Between minimalism, the Marie Kondo trend, and conscious living, Americans are getting turned onto living with less. While for many, this means decluttering and being more conscious of our buying decisions, others are willing to take a more drastic step by downsizing their living situations. Going from a 4,000 square foot home to a 2,000 square foot home or from a sprawling suburban property to a compact urban condo is enough of a challenge for most, but for a few, it’s not enough. These brave souls are embracing the tiny house lifestyle.
As knowledge of tiny homes spreads, more and more people are wondering if they could live in a teeny house. Most tiny homes are just 600 square feet, and many are even smaller, yet tiny homeowners are able to make it work. In fact, many report greater happiness and satisfaction across all aspects of their lives – all thanks to their tiny lifestyle.
Practical Benefits of Going Tiny
The practical benefits of going tiny are easily documented. Tiny homes cost far less than traditional homes. A DIY tiny house starts at around $8,000, while having a tiny home built starts around $20,000. Compared to the average cost of a full-size home of $272,000, the financial benefits are enormous. Many tiny homeowners don’t even have a mortgage. Smaller homes also have fewer expenses as far as maintenance and repairs go, and utility costs are lower, too.
All of these cost savings allow tiny-home owners to put money toward retirement or travel, or even to explore careers that they are passionate about – that right there brings a lot of joy to people. Not only that, but in a tiny home, there is less time spent on cleaning and maintaining the home and more time to invest in hobbies, work, and relationships.
For the eco-conscious, tiny homes allow them to live their values. These pint-sized houses require fewer materials to build, which reduces resource consumption while also making it possible to use only eco-friendly materials in the construction of the building. It’s also easier to power a tiny house with solar power or invest in a compostable toilet. Living off the grid is no longer a pipe dream, but a reality.
The Intangibles That Bring Joy
While the practical benefits of going tiny are compelling, they aren’t the reason most tiny home lovers adopt the lifestyle. Most feel a deep-rooted desire to shed years of accumulation and “Keeping up with the Joneses” to embrace a simpler life.
“Like most people who force themselves into a minimalist situation, I’ve found that I don’t need, or even really miss, much of the crap I had at home,” tiny-home owner Ivor Berry said in an interview with the Deseret News. “It’s amazing how freeing it is to not feel the need or attachment to all that stuff.”
There simply isn’t room for all the “stuff” the average American accumulates when you move into a tiny home. Residents are forced to pare down their belongings to just the necessities with a little bit of room for those items that are most meaningful to them.
There are psychological benefits to living a clutter-free life, too: A deeper appreciation for what you have. A sense of who you are. A freedom from the consumer mentality that plagues so many of us.
Nikitia Moore, a tiny-home owner in Georgia, admits she had to pare down a lot of her possessions and rethink her habits. Shopping was a pastime she quickly tossed to the side after moving into her tiny home.
“Now I save more money because I’m not out buying stuff. And I don’t have to spend my time looking for the latest this and the latest that.” She has also found more time to focus on projects and hobbies, and is even considering turning one of her hobbies into a small business once she retires.
Researchers see the potential in tiny homes too. Two Kansas State University researchers, Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Julia Day, assistant professor of interior design, are researching the way life in a tiny home can provide health benefits.
According to Irwin, “We think that does a few things for one’s health, including creating a better sense of community, satisfying people’s basic needs for relationships, offering affordable housing options and encouraging physical activity through community gardens and walking to urban establishments.”
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.