The appeal of the tiny house movement and how downsizing improves your quality of life
Jul 2020

The tiny house movement may as well be called the path to ultimate minimalism. It is a social and architectural move towards living in a smaller space, with less. 

Towards the end of the 20th century, the view that more is better has been growing, especially in America but also in other parts of the world. 

In contrast to this, the belief that less is more has been expanding in more recent years. One of the most visible testaments to this is the expansion tiny house movement.

What counts as a tiny house?

There is no exact definition of a tiny house, although a pretty clear image comes to mind to the supporters of the movement: a compact home that fits on a trailer that can be moved around behind a car, truck or van.

There is also not a given size that homes must fit on order to be considered a tiny house, though most seem to be around 200 square feet (about 18.5 square metres). 

However, sources vary in what they identify as the largest possible dimensions for a tiny house – usually from 400 square feet (37 square metres) to 600 square feet (56 square metres), which, according to others, may harbour small home territory.

As I said before, many tiny homes fit on the back of a trailer, since this enables their owners to avoid some building regulations present in many areas of the world, which may dictate, for example, the minimum allowed size for a home. 

However, other tiny houses can be built on a foundation, although they do typically tend to be a little larger. 

Building a tiny home on a foundation has its advantages too, such as not needing to make the house as light as possible and more architectural flexibility.

The benefits of going tiny

What are the appeals of going tiny and why are so many people picking up the lifestyle? Let’s look at how joining the tiny house movement and downsizing improves your quality of life and helps you save money.

1. They are cheaper to build

When you first start thinking about going tiny and downsizing, one of the first things you may think about is ‘how much is this going to cost me?’. 

The answer is: it depends on what you are looking for and how much are you willing to DIY. 

Tiny homes can range in construction cost from $12.000 for a house you build mainly by yourself or with the help of friends and family, to around $150.000 for custom-built luxurious tiny homes.

Overall, however, tiny home construction comes much cheaper than building a normal-sized home – according to Zillow, the median value of a home in the US is around $250.000.

2. They help you avoid mortgage

More tiny house owners are able to avoid mortgage compared to people living in regular-sized homes. 

This argument is a great appeal especially to the young people joining the tiny house movement, since they can invest the money they save over the years in travel, experiences or starting a business.

While 32% of tiny house owners have a mortgage, this is much less than 71% in the case of owners of regular-sized homes.

3. Lower utility bills

Living in a tiny home is not just cheaper upfront – when buying the home, you can also save substantially on power, water and other utilities. 

A tiny home is also much cheaper to heat up in the winter or cool down in the summer. This saves you money and is more eco-friendly. 

Lastly, going off the grid is never as easy as it is with a tiny home. Composting toilets or solar panels seem to be a tiny house movement stable.

4. It does not take a whole afternoon to clean

A tiny home can also save you some valuable time you would spend tidying up leaving you to instead invest it in your family, hobbies or entrepreneurship. 

The more things you own, the longer it takes to maintain them all and downsizing helps you effectively deal with that. This is one of the reasons why a minimalist lifestyle is praised for making you happier.

5. Live wherever you would like

Downsizing and joining the tiny house movement gives you almost infinite freedom of where you can live – if you own one of the tiny houses on wheels, that is. 

Get tired of your backyard? Move your house to a new one. 

Construction happening near where your house is parked? Find a new plot of land further away. 

Need to relocate because of a career opportunity? Take your home with you. 

Moving your tiny house does not come without any worries (you still have to search for a new plot of land, check the utilities available if you need any or organise the journey) but it surely is simpler than moving as someone living in a regular home.

6. More outdoor time

When you live in a small space, you will usually be spending more time outdoors. Tiny houses are also much easier to place in nature or remote locations, where constructing a house would be too troublesome. 

Lastly, living in a tiny home helps you preserve the nature you live in, as it uses less utilities, materials and land.

7. Easier and cheaper customisation

It is much cheaper and easier to customise a tiny home to support all your needs, whether that be tailored office space, your dream kitchen or nifty storage solutions. 

No matter if you are building your tiny house yourself or hiring a building company, the cost of these solutions is likely going to be cheaper in the small space. 

There are also many tricks tiny home builders have up their sleeves in making spaces multifunctional.

The tiny house movement and downsizing come with many benefits, though they also have some inevitable challenges, such as the already mentioned building regulations or limited storage space (which can, however, also be a push towards downsizing your possessions). 

Overall, tiny homes and their tiny solutions can be beneficial to anyone looking to save some money, live a simpler life, be eco-friendlier or live a more minimalist lifestyle.

Lucie Stepankova 
A marketing and media student with a passion for all things sustainable and zero waste living. While studying, Lucie also works as a freelancer, writing articles about sustainability and helping eco-businesses with their marketing needs. In her writing, she hopes to inspire people to make small changes that can create a big difference in the world.

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Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to have it all figured out in order to lead a sustainable lifestyle. In fact, it's better to make small conscious choices when possible, than none at all. We explore every topic under the sun around kindness to our environment, wildlife, other people and ourselves.

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