The tiny house movement is an architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes. Whether you call them micro houses, compact houses, mini houses, or little houses, one big thing is certain: the tiny house trend is on the rise. More and more individuals, couples, and families are coming to embrace the tiny house lifestyle, choosing to trade in space for simplicity.
Traditionally, America has been a “more is better” society with an urge to keep up with the Joneses – and our houses prove it. Back in 1973, the average house size was 1,525 square feet. A typical American home today is around 2,600 square feet. Unfortunately, many families have a hard time coughing up the rent or mortgage money each month. Plus the larger the space, the more furniture you end up buying, which adds to the expense.
Tiny houses are only between 100-400 square feet, offering all the comforts of home on a much smaller scale. Although living in a tiny home isn’t for everyone, the appeal of a miniature home spans the ages, from college grads to retirees. The tiny house movement, whose origins fans often link in spirit all the way to Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, became popular after the 2008 housing crash.
The tiny house movement is all about downsizing your lifestyle so you can live a more fulfilling life. Shrinking square footage has financial advantages since it’s cheaper and more affordable than most larger homes. Tiny homeowners aren’t saddled with a lot of debt or a huge mortgage hanging over their head, and they pay less for annual property taxes.
For many young adults, living small signifies environmental mindfulness and restrained consumerism by living with less and decreasing one’s carbon footprint. Smaller homes also cut down on chores, since less space means there’s not as much to clean. The tiny house movement parallels other contemporary cultural currents such as minimalism.
Tiny houses have a humanitarian aspect as well. The Katrina Cottage collection of charming small house plans were developed in response to the need for alternatives to the unattractive FEMA trailer after Hurricane Katrina. With 30,000 to 40,000 homes now destroyed in Texas, such houses will also be useful in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. [A tiny house on wheels survived Hurricane Irma’s 100mph winds in Miami.] Tiny homes have even become a means to house the homeless.
Some property owners are offering their back yard for tiny homeowners, whether they know them or not. If the zoning allows for an accessory dwelling unit (aka guest house, granny flat, mother-in-law unit, or casita), that’s an excellent option – although that might not even be necessary if it’s a temporary structure on wheels. Some mobile or RV parks allow for tiny homes made from converted school buses and RVs, or built on the back of a trailer so they can be moved with a quick hook-up to a truck. Tiny home communities have also cropped up around the country. Other tiny home dwellers park on a piece of land that they own.
You can buy a tiny prefabricated modular house kit, but it may be more fun to build your own customized small house from scratch, out of wood and salvaged materials – plus you can save a bundle if you do it yourself. Other small houses are made from converted shipping containers and storage sheds. Custommade.com has created an infographic entitled “Less is more: The Tiny House Movement,” giving you a crash course in the small house market.
I love looking at these super affordable tiny houses! Does this infographic have you considering a move to a tiny house? Would you like to build one in your family’s back yard? Leave a comment!