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Tiny Houses... Could You Live In One?

Updated on August 25, 2013

We recently downsized... but not THIS much!

Moving across the country from Wisconsin to Nevada was an eye opening experience. We developed a feeling of "if we're not using it, let's get rid of it." And that is just what we did! In order to downsize, you have to get rid of those feelings that sometimes develop, those of emotional attachment to things.

That can be difficult to do, but looking back, I'm glad we did it. We downsized from a three bedroom home to two bedrooms. We also do not have a basement in this home, where we did have a full basement before. You don't realize how much STUFF you have until you start going through it and getting rid of unnecessary clutter! The first thing to go in our case? The snow blower! I can't say I'm going to miss that, either~ (winking!)

Other things we got rid of were mostly furniture. We found that moving across the country, it was actually cheaper to buy furniture in our new home state than to transport the old furniture across the country. There are ways to buy furniture cheaply, like by shopping at secondhand stores and shopping at hotel liquidation centers. It is much cheaper to move when you don't have a need to move any furniture!

I've watched shows that are popular on TV today about the topic of hoarding and I wonder, how in the world does it ever get THAT out of control? I realize now, though, that hoarding is a mental illness, a disorder, so I understand it a bit better now.

In order for most people to downsize, however, it is mostly a matter of redefining your priorities, and deciding which material things really are important to hang on to. As we found out, you really CAN live with a lot less things!

Isn't it a cute house? And what a peaceful spot to put it!
Isn't it a cute house? And what a peaceful spot to put it! | Source
Serenity is what you would wake up to each morning.
Serenity is what you would wake up to each morning. | Source
With inside views of the home.
With inside views of the home. | Source
An interesting assortment of tiny homes.
An interesting assortment of tiny homes. | Source
This one caught my eye just because it IS so different from others! It is a "car house" in Austria.
This one caught my eye just because it IS so different from others! It is a "car house" in Austria. | Source

How About A Tiny House?

Recently, I've heard of a movement where people are moving into extremely small homes, homes that are under 100 square feet, and they are enjoying it! I found a great company that sells small homes called "Tumbleweed Tiny House Company."

For a lot of these homes, you don't even need a permit, they can be placed anywhere you would usually put an RV. The homes are on wheels, but there are ways to lock the wheels if you want to keep the home in one spot.

Now these homes are becoming popular and drawing the interest of people like retirees, baby boomers and young people who do not want to be tied down to a traditional mortgage. Many people today are more mobile than ever before and don't want to feel as if they will be tied down to a home for the next 50 years or more.

People tend to move more today in their search for that perfect fit in a job they enjoy or that pays well. For those who have just suffered through the tanked real estate market, tiny homes are starting to look like an attractive alternative.

I overheard someone say recently that they were living in a "submarine home" here in Nevada... now it took me a minute to realize WHAT it was that they were really saying! They were referring to being underwater on their mortgage. They bought their home at the height of the real estate boom and that home is now worth 1/2 of what they paid. Sometimes homes here have even gone down by MORE than 50 percent!

It looks like those days of buying a home and having it double or more in value are about over - unless I am mistaken and there is some miraculous recovery, but things in real estate are looking pretty gloomy right now!

This one little corner of the real estate movement seems to be thriving, and that is the movement to MUCH smaller homes, "Tiny Homes" as it were. Some of these homes could fit into some people's living rooms!

Now some people do buy these to live in, but others are using them as alternative housing and to fulfill needs, such as a need for offices, studio's and extra bedrooms, since these tiny homes can be cheaper than building a traditional addition onto a home. Another use for tiny homes is for when aging parents move in with a young family, or in a reversal, when young people find that they need to move back into their parents homes. These tiny houses can really provide an effective solution!

This new kind of frugal, downsized living has been described by Jay Shafer, 46, co-founder of the Small House Society as "un-American, in the sense that living small means consuming less." He goes on to say "living in a small house like this really entails knowing what you need to be happy, and (then) getting rid of everything else."

