I recently wrote a post for an online magazine about fascinating facts relating to the Tiny House Movement. You’ve heard about the movement, right? Folks either hunt for or build from scratch homes that are usually no larger than 400 – 500 square feet. I have to admit, I’m a little obsessed with HGTV shows such as Tiny House Hunters and Tiny House, Big Living. The initial draw was the fact that the houses always seem so well put together. They’re basically mini luxury homes that cost a fraction of the price of an average 2,000 square foot home. Granted, only the most stylish (some are rustic but still stylish, while others have adopted a minimalist approach) are shown on the shows but it speaks to the flexibility one has when they choose this lifestyle. While some homes can be bought off of plans, others are based on your own personal needs and specifications. If having a gourmet kitchen is important to you, you can build it. The sky’s the limit with this stuff. I recently saw an episode where a couple built their new home out of an old school bus! I also love the storage solutions builders come up with. Who knew you could transform a table and banquette into a bed for yourself or guests?
Writing the above article got me thinking about whether or not downsizing to that degree would be something I’d be up for. Surprisingly, I think I could do it. How often do you find you rotate through the same few outfits week to week? Or how many shoes do you actually wear on a regular basis? Yeah, I’m talking to you ladies with the Just Fab subscription. We might be holding onto things more for sentimental reasons more than out of a need. If you’re honest with yourself and willing to start a major purge, then it might be possible to down size.
Of course it might require a little creativity with a little one (or multiple little ones) in tow. Miss O is an only child but she has a house full of toys, gadgets and clothes. Being the first grandchild on my side, she was spoiled from an early age. Her grandparents love to surprise her (but within reason) with a treat every now and then. Anyway, all of that to say that it might be a little harder to downsize with kids because they need a little room but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to pack away or donate the toys they’ve lost interest in or forgotten about.
Speaking of spreading out, if you’re living with someone, be it a partner or your family, tiny living makes it hard to schedule in alone time and a little space just for you if you need it. Also, I’m not a fan of the bedroom loft idea. I’m not claustrophobic but having the ceiling that close to my face would make me feel a little closed in. Also, Miss O is a bit of an acrobat when she sleeps (who can relate to this?) so I’d be worried she’d roll off of her loft. To be fair, there are various sleeping options that don’t involve lofts but the benefit is the added square footage and a “bedroom” away from your day to day living space.
Despite the drawbacks, the prospect of saving buckets of money is enticing. It allows for a new level of freedom to explore passions and discover new adventures. You don’t even have to be tied to one fixed address if you don’t want to be. If you choose, you can hook up your home to a truck and move it wherever your need to. Think about how great it would be to travel across Canada and technically never leave home? Cool, right? This is better than an RV because the homes are more durable and let’s face it, they look cooler as well. Of course finding the necessary hook ups to ensure you have water and can flush your toilet (if you decide against a composting toilet), would be a priority. If you’ve watched these HGTV shows you’ll probably have seen that many of these homes are off the grid and rely on solar power for their electrical needs. Very cool.
This lifestyle is definitely not for everyone but is worth it if someone’s willing to make a lot of sacrifices. I don’t think I’d do it at this point in life but maybe when Miss O is a little older. It seems the States are ahead of us when it comes to this new way of living but there are a few Canadian building companies out there already. I mentioned in the article that I wrote that tiny house rentals are now available on Airbnb. This is such a great idea because you can try out a tiny home for a short amount of time and decide if it’s something you can do before taking the plunge. An alternative I’m considering is making the experience more of an adventure and sampling a new abode every few months. You come together as a family for some quality time together and just before everyone reaches their threshold, you pack up and head home to more space.
What do you think? Could you downsize and live in a tiny house? What’s holding you back?