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Small and Tiny Houses

Updated on September 12, 2014

Tiny House: A new old way to live

Over the years, houses have gotten bigger and bigger with the McMansions of the past decade being the gold standard of homes. Unless a home had 3000 sq. ft. or more it appeared that the owner of a smaller home was not successful.

The furniture also grew in tandem.Large furniture was needed to fit the rooms. Unfortunately, when retirement came, the larger furniture would no longer fit into a smaller home. Buyers that are downsizing or opting for smaller homes have found that some of the furniture and retail stores are selling “small space furniture.”

Of course, in IKEA, the complete home set ups for models rooms and homes, makes a smaller footprint and leaves us wondering why the US has opted for more space than we can clean and take care of, not to mention leaving less and less time for relaxing and enjoying time away from work.

Items to consider

There are many people who are opting to venture into the tiny house market. Some people want to use them for lake houses or retreats while others want this for their primary living residence, especially those who might be living on their own for whatever reason.

  1. First, you need to have a lot or set up space that allows tiny homes. Finding communities that welcome homes under 500 sq. ft. is very difficult. Spur, Texas may be the only town allowing homes that small at the present.
  2. When these houses are allowed, the permits may cost $15,000 to $50,000.
  3. Some houses are advertised for $95,000.00 or more. If the whole idea of downsizing is size and budget, prices like this would make owning a tiny house unadvised.
  4. Some small houses can be towed while others are very permanent structures for vacation get always.
  5. If the house is tow able then it can be moved when the owner's needs change.
  6. Small houses that are tow-able can be placed on a lot behind a permanent structure and can be sold separately from the primary real estate.

There are those that want to buy a small house to reduce their ecological imprint. Older homes, such as shotgun houses, may be a good choice. They are already built, and many areas with these types of homes are revitalizing the cities where they are located.

Old to new

Old Farm Houses

There are now Farmers who are taking old out buildings and converting them to tiny houses. What a great use of recycled material. These houses can incorporate natural settings and natural reclaimed materials of all types. If they are for family members or workers on the farm and in an already existing structure, this would alleviate the need for permits.

Shotgun houses

Many people are familiar with shotgun houses. There are many in New Orleans which can be seen when visiting that wonderful city. There are also other cities, such as Louisville, Kentucky which have many of these home.

Most of these homes were the original "small space" houses that were affordable for many people. These homes were built on very small lots, all the windows are usually on the front and back of the house with the sides windowless.

They do not have hallways. Each room flows into the next. Houses were often embellished with Victorian gingerbread, which gives the small homes a very elegant look. Currently, many young people are moving into these homes, revamping the floor plans, and painting the outside very vibrant colors.

The names comes from the fact if you shot a shotgun through the front door, the bullet would go all the way through the house to the back door.

Sources of plans

There are many companies and architects that have drawn up plans in all sizes, shapes, and costs. Depending on your location and use there are hundreds of plans online that would fit needs from the economical to the statement type of vacation home.


Some of the small houses are wooden, but can be put on a trailer behind an RV or truck and simply moved from one location to another. In this way they are similar to the modular homes. It would also allow a retiree to move from place to place to visit family or explore the country. It would take a lot of research before beginning an extensive tour.

When moving to a small space

If you decide to downsize no matter what type of home, there are things to remember.

  • De-clutter. Throw out all the things that could have been useful in a larger house, but for some reason was never used.
  • If you haven't used something for several years, throw it out.
  • Throw out old magazines, and other products. Recycle as much as you can. Remember there are many people, group homes, churches, etc. that would love to have useful items.
  • You won't need as many radios, television, old VCR tapes (who has a VCR)?

Once the old is out, think and draw plans of what you need and the most convenient way to store and use the items.

  • You may want to invest in hooks and bins. Only put items in bins that can be reached easily and that will be used, possibly in a different season. You might need those sweaters in the winter, but not the summer.
  • Take a walk through the stores that sell these items. Notice how they are used.
  • Also, have a measuring tape. It may be a great item, but if it doesn't fit properly in the room(s) then don't buy it. Be sure to save your receipts just in case it doesn't work.
  • Go online. Look at the sites that talk about organizing, de-cluttering, and decorating.

Phrases of Life

One thing that should be consider when downsizing is your needs? Do you need to stay close to a job, or to friends and family?

Are you retired? Do you want to try a new adventure? Put most of your things into storage for six months or a year. Try living in a foreign country. Some people decide to live on a boat. These may be temporary and may require decluttering and reorganizing. This time will give someone who is considering a permanent move into a tiny house a way to explore different options.

The main thing to consider; do you have a roof over your head? Can you live a life without luxury? Are you a patient person? Someone who has a hard time living in a 1200 sq. ft. house with someone else, is probably not the person to live the minimalist style.

After you have considered the options, family requirements, and health restrictions, it is good to remember this may be a time to make a whole new set of memories.

What's your thoughts

Would you consider living in a tiny home?

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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      We live in a tiny apartment (900 SF for 4 people). But when my kids are up and grown I want to get a tiny house. I thought the idea was so cute at first but I'm getting more and more hooked on it as the years go by. I grew up in NYC apartments and space was always at a premium... the first time I was able to rent a house I got a big one and it seemed like I couldn't keep up with the endless list of things to do, and I ended up just filling empty space with junk I didn't need. Small spaces are cozy, easy to care for, and motivate me to keep organized and minimize. Nice hub, thanks for sharing.


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