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Could You Live in a Tiny House?

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Tiny HouseOne of the movements that has been gaining some traction since the financial crisis of 2008 is the tiny house movement. Many consumers are becoming disenchanted with the idea of living in large homes filled with stuff. Instead, the idea is to turn to tiny houses.

Most of these tiny houses have between 65 and 874 square feet. Tiny houses take “small” to a whole new level. I know that some people would say that my home, at 1760 square feet, is small, but even the largest tiny house is half the size of my home. I’m trying to imagine living in a space that is half the size of my current home, which I am fairly comfortable in, and I’m not sure I could do it — although the idea of a tiny house, and the simplicity that comes with it, is intriguing.

Save Money by Living in a Tiny House

One of the biggest draws of living in a tiny house is that it’s possible to save money. Some of the savings that can come with living in such a small house include:

  • Smaller utility bill: You don’t use as much electricity when you have a smaller house. Additionally, there is a good chance that you will use less water as well. There are some tiny house owners who find that such small homes allow them to live completely off the grid.
  • Lower property taxes: Tiny home = smaller tax bill. You can buy a smaller lot, and have a smaller house that isn’t appraised nearly as high as a larger home. In some cases, tiny house owners don’t actually own property at all. Instead, they mount the house on a trailer, and move it with them, staying in RV parks or in other areas.
  • No mortgage interest: One of the biggest expenses that homeowners face is the mortgage interest. By the time you pay the interest on a huge home loan over the course of 15 to 30 years, you are out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most of the time, it’s possible to buy a tiny house outright. You can have it delivered, buy plans and build yourself, or build from a kit.
  • No need to pay for the space: If you live in a tiny house, you don’t have the space to store lots of stuff. This cuts down on your need to buy expensive things to fill a larger house. You don’t need as much furniture, or decor. It forces you into simplicity, and saves you money that way.

Living in a tiny house has it’s challenges, though. Most of us are used to privacy, and the ability to spread out a bit. Tiny house living often comes with a specific lifestyle, including frugal living and often growing your own food. It’s possible to have computers in a tiny house, and you can find many other modern comforts. But you do need to be prepared to share your space, and that can be challenging — especially if you have children.

In truth, the larger tiny houses are similar in size to apartments. Many people also see the charm in them in terms of vacation homes, rather than full-time living arrangements. What do you think of tiny houses? Could you live in one?

(Photo: Earthworm)

{ 31 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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31 Responses to “Could You Live in a Tiny House?”

  1. mannymacho says:

    I think I could pull it off for a vacation home, but not for everyday.

    • Jim says:

      That’s a good point, I mean when you’re on vacation you’re often out seeing things… not bumming around.

      Or… you’re bumming around a lot. 🙂

  2. Given the studio in which I now live, I could easily pull this off. In fact, I’d love to! Of course it really only caters to the bachelor life, so if I meet a special gal I might need to upgrade. But for now, I only have to please me, and a tiny house would suffice!

    -Christian L.

  3. Lei Lani says:

    I live in a house that is 24′ x 24′, with an 8′ x 8′ extension in the back (off of the kitchen)(Total of 640 square feet) It is a two bedroom house, (each bedroom is 10′ x 12′) with a full bath (tub, sink, toilet) decent layout kitchen. There is a 4′ x 12′ closet that is accessible from both bedrooms. It is a small (not tiny) house, but it has worked for me and my family for the past 20 years. (2 adults, one child, who is now grown and moved on). I will eventually turn my son’s old bedroom into an office. When extended family comes to stay, having a fold out couch in the living room helps with the sleeping arrangements, as well as letting the nieces and nephews ‘camp out’ with sleeping bags in the other bedroom. I wouldn’t trade my house for anything much bigger, because it just suits me, and my stuff.

  4. I couldn’t do it. I like having my space.

  5. Scott says:

    Storage is the deal-breaker for most people. Getting rid of stuff (or not getting it in the first place) is a good starting point.

  6. Cathie says:

    I could do it by myself, but not with my family. My son’s Legos need space! It sure is intriguing, though!

  7. Fabclimber says:

    My first home was a 24X36 ranch home with 2 bedromms and a single bath (no basement). One extra room was actually used as a bedroom. The rooms were small, but it worked for us until the 3rd child was born. It really wasn’t bad. Our current home has only twice the square footage, but it does allow us to entertain extended family which we could only do outdoors in the small place. Still it was much less costly, but we had all the outside to maintain with garden and all.

  8. freeby50 says:

    I could live in a small house. But I wouldn’t want to.

    800+ sq ft isn’t really that small. Especially for 1-2 people. millions of people live in apartments that size and its not uncomfortable.

    100-200 sq ft shacks are a whole other matter. That would be very hard but, I could do it. At least if I was single. Its not really practical for a family.

  9. Matt M says:

    I definitely couldn’t pull that off, I need a lot of space and would go crazy in a little place.

  10. Mike says:

    LOL. My parents had their property taxes increase even when their home values dropped. More money for you usually means more for the gov’t to tax.

  11. Diane says:

    Many houses in my neighborhood are 800 sf or thereabouts. When I moved into my 2B/2Ba 1250 sf house, one of my neighbors said (unsarcastically…) on finding I was single, “all that space – just for you?” My house isn’t much bigger than 874 sf, and some days I don’t even go into half of it.

    So yeah, could I live in that space? Easily. and yes, if you have a small house you get ruthless about purging nonsense stuff you don’t use.

  12. JJ says:

    I think it depends on where you live. If you’re in a city, then living in a small space is easy because the entire city is your “room.” Most city folks often only go back home to sleep.

