The tiny house movement has gained a lot of momentum in the last decade, but why? It's based on the tenets of the minimalist movement: owning less, so that what you own doesn't own you. What are the benefits of giving up the majority of what you own? Minimalists ourselves, we dug in to find out more.
The move towards smaller living is on the rise (and for many good reasons) as more people take the leap. If you've never heard the terms "tiny houses" or "tiny house movement," let us tell you a bit about it.
While there's no fixed specification that qualifies a residence as a tiny house, it is usually less than 400 square feet. The tiny house movement evolved from the minimalist lifestyle, which encourages working towards living a simpler and purposeful life.
The Minimalist Lifestyle Movement
The name is self-descriptive. Minimalism is about owning fewer material possessions and spending less money and energy. It's about living deliberately, owning only what you need and value instead of what you want.
Minimalism is not just about keeping fewer items; it's also about spending less personal energy on activities that drain you.
Have you ever heard the phrase "What you own, owns you"?
You work hard for long hours in a job that you hate to pay for your big house, luxury car, and fancy clothes. Sure, those things may bring happiness, but the stress that comes with the resulting financial burden makes it a short-lived one.
Instead of chasing bigger houses or owning a fancy wardrobe, minimalists opt for valuable experiences. They choose to be more conscious about how they live their lives and spend their time, and what physical items are part of it.
While minimalism isn't a strict set of dogmas, it's a concept that reflects on many facets of life. It can be applied in varying styles and to various areas of your daily life. You don't have to turn your life upside down overnight. Instead, you can start small.
In fact, that's about the only thing that can "go big" when going minimalist: the changes you make.
The Tiny House Movement
One of the biggest and most significant steps people take when moving towards minimalism is moving to a tiny house. Over the past decade more and more Americans have jumped on board, particularly Millennials. For many reasons, they have their priorities set differently when it comes to how they spend their money and time.
Why Go Tiny?
Moving to a tiny house isn't just about less space and "stuff" to clutter it. Some consider it a social movement…and in a way, it is.
The typical American has an average of $38,000 of personal debt, not counting mortgage loans. With this heavy a weight, living debt-free and saving more remains only a dream to many.
However, the move to a tiny house has helped many shake off their debts and increase their savings. Not only do the houses cost less, but they also call for less spending. With a smaller footprint, you spend less on home maintenance, have a lower utility bill, and take less time to clean the house.
When you have less space, you also tend to think twice about what you buy--especially when it comes to pricey or bulky tools and equipment. Renting those items only when you need them is both space-efficient and cost-effective.
Limited space means every single item you own must be something you need and actually use. Now you have yet another reason to choose intentionally and value the things you have. Living with less is freeing, in more ways than one!
Living A More Meaningful Life
The money saved from spending less on housing expenses—and buying less stuff--has allowed many tiny house owners to enjoy more meaningful experiences. Whether it's traveling, concerts, art expos, events, or time spent with family, more room in your budget lets you do more of what you want.
Another perk of a tiny house is increased mobility. Some houses are built on trailers, so you can literally bring your home along wherever you choose to wander. Even if the house itself isn't mobile, packing and unpacking are easier, cheaper, and less of a hassle when you have fewer possessions.
When you consume less, you create less demand and less waste. Since tiny houses occupy less space, they also consume fewer resources. A study surveying dwellers of 80 tiny houses found that their carbon footprints decreased by an average of 45%.
Apart from the financial freedom it brings, the Tiny House Movement reflects the desire for a simpler life. In a world where bigger means better and more means richer, people have become slaves to their own belongings. Embracing the minimalist movement can change that.
It might not be for everyone, but the idea behind it certainly can be.