Article by Laura LaVoie

What is the permanence of the tiny house living? Do people move into tiny spaces and live there for the rest of their lives? Since the movement is still rather young I imagine that we have not yet reached that moment of maturity when first generation of tiny dwellers begin to consider their next move. I was certain that stories had to be out there of people who made the decision to leave tiny behind so I searched and found three tiny house builders who made the decision to move.

Almost a year ago Zoey from Living Tiny 365 posted that after some changes in her life she was moving from her Lusby into a condo with her new partner. The condo, she said, was still small at 700 square feet and that her daughter was planning to move into the tiny house. I reached out to Zoey to find out more about her life since the decision to move out of her tiny house but I have not yet heard from her. Zoey, we would love to hear the next chapter in your story so please reach out if you see this.

Zoey's Tiny House: Moving Out

Photo Credit Zoey, http://www.livetiny365.com/

Collin and Joanna, a young couple who documented their tiny house build at their blog Our Wee House announced in January that they were expecting a baby and putting their newly built Fencl on the market. In spite of his busy new life with a brand new baby boy, Collin took a few moments to answer some questions for me. I asked if they missed living in the tiny house. “We do and we don’t miss living in it. Where the house was situated when we were living it was quite far out of town. Through the process we realized again that we love being around people. Where we live now is right in the city and we love it.” But they don’t regret their tiny house experience. “I am so glad that we did it but for us it was for a season. Some people can really strip down there stuff and we did, but not for it to work. It may have been different if we had our own land. Not sure. We have things like several musical instruments and a winter wardrobe.” I asked if they would consider another form of alternative building and Collin expressed an interest in an Earthship for their next project. They still haven’t sold their tiny house, so if you are in the market for a Fencl, and are near the Ontario Canada area, you might want to consider their tiny house. 

Collin and Joannas Tiny House on Wheels Now for Sale!

Photo Credit Collin & Joanna, http://www.ourweehouse.com

I was also able to talk with Jonathan, whose LiveJournal is a great first person account of all the ups and downs of the tiny house journey. I’ve known Jonathan online for years, bonding over a common origin from the mitten state of Michigan and our shared love of tiny homes. Earlier this year Jonathan had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave his tiny house behind but began a new adventure in Eugene Oregon.  “In June of 2009 I started building my tiny house with the hope of one day being able to live in it on a plot of wooded land (just a couple acres) out in the country.  Building it turned out to be the easy part – as was actually living in it.  Being allowed to live in it was the issue, as the county in which I lived in Southeast Michigan, as well as all of the counties surrounding it, all declared dwellings under 960 square feet to be uninhabitable.  I spoke to code officials, zoning officials, and went to town hall meetings in several townships before finally realizing that the laws and bureaucracy were stacked against me.  Not wanting to abandon my dream, I purchased some land anyway and parked my tiny house far enough back in the trees so that it couldn’t be seen from the street.  Unfortunately, it could be seen by the neighbor, who told me (on the day I closed on the property) that he had wanted my land.  A few months later, I discovered that he had reported my tiny house to the zoning board, and the code officials stuck a notice on my door saying I was in violation of the law.”

Jonathan's Tiny Home on Wheels

Photo Credit Jonathan, http://gungy.livejournal.com/

Unlike Zoey and Collin, Jonathan didn’t choose to move out of his tiny house. However, he said that if he had not been forced to make the change he would not have embarked on his current adventure. Jonathan left his tiny house in Michigan and followed the famed Oregon Trail out west, a move he is very glad that he made. But was the fate of his house? “My tiny house is currently still on the property in Michigan.  It’s perfectly legal for me to leave it there; I just can’t live in it there.  Yes, see, it is fully within my rights to buy the land and do whatever I want with it – neglect it, trash it, whatever.  However, I am not allowed to live on it and take care of it because my house is too small.”  Jonathan doesn’t plan to be without his tiny house forever. He is currently looking into his options to move his tiny house out west, so I promise I will follow up with his story.

People who build and live in tiny spaces are unconventional by nature. Life is forever changed by the tiny house experience. Even though they may have shifted gears they haven’t altered their new way of thinking. I know tiny living has changed me immeasurably. I want to see more stories out there. Do you know anyone who has built a tiny house but doesn’t live there anymore? Send them our way to share their experience.

