A Tiny Idea: Part I

Part I: Downsized dwellings

A tiny house is a small home often built on a trailer and typically between 100-400 sq. feet

I recently became inspired by the tiny house movement.  After a lot of researching, I decided that I want to build my own tiny house as well as cultivate the perspectives and values shared by many who choose this way of life.

To me, a home represents rootedness, connections, independence, and identity.  Designing your own home lets you customize the living environment to your needs, maximizing your efficiency and comfort every day.  It also lets you experience the psychological benefit of being connected to a space that you created and that matches your lifestyle perfectly.  I believe that one’s immediate physical environment has a huge impact on emotions, productivity, and overall well-being (there’s research to support this!).  So I want my home to resonate with my preferences and ideals.  A tiny house would allow me to achieve this harmony.

Why tiny?

I have always enjoyed browsing house plans online and thinking about the different layouts and features I’d want in my own house.  My favorite plans included a spacious open layout, cathedral ceilings, and specialty elements such as a giant hearth or sunroom with greenhouse windows.  However, the cost-to-build price estimates for such houses were well beyond my means — not to mention that big pricey properties typically come with high taxes and utility bills.

I soon became interested in smaller, simpler, ‘greener’ designs and eventually discovered the concept of tiny houses.  The best part is that even these fun-sized houses can include larger-than-life features, including some on my wish list.  For example, a gas cast iron stove that is used to heat a tiny house embodies the same function as a hearth in a larger house while maintaing aesthetic appeal.  It’s also easy to incorporate luxury finishes in a tiny house: high-end flooring, countertops, windows, etc. may be more feasible to include because there is less space to cover!

Tiny Living Means:

  • Life simplification – less consumerism & unnecessary “stuff”, more enjoyment from what you do have
  • Environmental consciousness – uses less natural resources
  • Community involvement (tiny house community & local community)
  • More time – less space to clean and maintain…since I’m an compulsive cleaner this is a great benefit
  • More money – costs less to build; minimal heating/cooling/electricity costs
  • Fiscal responsibility – affordable living, not going into huge debt
  • Opportunity to strengthen relationships with family
  • Gaining practical skills.  Exercising mental skills, e.g., resourcefulness, creativity
  • Various freedoms and miscellaneous benefits (potential to relocate the house, freedom from landlords, possible to live off-grid, may permit a career change or reduction in work hours, may encourage travel and exploring activities outside the home)

I don’t see one compelling reason why not to go small!  

In my next post of this series I’ll talk about minimalism; specifically, how getting rid of clutter and excess things can make you happier and specific tips for getting rid of stuff that’s weighing you down

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