So You Want to Live Minimally: The Relationship Edition

A woman is kissing a man's cheek while he looks at the camera and smiles. Read this post for tips on a happy relationship!

Two months ago, I wrote an article about how I downsized from a 2,000 square foot house to a tiny 300 square foot studio — if you’re wondering how, check it out here! I downsized to move in with my fiancé George, and after almost a year of being in that tiny space together we’re still super in love and I wanted to share about how we made that happen. And yes, it’s on purpose and takes actual work! Being happy together after a year in a tiny space does not happen on accident.

In fact, these tools and tips are likely ones you’ve already heard before; when you’re in a tiny space, the same rules apply to regular relationship issues! Those issues are just usually magnified so it’s extra key to apply these if you find yourself in a tiny home with your significant other.

I sat down with George to ask for his opinion on what things we specifically do that have led to our relationship being a success, even under the occasional stress that tiny living brings — these are the points we agreed on as being key players. So without further ado, here we go!

1. Communicate about everythinggg

Let me say it louder for the people in the back. COMMUN. ICATION. IS KEY. Man. Really wish I had some handclapping emojis for that one.

And I’m not just talking about letting your boo know you’re gonna be home late tomorrow because you have to go to your bff’s cocktail party. I’m talking about real, honest conversations about how you’re doing or if something is the matter. I’m talking about the hard stuff. And nope, this isn’t always pretty. You’re never going to see this on Instagram. But it does have to be done.

In a tiny house, you don’t have the luxury of just going into separate rooms after a disagreement and not running into each other for the rest of the night while you cool off. I mean, yeah obviously you could still go outside or drive somewhere… but you get my point haha.

It’s worth repeating: if something is bothering you (in any capacity, for any reason), you need to bring it up. You cannot let it fester even if you have good intentions about it (HELLO it me). For a lonngggg time I really struggled to voice the things that were bothering me in our relationship only because I knew saying something about them was going to hurt George. So instead, I kept quiet about them even if they still pricked at me. DON’T DO WHAT I DID.

Now, I’m not saying you need to go on a rampage and tear your boo to pieces in an angry and accusatory rage (def don’t do that), but you should sit them down in a neutral setting and say, “Hey. Something is bothering me, and I don’t want to hurt your feelings by bringing this up, but for my mental health/sanity I really need to. Can we talk about it?”

The sooner you do that, the sooner the thing gets resolved and you can both be well on your way to being happy go lucky lovebirds again. You get that thing off your chest, and (presumably, if you have a partner who madly loves you) your boo will want to do whatever it takes to fix that issue. WIN WIN!

For the record, this core principle applies to any topic between you two, not just the relationship feeling things. Whatever you find yourself disagreeing on (finances, next housing steps, when to get a dog… nope def not talking about us), when you approach the conversation in a calm, non-accusatory way, you’ll accomplish so much more. If the discussion turns into a yelling match, agree to take some time to cool down and return to the conversation later. Remember: you guys are playing for the same team. It needs to be both of you together against whatever the problem or issue is.

A couple is looking at each other and laughing together. Read this post for tips on a happy relationship!

2. Be hyperaware of communal spaces/share the chores

This is a key rule for any roommate situation, but like I said earlier, in a tiny house everything is magnified so this point deserves to be made. We recognize that each other wants to come home to a (relatively) clean and relaxing space, so we make it a point to clean up after ourselves as much as possible.

We’ve also naturally kind of fallen into various chores (we each have a handful that we prefer to do) and it’s become kind of an unspoken agreement to keep up on those things as we notice them needing to be done so the other person isn’t being hounded to do a chore every week. We’re basically just being stellar A+ roommates for each other. Okay fine. A-. (we’re not perfect alllll the time hehe)

3. Be okay with getting suuuppper comfortable

I was joking to George recently that there is no such thing as TMI between us anymore.

Oh, you’re waiting for the punchline? Sorry NOPE. There is literally nothing that’s TMI anymore. (don’t believe it? haha TRY ME)

Accept the fact that there is a whole new level of intimacy that you’ll reach when you’re living together in a small space — the sooner you do, the happier you’ll be.

A couple is making faces at the camera and laughing together. Read this post for tips on a happy relationship!

BONUS: laugh together. a lot.

I’d say the #1 thing that has led to our relationship’s success has been the fact that we treat each other as total equal partners. There is an unwavering and unbreakable respect for each other that blows my mind sometimes because I’d never experienced that level of it before in any other relationship.

But the #2 thing that’s contributed to our happiness is how much fun we have together! We laugh together so freaking much (a lot of the time at each other’s expense… but that’s neither here nor there haha). George and I have a ton of inside jokes that literally no one else understands (although it’s hysterical when they come up in the vicinity of our friends and we have to explain them) and that’s the secret to a kickass relationship. We laugh at soooo many random things that that thought alone cracks me up. A lot of the time I just look at him and exclaim, “if only people could see how weird we really are when no one’s around,” and go back to laughing at whatever the thing was. Please refer to the photo above for evidence of our weirdness.

I’m getting off track… my point is, be best friends with each other. Last night, we were doing something so dumb and cracking up over basically nothing — but I still found myself thinking, “Holy crap — I get to have a sleepover for the rest of my life with this guy. How freaking amazing is that.”

So there you go!! Our best practices for not only staying sane in a tiny home, but thriving and having an amazing and happy relationship! What did you think? Is there anything you would add to this list? Let me know in a comment below!! 🙂

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