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Tiny House Talk Q&A: My Husband Won’t Live in a Tiny House

On Thursday I received this email from a reader.

Read it for yourself below,

Subject: Tech-loving couple tiny living ideas?

Message: Hi there, 

I’m having a hard time convincing my husband that we can live happily

in a tiny home. He claims its’ not enough room for both of our

computers, our large TV and game consoles that he’s absolutely against

getting rid of or down-sizing. 

He claims that tiny homes are for people who are never home and “not

like us”.

I was curious to know if you had any suggestions and/or examples of

computer-centered homebodies who have made this move and are happily

living the dream without sacrificing. 

Thank you for your time!

My Thoughts on Couples Not Agreeing on Tiny Houses

I think it’s normal for someone already in a relationship to reject the idea of small spaces.

Some people are happy living in larger spaces and I think that’s okay.

I don’t believe in changing people if they don’t want to or aren’t even interested.

Everyone goes through stages at different times in their own lives.

But it’s not natural to have to convince someone to live in a tiny house when they really don’t want to.

If it doesn’t work yet, and you love your partner, just let it go and find other more constructive ways to improve your life.

One of the best ways to do this is by getting rid of some of your own stuff.

Let go of the tiny house idea for now, and work on smaller, easier ways to simplify right now.

There have been cases where it takes someone a few months or even a couple of years before they’re open to the idea.

Some are open to it right away. For others it’s a complete impossibility. It all depends.

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Ann Seeton
    January 21, 2013, 8:25 am

    I agree, if you want to keep your partner and that person needs more space, then let them have the space they need. Simplify your own spaces, downsize your own possessions, de-clutter, and the many other things that are in your power. Let him feel the comfort of less clutter. Organize the rest, and give it time.

    Who knows, maybe tiny won’t happen, maybe smaller will happen instead.

    Compromises are always needed. But that doesn’t mean you cannot make a difference anyway.

    • Alex
      January 21, 2013, 9:00 am

      Well said Ann thank you so much.

    • Edueck
      February 11, 2013, 10:14 am

      Hi, I just thought I would give you my 2 cents worth. I live in a house that is around 900 sq.ft. I have never lived in anything bigger, I feel that’s for the rich (I’m not that)but my one house is paid for and the other owe on. Because of health issues I will be selling mine and move into a smaller space. I thought of changing my slide in camper into a tiny house as it needs repair, this way I can change the whole thing.
      I agree that changing some ones mind to what you want, could create problems in your relationship and be more harmful than good.

      As Ann said, declutter your space and see if he needs his space decluttered as well.when he finds that he has to much stuff he may change his mind but I wouldn’t move to a tiny house just yet. Smaller yes, if it just the two of you then smaller space could be fine.
      The other thing I would look at is the cost of your present home. If your costs are high and going smaller would be more cost efficient then this is worth thinking about.
      For many people a tiny house is to insecure and a smaller house is more secure.
      I would not want to live in a mobile home again ( I did for a few years) I didn’t feel like it would be long term.

  • January 21, 2013, 9:17 am

    link to
    and youtube video’s on couples living in Tiny Houses
    Plenty of room for computers and big screen TV’s.
    Find someone local that will let the Lady and her reticent husband take a tour of a tiny house a couple reside within.
    I don’t know their ages,but if he knew several years of mortgage free tiny living could nest egg them into a few hundred thousand dollars in retirement he might begin to see the Tiny Light!

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:17 am

      Great point Robert!

  • January 21, 2013, 9:22 am

    What Ann said!

    As for examples, soon my husband and I (he is a big tech geek) will be living in our tiny house on wheels (160-ish sq ft not including the loft). We both work from home, are very much homebodies, and each have a laptop. We don’t have a TV, though. We play video games when we are at my grandma’s house. She has a new WiiU which is awesome. Glad we don’t have one because I’d never get anything done. Gaming is more fun in a group anyway.

