If you’re currently living in, or planning on living in, a tiny house the first questions that come up when you talk about it to friends, family, and strangers is likely something like:
- Under 200 square feet?!
Along with statements like:
- You’re crazy.
- I could never do that.
- I need my [bath, extra space, collection of X, and so on].
Let’s respond to the statements first. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Aren’t we all?
And you say you could never do it? Well, a two-part answer to that:
- You’d be surprised what you can do!
- Nobody is asking you to. The beauty of living your life is you’re allowed to live however you’d like.
You need your collection of X? No problem. You can probably find a way to make it work in a tiny space if it’s important to you.
Or you can find some way to make your hobby work even if you have to pare down a large collection of stuff. If you really want to live with less there are always options. And again, nobody is asking you to do something you don’t want to do.
So why did I decide to go tiny?
Well, I wasn’t always interested in living small. Almost 10 years ago, at the age of 24, I was obsessed with being rich and buying stuff. That stuff included an almost-2500 square foot house (what?!) and a BMW.
I thought this stuff would make me happy. In reality I made a lot of money and I became incredibly depressed. “Oh, so money doesn’t actually buy happiness?” My world view was shattered and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
Finally, enough was enough, and in 2009 I got rid of everything that didn’t fit in a 32L backpack and began traveling the world. I had exactly 3 pairs of socks, 3 underwear, 3 shirts, and 1 pair of pants.
I learned I could be happy with almost nothing. And I learned living small doesn’t mean life has to be boring. I’ve traveled to 20+ countries, staying in many for weeks or months, and have done a lot of things I never would have done before.
Nowadays I’m a little less extreme. I mean, I now have a 36L backpack!
But I also settled in Poland for 2 1/2 years where I accumulated some things that don’t fit in a backpack. A guitar (one near non-negotiable for my life), a blender, some board games, and more than 3 shirts.
I’ve found when speaking with Americans it seems much more difficult to downsize at all, much less to a tiny house. But in most of the world people don’t live in 2,000 square foot homes. That’s about 200 square meters, which is unheard of in Europe (and elsewhere) except for the extraordinarily wealthy.
Although I already made the switch to “tiny living,” being in the company of people who aren’t brought up to own “everything” and constantly go bigger has also helped a lot. It has allowed me to peak into how regular people like you and me live with less, but not without luxuries.
Which brings me to my tiny house. I’m in the planning stages. Not quite into designing floor layouts and structure. But in the, “how do I make this work for my 6’5″ tall body while still having all the luxuries I appreciate” phase. Also in the, “how do I pay for this?” phase. (More on that soon!)
What do I mean by luxuries?
Dishwasher? Check. Drawer dishwashers take only a couple gallons of water, likely less than when I do dishes by hand.
Washing machine? Check. (Possibly a combo unit.)
Refrigerator? Of course.
Blender? How else will I make smoothies?
Air conditioner? Probably. Though I used to keep my house at 79-81F and haven’t had an A/C unit in 5 years. So maybe I’ll pass on this, but it sure is nice on those uniquely hot and muggy days.
Queen sized bed? Yes, please. (Although I might opt for a custom made skinny but long bed.)
Solar, grid, and propane? That’s the general plan, although I’m not convinced on the propane. I don’t plan on living in cold climates that would need a heater and most everything else can be run off solar.
Generally full sized kitchen? Well, let’s not get crazy, but I do want a biggish sink and enough counter space to comfortably chop veggies.
What will I do without?
No oven. I don’t plan on having an oven because I rarely use ovens. And I plan on using two induction burners for the kitchen because, although I cook a lot, I rarely need more than 2 pots/pans. I might get a small convection oven if there is space, but we’ll see.
No loft. I’m simply too tall for lofts. I’ve spent my life hitting my head on things in a world made for short people. The last thing I need is to create my own short people home to suffer in. I might create loft storage of some sort, but the bed will be on the main floor.
I can think of no luxury that I’ll miss in my right-sized home. I’m going to make it the perfect space for me. Not for my Parents. Not for my friends. Not for you. For me. Which is what I hope you’ll do with your home and life as well.
I like living with less. I like trying to build things. (I built a guitar by hand in India 4 years ago.) And I like the idea of having a small space that I can design from the ground up and move around if need be.
So that’s why tiny.