The Latest Craze: Living Large in a Tiny House

July 15, 2015

Have you ever thought about downsizing your home?  I’m not talking about going from the 4,000 square foot mini estate to 3,500 square feet, nor am I suggesting an 80 square foot cell.  I’m talking DOWNSIZING for real -- getting rid of a large portion of your belongings and joining the tiny house craze.

Downsizing and portability are the goals for a lot of people these days.  From a purely impact standpoint, downsizing makes a lot of sense.  There have been a lot of articles about tiny, micro, and portable houses in the news recently.

Tinyhouselistings.com gives ten reasons to buy a tiny house:

  • Less initial cost
  • Less energy consumption
  • Less water consumption and trash
  • Less cost for repairs
  • Less land to purchase and upkeep
  • Less food
  • Less taxes
  • Less insurance
  • Less interest paid
  • More disposable income and more freedom
  • And a bonus reason - you free up your two most precious resources, money and time, not to mention some of Earth’s most precious resources…water and energy.

Today’s rage builds on the old idea of a “tow behind trailer” and adds many modern conveniences and inventive designs. Outfit it with multi-pane glass, environmentally friendly adhesives, and small, but efficient appliances, the sky is the limit for what you may wish to spend on your micro domain. Alternatively, a Spartan or minimalist approach may appeal to others looking for a simple living pod.  Henry David Thoreau’s house at Walden Pond qualifies as a tiny house based upon my observations.

A New Yorker article proposed that three kinds of people gravitate to micro and tiny houses.

  • Young people who want to own a place (while avoiding property taxes and rent, and possibly find a free space to park their house).
  • Older men and women who have either sold or walked away from a house they couldn’t afford, or want to just live more simply.
  • People determined to live environmentally responsible lives––to live “lightly.”

The current rage reminds me of one of many famous stories from Colorado State Patrol history where a trooper “arrested” a stolen cabin in Central Colorado.  According to that story, a citizen reported a cabin stolen.  We all know that the cabin didn’t sprout legs and walk away.  Instead, it was placed on a trailer and moved from its location.  The trailer apparently broke down and the cabin was “parked” on the side of the road between Woodland Park and Manitou Springs, Colorado.  A prank-prone Colorado Trooper “took the missing cabin into custody by handcuffing himself to one of the cabin’s porch corner posts.”  It was, after all, a cabin on wheels.

But why live tiny? It comes down to the basics. Everyone needs shelter, food and water. In the modern world that translates to four walls and a roof, somewhere to sleep, a way to cook your meals, clean running water, a place to wash yourself, and a method of disposing your waste. Everything else is a luxury, not a need.

Some would say the most important thing in a tiny house is the life experiences had there.  On a practical basis, planning your mobile or stationary tiny home is critical. Remember, space is limited.

Planningtiny.com outlines key driving forces when considering building small mobile house.

  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Aesthetics
  • Weight
  • Environment

All of these decision points need research and reflection.  When it comes to tiny houses, Care2.com says:

1) Have a Reason “Why”
Is it just “because,” or is there some other motivation? “Living the dream,” ”burning the mortgage,” “avoiding environmental hazards,” or lower overall living costs may fill the bill.

2) It‘s Not All Photo Shoots and Unicorns
Size limits. The sit down dinner party for sixty guests just may not be possible.

3) Get Ready to Feel Blessed
Tiny and simple can add up to a feeling of well-being.  And, in this stressful world, what a concept!

I’ve always wanted a small piece of mountain property on which to build a weekend getaway.  Though my personal “dream” has been the traditional log home, living tiny makes the dream a little more possible.  After all, I might not really need the 30-wooded acres and ginormous cabin.  Maybe, just maybe, space for me, a couple of other sleeping bags, and a much smaller plot would get me into the great outdoors and fresh air I so much crave.

When I reflect on the writings of Henry David Thoeau, he seems to have found a rich life in the simplicity of his tiny house. Just imagine what that might have been like in spite of today's luxuries.

Could you rethink your dream space as a tiny home and be just as happy? Leave me a comment.