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Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 123 comments }

  • Meg and Joe August 7, 2012, 10:52 am

    I can say from our own experience that after almost a year of living in our tiny house we will NEVER move out of it. Here’s a few reasons why.
    Money. Lots of money. My cost of living is well..not much. While building the house demanded all of my savings, a little depression set in. My wife reassured me that when it was done our savings would grow in leaps and bounds. She was right. We have so much disposable income that it does not seem real. I think about how much money I wasted on rent and utilities over the past 20+ years and it makes me cry.
    Time. This is a no-brainer. When you have everything you need under one roof, and all of its bought and paid for the need to work full time becomes irrelevant. Hell you can even quit a job you hate and take on one you love, simply because the money you might lose also becomes irrelevant.
    Repairs. For example, re-roofing a tiny house a few hundred dollars at most, re-roofing a 2000 sq foot home, many thousands of dollars.
    Banks. Anyone who knows us(Alex included), knows how much my wife and I despise banks and credit cards. We built our home with OUR money. Anyone can do this. Its not as hard as you think.
    Our sanity. Most people thought that two people living in such a small space would drive us apart. The opposite was true. After a time we realized that almost all of our fights were about money (the lack of it), and doing jobs we absolutely hated for that money. I think this is usually the reasons most marriages end in this country.
    Mobility. Hate where you live? Want to see other places? A natural disaster hits? Want to move to a warmer/cooler environment? Want a change of scenery? Move. It’s that simple.
    House chores and cleaning. How does 15-20 minutes a day sound? Yup that sounds about right.
    I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you from our experience that my only regret is not doing this sooner. It bought us a freedom we have never known, a happiness that we have never had, and a piece of mind that most Americans will never experience. I thought living in a tiny house would be hard, now a year later moving out of one seems impossible.

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    • Kevin August 7, 2012, 1:01 pm

      Good topic. I think its an important aspect of the tiny house movement. I am currently doing the finish work on my tiny house here in Virginia, but have only been able to live in it for a week due to legal issues. Since I was planning an extended vacation in California, I moved out of the house I was renting to save money, and hoped that I would be able to find somewhere to locate my house before I returned. That has yet to happen, so I’m, well, currently living out of my truck. I feel kind of like Jonathan in that to stay within the law I have to live my life in a way that really doesn’t benefit anyone. But, I’m not too concerned about it. As Meg and Joe pointed out, not paying rent frees up A LOT of money, and I’m shopping for a fixer-upper to purchase to move my tiny house to. I still get to use the shower at my tiny house, and let me tell you, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching plumbing you constructed in action!

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      • Alex August 7, 2012, 4:00 pm

        Thanks for sharing Kevin I’m wishing you the best. Hang in there, don’t give up and you’ll find exactly what you need.

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        • Kim November 17, 2012, 7:44 pm

          It must be frustrating as heck to put so much time into something and not live in it. I’m curious though, can’t you just tow it to a mobile home park and live in it? It’s really just a little mobile home and if built solidly and in good taste, the park owner should accept it. I’ve asked several in my area and they will accept them. It also solves the problem of some people wanting to live in more urban areas. Some mobile home parks are actually nice communities.

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        • Kevin November 19, 2012, 5:36 pm

          It has been rather frustrating, but I’m still confident that things will work out. I did finally find a plot in the city that I purchased this month and am preparing to move my house there (http://houseforahobo.blogspot.com/2012/11/property-search-complete.html)! I looked into the possibility of moving to a mobile home park, but unfortunately the ones in my area are in very bad condition and were all very expensive. I have seen some in other areas that look like a great place to live and are much more affordable, so yes, I think that’s a valid option.

