Like many, growing up I dreamt of living in a mansion with sprawling closets, marble bathrooms, and a winding staircase. Now I live in the tiniest of homes and couldn’t be happier.
It’s been almost a year since Nic and I moved onto our 25 ft Chris Craft motorboat. While living on a boat is fairly novel, we’ve gotten a few bulging eyeballs even from fellow boaters because of the mere size we seem to be able to inhabit together. So, I finally did the math. Our living space is about 247.5 square feet – a third of that unusable in winter. The tiniest home in Toronto is 29 square meters (312.153 square feet) according to blogTO. We might possibly live in the tiniest floating home in Toronto.
Last year, we were living in a beautiful 1000 square foot loft working our 9-5 jobs and trying to find time to spend together, work on our passions and enjoy the boat we had bought for fun. We toyed with the idea of giving away everything and living on the boat like industrious hippies, but the idea seemed too crazy at the time. We even met a few people who lived on their boat year round and half-joked it would be relationship suicide for us both to cram into a 25 footer. We thought, challenge accepted.
We talked about it for a year, mulling over the pros and cons endlessly and the more we did, the more it made sense; worst case it would be an adventure. At the time, we were both craving change, to live more intentionally, more purposefully and with less clutter physically and metaphorically. Life was good but we wanted more – specifically, more freedom. The way we were living didn’t line up with our life philosophy and didn’t look like the kind of life we really dreamed of. We recognized our privileged situation with no real reasons holding us back other than stuff and space and decided to give our best shot at creating our dream life.
The only way big changes happen is usually when big, scary decisions are made. But a few years ago, I made a promise to myself to not let fear rule. So, we committed fully and started paring down everything. In the end, we gave away and donated about 90 percent of everything we owned. It was scary but so incredibly liberating. We moved onto the boat during the winter so there was no outdoor space to compensate for the extremely small living quarters; it was definitely a huge transition.
What’s it like?
In a word it’s cozy. But the human condition is amazing and we can get used to anything. It’s fascinating to continue pushing your personal boundaries and surprise yourself at how well you can adapt. The most challenging thing has been food. I believe we have the world’s tiniest fridge which either freezes everything or defrosts completely. Most of our perishable foods cannot be refrigerated so it’s a buy today, eat today kind of method. As a former shopaholic, I can now say I’m completely reformed. I know every piece of clothing in my closet from memory and have always had something to wear for every occasion this past year. The only thing we sometimes miss is being able to entertain more people but there’s definitely value in having more intimate hangs with friends and family.
What we’ve learned?
Throughout the experience, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and each other. Living with less immediately helps us feel freer each and every day. We now only buy or keep exactly what we really want or need which cost effective and great for the planet! Small space equals a lot less to clean or wash – our weekends are now more about enjoying the outdoors than doing chores. There are no frills or extras anywhere, and this type of perspective starts to translate in every other area of our lives. Being in such an unconventional space, helps us to be continually stimulated creatively. As a writer and my partner as a musician, we have found it incredibly conducive to being more productive and focused. Sharing such a strange and sometimes harrowing experiences (see winter blog posts) individually and together has made us feel like we can do anything!
We are already seeing the fruits of the transition. This summer, I was able to quit my full-time job and dedicate myself to my business, The Virago, helping female entrepreneurs build their businesses and create a life they love. Nic has also been able to dedicate more time to his solo music career, Dreams Yukon, and will be launching his EP next summer. I don’t believe any of this would have happened so quickly had we not chosen a more offbeat path. It’s been a truly remarkable experience and we would love to pass on our knowledge to anyone interested in learning more about tiny home living or sharing their own unique living stories with us.