As more people downsize and choose to “live small”, you have to ask: Why are tiny houses so popular?
People are joining the tiny house movement for many reasons. The increase in environmental concerns, financial constraints, and the overall burden of having so much “stuff” are just a few reasons people downsize their homes.
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Why People Choose The Tiny House Lifestyle
The most common word people use to describe why they choose tiny house living is “freedom”. People seek liberation in all areas of their lives. They want financial freedom, freedom to travel, freedom of time—freedom to do what they want, when they want. How does a tiny house help you do this?
Getting rid of what is not necessary and getting creative with what you have frees up space to focus on other areas of your life.
Fewer fixed costs
Moving into a tiny house can alleviate the stress of taking out a mortgage. Bills for water, sewage and electricity are also significantly lower when living tiny.
Freedom to travel and explore
Even if your tiny house is not on a trailer, having a small house frees up the responsibilities of maintaining a larger home.
A smaller environmental impact
Tiny houses use less material, and don’t take as much energy to heat. The environmental impact of a tiny house is drastically lower than that of the average American home.
Other Reasons To Go Tiny
Within the shared theme of freedom, people give a wide range of reasons and motivations for joining the movement.
Some people build tiny homes so that families can be closer.
Alternative to renting
Young college students may build a tiny home because they don’t want to pay rent and would rather live in a home of their own.
Love of travel
The drive to explore the world and take their homes with them is motivation enough for tiny house living.
Others need a place to heal during a chronic illness and a tiny house can be that space.
For some, $15,000 to $25,000 is the most they can afford to spend on a house. For others, a low-income tiny house community is their only housing option. Opportunity Village Eugene is an example of a non-profit organization that creates self-managed communities of low-cost tiny houses for people in need of housing.
Is Tiny House Living Right For You?
While tiny homes have their advantages, they have challenges too. The hardest part about living in a tiny house? Not surprisingly, it’s the lack of space.
You may have thought you got rid of a lot of stuff but you may still need to get rid of more than you anticipated.
Finding a home site
You have your tiny house built—where are you going to put it?
Limited cooking space
Making food is much harder with limited amount of kitchen and food storage space.
Lack of privacy
Even married couples need their own space sometimes. That space won’t exist in a tiny house.
When downsizing to less than 400 sq ft, creativity is key. For example, having multi-purpose furniture that can be hidden away and easily converted to serve another function can make life much easier.
What’s Good About Tiny House Living
Although there are inevitable hardships to living tiny, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
“One benefit to tiny house living is that it frees up the money, time and energy that would otherwise be spent on maintaining a house and rent or a mortgage, to be used on other things, like working on creative projects, starting a business, spending time with friends and family, or on other hobbies that bring a lot of satisfaction to one’s life.” — tiny house builder Merete Mueller, from the documentary Tiny, A Story About Living Small.
Lower energy costs
Whether you’re heating your tiny house by wood stove or by propane, such small space requires little time and energy to heat up. Your heating bill will go down and so will your carbon footprint.
Less to clean
The average tiny home is 2,414 less square feet than the average American home. That’s a lot less vacuuming.
If you put your tiny house on a trailer, you can choose where to live and don’t need to own land.
Meet new people
Whether living in a tiny house community or on your own piece of land, many tiny house owners say they socialize more than when they lived in a larger house.
Tiny House Living With Kids, Family and Pets
Many people want to transition their family into a tiny home but hesitate at the thought of living in such a small space with their young children or pets. But families are doing it, with as many as 3 kids and a dog, and are even saying “it was the best decision they have ever made”.
“We might be crazy–or we might be on the verge of a movement that leads to a lifestyle revolution….And while we’ve already hit a few hurdles along the way, we’re confident that we’re doing right by our family and that this new way of living is the right move for us… and hey, who knows, maybe it’s the right move for you too.”
— Family of five from BigFamilyTinyHouse
Finding a plan that works for you and your family is essential to thriving in your tiny house.
Houses that are under 500 sq ft are still considered “tiny”.
Build multiple homes
“Tiny house pods” can be used for external bedrooms, separate kitchen/cooking space or a moody teenager’s private bedroom.
Store stuff outside
Put out-of-season wardrobes or extra bulk items in plastic tubs underneath the house, or in an extra trailer.
Design around family needs
Take note of the core functions and needs of the family. Come up with ways to incorporate and satisfy all needs in a harmonious and spatially efficient way.
Keep pets happy
You’ll definitely walk your dog more if you live in a tiny house. Still, invest in an outdoor play area or hire a dog walker when you’re gone. Design your house around the needs of your pets, too.
Ask other tiny house families
Other families who’ve made this change will have plenty of advice for you.
Other good resources for living with kids in a Tiny House:
The Tiny House Community
The tiny house community is very generous when it comes to sharing information about tiny house living. There’s no end of blogs where people share personal stories, tiny house books on what to do, and documentaries on the whole movement.
Tiny House Blogs
Living simply and debt free, this family of four transitioned into living tiny after going bankrupt and losing their jobs. Inspiring and educational, this family offers consulting, e-courses in living tiny and a book of lessons learned while living in 168 sq ft.
The Tiny House Community is a comprehensive tiny house social networking site. This site has maps for finding tiny house communities, forums to discuss tiny house related topics and classifieds for people seeking a place to park their homes.
With building plans, interviews and thorough research on the movement, The Tiny Life offers an in depth look into all stages of tiny house living and building.
The Tiny House is full of advice and ideas from a tiny house owner, builder and dweller.
With videos and articles, book reviews and interviews, Tiny House Blog has everything from different types of tiny house construction to stories of people living small.
Tiny House Documentaries
We The Tiny House People showcases different tiny houses and features interviews of the people who live in them.
Living Small explores the tiny house movement and asks the question “Could we live more with less?”