Although living small has been around for hundreds of years, the lifestyle of *tiny house living* has taken our country by storm. From TV shows to Tiny House Resort getaways, people are clamoring to experience life in a Big way by doing More with Less. In short, it’s the act of Minimizing Your Stuff to Maximize Your Life.
So what exactly is a *tiny house*?
There are two basic types of tiny houses: tiny houses on wheels (“THOWs”) and tiny houses on foundations. There is no specific definition of a tiny house, but they are generally thought of as being less than 399 square feet. Technically 400 square feet and larger homes are generally referred to as “park model homes” and often found in vacation or retirement communities.
Tiny housers cross all demographics as well; young and old, singles and couples, empty nesters, artists, retirees, and students. But the one commonality is that they are all mainstream people who have jobs, pay taxes and have families just like everyone else; they just choose to live in a smaller space.
The trend of living in homes that are less than 399 square feet has been growing in popularity since the mid-1990s. It’s difficult to estimate how many tiny houses exist in the U.S. today; there simply isn’t an easy way to count them. But reports from the ever-growing Tiny House Communities all over the U.S. report that there are thousands. As the desire to live small and own less grows, so does the public’s interest. The Tiny House Jamboree, a weekend expo that was launched in 2015, draws about 50,000 people every year. The popular Facebook group Tiny House People, formed by tiny house enthusiast Macy Miller, has a membership of 40,000.
“While everyone’s path to tiny living is different, Sissy Goes Tiny is a great book to open the conversation with kids of all ages about downsizing toward a life of experiences” ~ Macy Miller–mother to two, tiny house adventurer and CEO of MiniMotives.com
Though it sounds easy enough to ditch all your worldly possessions and opt to live in a home under 399 square feet, those who have chosen this lifestyle can tell you choosing to go Tiny is a Big task. The downsizing and minimizing process involves far more than deciding to store a few things and selling current home. It takes months of hard word, mindful choices, and learning how to differentiate *stuff* from what is important, necessary, a keepsake, or critical for a safe and comfortable lifestyle.
With that in mind, here are a few points to ponder.
Minimizing Your Stuff to Maximize Your Life
Co-author of the new diverse picture book, Sissy Goes Tiny, and a tiny houser, B.A. Norrgard shared these thoughts about her transition to a minimalist lifestyle. Shortly after she made the decision to reduce her footprint, she took her first leap of faith by selling or donating the majority of her possessions. Keeping only her camping gear, power tools, everyday use items, her dog supplies, and a few keepsakes and treasures; she began the process of extremely downsizing her life.
By November she accomplished another bold move by putting her 1929 Tudor-style home in a much sought after conservation district in Dallas on the market. It sold in 24 hours.
“The whole purging process is an amazingly freeing process,” B.A. remarked. “When you are living in less than 120 square feet it really makes you realize what in your life is truly important. You learn to look at possessions with different eyes and make choices based on that realization. When it comes to possessions, I ask myself these three questions; does it have a purpose, is it a necessity, or is it beautiful? Anything beyond those three things is just ‘stuff’ and stuff ties you down.”
Why tiny house living is so appealing
- Finances: Tiny houses offer freedom from the 30-year mortgage and cost far less to maintain than a traditional-sized home.
- Getting back to basics: Living tiny encourages the nurturing of a simpler lifestyle. With a lighter financial burden, a tiny house dweller can work fewer hours and have more time to devote to activities they love, including volunteering in their community.
- Mobility: Accepting a new job in a new state? Want to be a snowbird? Want to see the U.S. yet still need to make a living? Take your house with you! By having a home that travels along, tiny house owners relish not having to sell their current house and buy another in a new location.
Most humans on this Earth have had days where they feel like selling all of their worldly possessions, packing up the minivan and driving off to parts unknown. Though a mere dream for many there is in fact a growing segment of the population that is doing just that; living simpler but with a twist. Welcome to the world of Tiny House Living.
Looking for a beautiful and unconventional diverse picture book for kids? Check out the upcoming, Sissy Goes Tiny!
In Sissy Goes Tiny, eight-year-old Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, repurposing, and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands that a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning.
“I believe that Sissy Goes Tiny is going to open so many minds for people! A tiny house is absolutely not for everyone, but we all like to dream and step into the shoes of another lifestyle in our minds. Learning about this lifestyle I think will help people be more supportive of people who do choose to live unconventionally. Sissy and her family are a great example of that.” Co-author, B.A. Norrgard
Join us in celebrating the idea of Tiny Living and BIG Adventures!