Tiny Houses: Could You Do It?

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Tiny Houses: Could You Do It?

In the last 40 years, the average American house size has increased from 1,400 to 2,700 even though the average family size has decreased. Australia is the only country to surpass the U.S. in average house size, and Canada is right behind us. The mindset is the bigger the better. Now not only do homes need a kitchen, bath, living room and a few bedrooms, they need game rooms, offices, extra rooms for company, and man caves. But do we really need these things?

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets. Tiny houses are exactly what they sound like. They are tiny houses that have only the essentials. Do you have trouble imagining yourself living in less than 160 square feet? I did too, until I saw some of these tiny houses…

Quaint Tiny Houses

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

I’m not sure I could live in something like this with my children, but it sure it cute. It would, however, be a darling office space. I love the front porch. Some tiny houses have wheels and are portable. Others are stationary and often completely off the grid.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

This tiny house is build the same way as a traditional house, just on, well… a tiny scale. Big windows on the only available wall make it light and bright. This house looks like a little retreat from the real world. And with a garden out back, who needs the real world?

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

I can be hard to find a place to build your tiny house, especially if you aren’t willing to move to the country. These creative homeowners found a spot to squeeze in their tiny house. I bet the neighbors don’t complain about their houses being too small.

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Ingenious Tiny House Design

Tiny houses can be built out of traditional materials, such as wood frames or RV frames, but some individuals are thinking out-of-the-box, or in-the-box actually. Shipping crates are readily available materials and cost next to nothing. These homes represent upcycling at its finest.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

This tiny house, located in Minnesota, is constructed of two 20′ shipping containers. It is partially powered by solar panels and sports a water collection system.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

This mom from California just couldn’t handle rent any longer. She spent $4000 building her very own container home.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

These Mainers are amazing. I’ve had a chance to chat with them a bit in the past. With nothing but two shipping crates (purchased on eBay) and a dream, they are doing amazing things. You can follow their journey on The Ark Haus.

The Berzins Family

A lot of people view tiny living as a workable solution for single people, young couples or retirees, but what about families? Hari and Karl Berzins will tell you it is completely doable. In fact, they will help you along the way. They are the owners of Tiny House Family where they blog about living in a 168 square foot home with their two children.

Could You Do It?

So, do you think you could do it? What would it take to get you to downsize your life for a smaller footprint? What luxuries would your tiny house need? Share in the comments below.

Many people are starting to turn to tiny houses to lower their impact on the environment and soften the blow of home-ownership on their wallets.

 

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About Jessica Lane

I am a non-traditional homesteader. What is a non-traditional homesteader? I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. A homesteader's life.

Comments

Tiny Houses: Could You Do It? — 20 Comments

  1. Being empty nesters, you would think a 523 sq ft house would be adequate, but we hate it! We had too much house before, (downsized from 2900 with 2 kids, to 1800 sq ft -the 2 kids moved out but we moved my parents in – still too big, too much unused space). But these tiny homes give no elbow room – literally. It’s similar to life living in a small trailer. Imagine trailer life, where you have to fold and unfold the kitchen table for living space and there is no other space for crafting, so all that has to be put away daily too. It’s not really a relaxed environment for living; it’s like camping in that it requires constantly moving your stuff (even minimal stuff). Add to that, the basic shower situation (never a lux bath to tonic/relax in when your muscles are sore). Some tiny homes have cute little hot tubs built onto their decks, using wood stoves to heat them- neat idea but not very portable/moveable, nor all that cheap.
    I think this would be fine if you can handle skinny doors and compartments like in a trailer- and you don’t have to move often if ever. I was fine for a long summer in a 14′ trailer (that included the trailer tongue)- when I was 18 and no kids… but we were outside a lot in So Calif., and had no things to store, period. As hot as it was there, I think that trade-off would be akin to hell in a place w/ humidity and mosquitoes. If you don’t have space to store things, you are not really living any kind of a resilient lifestyle – if you need to be able to make your cheeses for instance and that means dishes and other supplies, plus a place to actually ‘make’ it. One guitar or one keyboard, and one box of art supplies… that’s about all you’re going to get.I think most of us would soon be hard-pressed for space.
    On the other hand – we all do what we need to do, and will continue to do so… and this is a more attractive alternative to the stigma or eyesore of living in trailers. (I imagine that many trailers would be much better insulated!!)

