We ended up in a tiny house…
Our little town has big housing problem. The week I found out I was pregnant our lease was up and we hadn’t found anywhere to move to. We spent the majority of my pregnancy bouncing between temporary housing situations. Eventually a family friend offered to rent us a tiny guest house. Given the lack of affordable housing, many low-income Flagstaff locals aren’t as lucky as we were, but our new home still left us with one dilemma: how to fit a baby (and baby stuff) into a tiny house.
There is plenty of information on what you need for a baby. I needed to know what I DIDN’T need. What could I skip? What is not really necessary?
Baby Essentials to Skip for Small Living
After 18 months of minimalist parenting in a tiny house, here is my list of things that I didn’t miss:
- Baby Shampoo/Body Wash/Diaper Cream/Lotion: Castile soap washes everything and coconut oil makes an excellent moisturizer (pro tip: add a couple drops of essential oils if you want to make baby butts smell like flowers).
- Crib: This one is a bit controversial but the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their recommendations on safe sleep and while they still don’t directly recommend co-sleeping they have softened their tone. Our little home gets really cold. We share our bed with our toddler, yes it’s as uncomfortable as it sounds. At least we all survive the winter.
- Mechanical Swings/Bouncers: Just invest in a comfortable wrap or sling and wear that newborn everywhere.
- Excessive Toys: Newborns don’t care much for toys, and even as my daughter grew she still doesn’t care. At 18-months she’s beginning to get into imaginative play but her favorite thing is to empty my flower pots onto the patio (one handful at a time). Skip the toys, provide dirt.
- Playpen/Pack-N-Play: They’re convenient but they take up space and we’ve gotten by just fine without one.
- Hooded Towels: Who decided babies needed special towels? Normal ones work just fine.
- Diapers: Just kidding, you definitely need several diapers of some sort, but you might not need as many as people say. If you are really short on space/low on funds early potty training is a feasible option. While working full time we were still able to have our daughter consistently pooping in the potty before she was six-months-old. This cut our diaper needs in half!
Becoming a new parent is terrifying. Mass Marketing can take advantage of our vulnerability. Making parents feel like if we don’t have the latest and greatest in baby products that we’ll somehow fail our children. But the important thing to remember is that it’s not about what you have and where you live.
Do what feels right for you and your family, and remember that for most of human history our children thrived with very few material possessions.