Since time immemorial, buying a house has been akin to growing up and putting down roots, be it 2 doors down from the house you grew up in or in a different state or even in a different country. Homes started out at a modest 500 sq feet and over the last few decades have evolved into massive 3-garage, 5 bedroom/bath mansions with enough sq footage to house a small village. Looks like we’ve come full circle though with the tiny house concept and when I say tiny, I literally mean “tiny”.
There is a new micro-trend living movement sweeping the United States for the last few years, a movement that involves people downsizing the homes they live in, shedding their worldly possessions and moving into a 100-150 sq foot structure. Compared to the average living space that ranges anywhere from 1700 to 3500 sq feet, this would constitute maybe the tool-shed in the backyard. A tiny house is either prefabricated or built from scratch and is usually mounted on a trailer platform. Hitch it to the back of your truck and it gives you the same mobility as an RV but with the comforts of a brick and mortar, albeit way smaller home. The upside – no property taxes, no mortgage because these homes usually cost somewhere in the range of $30-$40K and don’t qualify for a traditional home loan, and the best of it all, complete freedom.
The demographics for the population that own such homes varies from singles, to DINKS couples, to retirees, to hippies who want to minimize their carbon footprint. Downsizing requires you to free your mind, limit yourself to 4 plates and matching silverware, a micro stove, a refrigerator the size of a small safe and a sink right out a child’s toy kitchenette set. Your living room is also your TV room, formal dining room and bedroom. If you’re lucky, you might have a loft that works as your bedroom and provides minimal privacy, just don’t get up too quickly lest you hit your head on the ceiling. So where then do you live? Outside. There is no fence. The world is your oyster! Put out a roll-out grill and you are good to entertain just like you would in a regular backyard BBQ.
The first time I saw a tiny house on a show on HGTV, I had to rewind and watch it again to make sure they weren’t talking about a doll house or that it wasn’t a commercial for IKEA’s “how to live in 200 sq feet dwelling”. I was amused, curious and envious of those that got to live in these tiny houses. I got mad at how much space my house was taking up on the face of this earth. I wanted to put my house on the market, shell out $30K from my savings and move into my very own tiny house. After a while, reality sunk in as I started to inventory my possessions and I realized I wasn’t ready just yet to make that giant leap. That was 3 years ago. As I get older, and the need to not stay tied down to one spot grows, I think I will eventually be ready to downsize.
2 weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go to a tiny house exhibit in our town and while I only got 20 minutes to actually look at the homes (we got there a little too close to closing time), what I saw really made me take a step back and think hard about how I wanted to live in the coming years. It will require some serious planning, serious de-cluttering and lastly getting used to the fact that I can stand in the middle of the room and touch opposite sides of the room by simply extending my arms out. Can I do it? It remains to be seen. Do I want to give it a try? Hell yea! Who knows, a few years from now, I might be sitting on my makeshift tiny house porch, writing a blog about how fulfilling my life is with my new minimalistic lifestyle. I will then go back into the house to wash my 2 plates and bowls and climb into my sofa bed for a good night’s sleep. My very own home to-go and yes, I will have fries with that! A girl can dream. 🙂