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Living Large in a Tiny House

Updated on August 9, 2014

Living Large In A Tiny House

"When your house gets smaller your world gets bigger"

I love that quote. Heard it a few days ago on a documentary about the tiny house movement. For those not familiar with it, there is a growing segment of the population who have decided to move into smaller spaces in order to live more freely without the trappings of a large mortgage, huge upkeep costs, and the need to fill large spaces with more and more possessions.

The basic gist of the quote was that the amount you save on the cost of your housing by living small frees up money for travel and other worthwhile life experiences. More importantly, you also free up the most precious commodity there is- time. In not having to work as much to support such a large ongoing expense you get to do more of the things in life you enjoy. You can pick a job based on your interests verses something that can support your lifestyle. Seems pretty common sense doesn't it?

My fascination with these people is based on jealousy that I think almost everyone can experience on one level or another. They do not worry about image, or the so called "keeping up with the Jones'" mantra. They are forced to always consider whether or not they actually need something before they purchase it since space is at such a premium. It is impossible for them to end up with that dreaded storage room that we all seem to have that is filled with crap we never really needed to begin with.

The older I get the more disdain I have for the useless stuff that we all seem to accumulate during our lives. George Clooney starred in a movie called "Up In The Air" a few years ago in which his character asks others to imagine wearing a backpack and having everything you own in it. The more you have the heavier it is and the more stress it causes. Of course, he takes it too far in also including your relationships and intangibles, but you get the basic point.

Could you ever live in a tiny house?

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I have always somewhat been like that but my feelings over the past decade have intensified immensely. Maybe with age comes a better understanding of what matters in life and what doesn't. I think in the end only the experiences one accumulates over a lifetime are worth keeping. Everything else is future garbage.

One thing that seems to be universally true is that the thought of having something almost always outweighs the gratification you have once you finally own it. Take a car for instance. There is a sense of excitement in the thought of driving it off the lot and being inside it going forward, but somehow once you drive it a few weeks it just becomes another car. A simple means to an end. At least for me it does, maybe I am just different?

Anyway, back to the 'Tiny Housers'. It is obviously not something everyone is made for- living in such a small space. The thought is absurd to most but when you think it over it might not be so unfamiliar. Anyone who has ever lived in a college dorm, rented a studio apartment, or spent an extended period of time in a hotel has essentially experienced the same. Personally I have done all three. I don't remember being particularly unhappy with any of these arrangements. Now, being older and having a family changes my perspective and there is no way I could do that in my current situation, but I do find myself craving the simplicity it once provided.

Which brings up that word- simplicity. Do any internet search and you will find countless articles and books on how to simplify your life. I have personally seen lists that include over a 100 ideas on how to do this. Things that include living closer to work, automating your finances, living without a car, and getting off social media sites. I imagine these are useful to some people, but the thought of going through the list for me seemed to do just the opposite. Too many things to think of and tasks to perform in order to get to the desired endpoint.

The best advice I ever found on the topic was diminutive and included two rules only.

1. Figure out what is the most important to you.

2. Eliminate everything else.

It would seem to me that these individuals are doing exactly what these two rules state. They have found a way to free up time, devote less energy to physical possessions, and hopefully lead themselves to a more fulfilling life. We all know that few if any have reached the end and wished they had accumulated more stuff.

Am I ready for a tiny house? Maybe. Is my family? No way! But I am perfectly OK with that. My only wish is that this movement serves as a reminder to people to focus on what is important in life. Hopefully we are starting to go through a new stage in society where we reverse the long trend of focusing just on how many possessions we have, rather than on how many experiences we put into memory and relationships we cultivate. One can only hope.


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    • JustLivingOnline profile image

      Jeff 3 years ago from Madison, WI

      Upon graduating college I packed everything I had in the back of my car and moved into a one room efficiency apartment. Strange how you look back on things like that with a bit of fondness. Financially, I would never want to go back to where I was then, but my mind finds myself craving that simplicity it provided.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 3 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      We (my partner and I) moved from a four bedroom house to a one bedroom flat (apartment) nearly 7 years ago. We had to make decisions about what to keep and what to dispose of. We save money on energy and time on cleaning and maintenance.

      Sometimes I miss the space, the ability to get away from each other but we work around that. I wouldn't go back to a bigger house now.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Especially now, it seems so hard for young people to be able to afford going out on their own. They have college bills that will take years to pay off, and everything is so expensive. I was lucky my son went to a state college, so he is all paid up, but not secure in his teaching career yet. My husband died early this year, and it's a comfort to have my son here with me. I have a lot of older friends who actually need to have their grown children take care of them. Maybe we will go back to younger generations respecting the elderly more. Though I am trying very hard to give my son space.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      The tiny house movement provokes a lot of thinking! Downsizing is not a new trend for people whose families are grown and gone, but I'm thinking that maybe in some cases large houses will be divided up into smaller spaces rather than more being being built. Thinking about older people getting to divide their too big space with younger people makes me think that the benefits would be tremendous on every level.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey

      I live in a 700 square foot house, and there was a time when I wanted to buy a larger one. But now I'm older, don't entertain as much, and would rather spend my money on travel or other things. Now I'm glad I never moved into a larger house.