• Ashlee De Campo

Why I Decided to Build a Tiny House

Updated: Nov 10, 2018


Me pictured with my nieces and nephews. Photo by Holly Murphy Photography.

So why a tiny house?


This is a question I get often. My tiny house plans have been in place for about 6 months now and during this time I've had many conversations with friends and family explaining to people why I decided to build a tiny house. Many people begin the conversation genuinely worried for me, wondering what the hell I'm doing and others are truly intrigued by how I came to this decision in the first place. The truth is that I also often wonder what the hell I am doing but when I go back to what led me here, I am reminded that this change is something I need and is exactly what I want.


This little change of mine is not really the common thing girls in their thirties are doing in Western Australia. Which is why people I talk to often struggle to understand why I'm doing it. Prior to starting my little venture, I had never met anyone who had ever lived in a tiny home. In fact, other than the Airbnb I rented in Tokyo, I had never actually even heard of the tiny home concept until about 10 months ago.


It all started when I began listening to a podcast by The Minimalists. Two, thirty something, American guys who have built a following around the concept of living more with less. I started listening to the podcasts out of curiosity but the more I listened, the more I realised how much the concept resonated with me. They discussed the amount of stuff an average household actually has (vs how much is needed) and how many people purchase new items, not because they need them, but to fill some other void in their life. This made complete sense to me. I used to be guilty of buying things I don't actually need (I actually still do it, but am working on it) for the sheer thrill of having something new in my life. As though the item would have a direct impact on my level of happiness. It's not until a few weeks or months later, after the unneeded item has sat in my wardrobe unworn that I felt guilty for spending the money and frustration in having to continue cleaning out my cluttered spaces.


So I started cleaning out my clutter. Really thinking about what I needed in my life and committing to a shopping ban. I actually surprised myself. I didn't miss anything I got rid of and I managed to last eight months before I bought a new item of clothing! The idea of having less physical clutter in my life, meant that I had less to 'spring clean', less to tidy and more time to spend on things that actually brought me the most joy of all, spending time with my friends and family. I wanted to live more minimally and the tiny house seemed like the perfect option.


At this same time I was feeling a little lost in my directions with my career and where I should be living. I had moved back to Perth three years earlier, after living in the Pilbara. I grew up in the country and have realised that I am far more comfortable living in rural areas (the city can be quite lonely) but was confused as to where the best place was for me to go. I was reluctant to look at moving home (in case I got there and realised it wasn't the right fit at this point in time), a small country town in the South West. I didn't want to go a new town where I wouldn't know anyone and spend even more time away from my family and friends. So the flexibility of a tiny house seemed like the perfect option.


I have been extremely fortunate with my career. I have had fantastic jobs in beautiful schools (yes, I'm a teacher) and have been offered more leadership opportunities than I ever expected to have at this point in my career. I have been teaching for nearly 12 years, mostly full time and, more recently, in pretty high responsibility roles. I work hard and am very passionate about what I do but since reflecting on my life through a minimalistic lens, I began to question why I worked at the capacity in which I did. I didn't need the money (I only support myself) and I often used work as an excuse as to why I couldn't do things with and for my family and friends and often felt a lot of guilt about it. This is when I decided it was time to take a break, take some time to put some things into perspective. The simplicity of the tiny home lifestyle seemed like the perfect option.


I have committed myself to a minimum of 12 months of tiny living throughout 2019. I plan to take my tiny house home, to Pemberton in the South West of Western Australia until April 2019. Then, I hope to go to Broome during the Winter. I've always loved Broome and I currently have several friends there that I would love to spend more time with for a while. Later in the year I hope to return to the South West, perhaps in a more coastal area, again, nearer to friends and family. I will be taking my long service leave but also plan to work casually as I need to. I hope to work on a few projects that I wouldn't normally find the time to do but most importantly, spend time focussing on what brings me joy.


I'm very excited about this journey that I'm on but also very nervous to see how I cope with the change. I don't expect it to be easy but I hope it helps me put a few things into perspective about what I want to do in the future.

My tiny home kitchen. Currently a work in progress but looking good!

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