    Another thing with tiny house living is that your life expands to the space around your home. I would also suggest in addition to downsizing your own stuff right now, to start changing your patterns. Go on walks daily or twice daily and invite him along; if he doesn’t come with you then go alone until he wants to come. Sit on your front porch and converse with the neighbors or wave at people who walk by. Spend more time outside. He might start to shift his behavioral patterns and maybe give up the large TV entirely. But don’t expect this. Focus on you. Every time I’ve given up a habit (gaming, TV, etc) it’s never worked unless I replaced it with something else. Change you, then influence him.

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:17 am

      Very nicely put Jessica. I agree.. It’s hard to stop a habit if it’s not replaced with something else. And I like the idea of finding things to work on that are in your own control. Like the idea of just cleaning out your own clutter or Hunter and Kris’s ideas below.

  • January 21, 2013, 9:28 am

    I agree with the sentiment that if tiny house doesn’t work for everyone involved then no one should be shoehorned into the situation.

    I also agree that in order to change a habit you need to replace it with something else. I found when I was spending time at my Mother In Law’s house over the holidays that I fell right back into old TV watching habits. It was too cold to go outside and the TV was just *there*.

    However, I do think if you’re willing to consider creative solutions living in a tiny house with all the technological comforts of a big house is quite possible. We are both gamers and my laptop is sufficient, but Matt has a massive gaming laptop which runs everything he could possibly want to run. We also watched all of our TV on our tablet or one of the computers and used streaming services like Google Play or Hulu Plus.

    It is possible, but until someone is ready to do it all the advice in the world won’t make it happen. Like everyone said, change the way you interact with your own life and you’ll see things change.

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:12 am

      Thanks Laura!

  • Hunter
    January 21, 2013, 11:18 am

    how about having a lage shed put up in the back yard as your own space to think, write, guest house etc. set it up as you want a small house to be. If he starts spending more time in there with you he may see it isn’t so bad. Nothing like an example to try out and you would have a small space to call your own. If his attitude doesn’t change so be it, but you still have a joyful place of your own, good luck.
    run power through an extension cord and hook up a water approved hose, good to go.

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:14 am

      Outstanding idea Hunter! Thanks!

  • Kat
    January 21, 2013, 11:23 am

    Also, you might be able to find a compromise. If you live in a 2000 sqft house right now, try moving to a 1000 sqft home. It’s still downsizing while remaining inside most people’s comfort zones.

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:13 am

      Good idea!

  • Teri
    January 21, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I agree with all of the above. If he’s not ready for the tiny life, he will be miserable and you will too. But how about building him a man cave? I love this photo I found on Pinterest:

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:14 am

      I love that tiny house set up, Teri.

  • Kris
    January 21, 2013, 4:13 pm

    Oh my gosh, everyone but Hunter said YOU’RE the one who needs to adjust and get rid of YOUR stuff, or wait until your partner gets around to maybe letting go of his surround-sound. No no no. People who need loud TVs and live indoors rarely change. I’m with Hunter, go make your own enchanted little retreat, decorate it with things that matter to you, have your own little Zen studio away from the noise so that you can hear and think about what YOU want to do. As you choose what goes in your studio, it will amaze you what you can live without. And BTW, think about putting it on wheels:-)

    • Alex
      January 22, 2013, 9:14 am

      Good point Kris (and Hunter), I like your way of thinking.

  • KatGamer
    January 24, 2013, 6:08 am

    Why don’t you consider a small house as opposed to a tiny one? Due to my mom’s disabilities we couldn’t live in a tiny house ourselves (we need plenty of room for her walker and accessibility considerations), but I’m definitely considering some of the models on the Tumbleweed site under the Small Houses section. (I believe the largest one is around 875 square feet.) It’s a good compromise between a house that’s too big and a house that’s too small. I still love to read all about tiny houses because if people can do it in a tiny house (for example, there are tiny houses with dishwashers or even washer-dryers), then I know it can be done in a small one. And it’s great to read about how other people are downsizing their lives… it inspires me to do the same!

