In two days we will be moving out of the big house. Because it sold so quickly, we had to make alternate living arrangements during the build. Friends of ours graciously offered for us to not only use their land as the build site, but to live with them while we build. One of the biggest obstacles for people wanting to build a tiny house is finding a place to build it, so this being provided to us was a huge weight off our shoulders.
Housing is often the second biggest obstacle for a couple of reasons: First, if you need to work full-time to support your current living expenses (mortgage) you have less cash to put toward the build. Second, if you are working full-time, you have less time to actually work on the tiny house. Because of the generosity of our friends, we have additional time and money to go toward the tiny house. These are the scenarios that continue to reassure us we are part of a much bigger plan.
According to our tiny house workshop, a beginner builder can expect to spend 800 man hours building a tiny house. Half of the hours will be spent on the exterior and half on the interior. Zac will be doing the majority of the work himself and to err on the safe side we are guessing 750 hours for completion. This means he will need to work on the tiny house an average of 28 hours each week from June-November. We do plan to hire help for certain parts of the project, which will cut down on hours. However, since our second baby is due in July, there will be a few weeks where not much progress is made so we are considering it a wash.
Now for the timeframe question I've been asked the most: How long can you really live in such a small space as your family and children grow?
This tiny house project is giving us an opportunity to restart. To let go of the stuff we used to consider necessary and essential and refocus our money, time and energy. However, we recognize that we have a small window of opportunity to do this before our kids' clothes, beds and toys will get bigger and they will need spaces of their own. Our goal is to move into the tiny house before Christmas and live in it for two years. Over those two years we will be working hard to save as much money as we can. We hope to either pay cash or have at least 50% down on our next home which we want to build using the space saving techniques we will learn from this experience. Plus, we figure after living in 200 square feet, 1000 square feet will feel like a mansion.
These next two years will help us refocus our attention from more stuff, bigger house, latest trends and newest technology to restraint, simplicity, humility and living below our means. On days like today, when the weight of this decision feels overwhelming, I remind myself what one of my friends said when I told her our plan: "You can do anything for two years."