Life in 120 Square Feet: Taking the Leap

May 6, 2024 | Storytelling

In May 2012, I made a daring decision. After spending the last eight years at a corporate job and fifteen years in the industry, I left the familiar comfort of suburban Atlanta. My partner and I had built a 120-square-foot home nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It was a bold move with no safety net, but failure wasn’t an option. Now, twelve years later, I still marvel at that decision. My world is very different from that life in 120 square feet now.

A Sanctuary in the Woods

As the anniversary of our move approaches, memories flood back. Though we no longer live there full-time, our tiny house remains a cherished retreat—a private cabin where we can unwind and recharge. Initially, this tiny home was more than just a living space; it was a brand. My story of downsizing opened doors to new opportunities, especially with tiny home publications. Over time, my brand evolved, but the tiny house continues to captivate and engage audiences.

From Blog to Book

While my blog is no longer updated, the journey it chronicled lives on. You can still explore the archived posts and photos here. I also collected my experiences in my book Life in 120 Square Feet: The Essays, where I delve into the philosophy rather than the how-tos of tiny living. I’m also proud of my contribution to the now out-of-print anthology Turning Tiny, which you can learn more about here.

Lessons from a Smaller Life

Keep Learning

There’s always something new to discover. Don’t wait until you know everything; starting is the most crucial step. For me, waiting for complete knowledge was often just a form of procrastination and anxiety.

Embrace Change

Don’t be afraid of adjustments. Building our tiny home was a learn-as-you-go project. After completion, there were aspects we wanted to modify, and we did. These changes weren’t catastrophic; they were necessary evolutions.

The Power of Storytelling

Documenting our tiny home journey through my blog opened many doors and honed my writing skills. While not every post was perfect, each played a crucial role in my storytelling practice.

Everyone Has a Story

If you think you don’t have a story worth telling, think again. Everyone has unique experiences and insights to share. Finding the right way to express them can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Reflecting on these lessons reminds me how much life can change when you step outside your comfort zone and try something unconventional. My tiny house journey wasn’t just about living small; it was about meaningfully living big.

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Laura M. LaVoie