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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Tiny House Movement?

Updated on June 8, 2015

The Tiny House Defined

A Tiny house can be roughly defined as a house with less than 400 square feet, with some being as small as 80 square feet. Frequently a distinction is made between a tiny house and a small house. Small houses are between 400 and 1,000 square feet.

Tiny houses are attractive because they are far more affordable than traditional houses. Many people have caught tiny house fever, so much so that there is a strong movement currently taking place in the country today.

The Tiny House Movement

The tiny house movement marks a return to houses of less than 1,000 square feet. The movement attacts people who would rather spend their time and energy building positive relationships and pursing life's passions as opposed to working full time to pay for a massive mortgage and all of the "things" that go with it.

Clearly, we all know most people would probably rather pursue their interests and loved ones over being a slave to their mortgage, but tiny house people actively embrace smaller, more affordable living spaces as a means to jump out of the rat race.

The folks involved in the tiny house movement don't see anything wrong with going the traditional route to home ownership, they've just found an alternate way to live their lives.

Common Obstacles

Buying Land

People who are on the pathway to owning a tiny house have several obstacles to face. First, there is the question of where to build the tiny home. Many people solve this issue by going out and buying an affordable piece of land - buying a piece of land, by the way, is much easier than one might thing.

Many other peole solve the issue of location by putting their tiny house on wheels and either living a semi mobile lifestyle or renting land on someone else's property and stying easily mobile in case they have to move.


Building Codes and Zoning

Then there is the issue with building codes and zoning. The building code and zoning issue is probably the biggest obstacle, because there is no uniform way of handling them. The rules differ vastly from city to city and most municipalities do not have any written rules for tiny houses.

The tiny house movement has grown enough to where the issue can be solved by choosing to plant tiny house roots in places that have a larger than average population of tiny house owners, such as some parts of Oregon and North Carolina.

However, the obvious question is what do you do when you want to build your tiny house somewhere else? To help try to answer this question, the Tiny House Association and the Small House Society have been established, and one of their goals is to offer guidance and assistance to hopeful tiny house/small house owners who might be having an issue with buidling codes and zoning in their city.

And finally, there are a couple of people who have written authoritative books. One such person is Ryan Mitchell, he is the owner and editor of The Tiny Life, which is a website dedicated to the tiny house movement. Ryan has been fully entrenched within the movement for the last 15 years, and he built his own 150 square foot home in 2009. His book, Cracking the Code, is a guide for handling building code and zoning issues.

The Actual Building Process

A vast amount of the people who choose to own a tiny house will take on the responsibility and challenge of building their home with their own two hands. Several people have documented their progress via their YouTube channels, one such channel is Tiny Nest, which was created by a Canadian couple, Kiva and Jake.

The couple got inspired by watching the semnal tiny house documentary, "We the Tiny House People' (you can watch this video in its entirety at the end of this article). After they watched the video, they liked the idea of owning a home outright upfront, and they were attracted to the minimalistic tiny house lifestyle, so they made a plan to own a tiny home and build it themselves.

The channel takes the viewers from the planning stages to the actual building process. The couple have no prior building experience, but at the time of publishing this article, they have nearly finished their home - we got to watch as they tackled everything from erecting the structure to conquering the plumbing and electricity. Their entire story is documented on their channel, and the story continues.

The Tiny Nest Project Channel Trailer

In Conclusion

There is so much more to the tiny house movement than what I have discussed in this article. The movement has made quite an impression on me, and I'm sure it has impressed many others as well.

Film maker Kristen Dirksen focues on tiny homes and she created a ground breaking documentary called "We the Tiny House People." If you are interested in the movement, a good place to start would be to view thie video. As I mentioned above, you can watch the entire video below. Thanks for hanging with me today, and enjoy the video.

We, The Tiny House People

Have Your Say...

Do You Think You Could Be Happy Living in a Tiny Home?

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    • TheHoleStory profile image


      3 years ago from Parsons, West Virginia

      I might just someday try this out, however not today.

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      3 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      @poetryman6969 - LOL! Perhaps you could build your own "man cave" of a tiny house in your back yard, then she would see how awesome a tiny house really is... :)

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      I like the idea but I could never actually do it. My wife would never go for it.

      Voted up!

    • Marina7 profile image


      3 years ago from Clarksville TN

      Thank you for making people aware of this movement. I already follow the tiny house pages on Facebook. :-)

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      3 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      Thanks for the pin -- or at least trying to anyway :)

      I can agree with you about Baby Boomers and their need for downsizing. I'm a Generation Xer and I feel the same way, I just think it would be so much nicer to live life without worrying so much about things as opposed to building relationships with people and going out and doing the things we want to know, the whole "live your passions" thing. Freeing one's self from a hefty rent or mortgage payment could be the answer...I dunno...I'm really intrugued though.

    • RTalloni profile image


      3 years ago from the short journey

      An informative read but will have to check out the vid later on. In thinking through this movement I've related it to baby boomers downsizing simply because they do not want to spend their last years on earth occupied with so much stuff and the care of it all. Comment here will be interesting to read. -- Was trying to pin this to my compact living board but will have to try again as it isn't working...


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