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    • Michael August 7, 2012, 2:44 pm

      Meg and Joe; you could not have said it any better! What you have said is the very reason my wife and I have desided to go “tiny”. I’m currently in the Army serving at Ft Bliss – El Paso, TX. My wife is an ICU Nurse working in the local hospital here in El Paso. I’m in the “transitioning” phase and will be on terminal leave from the Army hopefully by the end of March 2013. My wife and I have already purchesed 22 beautiful wood-land achers of off-grid land in Tennessee. The land is “unrestricted” and allows trailers and or R.V.s to be parked on the property as well as lived in. I’ve already begun building our tiny house. I’ve decided to go with my own plans and design concept. With lots of input from my wife on what she wants also in the home, I’ve came up with a one of a kind design inwhich it will have a 47″ by 36″ walk in luxury shower with glass door, jet body spays, over-head rain shower head as well as a hand held shower wand. The kitchen will be “decked-out” also with a 36″ full size, side by side refrigerator with ice and crushed ice and water dispensers; it will have a dish washer, convection oven, microwave, and 4 burner gas cook top. Lots of cabinets and storage will also be in the kitchen. The closet will have one of those one unit washer and dryers in it. The home will also have a ventless gas parlor fire place and a built-in window seating that is a 68″ couch which folds out into a bed. The loft will have 2 large dormer windows – 1 on each side which will allow for extra space for sleeping and built-in storage for clothes. The reason why I decided to go “all out” on this house is not just for own comfort, but to show to others outside the “tiny house community” that you do not have to give up luxury to go tiny. The tiny house is being built on a 20′ trailer which we’ve paid cash for (only $1700). We are paying for the building materials for the tiny house week by week with extra income (mostly from my wife since she makes about 3 times more than I do)after bills are paid. I’m currently done building the floor phase of it which took a while to do because of way the older style of trailer required modifications. When this home is complete, we know we will feel exactly how the two of you feel right now; and, that’s the “freedom” that’s associated with owning and living in a tiny house – with no mortgage payments! It will be completely paid for by our own hard-earned money. We already had down sized once from a 1200 sq ft town house appartment to a 600 sq ft appartment; and, we look forward in down sizing to our 180 sq ft tiny house on wheels. Take care and thanks for your post. I plan to post a complete blog of our tiny house build once I have the “shell” complete.

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      • Alex August 7, 2012, 4:04 pm

        Hey Michael thanks for sharing man. I’m really excited for you guys. You and your wife, and Meg and Joe right now are making me wish I would’ve worked harder to build a tiny house instead of find another apartment. I think I went with an apartment because I ride a bicycle so I wanted to be in town. I’m really happy here though but sure would be nice to not have the big rent payment and own a little home mortgage-free instead. The time will come! But yeah, right now, I’m in a 450-square-foot apartment which still keeps things pretty simple. But nothing beats owning your home free and clear and a tiny house makes that possible for lots of people much faster than most would ever imagine. Thanks again you guys.

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      • deborah August 8, 2012, 5:40 pm

        Michael, three cheers to you and your wife!!! I will look forward to your progress. Sounds marvelous! deb in S.AL

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      • RJ Hickey August 9, 2012, 12:01 am

        Sounds like a lot of electrical appliances. How are you going to power them on your “22 beautiful woodland achers of off-grid land”?

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        • Michael August 9, 2012, 5:06 pm

          Lol… Thanks for the reply, R.J. We are doing solar power as well as wind turbine along with a back-up generator. Our property has 3 hills on it. The largest of the 3 hills sits exactly in the center of our property which allows us to have access to direct sunlight; and, being located on top of a hill also helps us to “catch” good wind currents to turn the wind turbines. Like I said, we are going totally off-grid. That’s the beauty of owning a tiny house: tiny houses, even with some electric appliances, don’t require the same amount of electricity that it takes to power a large house. We don’t have to rely on “uncle Sam” to supply us electricity. After doing the calculations of amperages required to power our electric appliances, I know we can do this with the right amount of solar panels combined with the wind turbines. My wife and I recently purchased the book, “Surviving Off Off Grid”. This is a great book inwhich the author teaches us how early America used to be like before people were “herded onto 1/4 acher lots in sub-divisions and were told the lie that they would be ‘rich’ by owning one of these houses”. Instead, people became “slaves to these properties and had become so dependant on the government to supply power to them, and became so dependant on contractors to build for them, that we Americans have lost the knowledge of a trade. If (or when)the economy goes “belly up”, today’s Americans would not even know how to survive on thier own. They don’t know how to build a basic shelter and heat it. That’s one thing I like about the Tiny House Movement, it’s not just down sizing and learning to do with the minimum, it’s actually helping individuals to return back to basic trade traditions which were meant to be passed down from generation to generation; and, that is learning how to build your own shelter with your own sweat and hard labor.

