We often think of tiny houses as perfect for one solitary person, or perhaps a couple if they don’t have a lot of stuff to store. We would hardly ever think that a suitable family home could be a tiny house.
But that is where one family is proving people wrong.
Rusty and Autumn Bailey have been living in a tiny home on wheels ever since 2016, shortly after the birth of their first kid.
The need to downsize came after they were offered a new opportunity.
As Autumn explained to Insider, “We got a call from Rusty’s work three weeks after our first son was born, asking if we were interested in working across the country for a few months.”
While most people with a newborn would opt-out, they opted in.
Autumn said, “We decided that day that we would buy a trailer, pack our stuff, and make the trek from California to Virginia.”
Today, they still live in that trailer, but their family has expanded. The couple has three kids: Bear, Oak, and Sunny.
The Bailey family decided to go with a toy hauler for their new home. This is a trailer that has a big opening in the back which makes it easy to haul cargo on and off.
After 12 weeks of renovation – with Autumn doing most of the work while Rusty was away at work – the trailer was finally ready.
“When Rusty was home, we tackled as much as we could as well,” Autumn said.
The back area of the toy hauler was transformed into the couple’s master bedroom. Given the large windows, it let in a lot of natural light which helped to make the space feel bigger. As Autumn informed Insider, the master bedroom is her favorite part of the trailer because it opens up.
“The best thing about having a toy hauler is that the back completely opens up, so we spend a lot of time out in the back, hanging out as a family and watching sunsets.”
Another thing that helps their room feel so large is that the bed is actually a Murphy bed.
“One of the biggest space savers was putting our queen mattress on the bunk system in our bedroom.”
According to Insider, She added, “The system brings our bed to the ground at night, and during the day, we raise it to the ceiling to open up the space.”
That’s great because it means that there is additional space for the family to occupy.
After the bedroom, the space leads into a living room and kitchen area. There is a couch, as well as a TV and built-in shelving. It all fits and makes for a cozy area.
Across from the living room space is a kitchen that has a big sink and a copper-finished oven. The countertops are finished with wood and make it feel bigger than it is. There is also a statement rug and other décor to bring that feeling of home to the place.
Despite the size, their kitchen has all the amenities of a bigger kitchen, such as an oven and refrigerator.
As for the boys’ room, their space was originally where the true master bedroom was to be located. It has a built-in bed and shelving, as well as plenty of space for them to play.
While tiny homes are usually less expensive, Autumn revealed that their trailer isn’t actually saving the family as much money as people would think.
“Although there are plenty of people who choose this lifestyle because it can be ‘cheap’ or debt-free’ we don’t fit into that box for a few reasons. We bought our trailer brand new, and we follow my husband’s work, so a lot of the time we get sent to places that cost a lot more to live in. Between our trailer payments and the RV parks we stay at throughout the year, we don’t save much,” she explained.
But she added, “But we knew this going into it and didn’t have expectations of living a debt-free life. We did it because we wanted to stay together as a family while my husband works.”
Autumn has received a lot of surprise reactions from people over the fact that she’s raising three kids in such as small space.
She admitted, “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people we’ve met along the way that can’t imagine raising kids in such a small space.”
She said, “It always makes me laugh a little because our trailer has allowed us to have all kinds of backyards and places to experience and learn about and grow as a family.”
That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t occasionally find challenges with the tiny living life and children.
“I find my biggest challenge is finding space for just myself when I need some alone time. A husband and wife and three kids aged four and under can get a little crazy sometimes in 300 square feet. You need to get creative when you need to regroup and reground.
My current go-to is the bathroom,” she joked.
Regardless, it has made the family very close.
“It’s been so amazing seeing our children grow and thrive outside of the box. It actually feels so natural to me.”
Autumn added, “My parents traveled the country in a renovated International Harvester bus gold and crystal mining when were young, so nomadic living is close to home for us.”
And there are no immediate plans to give up the tiny living any time soon.
“We originally started this journey thinking that we’d do it for five years or so, and then settle down and be done with it. But we celebrated year four this month, and we don’t see an end in sight!”
Autumn said, “Living this way has given us the opportunity to not only make a living but raise our children together, and it’s been such a blessing to us. We’re looking forward to the years to come.”
For more on the family’s adventures, you can follow Autumn on Instagram.