Tiny House mania is sweeping the nation. There are several Tiny House shows on TV, tiny house exhibitions are easy to find, and Pinterest is full of Tiny House love (check our board out here!) What is it that’s so appealing about these homes and would the transition to tiny be right for you?
If you’ve read my bio on my blog posts, you know that my family is hoping to move into a Tiny House within the next year. We began downsizing in 2009 when we started talking about having a baby. Our son was born in October of 2010, at the time we were living in a 500 square foot 1 bedroom apartment. It was perfect for our little family. We did, however, get a lot of questions and flack from people who thought the baby needed his own room. Our shower registry was very minimal and consisted mostly of cloth diapers.
When he was eight months old we moved into a two bedroom apartment solely because the apartment complex would not write a lease for 3 people in a one bedroom. We’ve moved three times since then and have not been able to find a complex that would lease a one bedroom to a family of three. This has been frustrating, we are paying for a much larger space than we want. So, we began talking about tiny houses!
The first thing I would suggest for families thinking about a tiny house is research, research, research. When you think you’re done researching, research again! We’ve been researching for over 2 years now and want to take it slowly. The average “life” of a family in a tiny house is about 18 months and they all say they wish they’d researched more. People don’t anticipate what a big change it will be. There are also a lot of common building errors that lead to mold, heating issues and electrical problems. Many towns have official laws about building sizes as well, this is why many tinys are on wheels.
If you’re seriously considering it, join the “Tiny House People” Facebook page, meet with as many builders as you can and visit lots of tiny houses! There are many “tiny house hotels” now where you can try one out for the weekend. (Wee Casa in Lyons is a beautiful Tiny House Hotel near me!)
Next, downsize, downsize, downsize. We began downsizing in 2009. In 2012 we got rid of exactly 50% of our belongings. Since then we have continued downsizing every year and purged of almost another 50% of our belongings last year. We *think* we’re finally done. Our goal in 2014 was to downsize to what we wanted to move into the tiny (except for furniture which will be custom built). We are living with just those items for now.
If you’re not wanting to permanently get rid of items, pack them up for a bit. Downsize to what you think you can live with and keep everything else in storage for a bit. That way you won’t have gotten rid of something you regret later on. By downsizing and living with minimal items before you move, you’ll get a better idea of what you’re “in for.”
Design, design, design. This is the fun part! If you’re thinking about a tiny, make some floor plans. See if you can build yourself a space you’ll be happy in. Think about what materials you’d like to you, what your priorities are and if you’d like to build on wheels or on a plot of land.
Don’t forget that a tiny house doesn’t HAVE to be on wheels. Many consider homes under 600 square feet “tiny” homes, others say homes where each individual has 100 sq ft is “tiny” so if you have a larger family you don’t have to all squish into a 300 sq ft home. There may be a perfect small house for sale in your town. Many older homes are small and can be purchased (and even moved to a new lot of land!) for cheaper than building a brand new Tiny House.
Finally- talk, talk, talk. For a tiny space, this is a HUGE decision. Talk about it with your family, ask people who you trust to give you creative criticism, read some of the blogs of people who abandoned tiny life… don’t take this decision lightly. Make sure the kids are on board and you all have open conversations about what everyone’s desires are for going tiny.
Our status now is that we know for sure we want to live in a smaller home. Unfortunately, home prices here well outprice us and smaller homes are still extremely expensive. We would love to have a Tiny on a plot of land. We’re finalizing some floor plans and evaluating several different options. I’ll keep you posted on our Tiny journey!
Have you thought about Tiny House living? I’d love to connect with you and hear your journey. Let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org