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    • Alex August 7, 2012, 3:58 pm

      I love it. Thanks Meg and Joe. You guys are incredibly inspiring. This is a real tiny house success story.

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    • J. Harris August 8, 2012, 5:36 pm

      I need some information in regards to tiny living.

      First of all where did you set up your tiny home (did you have to purchase some land in order to set up your tiny home)?;

      Second: how do you receive your mail (do you have to rent a postal box at the post office near your home)?

      (Please do not publish this – Thank you)

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      • Meg and Joe August 10, 2012, 10:59 am

        Right now we rent land in Montana. After we built the house we were featured in the local paper, and the offers for people wanting us to live on their land was enormous. We plan on buying land next year if all goes well.
        Montana is very lax about zoning and building codes. It is very common for people to have R.V.’s on open land. A lot of homes and property here have pads with power, water and sewage hookups. All legal and legit.
        It seems the trend for tiny houses is gaining momentum here also. There are a few builders in my area offering a variety of tiny houses for sale. This can only mean there is a demand for them. A very good sign indeed.
        As far as mail, yes, we do have a postal box, but we have packages shipped right to our address c/o the tiny house out back…lol.

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        • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:04 pm

          Great to hear, thanks guys!

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    • Artur Sowinski August 10, 2012, 1:16 pm

      thanks for those kind words of encouragement :) its so easy to go astray when gearing up towards this little dream :) so many people are out there who want to pull you into their ‘dream’ of having lots of stuff… :)

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:05 pm

        So true Artur. People want you to be like them I guess, lol.

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    • Lady Tenazby August 11, 2012, 8:07 am

      My kids and I have been “camping” over the past couple years. We were in a greenhouse for several months and then we moved into 2 tiny travel trailers and a tent. For the past year and few months we have been in a 2 car garage on 2 acres of land. We have decided that we are going to build our Tiny House and have a finished home for once. (We could never afford to build a normal sized home) For the first time in years we are really excited about having a nice home. Here is the catch…We are building our Tiny House a bit bigger than the average Tiny homesteader. We are building 36′ long. (with lofts) Most people living Tiny seem to have 1 or 2 people. We have 7. Just thought I would share. We are working on our house designs now and will update everyone as our journey begins.

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      • Tiana August 29, 2012, 3:01 pm

        Why not go with a tow vehicle/adult quarters and a more tow-able TH with the kids quarters? We spent a winter south in our pickup with a tall shell. We had a sleeping platform with holds in it for food goods and kitchen equip. (also everything but a welder, as we traveled out on the Al-Can) A fold down shelf for the double burner propane stove, hooks along the wall under for mugs and all. One young kid who slept in the overhead single bunk at night, and our duffels went up there during the day. Our bed was a futon from Cotton Cloud in Portland, and made a great sofa during meals.
        We had a hitch basket for a porch, and perishables were in a 12v Norcold up in the extended cab.

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  • anotherkindofdrew August 7, 2012, 2:37 pm

    Great conversation. We have actually always had the thought of our tiny house as a “time in life,” so to speak. With a 10-month old daughter our family is constantly growing. We know that. Our motto has always been though that a house should grow with a family. A family should never feel obliged to grow into a house.

    To combat this or to make sure we didn’t build a tiny house and then have to sell it we built ours as a “pod structure.” In fact, we framed in a feux door so that we could cut through it, create a hallway, and add on to our house.

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    • Alex August 7, 2012, 4:08 pm

      That’s awesome Andrew I hadn’t realized you planned it out that way. Hope you guys are all doing well!

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    • Laura M. LaVoie August 8, 2012, 9:07 am

      I think this is a great way to work within the tiny house concept. I feel that the whole point of the lifestyle is to be adaptable, so why can’t it adapt to a growing family. This also means the Tiny r(E)volution will never be finished and we can keep reading your adventures.

