Mention tiny houses to almost anyone nowadays and you will see a positive reaction, indicating how much the individual likes them. There are thousands of people around the world who are embracing the tiny house movement, as supported by numerous Tiny House TV shows and over 60,000 people attending the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado. Since that time, regional tiny house events are popping up all over the country, making it far easier for everyone to attend one close to home.
True, some people can’t imagine themselves fitting into such a small abode, as they exclaim with a great deal of enthusiasm about “how cute they are”. Others can’t see themselves giving up their possessions and see it as a stumbling block from ever going tiny. It’s a big struggle for some to let go of things.
It does take creative planning and a unique design to fit one’s life and belongings into a space that sometimes is the size of a one car garage. And if you are honest with yourself, most everyone will admit they have way more stuff than they really need or will ever use. It is quite remarkable to see the beautifully designed architectural wonders that creative builders have managed to build with every fraction of an inch utilized to fit the things that we need in our life.
Have you wondered why so many people of all ages are being drawn to this downsized lifestyle? More and more people today are concerned about the environment and it’s effects on all of us, especially future generations. It also makes sense that smaller buildings are using less raw materials and fuel and the cost of shipping them. More importantly, people want a simpler life style that is not tied to the high cost of housing, but being able to save money for things more important to them. Things like spending quality time with family, traveling, volunteering and hobbies. This compares to people having to work long hours at jobs they may not like in order to fund the high rent or big mortgage plus high utilities, property taxes and insurance to protect it all.
In most cases, it has nothing to do with being able to afford that big house and all the stuff in it that fills every nook and cranny. It isn’t even a matter of necessity. It is more about what is important to people. It is true that there are individuals who live in areas where the cost of living limits their ability to find work force affordable housing. It is a very big challenge for some all over the country. These are people who aren’t homeless, but instead, earn lower wages. People who work in the hospitality industry or ones who work to care for our aging population in retirement facilities could fall into this category. And as the cost of living increases without a wage increase, it is a constant struggle for some.
Tiny houses are seen by more and more people as the answer to live in their own home for the cost of what normally would be the price of a down payment on a house, without having to also take on a 30 year mortgage. At this point, the house is theirs and they can continue to live debt free. Imagine what you could do without a rent or mortgage payment and with small utility bills every month. How much of a bigger life could you live? That is why you often will hear the saying “Live Tiny to Live Large”.
Across the country, where small houses usually known as ADU’s, accessory dwelling units, are becoming popular to house aging parents in one’s back yard or a college student who is loaded down with college debt, struggling to find work in their field. We are fortunate that our own city of St. Petersburg allows ADU’s, as long as the building code is followed and the building is built on a foundation and not on wheels.
Where to put Tiny Houses has been the biggest question and struggle for many because zoning laws are set by counties and townships, rather than by federal or even state governments. And this is so new to many municipalities, they haven’t figured out what to do with them. That is one reason some tiny houses are built on wheels so they can be easily moved to travel in and place them where they are allowed. This is an ongoing process. Many are working to get zoning approved; and I believe it has to be just a matter of time because this movement can help so many and is so popular and so big.
Another question…what demographic is interested in living tiny? It truly is most anyone. Senior Citizens are downsizing in order to live a simpler life and being able to afford the things they wish to do in their twilight years. And again, the college students are leaving college loaded down with debt that seems insurmountable to ever pay off, especially if they have to struggle with jobs and housing availability. Most college graduates have a strong desire to travel before they settle down and many have watched their parents being a slave to the big house and jobs they had to work at to support it all and they are saying to themselves, “not me”.
There is a lot of “food for thought” about this ever increasing popular movement that is sweeping the nation.