Tiny homes are rapidly gaining in popularity. But could you actually live in a mini-size house? While tiny homes look inviting, remember that the average single family home in the United States is nearly 2,700 square feet.
This leads to the question, is it practical to move from a McMansion to a wee little abode? Let’s take a look.
First of all, a true tiny home must be under 400 square feet. Most tiny homes are between 100 and 400 sq. ft., and many are mounted on top of wheeled trailers. These little homes offer an all-in-one solution for those wanting to avoid a 30 year mortgage and back breaking debt. Tiny homes use space creatively and focus on multi-purpose design and the possibility of off-grid living. This means, low or no energy bills, and the possibility of travel (just hitch up your house and go).
Tumbleweed Tiny Homes is a California based company which builds these wee little homes and offers DIY workshops to help owners who want to build their own. The price of completed homes range from $60-70,000, and Tumbleweed is not alone. I counted over 30 tiny home builders throughout the U.S. — and that number is growing!
For the faithful, a tiny house equals tiny bills, and is the perfect fit for students, the elderly, those who want a starter home, green living, or as a portable option! The concept of living small has been discussed since the 1970s, but exploded in popularity during the great recession of 2008. After the housing bubble people lost confidence in the system. They no longer believed in social security or possessions. They watched their friends and families lose everything in a moment. Just as the generation of the depression ever carried the scar, those who lived through the Great Recession have been impacted — perhaps for the better.
So what’s the number one challenge for those who want to own a tiny home? ZONING. Zoning has become a major obstacle as most cities do not allow multiple homes on a single lot. But things are changing and cities like Portland, Oregon are leading the way by allowing tiny villages. Even San Franscico is promoting the micro-loft or mini-apartment concept. Spur, Texas has declared itself the nation’s first tiny house friendly town. Things are changing slowly as the efficient living concept is embraced by those who long for a home without a mountain of debt.
Living in small spaces is hardly a new concept. Abraham Lincoln was raised in a one room log cabin. People in third world countries have been sharing minuscule shacks without a thought of owning something bigger. Europe has long embraced the small living experience, allowing more people to live in historic regions. Yet, the question remains, could YOU live in a tiny house?
Could you live in a small space and pare down your possessions? The truth is, every choice has pros and cons. If you live in a mini space, housekeeping is easy. You don’t have a lot of space to clean so it doesn’t take a long time. The flip side is that everything has to be put away at all times so the home doesn’t feel messy. In a small house, you miss the convenience of a large space. In a large space, you miss the low cost of a tiny home. There is give and take in every decision.
Personally, I moved from a 8,000 square foot home and office building to a 360 square foot Motorcoach for a one year experiment. Could I sell 90% of what I owned and live in a small space on wheels without regret? At the end of 11 months I can say that I haven’t actually missed a thing. All the stuff that seemed important doesn’t matter as much as I had thought. Sure, there are things I would improve or change. I wish I had a better office area, and I wish the back bedroom had a more efficient use of space. There are days that I hate having to take everything out of a cupboard to reach the one thing that I need in the back. Yet, for the most part, I have enjoyed the experiment and plan to continue living in my RV tiny house with my husband and (count it!) four indoor cats.
Ella Jenkins of the blog, Little Yellow Door writes:
When my house feels too small, I strive to classify the problem, not as ‘I don’t have enough space’ but as ‘I have too much stuff in this space and it’s making it feel smaller’. Then I downsize, reorganize, and move on.
I would have to agree. Most of the time, I feel crowded when I have excess stuff that has crept its way into my living space. I also feel confined when the weather is too hot or cold to go outside. It’s important to find alternatives when cabin fever sets in.
Many people see living in a small space as something “only special people” could handle. They cite a need for personal space and room to breathe. I once thought this myself. The truth, however, is that people adapt. As humans, we have the ability to adapt to the circumstances we are placed in, especially if we have chosen the change ourselves. Tiny living is not for everyone. It is, however, an opportunity for most.
What would happen if Americans worked less and experienced more What if we actually lived life like a vacation, enjoying the new sights and sounds, working from home or on a reduced schedule because our financial requirements were less? In many European cultures, the 6 week vacation is a reality. Life is lived at a slower pace, pubs or coffee shops become the place where friends gather, and tiny living is seen as a plus not a minus. Hmm… If nothing else, it is certainly food for thought.
What do you think? Could you live in a tiny house? Would you want to be in one place or have the ability to move around? Add your thoughts to the comment box below. I love to hear your thoughts. When you are done, please share this article with your friends. Post it or tweet it. Thanks for reading!
Inspired by: National Geographic