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      • anotherkindofdrew August 8, 2012, 9:40 am

        Thank you so much Laura. I love the thought that our Tiny r(E)volution will always be ongoing; an adaptive lifestyle and habitat that will evolve as our family does.

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  • Bill August 7, 2012, 9:55 pm

    I love my Country but the housing restrictions,overall, are very frustrating.It seems as though we are destined to fail if we try to figure out ways to be frugal and simple.Having been a long dreamer of simplifying life,i think maybe I might have a plan that satisfies the grumpy neighbor and the county…
    our current economy has a large amount of “Big” homes already built in established neighbor hoods.What might be the feasibility of creating a “tiny-space” or two,within the mammoth money suckers.My Idea is to create a dwelling that minimizes the Money-sucking space and establishes a new task for the balance of the structure…a person might gut the whole thing and leave the facade of the outer shell and instead of a roof create an open area or a green-house,all within the confines of the faux-walls.My only concerns are paying a ,still-high house/property tax…you know what? Suddenly I feel stupid…let’s just CHANGE THE LAW !

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    • Rich August 9, 2012, 10:24 am

      YES! What goes around comes around, but instead of worrying about converting those mcmansions (which are ofter located miles from work/services) how about the closer neighborhoods often abandoned to build those mcmansions. Detroit and Buffalo are two cities coping with such redevelopment. You are imagining a new paradism that most in the US are unaware is on the horizon :) Rich

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Changing the law sounds WAY BETTER but I actually like your idea of a tiny house within only because it takes advantage of structures that already exist. Perhaps instead of letting them rot because banks kick people out of them and then don’t take care of them.

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    • Julie June 14, 2013, 9:53 am

      I gave this same concept a lot of thought. I live in Atlanta, GA and now live in Chicago, IL and I am starting to begin the process of building my own tiny house. Attempting to live tiny is a challenge in and of itself. Attempting to live tiny in an urban environment, I can only imagine how difficult that would be. I thought a lot about the potential for renting or purchasing a large, unused warehouse (which urban centers have plenty of). Large enough that it could house multiple tiny houses indoors. I don’t know the feasibility of this idea, but it’s something to think about.

      Also, does anyone here live in Chicago? I’d love to meet some other tiny house people here!

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  • Laura M. LaVoie August 8, 2012, 9:15 am

    Working within our local communities is the best way to create change. I think you’re right – we do need to expand the laws to make things more tiny house friendly.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Word up!! Thanks Laura :)

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  • jerryd August 8, 2012, 3:12 pm

    My 144sq’-12×12 cabin is designed for expansion so if more people need to be housed, just add another one.

    I went from a 100sq’ boat to a 180sq’ eff/cabin, now building my 144sq’ cabin and next yr going back to a 150sq’ trimaran sailboat. I’ve never required that much space to live, need much more for a workshop though!!

    Meg and Joe have it about right, invest wisely on high value but low cost things like a tiny house saves so much in the future by having almost no expenses.

    Now PV has dropped so much an eff TH could be powered by 1kw of panels even powering A/C if done right for just $2k for 20+ yrs of power. sunelec.com among others has $1/wt PV and about anything else you’ll need in PV installations.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:07 pm

      Great info, thanks Jerry!

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  • Molon Labe August 8, 2012, 3:13 pm

    The heart breaking one is the man from Mich, the story I just read about him not being able to live in his home on HIS property is horrible this is what my wife and I are afraid of. Because right now we are looking at some land for $4000 in Oregon. Seeking to leave CA behind. But are worried if we have a container home built or little house on the trailer. That we might get told we cant live in it. Property is zoned R2. So Im assuming its ok. So for now we are pressing forward. We’re looking at a tiny home/cottage. And having an insulated storage container for storage. We are also tossing around the notion of staying in so cal. Just to work. At least for a little bit longer. Then the cabin property eventually turning into our full time home. Small spaces is nothing new to me. As anyone whos served can attest, you live within set confines :) honestly gives a sense of stability. Uncluttered clarity. But anyways, retiring soon hopefully. The wife wants a new Camaro. Dream car kind of thing.i myself want to tinker with a reproduction steel body 32 roadster or 34 coupe. Camp and hunt on the property. Have a decent small garden.

