To the Tiny House Haters

I’ve been noticing a lot of articles recently about why tiny houses are a horrible idea. The whole tiny house movement started years ago, and it’s been picked up as a fad, especially now that they’ve made reality TV shows about it. Now some people are writing negative posts about tiny houses. I think the fad is winding down as people start to look into the not-so-glamorous side of tiny houses, and the appeal is losing some of its sparkle. But the movement will continue with the people who knew about the difficulties and jumped in anyway.

I’m not saying that tiny houses are right for everyone, but I’m disagreeing with the articles that say no one should live in them. Just like anything, there are pros and cons to tiny houses. Anyone considering a tiny house should weigh the good and bad before deciding if a tiny house is right for them.

This is how I see my living options:

Option A: Live with parents.

You spend most of your time in your bedroom, a (small) room mostly taken up by a bed. You share a kitchen and you most likely share a bathroom with the people you’ve already had to deal with for your whole life. By the time you graduate high school, you’re probably ready for a change. Especially since you have little to no control over your parents’ house. It’s also not ideal for visitors, because they’ll probably have to sleep on the floor.

Option B: Dorm life.

You now pay money for an even smaller room with a small bed. You might even share a room with another student, and having to fit two beds, two closets, and two desks into one room makes for a cramped space with no privacy. You also share a bathroom with strangers. In many universities, you’re not allowed to have so much as a toaster in your room. This means that you have to rely on a dining hall with limited hours and options. But at least you don’t have to cook for yourself. Forget about having friends over, because you’ll have even less floor space than you used to. And you can also forget about individuality, because your room looks exactly like the other 400 in the building.

Option C: An apartment.

Let’s face it, when you’re young, you’re not going to be able to afford a nice apartment. You’ll be paying to live in a crappy apartment that you’re not allowed to make big changes to. And all your money will be going down the drain, because you’ll never own the place. But at least you won’t have to fix anything that breaks; that’s the landlord’s job. And you’ll be able to have friends over! Hopefully they won’t mind that the walls are a disgusting shade of brown and that you only own three cups. Don’t even get me started on roommates.

Option D: A traditional house.

Finally! You’ve gotten to a point in your life when you have enough money to do the “grown-up” thing and put a down-payment on a house. Hopefully, after the decades that the house has existed, nothing is seriously wrong that you’ll have to unexpectedly pay thousands to fix in the future. Your mortgage each month might even be cheaper than renting, and you’ll get to do whatever you want because it’s your house. You can decorate like you’re staying and knock down walls and choose crazy paint colours. But you won’t really own the place until you’ve paid off your mortgage, which literally translates to “death pledge”. You’ll be paying for that house, every month, for decades. You’ll put your time into maintaining, repairing, and cleaning it, and you’ll put your money into stuff to fill all the rooms. And, depending on what you can afford, you might not even love your house all that much. You’ll want to change it, but you won’t have the money to. What if you need to move? You haven’t gotten even half-way through all the improvements you wanted to, and no one’s buying. You’ll be stuck. But you can make the best of it. You’ll have a proper guest room and be able to have plenty of friends over. You’ll try to make it as homey as you can, because this is just how people live, right?

Right?

I choose Option E: None of the above.

I choose a tiny house on wheels.

Building one is cheaper than living in a dorm for 4 years. It’s custom-designed for me. I can change it. I can move it. I can have friends over, but they’ll still probably have to sleep on the floor. I’ll have my own kitchen and my own bathroom that I won’t have to share with strangers. The bills will be cheap, the maintenance will be minimal, I’ll be able to repair anything because I built it, and the cleaning will take minutes. I won’t have to buy a ton of furniture and knick-knacks just to fill the space. The plumbing will be simple, but I won’t be mindlessly flushing gallons of clean water down the toilet.

To the haters and the skeptics: no, I won’t have space for my entire extended family to visit all at once, like your big house. No, I won’t be able to cook a thanksgiving dinner in my tiny kitchen, like you can with your huge oven. No, I won’t be able to take a bath, like you can in any of your several bathrooms. But would I have any of that in a dorm or a crappy apartment? I’m not even saying that the tiny house life is forever for me. Maybe I’ll live in a big house someday with a mortgage. (Or more likely, in a small house.) But your priorities aren’t the same as everyone else’s. Just because you don’t want to live in a tiny house doesn’t mean no one should. For me, the pros outweigh the cons.

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Winter Thoughts and Snow Days

We take housing for granted. We take so much for granted: warmth on a cold day, water when we’re thirsty, and loved ones that care about us. There are people in this world that don’t have any of that. Meanwhile, we buy into materialism and fill our homes with things we don’t need, then we complain about the mess. So I urge you snap out of the numb way we live our lives sometimes, mindlessly consuming (that includes social media and TV), and take stock of what you love, what you use, what you need, and what makes you happy. Then, even if it’s just a single drawer or a messy side table, clear out the excess. You’ll feel lighter, refreshed, and you’ll be able to find what you need faster. Clear out an untouched storage closet and donate the coats you never wear. Stop yourself from buying anything on impulse and donate the money instead, or put it in a savings account.

It’s amazing how much money you can save when you stop spending it all! It’s so much better to have the savings. People spend so much on “likes”, on things we kind of want in the moment, but when we save as much as we can, we can spend our money on “loves”, on travel, on experiences, on the things we never seem to have enough money for. My advice is to avoid stores. Avoid shopping. Avoid the flyers and the emails. Even if it’s just for a little while. When you do have to shop, as my dad has been telling me for years, shop with a list and stick to it.

I’m learning these things along the way. I love to learn, but I’m glad I’m not in school right now. While I am planning on going to school eventually, I’m happy to have had the time and freedom to start learning how to “adult” without the stress of homework and exams. I’m creating my life as I go, trying, failing, trying something different, and keeping only what works for me, the same as I do with my belongings. I spent a recent day off doing a stuff purge, emptying all my drawers and storage space and then only putting back what I use and/or love. With the regular influx of stuff into our houses, it’s important to have regular output as well.

All in all, I hope that people remember their blessings. I am thankful to be wrapped in blankets right now and I am grateful my little house has a roof over it. When you do the math, it’s costing me less than $3 a day to store it. It’s worth that and more for the peace of mind. I can relax, take a break from the project, and enjoy the beauty of the falling snowflakes.

P.S. I checked on my windows. They’re the right sizes. 🙂

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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