What is the Tiny House Movement?
This is a movement where people have decided to downsize their living space. In the US the typical home is around 2600 SF, whereas a tiny home is usually 100 SF to 600 SF. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.
People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom. For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it, and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
So the solution may be to live smaller. Tiny homes may not be for everyone, but it may help to escape the cycle of debt in which almost 70% of Americans are trapped.
People who live in tiny houses, or aspire to, appear to fall into one of three overlapping categories. The first consists of young people who see a tiny house as a means of owning a place while avoiding property taxes and maybe rent, since they can often find places to park their house free. The second group includes older men and women who have either sold or walked away from a house they couldn’t afford. A subset of this group is retired couples whose children are gone, and who want to live more simply. Both of these groups include transients; that is, people for whom a tiny house is temporary. Among these is a woman named Elaine Walker, who recently listed her house on eBay, although she didn’t find a buyer. She had built the tiny house, in New Hampshire, to live in while selling a house. She had planned to build another normal house, then decided instead to move to California. She found a man who would tow the tiny house there for her. Before he delivered it, he took the house to a car wash. The third group is composed of people determined to live environmentally responsible lives––to live “lightly,” as they put it. According to Greg Johnson, the publisher of a tiny-house Web site called ResourcesForLife.com, to inhabit a tiny house “you have to remodel your sense of what success is and how important it is to you to convey to the outside world ‘Hey, I have a big house and big car and I’m successful.’ If you have a piece of inner tranquillity, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.” A tiny-house builder describes this group as including people who “want to live off the grid. A lot of vegans. The younger people are idealists. They’re big into off-the-map and sharing their experience.”
One use that is becoming popular is the mother-in-law house. It is a great idea for an older widowed or divorced family member to put a tiny house on the property, near the rest of the family, while still being independent.