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    • CPF August 9, 2012, 1:43 am

      It depends on where you are going to buy that land in Oregon. $4000 will only get you an acre in a whole lot of R2 *western* Oregon. If you want to reduce your likelihood of being hassled for living in something that doesn’t meet the County building codes, for heavens’ sake look for AR zoning or EFU. R2 sometimes comes with a whole pile of problems because it is not agriculture or forest or any of the ‘back country’ zoning categories. That ‘R’ means residential, and depending which county you’re in, that means that ALL you can do is dwell there. No livestock. No more than three non-running vehicles visible on the property. No to a lot of things. Even the AR zonings in much of Oregon prohibit living in travel trailers, single-wides, yurts etc. All if takes is one NIMBY neighbor complaining and you have to deal with the county zoning folks, the sheriff, the health department &&&&. You might be better off in the Humboldt…

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      • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 2:40 am

        Oregon is a Freer state than California, I served, as well have been working as a contractor, so being able once retiring to be able to have proper fire arms, and the ability to protect myself, and my wife, is very important, something sadly california lacks, with many restrictions. Thank you so much for you reply though!

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:10 pm

        Thanks for that info CPF

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:09 pm

      Wishing you the best Molon. As CPF says.. Do some more homework before you invest your money in the area. I’d highly suggest visiting and talking to as many neighbors as you can so you can get a feel for it before making the big commitment. It will be worth the travel expenses to know ahead of time.

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  • Molon Labe August 8, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Honestly. So much income is wasted. Trust me I know. I work EP/PSD for some of the wealthiest people around. What gets thrown away at a dinner could build my dream tiny home. Large modular workshop for wood work, and or working on vehicles. Or gunsmithing/blade forging. Setup for solar and wind power. Can you bellieve patch work “remodeled” homes in OC selling for $500-$700k? Heh…such a waste.

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  • Sherri August 8, 2012, 3:22 pm

    I have been interested in tiny house living a long time now, but financially it has not worked out yet. Currently I am living with all my kids and their families in a single family home that my youngest daughter bought. With 5 adults, a 5 year old, 5 cats, a pet squirrel and fish it’s almost like tiny house living in a big house in that our space per person is limited. I love living this way. I share a room with my little grandbaby because I asked to. It’s worked out great. I don’t mind his toys and have made lots of room for him to play by clearing out most all my clutter. I love that I get to be involved in the little guy’s life everyday especially because he has special needs. I do understand that people might need to upsize when their tiny house is no longer supporting how they need to live. Everyone needs to find the living situation that best makes their life wonderful. Good luck to everyone on their downsizing or upsizing adventures.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing Sherri. A big house well used is a wonderful thing. :)

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  • Liesl Schick August 8, 2012, 3:22 pm

    Well this depresses me. My husband and I our 4 kids and large dog were looking forward to downsizing to travel more – see the USA. We live in SE Michigan and hearing about the problems with codes and all is just sickening. I want to live in something we can afford not a home that restricts us monetarily and time wise. We are happiest when we live in a 600 square foot cabin (rented on vacation) and to hear that we cannot live how we want to makes me sad.

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    • Laura M. LaVoie August 10, 2012, 10:07 am

      Keep looking – there are answers but we have to come up with them for ourselves since what we are doing as a community is very different than what society is use to.

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  • Garth August 8, 2012, 3:37 pm

    960-square-foot requirement?? That’s ridiculous! _None_ of the houses in our neighborhood were originally that big. You can rent a studio apartment that’s 250 square feet or less though, and they don’t call _that_ uninhabitable living. Inside the city limits near us there are some tiny houses that are grandfathered in. You can’t build one that small now, but they’re not requiring that they be torn down just because they’re so small. One I’m thinking of faces an alley. The lot is only 25 feet wide and only goes half way to the street, and the house is so small there’s yard space around it. A friend has another house that’s only 300 square feet. In an unincorporated part of the city, there are a coule of trailer parks where people live in converted travel trailers, much smaller than single-wide mobilehomes.

    I hope the new tiny-house movement’s growing influence will put some sense into local governments to quit requiring houses to be big. I would prefer to own a lot less but I do want to _own_ a tiny house _and_ the land it’s on. Our house was perfect when our kids were growing up; but now with only one left to go to get married, I hope we can downsize in a few years– waaaaaay down.