    But if it’s the suburbs, then you would probably need a larger space for your own toys…

  13. Alfreda says:

    I could very easily do it. I have a 2200 sq ft home and have 5 rooms I never set foot in. I spend most of my time in a 12 x 12 family room, and the kitchen. Most of the things in the house belong to my husband; he couldn’t live in a small house.

  14. Shirley says:

    We could do it pretty easily if it was just the husband and I. A livingroom, bedroom, 1 bathroom, office and kitchen are all we really need. And a yard big enough for a garden.

  15. Michelle in Htown says:

    I hate to say this, but my husband is 6’3, I’m almost 6′. My college-age kids are 6’2″, 6’4″, and 5’11” (the underachiever is a girl). A really small house would be hard on us. I suppose it’s partially cultural, but we need room to stretch out. Small spaces, low ceilings drive us nuts. We don’t need 5,000 square feet, but 1,200 square feet would be tight for us until the kids all move out permanently.

  16. Steve T says:

    My current home is an approximately 1,000sq ft cinder block building. Medium master bedroom, small side bedroom, full bath, kitchen, and living room. The master bedroom and living room take up half the house so they don’t feel cramped, but the living room also acts as dining area and play area. It is not uncommon to find myself having to pull toys from under my recliner before I can put my feet up to watch TV at night. The only two issues I have with living this way is that I have nearly zero counter space in the kitchen and alone time means stepping outside. There is also the issue that all plumbing is in the wall between the bathroom and kitchen but a portable dishwasher allows us to have additional counter space and an extra appliance on a separate wall.

    It isn’t the most convenient way to live, but it is thrifty. Add on my rain barrel and I am able to keep a garden without paying extra on my water bill or worrying about watering bans. It’s amazing how much water we get from our tiny roof. Less than an inch of rain will fill our 50 gallon barrel.

  17. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I lived in a townhouse condo that had 3 bedrooms and 1400sq feet. I rent it now to a mom with 2 kids and that space is enough, the kids have their own rooms, and play area in the basement (which doesn’t count in the 1400sqft count.)

    My wife and I live in a too-big house now, and look forward to a downsize at retirement, 7-12 yrs down the road. No need for living room, family room, and dining room. An eat-in kitchen flowing into the family room is enough.
    From what we have now, we’d like about 2/3 the space.

  18. I can live in this house that is as “big” as my home-office room… if I am living alone because I will only be needing a bed, a shelf, and a table that can function both as my work table and dining table. I don’t think this size is livable if you have a husband and three children like me.

  19. Clare says:

    I’ve been living in a 731 sq. ft. condo for the last 10 years, having downsized from a 3,100 sq. ft. house after a divorce. Some ways I’ve adapted and learned to enjoy it: Rooms need to be multi-purpose -I have a home office set up behind a door to the bedroom – and furniture light weight(so you can move it around.) Instead of a coffee table I have two storage footstools on casters. I keep open my surfaces by having lots of hooks on walls. Counters have no strictly decorative items.

  20. wanderingstar says:

    My wife and I live in a 5th Wheel RV Trailer, 400 sq ft we have lived in it for 16 years. We are retired and have lived in all lower 48 states, as well as all provinces of Canada below the artic circle, and 3 states of Mexico. The entire continent is our back yard. SO, beautiful.
    {lenty of room for what you “need”, most be have problems with the “want” part of life.

  21. Deb says:

    we could Not live that way ~ BUT ~ the idea of creating a small-space-mini-home, for rental on our property, is something that I have already thought about.
    We currently rent out half our basement, that has been re-modeled into a totally independent and self sufficient Studio apartment,(about 500 sq. ft.) that we rent out furnished, in a thriving college town. (tho i mostly stay away from young ‘college students’ in weeding out the rif-raf)
    it pays our mortgage, plus some.:)

  22. The idea of living in a small home has a charming appeal, much like buying one of those cute, little Smart Cars.

    The best advice I have heard for anyone considering living in a small house is to rent a Winnebago for a month or two and live in in.

    If you are happy in the Winnebago, then you will love your own little house.

  23. Sandy C says:

    Don’t think I could go that small. Currently sold an almost 1900 sf house and moved to a 1300+ sf condo/apartment (temporary, thankfully). Problem isn’t sf but rather layout. Have 3 cats who loved the open floorplan of the house and had tons of hidey places where they could get to without having to cross one another’s path. The apartment is very compartmentalized and they are not happy here as they get in one another’s way. For me it’s also dark (only one exposure) and I need light. My next move will be to a place that is 1550 sf but has a more open floorplan like the house so think it will be better. However, if I didn’t have the cats, I think I could live very happily in my friend’s 1-bedroom 715 sf apartment in Portland, OR, primarily because of the layout and tons of light from two sides. Not sure tiny tiny will ever catch on in a big way, but I think a lot of us could downsize very successfully if we did our homework, thinking through it, reevaluating and planning. Too bad most developers and builders aren’t interested in smaller.

  24. Mary says:

    My fiancé and I are putting the finishing touches on the floor plan for a 3/2 house that is 900sq. ft. This will be 300 sq. ft. smaller than our current house. The tricks: make each space as efficient as possible with clever storage and layout, have high ceilings (10 ft.) and windows that let in plenty of natural light.

    I am a minimalist, so small homes appeal to me. He is not, but likes the idea, regardless. And yes, we intend to have at least two children (my first two are grown), and raise them in the house.

    We live way out in the country on 150+ acres. If we feel cooped up, we can go outside. 🙂

    National Geographic did a show on Japanese micro houses that gave us great ideas for making the most of our small space.

  25. Terry F says:

    When I grew up in the 60’s the average size house in my city was 850 sq ft. Families were larger back then (5-6 kids) I don’t know how people did it

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