To Clarify

Despite being on wheels, my tiny house is not designed to be moved regularly. The wheels were originally a way to get around codes, and then they became a welcome restriction to plan my house around. If I was going to build a house and didn’t have road width and height restrictions, I think I wouldn’t know how big was too big. I remember the different ways my sister and I would play Sims 2. I would always take an existing house and gut it – I’d get rid of all furniture and fixtures, remove the floors, and choose different paints. Sometimes I would leave the interior walls in, but often I’d leave only the outside shape and then fill it the way I wanted. The exterior walls gave me a place to start and I knew everything would have to be reasonably sized because of them. Stephanie, on the other hand, would start from scratch. She’d buy a huge lot and build a ginormous box. To fill up the house, the rooms had to be giant, and sometimes she had multiple living rooms. Entire rooms would be devoted to a single art, hobby, or electronic. Furniture was sparse, because there are only so many couches you can have before it gets ridiculous. I think our two styles are a good analogy for the difference between generations and places that are frugal and work with what they have, like in Europe; and younger people and newer places, like North America, that have very few or no restrictions. Tiny houses have been slow to gain popularity in Europe because people already live in small spaces – in the buildings built by people who knew the difference between what was needed and what was excess.

The tiny house movement sprang up as an alternative to the McMansions in the States. When people from Europe first came to North America, there was SO much undeveloped land. I figure there was so much space that people built big, in part, just because they could. Of course, the issues came later: empty, drafty houses that are expensive to heat, houses in disrepair because they’re too giant to maintain, a need to fill all that unnecessary space – which ties into consumerism – and mortgages that you could end up paying for until you die (“mortgage” does have the word “mort” in it…). Somehow, “bigger” came to mean “better”. Tiny houses are the result of people realizing that’s not true.

But back to my original point (funny how this post is meant to clarify something and then I go rambling off topic), my tiny house will not be a travel trailer that I’ll be moving all the time. It will be built to withstand highway speeds, but not constantly. Moving will be a big undertaking, what with renting a truck to tow it, packing up all my belongings so they’re not flying around, probably covering up some windows, and crossing my fingers that no glass breaks in transit – not to mention finding a new place to live. Finding land is an issue that stops a lot of people from building, because you pretty much have to rely on faith alone that you will find a good host with the right hook-ups and hope that the code enforcers will leave you alone. You can buy your own land; some people even get a normal house with a mortgage, rent it out, and live in their own backyard. But land is expensive, so in the beginning I will be renting a place to park my tiny house, and I will stay in one place for a while. I’ll have to set-up a grey water system (probably a drip field), find a place to dispose of my “humanure” – some people compost on their land, but if you’re renting, your hosts might not be okay with that – and install a way to get water to my house in the winter (probably underground hoses and then heat coils around the pipes that are above ground). With all that work, you might wonder why I bother at all, why not just get a normal house that’s on the small side if you don’t want a lot of space? I’ve wondered that too, but in the end, when I’m all set-up, it will be worth it. I want security and some control over my life, and the tiny house will give me that. Read about my other reasons on the Why page above.

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Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris
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