I recently watched a wonderful documentary entitled, Tiny: A Story About Living Small. It is about a man named Christopher Smith who builds a house on the back of a trailer bed with the help of his girlfriend. The resulting home is only 120 square feet, and cost about $26,000 to build–far less than the average cost of a home in America, of which the median price is a whopping $188,900.The documentary also highlights other people living in teeny tiny houses, and is extremely inspirational! Not only are these homes eco-friendly, but energy-efficient, affordable, and adorable. They’re like fairy tale homes, cozy looking and quaint–though I have also seen some extremely decked out tiny houses, complete with porches and a second story! The average size of a tiny house can range anywhere from around 100 square feet (and sometimes less) to about 400 square feet, paling in comparison to the average home in America at 2,598 square feet. This means drastically less clutter, and gives pause at what we truly need to survive versus the hedonistic mindset of “Buy!” our culture thrives on.
What’s really fantastic about the tiny house movement is that they are completely sustainable, and can be built using reclaimed or recycled materials (which drastically cuts the cost of building). Many people equip their tiny homes with solar panels, composting toilets, and will hook them up to wells or springs for running water. A tiny home is basically like living in a small apartment (rent free!), but can be custom designed to suit your needs and very cleverly constructed to maximize space, natural light, provide multi-purpose rooms, and hidden storage.
The only real issue with building a tiny home is getting around building codes. This is not because a tiny home is unsafe to live in (provided there was no shoddy workmanship), but because there is a minimum house size in most of the U.S. Technically, building a tiny house is illegal in most places, unless you get creative and put your tiny house on wheels, which makes it a “temporary shelter” and not a home, thus circumventing the legality issue. Of course, if you don’t want to build a tiny home yourself, there is a market for preexisting tiny homes, and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company will build a brand new tiny house and deliver it to you, anywhere in America!
I now dream of living in a tiny home with a loft and green roof, and it would be fairly simple, not to mention empowering to construct it myself (with the internet and my Uncle who promised to help, of course 😉 ). One of my biggest inspirations of the movement was watching We the Tiny House People, another documentary, interviewing 15-year-old Austin Hay in the process of constructing a tiny home for himself to live in–and take to college. It took him a year to accomplish and cost only $12,000. To me a tiny home defines living simply, sustainably, and debt-free. It’s an intriguingly beautiful concept in a world where “bigger is better” does not always hold true, especially when there are so many people on this planet with limited resources that may all but diminish in a few generations.
What do you think, Dumplings? Do you find tiny houses as fascinating as I do?
Related: Minimalism for Beginners
Also by Jessica Ferguson: Gentle Yoga for Back Pain and Injuries
Photos: Tammy Strobel via Flickr