If you’ve ever seen “The Lord of the Rings” or the Hobbit trilogy at the cinema, you have had your first introduction into the world of Tiny houses. Yes, Hobbits live in snug, dry, comfy, well-stocked holes in the ground with lovely, round windows overlooking the Shire and toasty fireplaces surrounded by armchairs. But Hobbits are fiction. Tiny homes, however – generally defined as houses with under 900 square feet of floor space – are making a sudden appearance on the world’s stage, representing a wide range of modern interests from lowering your ecological footprint to casting away the encumbrances of living in the rat race of life, where people pursue bigger, cars, bigger yards, bigger meals and bigger homes without stopping to think about the consequences.
As economist E.F. Schumacher famously said, “Small is beautiful,” a sentiment that aptly sums up the Tiny House Movement. Here are a few reasons people choose to live in diminutives homes. Maybe some of these ideas ring true for you:
1. Too Much Stuff
One famous challenge among small homeowners is summed up as the possibility of living your life with a maximum of 100 items in your possession. That means one or two forks, spoons, knives, plates, one or two one-size-fits-all cooking pots, a minimum amount of clothes, books, decorations, tools, sports gear, electronic equipment – the whole shebang.
This type of lifestyle change has its reasons, most of which can be summed up by the idea that living life does not require stuff, it relies on experiences. Going for a walk, calling on a friend, attending a show trumps accumulating material goods every time. It’s about living when you discard all that extra baggage.
2. Too Much Work and/or Debt
Along with the shedding of material encumbrances is the notion of not working around the clock to pay for a huge mortgage or other bills that simply require you to work harder. When are you going to stop and enjoy your time on Earth rather than spin your wheels at a job you can’t stand just to keep fulfill your parents’ expectations of success?
That said, tiny homes can be downright expensive, but not nearly as much as a McMansion will cost you. Furthermore, many tiny homes are built by their owners who find the project rewarding unto itself.
Needless to say, if you build your own home these days, you can incorporate the most modern electrical systems and extras during the construction process, including computerized entertainment, modern home security with ADT, remote controlled lighting, and the like.
3. Do it for Your Planet
In the age of global warming, we don’t need to be buying homes with 12-foot ceilings with living rooms the size of tennis courts just to raise children who will leave the home after 18 years or so – leaving parents to rattle around in colossal homes that still rack up enormous heating bills.
Many tiny homes are solar powered and they can afford to be because their energy demands are so light. If you have 100 items or less in your possession, the chances are you won’t be holding onto your vacuum cleaner or your hot tub (although a surprising number of tiny homeowners choose to install a small clothes washer/dryer arrangement.) Furthermore, one quick flash fire in a tiny wood stove is likely all you need in a tiny home in the coldest of days. Cooling costs in the summer are also much lower.
Tiny homeowners often rely on eco-friendly toilets to cut down on plumbing costs when building. That saves water, diminishing your environmental footprint even further.
4. Communal living
The tiny house movement has given rise to a community living arrangement that allows people to enjoy their own tiny living space, but to place their abode next to others so that various amenities are shared. There could be a communal kitchen where people go to cook or a shared laundry room, saving everyone space in their homes for systems only used on an as-needed basis.
5. Moving around
One of the joys of owning a tiny home is the ability to build a home on a trailer, which is then towed around the country, like a camper.
You could wake up next to the beach on Monday and tow your home – kitchen, bedroom, living room and all – with you to wake up in the mountains on Tuesday. This is made possible by finding work that allows you to travel.
As a counter-point, one of the great possibilities with a tiny house is the chance to reduce your environmental footprint – the impact you have on your planet. Frequently, small homeowners who drag their homes around the countryside brag about their ecological sensitivity, conveniently forgetting that what they’ve gained in lower heating bills they have gained in huge gasoline bills for the truck that tows their home from place to place. Each ecologically sensitive owner, obviously, has to resolve this issue for themselves.