The 8 worst things about life in a tiny house (Part 1 of 2)

Living Small to Live Big — tiny house life with kids

There are so many amazing things about living in a tiny house. . . and then there’s the rest. Here’s the juicy stuff: all the dirt. Yup, I’m talking the glamorous side of tiny house living such as toilets, dishes, and—um—sexy time.

Here are the ­­­­­first four (of eight) of my least favorite things about living in a tiny house on wheels:

1. Tiny house = bathroom and laundry challenges

We realize that most Americans who go the tiny house on wheels route move into large RVs, and we think that’s great. But when you picture our family home, please don’t picture a Winnebago because that’s FAR from our truth. We had zero bathroom or laundry facilities in our caravan, which meant plenty of challenges.

Living Small to Live Big - tiny house life beautiful mess

For the laundry, it simply meant we had to become better planners. This is an inconvenience, but certainly not impossible. For the bathroom, it meant we were at the mercy of wherever we were staying. Often we were parked at a friend’s house; sometimes we parked in campgrounds. Planning when to shower wasn’t our favorite… but worse was planning (or not being able to plan) when to poop. No one likes to poop in someone else’s house. (Sorry, there’s just no classy way to say it.) No way around it, pooping in someone else’s house is just awkward. I’m not going to elaborate on this one, but it really wasn’t ideal.

Not having our own bathroom also meant the kids couldn’t get up at night and take themselves to the potty without an adult accompanying them. Major bummer for sure. Oh yeah, and then factor in pregnancy. (The only time I ever wished I was a man was during those middle of the night urges to pee.)

Tiny house, big love- life in our renovated vintage caravan — Adriel Booker-3

2. Tiny house = teeny tiny space

This one’s probably another obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning because it bothers some people more than others. My husband (who is 6’3”) struggled with this one more than the rest of us. He simply always felt large in the space—fair enough, right? For the boys and I it wasn’t as big a deal, but then again, we take up half the space Ryan does.

Tiny house, big love- life in our renovated vintage caravan — Adriel Booker-23

3. Tiny house = privacy and alone time challenges

I felt the space constraints the most during the times I needed to introvert. (Yup, just used that as a verb… it’s a thing, guys.) Although we had a little bedroom with a sliding door I could shut, leaving the caravan was much more conducive to having proper alone time. We made this work and Ryan and I took turns escaping to a coffee shop when we needed it (which forces good communication—bonus), but sometimes you just want your own space and your yoga pants and home environment. Tiny house inconvenience, for sure.

Living Small to Live Big—Tiny house life bedroom

People have also asked about—you know—adult time. For whatever reason talking about this doesn’t embarrass me much, but writing about it sure does! (Maybe because I can’t choose who reads.) Let’s just say that alone time with your husband or wife doesn’t have to be put on hold, but it does need some consideration. We only had one time where a child (who we thought was asleep) said, “why is the caravan shaking?” much to my shock and horror. (Remember, we had a little sliding door so that part was all good.) Needless to say Ryan and I collapsed into giggling fits after tossing back a “what are you talking about, it’s not shaking!”

Living Small to Live Big—Tiny house life bunk bed

4. Tiny house = tiny messes appear monstrous

If you read my post on the 6 best things about life in a tiny house, you’ll note that I mentioned “tidy house” as one of the things I most loved. The flip side of that is that if you’re not super intentional to clean up and tidy as you go, you can quickly feel overwhelmed by even the smallest messes. A few toys or clothes or shoes on the floor become a blanket of unwelcome debris in no time. The breakfast dishes look like post-Thanksgiving collateral damage and an art project table of aftermath makes the entire space look like Coachella just rolled through.

Living Small to Live Big—Tiny house life kitchen

Sometimes you just want to leave the mess for later, but in a tiny space you’ve really got to count the cost to your sanity if you’re going to let things slide for long. This can be hard for messy people and also for neat people—ahem—who don’t like mess.

Tiny house, big love- life in our renovated vintage caravan — Adriel Booker-2

In order for this not to get too long, I decided to break up my “worst things” post into two parts, so please check back soon for part two. And for those that read my favorite things post, please don’t assume that my eight worst things cancel out my six favorite things about our life in the tiny house. (Apples to oranges and all that.) We loved our year in Vinny the vintage van and we’d do it again in a heartbeat if the timing and circumstances were right.

If you haven’t already, you can see more of the day-to-day of what our life in the caravan looked like by following the hashtag #livingsmalltolivebig on instagram.

Adriel x


Living small to live big—our tiny house on wheels

Living Small To Live Big: A series on tiny house living with a family

Ever wondered what it would be like to move into a tiny house on wheels… with a family? Join the boys and I as we spend a year #livingsmalltolivebig and travel around Australia in our renovated vintage caravan. (This series is still in process—I’ll add the links below as the posts go live.)

Do you have other questions about our time living in 95 square feet or about tiny house life in general? Please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer your questions or add to this collection of posts.



About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Tim
    31 May 2016 at 8:21 am

    Your pics make your place look awesome if tiny but I am sure it didn’t get into that state automagically.

    How? My challenge is making the place look aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.

    My wife helps of course but I always look at our place till I am cross-eyed trying to get it to look right.

    I try to look at pics like yours and others to reverse-engineer, but think maybe understanding how you got there could help.

    Also: preferred toys to the keep the kids happy? Ours are now 2 and 4 so…yeah.
    Tim recently posted..We Sponsor Our Compassion Girls because We Are Selfish, Lazy, and EvilMy Profile

    • Adriel Booker
      7 June 2016 at 9:20 am

      Hi Tim. I plan to do a post with a bunch of before and after photos. Hopefully that will help you imagine how to ‘reverse-engineer’ a little.

      Great question about toys for the kids. I’ll think about how I can incorporate some ideas for you into the post I write about organizational hacks, or somewhere else. But in general, I just kept an eye out for small toys, small or travel version games, and a bin of art supplies. We also had outdoor toys like bikes, balls, and a few buckets and sand/dirt toys.

  • Rachel Richards
    2 June 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Adriel been following you wonderful awe inspiring blog for years now… Luv your writing!
    Hope that one day you can come visit ev church at Erina it’s such a lovely family friendly church….


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