautiful.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Just as the innocence of a child is able to shine a spotlight on even the slightest perversion, the deeper the affinity for simplicity, the more glaringly ugly needless clutter and complexity becomes.

And yet, we’re not interested in going back.

In fact, we’re inspired to go deeper.

Taking the “tiny” plunge…

Though we have no grand ideas of spacial nirvana or whatever, we do know for sure we were ready to go harder.

Like I said in this post, we were starting to feel cramped in our 900-something sq ft home.

It also felt like a burden weighing us down in the back of our minds while traveling.

We loved coming back to our own space, but almost everything in it felt too heavy.

The problem was, we were at a bit of a plateau with getting rid of stuff.

Sure, we would get rid of a bit more every year, but we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to be completely savage in our efforts because we didn’t need to be.

I felt caught between a rock and a hard place – knowing I would feel better with much less stuff, but at the same time feeling dumb about getting rid of things that I liked having access to.

Part of it, honestly, was that time kept moving so quickly and we kept finding ourselves at the end of another year with nothing having changed. Every year when we were getting ready to go home for the summer/fall David would say “We really need to get out of there,” and every year I would say “We have to make a plan,” and every year we didn’t make a plan.

We were sort of stuck, really.

  • We liked living close to family in our small town during the summer, but we hated how far it was from everything else.
  • We wanted our kids to be able to participate in our homeschool group’s classes and programs for the whole school year instead of just the fall semester, but unless we moved somewhere closer to “civilization”, it wasn’t worth it to us to brave the winter roads and weather.
  • We didn’t have a big savings built up, but we also didn’t want to go into debt to purchase a new home in a better location.
  • We had alerts on in case a miracle cheap home would pop up somewhere closer to everything, and a few did over the years, but the timing was either off or they ended up flaking on us like Craigslist people often do.
  • We considered just renting somewhere, but between still wanting the flexibility to travel and still having enough stuff that it wouldn’t be practical to move between places, and not wanting to just rent a space for our stuff… it didn’t seem like the next best move.

So I started thinking about getting a camper as more than just a flexible travel asset; it might serve as a bridge to where we wanted to go…

  • We would have tangible “parameters” to work with to get super streamlined with our belongings.
  • We could technically use it as our home/space for our belongings regardless if we were traveling or not, which could open up our current home to rent or sell.
  • We could re-model it and possibly even make a profit on resale, or by renting it out.
  • At worst, we could use it for a workspace/extended home space. (David mentions his need for an office at least once a week.)

“Embracing Small” Takeaway: Although simplicity is beautiful and freeing, it’s also kind of addicting in a way. Do you feel like the focus and clarity minimalism brings is worth the risk of “needing” to have less mess in order to be at peace?


Explore what "embracing small" could mean for you and your family...

More In Embracing Small to Live BIGPrevious Post in the Series
We did something really, really, really stupid… don’t try this at home.

Next Post in the Series
14 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Live in a Tiny House or RV (especially with a family)

We're well-acquainted with being stuck in soul-sucking survival mode, and the intense internal friction of not living in alignment with your potential. We're all about discovering, creating, and sharing adulting cheat codes™ so you can level up faster! -David (Tico) & Chris(tina)

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