    One of the city’s arguments against tiny houses is that they don’t bring in enough property-tax revenue; but they forget you can get more houses per block if they and the lots they sit on are smaller. Another argument is that they would diminish other property values in the city; but then it makes no sense that they have been allowing a lot of new apartment construction and the low life it brings, since apartment dwellers have no investment in it. Same goes for population density.

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    • Jennifer August 8, 2012, 8:29 pm

      That’s kind of a course comment about apartment dwellers… I live in one because I’m a single mom who can’t afford a mortgage & the expenses of upkeep right now. I’m not a low life & neither are my neighbors, one of which lost their home to the mortgage crisis. We have an investment in them because even though we don’t own them the apartments we live in are our homes! I keep my apartment nicer that a lot of homeowners I know!! I’m planning on my tiny home to be my retirement home so I won’t have to worry about competing with younger people for the small number of jobs that are available…

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      • Garth August 8, 2012, 9:47 pm

        Yes, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn’t mean that all apartment dwellers are low life. We lived in an apartment our first seven years of marriage, and I liked it until near the end when the management changed. Until then we had good neighbors too. That particular area has gone downhill a lot since we moved out of the apartment too, but that’s not to say it’s true of all areas.

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      • Molon Labe August 8, 2012, 11:57 pm

        JEN: Apt dwellings doesnt mean low life, while working abroad, most of the accomodations provided for me, where lofts. Bed, mini fridge, desk, normal shower toilet and a sink…that was it. I lived this way for 5 years abroad providing protective services in Chile, Philippines, Spain, etc. I have to say-I am not a low life. And MANY of the ppl I’ve met in such small tiny dwellings are not either. Some are, but most are not. May be sh*tpile areas. But still have good people mixed with bad elements. Its all relative. And Yes we want to tiny home for our retirement as well. We dont need alot of space for a fridge, a stove, sink, toilet, shower, master bedroom, HER closet, and I’d just have a little clothes rack outside in dining area/living room. Not a big deal. But would love a larger sep building to store things that are important to us. I for instance take a little piece of places I’ve been home. I collect menus, and business cards of places I eat, business cards of ppl I work with, or businesses I buy from. I also do a lot of automotive work I want to broaden once I retire. Keep reaching for your goals!

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:13 pm

      I can understand the need to want to own both the home and the land. Gives you so much more peace of mind. Thanks for your thoughts Garth.

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  • Margaret August 8, 2012, 3:38 pm

    This is a big dream for me but we want to live near my husband’s work because he truly loves his career choice. That means living in Los Angeles and we could never afford land here. So I continue to save and dream. Maybe when our boy is grown and it is just us we can do it.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:16 pm

      Thanks, Margaret. I wonder how the pricing and availability of studios are in LA since it’s a big city. That’s somewhere I wouldn’t mind living for some time either.

      Cities and tiny houses seem to be a challenging combination. I guess because of high population there’s also really hardly any room for tiny houses to just sit somewhere and take up room. But the good part is that there are most likely studio apartments available in those areas.. They’re just pricey.. But you can still save by being close to everything, not needing a vehicle, etc.

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      • Garth August 14, 2012, 4:59 am

        Being close to everything and not needing a vehicle can be a problem here in SoCal because of zoning and how things are laid out and very spread out. That’s a major cause of traffic and polution problems (although the smog is very minor compared to a few decades ago, thanks to cleaner-burning cars). Various industries are in pockets throughout the area. Mine is in pockets that are all 30 miles from where we live, but OTOH there are at least a hundred machine shops in the next town that borders a mile away. You could decide to move closer to your job, and find that then it’s super far from where the jobs are for your wife’s field of work– so you can’t win. My sisters both moved into a bedroom community, a new housing development, where they could get a big house for a lot less money; but then although there were people everywhere, there wasn’t so much as a convenience store for miles, and no such thing as kids walking to school. OTOH, in the country where I grew up, it was common for people to live in the back of the building they had their business in. In our residencial neighborhood, a couple of little food stores, a pharmacy, a butcher shop, a mechanic’s shop, the athletic club, and a post office were all within a couple of blocks.

