I have a new obsession: tiny houses. There’s nothing I don’t like about them, because they’re perfection. I love the tiny windows and the tiny mortgage payments. I love the itty-bitty sinks and the loft bedrooms and the fact that it would take only fifteen minutes to clean the whole house.
I’ve watched the shows, I’ve read the books, and I’ve even studied the floor plans. A few weeks ago the kids and I moved all the furniture into the living room and tried to visualize what living in 150 square feet would really feel like. After about twenty minutes of laying craft ribbon on the carpet to outline the walls and using a laundry basket to make a mock toilet, we stood back and admired our work. Then my daughter put her hands on her hips and said, “What about the cat?”
“What about him?” I asked.
“Where’s the cat going to live? Where’s his litter box? His food?”
“I figured we’d take him back to the shelter where we got him,” I replied. This was the wrong answer and she started batting her eyelashes at me like she was going to cry. Not that this works. I’ve been immune to those lashes since she was a year old. “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” I said as she picked up the aforementioned furry beast, then clutched him to her chest. She actually whimpered a little, dramatically.
We went back to studying the layout. We realized there was no room for guests, no room for craft supplies, no place for a couch. And yes, no room for the cat. I’m all for minimalism, but there’s a point where maybe it goes too far and it’s okay to have a couch and a place to keep some supplies. Not only do we have to consider our material possessions, but there are four of us living in this house and two of us aren’t getting any smaller.
I don’t know where we’d keep teenagers in a tiny house when they get bigger. Maybe they’d get their own tiny houses. I remember being a teenager and this plan seems sketchy to me—I seem to remember needing a lot of adult supervision so I didn’t wreck my life. I highly doubt a teen with a house of her own is going to use all that privacy wisely.
So a tiny house probably isn’t in the cards for us. Not now, at least. But all that research has me looking around our current house with wild eyes. Do we need all those beach towels? Why do we have so many pens? How many toys can I get rid of before I emotionally scar the children? We’ve been raiding the closets and toy boxes and storage rooms, unloading stuff like a ship in a stormy sea.
I keep these words from Jesus in mind: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Tiny houses are one way we can take Jesus’ words to heart, but I don’t think we all have to live in wee abodes to make Jesus happy. I think he’s calling us to examine our hearts to see how much our possessions own us. Further, are we storing up any treasures in heaven? Are we using our resources to help others in need?
What do you treasure? If you had to move into a tiny house tomorrow, what would you take with you?