There’s a lot of buzz around the country these days about tiny houses. A quick internet search reveals countless photos of these micro abodes. People of all ages and walks of life are taking the step to drastically downsize and simplify their lives, thereby greatly reducing their stress levels and their carbon footprint. Many people today are choosing not to be tied down with a 30 year mortgage and a lawn to maintain – and are freer and happier as a result.
What is a tiny house? While there isn’t a strict size requirement, many in the field would say that “tiny” means around 200 feet or less, although there are certainly larger versions out there. Tiny houses are not necessarily low income housing; the price per square foot in many tiny houses is higher than you might expect. Homes can range in price between $15,000 and $80,000+. But the cost makes sense when you recognize tiny houses have many of the same expensive amenities of a traditional home – climate control, fully functioning kitchens and baths, washers/dryers and windows.
While some owners embed sustainable features into their houses from the beginning (for example, solar panels and rain water storage), the sustainability of these structures is often a result of the small amount of building materials needed to construct them, many of which are repurposed. Many tiny house owners are not going back to reading by kerosene lanterns, but they do enjoy getting back to basics.
Tiny houses are charming (and they are easy on the environment as well as your pocketbook), but the tiny house movement is bigger than that. It’s a movement of people coming together as a community. They are tired of glorifying the “busy” and the importance of material possessions. They are taking back time for themselves to spend with their family and friends, to travel, to pursue hobbies, and to get out of their house and back into their community.
The process of downsizing – which is more far-reaching than decluttering – is an exercise in self awareness and self actualization. It’s peeling off those layers to get down to the essence of what really makes you happy and what you need to be fulfilled. Do you need six wooden spoons and a formal dining room that you use twice a year? Sure, the wooden spoons don’t take up much space, but they create mental clutter. If you clear out all that extra stuff that you aren’t using, your head will be clearer.
Has reading this article challenged you to rethink the number of your possessions and the space you call home, even a little bit? Tiny houses are not for everyone, I know that. But if the answer is yes, then our time together has been well spent.
B.A. Norrgard of A Bed Over My Head is a tiny house luminary. In 2012, after 26 years in a downtown Dallas high-rise, she overhauled her life to find out what really made her happy. She shed her paralegal costume and hand-built her own 112 square foot tiny house on wheels to be her full-time permanent residence. She is a passionate advocate for others following their dream of letting go of societal conditioning and being free to live a larger life in a smaller space. B.A. is a doer. She lives by example and loves to travel in her tiny house. She blogs regularly at www.aBedOverMyHead.com/blog