    Or as Hunter suggested, if you have the money and ability, you can build a tiny house in your backyard as a personal escape for when you want to be alone.

  • January 24, 2013, 10:21 pm

    I agree with all the thoughts you shared. I also wanted to mention that my husband was NOT a fan of the whole “let’s get rid of everything and move into a tiny house!” idea from the start. I started to focus on just improving and simplifying myself — leading by example, so to speak — and eventually, after about a year of hearing about it, he was on board. People are different. Some might take time. And some might just need compromise. Tiny House is not the ultimate answer to a simpler, happier life.

    • Alex
      January 25, 2013, 2:07 pm

      Thanks, Laura, well said!

  • Richard
    January 26, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Perhaps if you create your own tiny space, he might see the possibility. I’m thinking a 12×12 in your backyard.

  • john
    January 28, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Our current electronic age is a perfect fit for tiny houses, from tablets, laptops, flatpanel TV’s that mount on wall, to wireless everything and small surround systems…a true tech geek could have everything he can dream of and take up almost no space at all.
    I walked through my two bedroom condo and took note of the furnishings i either used daily, or was attached to for some reason…the list of items i wanted to keep was surprisingly small, my bed, my writing desk, my office chair, and a leather chair in my living room…everything else was just there to hold things i don’t use, or are simply there to fill the space.
    Everything i want to keep would fit nicely into my master bedroom…a small bathroom, a tiny closet, and a nook for a cooking area…that describes a modern studio apartment, or a fairly small home if not a tiny home…a drop from 1400 sq. ft. to 400 sq. ft. was an easy transition for me…i’ve since decided i could do with 300 sq. ft. and still be comfortable…some may claim 3-400 sq. ft. is not a tiny home…i say it’s about the contrast in where you started out to where you are comfortable, it doesn’t have to have a number to make it ‘tiny’ it’s about changing your lifestyle to own less, to use less space, to invest in your freedom instead of housing you don’t need, things you don’t have to own…
    Experiment with tagging items you own as you use them, the accumulation of tags will quickly show you the items you need and those you have no need of…sometimes people need to learn they don’t have to own so much stuff, it’s something they can’t conceive of without a visual aid…there’s also a psychological component of owning things, some feel comforted by surrounding themselves with possessions, an innate insecurity somehow seeps into some people without them noticing the affect it has on them…you might be surprised how common this is, i’m not talking about morbid hoarders, but normal people who collect things that ‘make them feel good’…it’s a mild compulsive hoarding disorder.

    Give him time to become comfortable with owning fewer things…talk about it often, ask why he’s attached to certain useless items…he may not have answers as to why he’s so attached, and may claim it’s normal to own one because everyone does…don’t push, just explore, he’ll begin to recognize his own unusual behavior…or at least become more accepting of the idea of owning less and needing less space.

    • Joe
      February 18, 2013, 8:32 am

      I agree with John. My wife and I have done exactly what he did. We made a fair assessment of the actual space that we use to live in our house, and have come up with what we need in our soon to be built very much smaller home. We have come up with a plan for 300 sq foot home , and a 600 sq foot garage / shop. We are in the process of building the shop so as to have a place to work out of while building the house. I am so blessed that I have a wife that has the same wants and needs as I do. It makes life so much easier!
      Try drawing up a house plan that would include all the things that your husband needs to be comfortable. If you have to, stake out the layout in the back yard to show him exactly the size of your plan. You don’t have to go tiny, just smaller than where you live now. Show him in black and white what your cost savings would be compared to your present monthly bills. Show him that he wont have to give up anything . Then he wont have any argument about a smaller home. Tell him a happy wife means a happy life!

  • Pat
    January 28, 2013, 4:17 pm

    How about a swap line where mismatched couples (big house little house) could trade spouses for ones that were better suited.

