A home is a home no matter how small

Nicholson family downsizes to fit larger lifestyle


Courtesy of Nicholson Family

From left: JB, Sheryl and Peyton Nicholson are able to give back more to their church as well as spend more on experiences after downsizing.

After looking at numerous trailer layouts, the Nicholson family found a home, and in a week, sold their unneeded belongings, packed up their things and moved into a 390 square foot fifth-wheel trailer that is seven times smaller than their previous home.

Lovejoy elementary school teacher Sheryl and her husband, Lovejoy elementary P.E. coach, JB Nicholson, started looking into the idea of a trailer three years ago, wanting to build a flatbed trailer for their family of three, including their 15 year old sophomore son, Peyton living at home. That idea progressed over the summer as they looked for a suitable home to live in permanently. 

“Our vision [was] not being slaves to our physical objects that have financial drain on our lifestyle,” Sheryl said. “We were tired of working paycheck to paycheck just to have all the things we had.

The layout of the trailer is designed with a joint living room and bedroom on either side. An outdoor kitchen allows for the family to spend time outside as well as inside. 

“You walk in to the living room and kitchen area, and there’s five slide-outs which make the house bigger. You can turn, and you get to my parent’s room and their master bathroom, which is a full size bathroom with a shower and everything. If you go to the other side, you will go to my room,” Peyton said.

Peyton said that there are far more benefits than drawbacks from their move.

“You’d think it would be like you have no privacy, but I have my own room, and I have my own bathroom,” Peyton said. “My parents room and my room are on opposite sides of the house.”

The money saved from living in a smaller house has provided the family with financial comfort, an opportunity to spend money on experiences that are more meaningful to them, and an opportunity to give back to their church. A drop from $300 or $400 electric bills to $13-$14 bills gives them the chance to do so.

“You save so much money by [moving into a smaller home], and you get more freedom to do what you want to do, and you’re not tied down to these house payments,”Peyton said. “You can just do more things and go on more vacations, and you get to live your life more.”

Turning chores into a habitual aspect of their lives has become a requirement for tiny house living. 

“Coach Nich’s [drawback] would be having to dump the septic tanks when they get full,” Sheryl said. “Peyton’s would be having to walk his dog and clean up after him versus opening the back door and letting him out. Mine would be hand washing dishes daily, but even then it is not a deal breaker.”

The nearby community has been a social benefit from moving into the new home. The people around have helped out the Nicholsons in their journey of transitioning in to their home.

“Socially it has been great,” Sheryl said. “We are surrounded by like-minded people who have helped us learn the ropes. They are always there to help with a smile and a happy heart. Everyone looks out for everyone.” 

Sheryl said that after the move, the family saw an appreciation for their new lifestyle, and they do not have a desire to transition back to a life in a “normal-size” house.

“It has been such a freeing experience to not be tied down with physical objects,” Sheryl said. “It would be very hard to ever go back to a lifestyle that was so consuming not only financially but physically and mentally,”