Think Outside the Box

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By Hannah Paardekooper

When you ask people to describe their ideal house, many would paint a picture of a large home with a mini bar, an en-suite master bedroom, and maybe even a swimming pool or indoor movie theatre as seen on MTV Cribs. The mindset of ‘the bigger, the better’ has become something which we are expected to aspire to in our continuously upsizing society. The dream of a so called McMansion is reflected in the increasing average house size in the United States, which according to the U.S. Census was 240 square meters in 2013. This is compared to an average of 155 square meters in 1973 and 223 in only 2010. More recently a new trend has emerged which counters this mentality and doesn’t measure the quality of living by the amount of square footage – the tiny house movement.

Within the last decade, living in tiny houses has quickly become a popular trend which is has now expanded beyondheirloom-tiny-houses-3 the U.S. But, what do we actually mean when we say a tiny house? Usually the size of tiny, or otherwise called micro, houses ranges between 6 to 37 square meters but this differentiates per blog or person. To help visualize how large, or small, this actually is, imagine combining your house into just the living room. Although this may sound slightly shocking at first, once you delve deeper into the innovative designs of these little homes, you will soon start see its many perks. Unlike the common presumptions of many sceptics, tiny living is not just for retired elderly, hipsters or lonely animal lovers. Especially for young professionals, living in a tiny home has many benefits, of which the main ones are listed below.

 

  1. Dolla dolla bills y’all

When starting up your career, you typically don’t have loads of money to blow. Still, renting can be expensive and after having tasted the freedom and independence of living on your own, the idea of moving back in with your parents doesn’t sound ideal. Tiny homes serve as the perfect solution to this problem as they are relatively cheap to purchase or build. The obvious reason for this is that you don’t need an enormous piece of land to place your mini mansion and it doesn’t require as many materials. Adding on to this, most homes are built on wheels allowing them to pay less taxes and be free of a mortgage and long term commitment. In fact, according to the blog the tiny life, 68% of tiny home owners in the U.S. don’t even have a mortgage, giving them the change to pay off student debt. To top it all off, the monthly costs of living small are minimal since a surface only uses little energy. So, even though it’s an investment to create your own tiny sanctuary, this is nothing compared to what it pays off.

 

  1. Keeping mother nature happy

Besides being budget conscious, tiny houses are also environmentally conscious. Simply because there is less space to heat and cool, the tiny lifestyle requires less energy, generates less waste and all in all uses less of the earth’s resources. On top of that, even though tiny living in itself is a step towards a sustainable future, a large number of builders also use recycled material. Consequently, living small only leaves a tiny carbon footprint.

 

  1. Hit the road Jack

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To many tiny house owners, these incredibly small structures are about so much more than just their size and efficiency. The tiny house is unique in its features, particularly its ability to double as a mobile home. They are known and commonly built on wheels, so they are just one road trip away from moving to another unconventional and inspiring place. Just like that, you can literally switch backyards. The freedom that tiny living offers can also be seen in home owners’ ability to travel due to the low utility costs. This is reaffirmed by tiny homeowner Jay Austin’s story in the Washington Post: “Austin travels a lot, including a recent five-week trip to India. He uses unpaid leave, something he could not afford to do if he had rent or a mortgage”.

 

  1. Custom living

Taking a more architectural and design aesthetic, it’s clear that each tiny house is customized and unique. Models range from cottage cabin, to modern industrial and are most frequently designed, and built, by the owners themselves. This is reflected not only in the space optimizing interior design, but also the exterior and shape which is designed to fit a specific individual and their needs. What makestiny houses so special is their character and individuality.Tiny living

 

  1. “Stuff”

When talking about tiny houses, a common question is asked – where would I put all my stuff? In micro living, as essential as the downsizing  of housing size, is the downsizing of ‘stuff’. Even with all the creative storage solutions hidden in the designs of tiny houses, it simply doesn’t fit the same amount of items. When adopting to the tiny lifestyle, you are forced to ask yourself critical questions – what do I really need? What do I really want? Owners are made to think about the purposes of their possessions as every inch counts. Alice Boyes, a doctor of psychology, states that “having limited ‘stuff’ reduces will power drain from organizing, managing and making decisions about a large amount of stuff”. This in turn leads “many people to realize that they lead a higher quality of life after they have eliminated unnecessary possession”, to quote the blog green living spaces. Forcing people to re-evaluate and sort the clutter out of their life can in this way help organize and calm their thoughts.

As is visible, there are multiple different aspects to consider when choosing the place you call home. Whether you want to life in a tiny house or are dreaming of a MTV Cribs mansion. Ultimately, what is important is that you choose a design and lifestyle that suits your personality and choices.

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