4 min readThe tiny house trend is an up-and-coming lifestyle that promotes the benefits of downsizing and reducing one’s footprint and home maintenance commitments. Although there are currently no set definitions for what can be described as a ‘tiny house,’ such tiny houses are usually residences under the size of 46 square metres that have been built on trailers in order to circumvent certain residential regulations.
What is tiny living?
The tiny living concept originates from the United States in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. After Hurricane Katrina left many Americans homeless with little savings, there was a need for simple, affordable housing that could be erected quickly with minimal materials and space requirements. Inventors and pioneers rose to the challenge and began building their homes on trailers in order to bypass regulations, which required residences to be of a minimum size. From there, the tiny living movement was born.
In a time where we have become enamoured with the trappings of modern life, the tiny living movement is heading in an altogether different direction. Instead, the concept of tiny living revolves around keeping things simple and focusing on the smaller things in life. For enthusiasts of tiny living, this has become a way of life, with many adopting the philosophy of being content with life and minimising one’s effect on the environment.
If the idea of living a simpler, compact and environmentally mindful lifestyle appeals to you, or maybe you’ve already taken the first step to choosing a simpler life, read on to learn more about what you can expect from tiny living.
Image: Tumbleweed Houses
Preparing for tiny living
While you may be excited to make arrangements for tiny living, you may want to take some steps to prepare yourself for such a dramatic change in lifestyle. Here are some steps on how you can get a feel for small living and best prep for a move into a tiny home.
Get used to smaller spaces
While this may seem obvious, past experiences of downsizers have shown that suddenly moving into a much smaller space within a short span of time can be quite a challenge for even the most enthusiastic downsizer.
Instead, it would be more prudent that you take some time to get to know other tiny living enthusiasts to glean some insights from them on what everyday life is like in such a confined space. Spend some time in tiny houses, maybe take a holiday to one or stay in a caravan for a few days, to get a feel for what it would be like. You may be quite surprised by the experience. Some folks may find it difficult to acclimatise and may sometimes feel claustrophobic or too cooped up when it actually comes to living day to day in such tight quarters.
Meanwhile, others may take to tiny living like a duck to water and appreciate the increased cosiness and simplicity of downsizing their possessions and living space. After all, downsizing is all about reducing the distractions from one’s life and learning to appreciate the simpler things in life.
Image: This Moving House
Understand your motivations
One of the most liberating (or horrifying for some) things about the tiny living movement is that it forces you to take stock of all the most important things in your life and minimise all the clutter. Tiny living gives you the opportunity to take a step back and take a look at all your possessions to break it down into the most essential and important items you really need.
Without sounding like a yoga guru, we would advise you to, first of all, understand your motivations for downsizing. Are you truly serious about downsizing to a much smaller household, or are you just hopping on the metaphorical trailer?
Are you able to give up a relatively comfortable apartment or house to live in a significantly smaller home on wheels, with limitations on storage and living space?
If you answered yes to all of the above, you might find the experience of downsizing to a tiny home to be a rewarding one, where you’re able to find joy in the simpler things in life. But, if you answered no, perhaps downsizing may not be the lifestyle for you.
Tame your inner shopaholic
As a downsizer living in a significantly smaller home, you may find yourself lacking certain amenities such as storage space. One of the core concepts of tiny living is only consuming what is needed, with no space for any excess.
Image: Modern Tiny Living
Thus, if you’re the sort who strolls down the shopping aisles filling up your cart with non-essentials, you’re in a for a rude surprise. After moving into your tiny home, you’ll begin to learn that there is little-to-no space for any surplus items. You’ll have to start asking yourself whether you truly ‘need’ that particular item on the shelf or rack and whether it is worth the valuable space it will occupy in the limited space in your life.
While it may be difficult for some to adapt to this non-consumer-driven lifestyle, you’ll soon be rewarded with a sense of clarity and purpose. You’ll find you start putting more thought into every purchase you make. In the long-term, this will leave you with a greater appreciation of everything you use and own, not to mention a significantly healthier bank balance. Think of all the dollars you’ll save that you can put towards travel, charity, fun experiences and gifts for others.
While there are many more points to ponder when looking into the tiny living movement, we have presented you with three of the most important considerations that any potential downsizer should carefully weigh up. From getting used to living in cosier spaces, to adopting an entirely new mindset, we hope that these three points are a solid base to help you get started on your journey towards tiny living.
If you’re still not convinced, maybe downsizing into an apartment could be for you? Check out these pros and cons of compact apartment living to help with your decision.