Living Large in a Tiny House
From my perspective, tiny houses are all the rage. I see them posted all over the internet, Netflix, Facebook. Why are people (including myself) so fascinated with a house that is smaller than many sheds? I read different measurements that would qualify a house as tiny. Some say under 300 square feet, others say under 150 square feet. Regardless of the actual size, I have seen some beautiful, tiny homes that I just want to reach out and hug!
Personally, I love the idea of living in a tiny house. If I did, I could fully embrace the tug of minimalism that I constantly feel. If I didn’t have room to store so much stuff, I wouldn’t own it in the first place. I have moved a lot in my adult life, approximately 18 times in the last 25 years. I used to joke if it didn’t fit in my little red Toyota Tercel is wasn’t coming. One of those moves was from Massachusetts to Florida – it if didn’t fit in the Tercel it really didn’t come. That was when computers were really big and took up a good chunk of the back seat!
Once I bought a house, the accumulation of stuff was intensified. I had 3 bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, kitchen and 1.5 bathrooms to fill. Then I needed to buy organizational tools like storage boxes, and shelving units to put my stuff and cleaning products to care for it. Oh, if only I known about tiny houses back in 2003!
I have done some serious downsizing since then but everything I own will not fit in the Mini Cooper! I live with my honey in a small 2 bedroom house that is chock full of our stuff. Including the basement where at least 1 of the pallets stacked with boxes is all mine! If we moved to a tiny house where would it go? There is no way I ever want to rent a storage unit, pod, or space in your garage. Paying rent for a place to live is one thing but paying rent to store my belongings is another. If I only use something a few times a year, do I really need it in the first place? Living in a tiny house requires reflecting on every purchase made in the store, on the internet as well as every gift received. Do I have really need it, where will I store it, what will it replace?
Living in a tiny house requires the optimization of space. They have to be designed with the idea that every space has a purpose and every thing that is brought in has a designated home. I have seen drawers built under beds, storage boxes under the stairs. Tables that are folded out-of-the-way unless being used to eat, work or play on. I love the idea that a house can be organized and everything can be easy to locate. It appeals to my sense of order. When I was a kid we had a trailer and the dining table was on a pole in the floor. The table top would pull off and the pole would unscrew from the floor. Then the seating benches would fold down to become the bed. How cool is that?
We recently had the opportunity to tour a real tiny house. I invited my brother and his wife as I know they have been watching lots of tiny house videos and television shows. The tiny house was on display as part of a 20 city tour called “Proof is Possible”. This tiny house was built to be super energy-efficient and was really cool. I loved the look and the feel of the tiny house. It was so quiet and neatly organized. Instead of a sleeping loft like most tiny houses – this one had an eating loft. It only had a dorm room refrigerator but it had a double sink in the kitchen. I guess you have to really prioritize what is important to you.
I tried to imagine myself living in the tiny house but had an uneasy feeling that I could immediately identify – claustrophobia! I don’t think it was so much the tiny house as 7 people plus an infant in the space. But it did make me think twice about making such a drastic move. My definition of tiny might be more like under 800 square feet. A few years ago, I lived in a small cottage about that size and it was perfect. It made great use of space but I still had room to breathe.
A tiny house doesn’t have room for gadgets that can only perform 1 task. Singular use items that make me go HMMMMM include a “hot dog cooker with bun warmer”. Why would anyone buy such an item when a grill or pot of boiling water can do essentially the same thing? A “hard boiled egg slicer”. Seriously what else could you cut with something designed to slice an egg? I guess a knife is too difficult to use. How about the “one step corn kerneler” that takes the corn off the cob. Again what is wrong with a knife?
The problem with these items that can only do 1 thing is they need to be purchased, stored, and cleaned alongside all of the items that you use daily. They take up space in the cabinets, drawers and shelves. They are used so rarely you can’t find them when you need them while simultaneously crowding out what you do need to use repeatedly during the day. I use my pots and knives several times a day and could get away with only owning 1 of each if necessary. If all I owned was an egg slicer, I would be in big trouble when it came to cutting broccoli.
Do you dream of living in a tiny house? How about a McMansion? Do you purchase every new gadget that comes along or do you stick to the basics like pots and knives? Leave a comment below to let me know! Personally, I choose happiness by keeping things simple!
A tiny 150 square foot house might not be right for me but if I had to choose between that and a McMansion that costs 10x more to build, heat, and cool – I’m going to hug my tiny house all the way to the bank!