    • It’s really good to hear some insight/get a reality check on what a tiny home would be like. Thanks for your input!

      I feel like a cob house, if you can get past certain laws, is an environmentally friendly alternative to tiny houses and allows you to build it as big as you’d like.

  2. Hello,
    My husband, my three children and I are living in a 27′ x 27′ house, on two levels, with a one garage door. I’m wondering if we could be able to live in a smaller house, keeping the idea that one day, my children will be teenagers and will probably take more space of living… But i’d love to shrink the dimensions of our next home. You have three children, so I’m wondering if you could share your idea about it…

  3. I’d love to see the inside of these homes to see how they are laid out i, lived in a 450 sq foot home with 6 kids, you do what you have to do.

  4. I was wondering…with all of the regulations and restrictions with the county and state, how this is possible. I would love to do it, but I would be afraid of getting fined for building regulations etc.., or even charged with something ridiculous for having a minor child live like this. I sure would love to though.

    • Those are great questions Nessa and I’d love to dig a little deeper into it. As Carol said, there are financial roadblocks and I’m sure, as you said, there are legal roadblocks as well. You hear on the news that town officials are prosecuting people whose only “crime” is to live self-sufficiently. It’s very sad. I am hoping to do my homework and write more on the topic in the next few weeks.

  5. A builder just told me a client of his couldn’t get a mortgage for his proposed 600 sq ft house. It had to be at least 800! Something to check into if you’re financing.

  6. I don’t think I could do quite that small, (we have some space-intensive hobbies,) though I wouldn’t need the studio and storage spaces to have the same level of climate control as the main living area.

  7. I find the ideal wonderful. I don’t think I could go as small as some of the houses with two kids, but I could definitely go a lot smaller. I get comments on the house I am now in about how sparse it looks because I refuse get excess stuff. But I feel to live that small you would have to be really organized.

  8. My husband and I haven’t lived together in over 5 years. I live with our 4 kids in western PA and he lives during the week in MD for his job. We have a big house out here and he has a 750 square foot house down there. We are getting tired of not living together and trying to figure out how we can all live in his house. It’s going to be interesting. I’m very open to suggestions!!!

    • Nothing is impossible. It is all in what you will accept for happiness. We raised 6 kids and sometimes we had a big house and sometimes a little house. Making the outdoors part of your home is the first step.. Also, getting rid of the idea that every child needs a nice room to sleep in.. getting rid of modern ways, teaches kids a lot and they actually end up learning a lot more and enjoying it.. Get rid of the unnecessary things and exploring the great outdoors will make it for you..

      • This is a 2 bedroom house. We have to research state laws about mixed gender room sharing etc. And I am really not an outdoorsy person 😉

        • Per sharing rooms of mixed genders… Unless you are caring for a ward of the state (foster care or adoptive children) there are no rules and it is up to your family what works best for you. If you do have wards of the state you should check with the advisor you have through that agency.

          I believe that part of why our society has so many “perverts” and “sexually sick people” is because we haven’t spent enough time with each other as actual humans to know what is good and what is not… Your children will not have these problems amongst themselves if you provide proper supervision, which you can in very close quarters.

  9. Awesome post! My wife and I just watched, “Tiny: A Story About Living Small” last night on Netflix. We love the concept. We happen to have a 12×16 building – I like to call it the “deer camp” – on the backside of our property that we’re going to renovate with the idea of moving into it when the kids are gone. That’s down the road a ways, but may as well start working on it now!

    • I think that’s wonderful. I don’t think I could do it with my three children. I can barely manage them in a suburban ranch. My peace comes when they have their own space. I would love to explore the idea when they have left the nest.

  10. My husband and I are looking into the idea of scaling WAY BACK on sq. footage as well as adding solar and possibly wind power to our tiny home. Our plan is to tear down an aging farmhouse we had aspired to restore (approx 1500 sq ft) and use as much of that material to build a new structure possibly between 800 – 500 sq ft. It will be much easier to heat in the NE Iowa winter as well as easier to maintain as we get older.

    • That sounds really exciting. I want to add solar panels. We can’t have wind turbines because we live too close to a small airport and are surrounded by pines.

    • That sounds so adventurous. We just moved into a 950(or so) square foot house. I would love to go smaller, however I am still working on the husband. Lol But to build my own is so scary to me. Where would you even start? wouldn’t you have to have someone make blueprints for you?

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