The homes built by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company really value quality over quantity, and they strive to make sure that not one inch of space is wasted. These homes can be hooked up to public utilities, and they range in price from $40,000 to $50,000, but cost less (up to 50 percent less) if you are handy and can build your own. Imagine having a home for just $25,000! You can purchase plans to build them and do it yourself if you are so inclined.

Tumbleweed's business has increased tremendously since the housing crisis began. Five years ago, they would sell about 10 blueprints a year, they now sell about 50 of them per year. There are workshops held all over the country helping people to discover how they can live in a tiny home like this, and they are attracting audiences of about 40 people in each place they are held.

These little homes are built with high quality materials, including better insulation than the insulation used in a conventional trailer home, but they still have wheels on them and can be moved anywhere a person wishes to move.

They can truly be an answer to the alternative housing needs faced by many people today and they can also be very economical to own. A typical utility bill is under $100 for an entire YEAR! There are many other tiny housing companies that have sprung up over the last several years in response to the increased demand. I imagine they will continue to thrive as long as there is a need and demand for smaller homes like these.

Doug Stone "Love Grows Best In Little Houses..."


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    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Moonlake! I have to put Christmas things away this week. Luckily, it won't take too long because we don't have as many things as we used to. :) I had gotten rid of a lot of it when we moved, but kept the things that were absolutely sentimental and I couldn't quite part with yet. I've found that downsizing is a work in progress! Thanks for commenting! :) Happy New Year to you!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      We live in a tiny house but not as tiny as the ones in your hub. We downsized. Today we were putting away Christmas things and realized we still have all the boxes from the old house and we need to do something. Our problem this house came with a big barn. Good place to store all our extra stuff that we don't even use anymore.

      Voted up.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks so much, Billy! :) I appreciate that so much! Happy New Year to you and your family! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Found it and linking to mine!

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I think it's fascinating too, Thundermama. That's the conclusion we have come to, that experiences mean more than accumulating "stuff." Thanks so much for visiting and for your thoughtful comment! :)

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      This movement fascinates me. I must say that as soon as my children leave the nest something like this really appeals to me. I love the idea of life focused on experience rather then the accumulation of stuff.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      That is so interesting onegreenparachute! :) We downsized, too, when we moved here from Wisconsin and we're following that same rule about throwing something out every time we get something new, it is a useful rule to live by! :) Thanks for your great comment! :)

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      We live in a "park model" here in Greenwood, B.C. We have 528sf and I love it. We used to own a home with a theater room - 4200sf I believe and collected lots and lots of "stuff" we really didn't need. Living here we have a rule - you can't buy anything new unless you first throw something out! Makes sense to me.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I know what you mean JamaGenee! I'm thinking of even downsizing further since I did it before and I know it can be done. :) It just makes life less complicated, which is a good thing! I know houses years ago were made much smaller than they are today, there were some CUTE little brick ones that I liked in Wisconsin, only I don't really care to move back there! Some little places are adorable though! :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      There's a tiny home in a small town in OK that I fell in love with the first time I saw it and would live in in a heartbeat! I've been successively downsizing for years. Went from a 5 BR house to a 1 BR apt, then to my current 1 BR that would *almost* fit into the living room of my old apt. As soon as I go through a few more boxes, it'll be "just right" for my needs. Really surprising how much stuff you can live without if you put your mind to it. ;D

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Steph! It's unreal how HUGE homes have gotten, my husband calls some of them "McMansions" - the one we're in now is just about right - not sure if I could live in a tiny house, but it was very interesting writing about them! :)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      WAYNE! That is sooo funny! I was telling my husband I would need more than 100sf for clothes and shoes! :) Glad you like the hub! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I love the tiny house movement! I've heard a lot about this trend and some of the statistics regarding the expanding sizes of modern homes is pretty startling (comparing families and square footage pre-1980s with today). Love the photos you found - rated up!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting. If you could just get my wife on board, we might be in business. She needs more than 100 sf for just her make up! LOL! Good write, Kathy! WB