Everyone seems intrigued by the idea of Tiny Homes, but there isn’t much publicity on why people are thinking about a minimalist lifestyle. This discussion really should be front page news. Tiny homes are not a fad, they’re a reality for several different types of people across an array of society ranges and cultures. People across the globe struggle with over population, poverty, environmental consciousness, and simply, living a full life.
I’ve never been attracted to oversized vacant homes, thoughtless energy consumption, and an excessive waste of resources. I was raised to use these things conservatively, mostly to be cost effective, but nonetheless it taught me respect and appreciation for them. I think it’s sheer lunacy to visit a home that has the doors wide open and the central air running full blast. I think it’s ludicrous to leave all the lights on in the house when you are working in only one room. And it’s downright insanity to live in the largest house you can find so that everyone in the family has a master bedroom and their own bathroom. How does any of this teach appreciation and the value of our planet’s resources? How does a family teach value, mediation, and respect for other’s personal space when they have isolated each family member? I can only speak from a personal perspective, but these are common occurrences in my community. Perhaps living in a Tiny Home is a bit extreme in contrast to what could be done to improve value and consumption, but it is a good example of how much we don’t need.
The Next Generation
Our newest generation to the housing market has been raised in recession, terrorism, and the explosion of the World Wide Web. Their first introduction into adulthood has been exorbitant higher education expenses and an extremely competitive job market. They have had to work harder to get into college and they must stay longer to get a degree that will hopefully guarantee them a job, any job. In the end, unless they are supported by wealthy family members, they graduate with obscene student loans that have started them off with enormous debt as they embrace maturity. How can they even think about home ownership?
Their one saving grace is that they have been introduced into a global community. The world is no longer what you view inside your tiny town. Millennials have been communicating and studying people, communities and news from around the globe. They have taken advantage of the increasing options to study abroad and live in other parts of the world. They have had the ability to see how the rest of the world lives and travel between countries effortlessly. They view the world differently than previous generations, many would say for the better. Money is better spent on human connection and life experiences than working simply for a mortgage of a large vacant home.
It is said there is wisdom with age. Hindsight is 20/20. Many people view retirement as a time to downsize and enjoy life. They sell their homes and move into condominiums, townhouses, and retirement communities. Some even purchase recreational vehicles as traveling homes. They no longer feel they need the trappings of life. Many spend their time traveling and pursuing hobbies they could never do before. It sounds wonderful, but why wait until you’re 65 or even 70 to start living a full life? It’s a curiosity.
What is the definition of a tiny home and why is it illegal in many parts of the United States?
There is no precise definition of what a tiny home is, but it is viewed as a home that is under 500 square feet (some say 600’ and that doesn’t include loft space). That’s equivalent to a studio apartment and close to a one bedroom apartment with the added benefit of a yard, deck or even ownership.
Tiny Home housing is still too new to be addressed in housing laws (building ordinances and zoning). Zoning laws prevent tiny homes to be built on private land in much of the country. However, you can build an Accessory Dwelling Unit on land that is already occupied by a residential home. (Got any easy going friends or family members?) An ADU is considered to be between 70-1000 square feet. The average cost to build a Tiny Home is $23,000, but based on your skills and personality you could go a slow as $12,000 and as high as $80,000. In parts of the country that these laws have changed, tiny homes are exploding. There are at least sixty tiny home communities already built or being built to date.
Fascinated by Tiny Homes?