  • jim sadler
    January 28, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Well the lady has just discovered one way to clear a lot of space. No husband etc..
    But seriously several factors are at work. Could you have two tiny homes next to each other? Also it depends upon where you live. In my area we have no real winter so if there is a sun shade and screening many activities could be on that patio which frees up a lot of space inside the home. Other areas have such severe and long lasting winters that might make a tiny home feel to confining. You could also decide to spend only the spring and summer in a tiny home and retreat to your current home in the harsher months. Even situations like one tiny home in Maine and another in Florida might make a good option.

  • Gail
    January 28, 2013, 6:16 pm

    Figure out the square footage you actually use. You may find, like I did, that I already live a small house lifestyle but with big house responsibilities. Time for a change!

  • Glema
    January 28, 2013, 7:25 pm

    I have the same issue. What I have found is that little by little I approach the idea as an RV vacationing kind of idea. Where the little house dream i have can coexist with the house loving husband I adore. This is a way that we can work toward the dream without undermining his sense of security and success as a provider. When he gets sick of the yard work, the pluming, the pita little wiring problems etc. that come with the house, the large mortgage too. We may see some progress with my tiny house dream. For now, we have the new truck to pull it being paid on so… hope springs eternal and I can see it making more sense to him little by little. It’s not a race, it’s a marriage. May God bless yours, know you are not alone. Ty Alex for your work.

  • jim
    January 28, 2013, 11:06 pm

    The only way i can live in a tiny or even a 500 sq foot home would be to also have a two car garage with the extra shop space to convert to a storage laundry and a multi-purpose room.

  • Lynn Marino
    January 29, 2013, 12:20 am

    I would venture to guess that this is not the real reason your husband is reluctant. The computer actually makes small living easier in that is SAVES space. For example less space is needed for books, file cabinets, picture storage, cd and dvd storage. My husband and I run a competor based business and travel the country by Harley Davidson.

    Give him time, it may take him some time to warm up to the idea.

  • Jessica L
    January 29, 2013, 12:08 pm

    My husband had the same issue. When we first met, he was a bit of a hoarder and had even more clothes than me! So first I got him to agree everytime he buys something new, it’s to replace something else. Then I involved him every time I purged (ex. Honey, these 2 shirts are pretty similar, which one should I keep?)

    A few major turning points:
    – when he read the Everyday Minimalist Wardrobe article. It was very practical and well laid out and made him realize it’s something he could do. Once he experienced the joy purging, he’s now hooked. http://www.everydayminimalist.com/?p=2174

    – when I showed him the Martin House which is 10′ wide instead of 8′. The extra 2′ makes a huge difference and makes it feel a lot more like a normal home so that’s what we’re going with.

    – I’ve told him we’ll just try it for 2-4yrs and then move to a regular smallish house. Knowing that it’s short term makes my husband feel much more at ease and he’s able to see it as an adventure/experience. If we like it and it works, we can always stay but even if it’s just 2 years, I know we’ll both learn a lot and save some $$.

    Hope that helps!

  • Anne
    January 29, 2013, 3:05 pm

    I can appreciate that some folks cannot conceive of living in a “tiny” space. Myself, although the idea of a smaller space and lower costs for housing is appealing, in my climate you need space for winter vs summer clothing, and if you garden and put by what you grow, “tiny” is not feasible. My personal goal is “well-organized smaller” with a root cellar/basement.

  • David Ridge
    April 27, 2013, 2:19 pm

    This may be “just a guy thing” but I would suggest purchasing three or four books on and about Tiny Houses, but make and be sure that each “house” has its floor plan included with its dimensions and measurements. Whether men like to or not we somewhat naturally visualise space so as or if you all notice the he is at least thumbing through any of the books; if you see him grab a tape measure and head for the back yard half your “battle” may be won. If you all know your man, slowly yet subtly approach him and point out where appliances could go including the stool and other equipment. Start from the front door then end up in the bedroom.

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