You’ve probably heard about tiny houses. They have been a bit of an internet sensation, causing many people to dream of a life free of huge mortgages and unnecessary clutter. After all, the option to own your own house for under $100,000 sounds almost too good to be true. So… is it? The short answer is both yes and no. Owning a $30,000, 250 square foot home is absolutely doable. However, despite the minimalist lifestyle that tiny houses are generally associated with, there is quite a lot of consideration that has to go into being a tiny house owner.
The first thing you have to decide: is living in a tiny home really the right fit for you?
Advantages of Tiny Houses
There are definitely quite a few advantages to living in a tiny house. Keep in mind that if any of these advantages don’t seem like “pros” to you, tiny living may not be your perfect fit!
- Cut down on possessions! Many tiny house owners love their homes precisely because they just aren’t big enough to accommodate very many material possessions. When making the switch to tiny living, most people choose to slowly reduce the number of things they own by donating, selling, and throwing away vast amounts of things. Keep in mind, reducing your possessions will also mean refraining from buying new things!
- Reduced upkeep. With 200-300 square feet of living space, there’s not a whole lot of space to clean. Instead of spending your precious Sunday scrubbing floors and sorting garbage, you could reasonably clean your entire home in under 2 hours. Plus, periodically sorting, storing, and disposing of “extra” objects just won’t be necessary anymore.
- Lower mortgage– or no mortgage at all. Some people in the tiny house movement chose to build their own house, and the average cost of this often comes out around $15,000-$25,000 (According to tinyhousedesign) Of course, professionally built homes will cost you more, but almost all still fall under the $100,000 range. If you’re considering building your own tiny home, there are a lot of great ways to make this process easier- including converting a shed.
- Minimalist living. The happiest tiny homeowners are the ones who genuinely prefer to live a minimalist, corner cutting lifestyle. This doesn’t only mean possessions- with very few square feet, you likely won’t be re decorating your home too often, owning an abundance of pets, or even taking long showers (depending on your plumbing situation). To live in a tiny home, ideally this kind of minimalist lifestyle should be appealing to you!
- Lower utility costs? This may vary depending on your energy usage, but tiny homes often utilize different methods such as a wood stove for heating in the winters. Plus, less square footage means less area to heat and cool.
Disadvantages of Tiny Houses
Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies… there are definite downsides to living in a tiny home that just can’t be ignored. If these disadvantages don’t strike you as too intimidating, then congratulations! A tiny house may be the right fit.
- Plumbing. One word: toilets. Most tiny homes use compost toilets. To get an idea of what that means, here is one of the most popular compost toilets on the market. Essentially, say goodbye to flushing, and say hello to sprinkling sawdust! (There are other options, of course).
- No more entertaining! If you’re the kind of person that loves being around others, and especially loves throwing dinner parties, a tiny house is an immediate no-no. Sure, the space may be comfortable enough for 3 or maybe even 4 people to spend a few hours having dinner together. However, anything beyond that becomes just about unbearable! The most common solution to this problem is to have some great outdoor space.
- All tiny, all the time. Some people have made the switch to living in tiny houses and quickly come to regret it. Remember, you could easily live in a small hotel room full time, as well. The real question is, would you want to? Try to take off the rose coloured glasses and really picture every aspect of your life in a tiny home before you make the plunge.
- Close quarters. Who you’re going to live with in a tiny home is just as important as any other consideration! Have you lived together before? (We hope so! A tiny house would offer a tumultuous trial by fire). Do you have any habits that get on each other’s nerves- and will they be exacerbated if you’re stuck in 250 square feet together? Do your future plans include having kids? All of these questions will be very important.
- Basic life functions: for example, laundry. Is there room for a washer and dryer in your new home, and if not, how will you wash your clothes? You may need to be willing to take a trip to the laundromat, or wash most of your items by hand. If you love cooking, you may need to adjust to seriously limited cabinet and counter space.