Lately I’ve been quite fascinated with tiny living. It started with an article on Yahoo! about tiny houses, which lead to me be super interested in what tiny houses are, and then I wanted to get one. This interest lead me to thinking about downsizing, a simpler lifestyle, and sustainable living. All of these really lead to deeper thinking about what we really need in life, what is important to us, and what is wrong with the ‘mass consumerism’ mindset in America.
That’s a lot of different topics to be sure, so I’ll start at the beginning.
First: The Tiny House Movement. If you aren’t aware (and I sure wasn’t), there is such a thing as The Tiny House Movement. In the broadest sense, it is simply a social movement where people are downsizing the space in which they live. Some people are downsizing as part of a ‘living greener’ philosophy, others may be affected by the housing crisis and can no longer afford large mortgages for large homes, but whatever the reason, tiny living seems appealing to a lot of people.
One of the more well-known names associated with the movement is Jay Shafer, founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. The company offers Houses-To-Go (teeny tiny homes on wheels, all under 200 sq. ft) either pre-built or as plans to build it yourself. They also offer blueprints for slightly larger cottages (still all under 900 sq ft) to be built on a foundation. A lot of people think The Tiny House Movement is all about squeezing people into as small a space as possible, but really it’s all about right-sizing your life and living only with what you need and find important.
That may mean a family of 4 living in a 1200 sq ft house instead of a 3000 sq ft house, or someone single downsizing from a 500 sq ft apartment to a 200 sq ft one. It’s all about perspective and what works well for your life, but the bottom line is to clear out the junk in your life that weighs you down and clutters your space (and your mind) so that you can live a simpler life with more time for what really matters.
Second: As soon as I started looking as tiny houses, I wanted one. They are quite affordable (especially compared to getting a mortgage for a house) and with a little knowledge you can save a ton by doing a lot of non-technical labor yourself (certainly I can learn to cut wood and pound nails and such). The trick would be getting Nate on board with it. Would he be up to living in a tiny space? In today’s society I think people are used to having a lot of space to themselves, which means they don’t interact with each other as much, even in their our house. Living in close quarters really forces you to evaluate your relationship and come to compromises.
To my surprise, he was pretty excited when I told him about the idea. It would save a lot of money on utility bills, and if we can save up enough we won’t need a loan to build the place. His dad is handy with construction and his uncle owns a large plot of land that he agreed we could live on. We’ve tentatively decided on this Bodega style house with the one-bedroom option that will function as an office for Nate to work from home.
Even with the addition, the whole place only clocks in at 356 sq ft. This means LOTS of downsizing for me since 90% of the stuff in the house right now is mine. Nate was in the Marine Corps for almost 4 years and then moved to a small New York City apartment with 2 other people, so he’s never lived with a whole lot. I guess maybe that’s why he didn’t think it was crazy to live in a small house.
I’m pretty excited to say the least. It’ll be a place to call home without paying rent or huge utility bills. We’ll own it outright, and we can design and decorate it ourselves. But that’s still quite a few years away. For now we are playing with the idea of moving from our current 556 sq ft apartment to a 288 sq ft studio when our lease is up. It’ll help us save on rent and get us used to living in a small space.
We shall see how the adventure unfolds 🙂 More to come as I continue reading and researching!
If you’re interested in a bit more about the Tiny House Movement, The Tiny Life blog has been one of my favorite resources lately. Here’s an article I found informative, though it is focused on tiny tiny living, the basic principles are good to absorb.