        As for the studio apartments around here though, most now cost more per month than the payments on the house we bought 21 years ago, and it gets much worse if you move into the downtown L.A. area (which we stay away from). Most of SoCal is not a concrete jungle at all like downtown L.A. is though. There’s very little of that. I’d say there’d be plenty of land if local governments didn’t insist that a house be so big and sit on a lot with big lawns. More land is always getting developed too.

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  • Greta August 8, 2012, 3:47 pm

    One thing that seems to puzzle me is where everyone is setting up their tiny houses? I see that some people are setting up on their friends or family’s land and some are buying their own land. Any other spots? If you want to move around every year or two is it really worth buying a piece of land? Wouldn’t that simply cause more financial burden that the tiny house is trying to alleviate (at least for me)?

    Thanks for your insight!

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    • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 12:08 am

      Well when I joined a new company this year, I had to leave my wife local, because she can’t travel with (nature of work), I decided I was really tired of working some of the most dangerous corners of the globe any futher (I’m getting old), and decided to just take assignments around the nation. In anycase, I lived happily for a while in an old smaller bambi? I think it was called, air stream? Put a reverse door in, and added a security door outside, Shutter structured the windows. A few solar panels, a tall fridge/freezer combo from the big box store. A small snapon tool box, a gunnery safe, a fullsize bed, and company contracted the rest like electrical, communications setup so I could work from in trailer, and just met the teams I would work with, or head at locations given prior time to travel. Allowed me to coup the frustration and burned out feeling that took over me working abroad. Now the draw back to land, is it ties you down. You lose the ability to free roam, cause it is just there, essentially. Now in places like some third world countries, having a small plot of land is nice! Large families living out of a small storage container. Luxurious. Honestly, a small chunk of land, woodland area to run around in and explore, hunt, live off the land, to farm and grow my own food. Reminds me of long term protective service assignments I ran back in the days, having to take care of the rich hippy kids of some well off folks, whos child wanted to “make a difference” in the world. Oddly enough, allowed for me to farm, and grow food happily. To help in building cheap shacky dwellings for newly unioned youth in a town setting, to have their own stead to call home. Was nice. Having land has its + and – just depends on the person. As for financial burden? One of the properties I know of is 5 acres, I am in contact with a few friends, wife and I want to build on it, but are welcoming a few friends who tiny home, to put roots down when we are there, if we chose to stay in So Cal and work further, for a while bit longer, that means they have perm place to put their homes, as well can watch over ours if we aren’t there all the time! To each there own and their own circumstances~

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  • jerryd August 8, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Margret, you might look into boat yards that are well off the water. In Costa Mesa, Long Beach, etc there are a lot of boat, industural yards that rent space where you could build and even live in a tiny house, just call it a boat.

    Afterall a house is just a boat so badly built it’ll sink ;^P

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    • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 12:12 am

      The places like in Balboa are a bit strict of what one may be doing, I worked security for a man and his family, while his son was working on his bought to make it liveable, and seemed like everyday, he’d get harassed for the “eye sore” bugged me that the snobs in the area had their noses so high lifted

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  • ARK August 8, 2012, 3:56 pm

    All these stories are inspirational. Thanks to all.
    Gives me lots to think about living in a tiny home.
    ARK

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:17 pm

      Thanks ARK glad you found it inspiring :)

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  • Dominick Bundy August 8, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Living in a tiny space should be a personal choice. And some would have a reason to “up size” later on maybe. but living in a tiny house probably wouldn’t be ideal place to start or raise a family in…

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    • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 12:15 am

      Depends on the family, the people. Their social structure and dynamics within their family, and surrounding influence i.e. school and or work. I’ve known plenty of families that have small homes, imagine a 20ft container space for a family of 5. Not very big, now imagine 4 more container families like that. The kids go off and fish early in the day, for lunch and dinner. But also gather shell fish and fruits. They go to school and help with many chores, simple life, but a good life. A small home doesn’t mean impossible. But loft like in many of the homes, would be detrimental imo.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:19 pm

      Great point Dominick. In most circumstances a tiny space isn’t too ideal for raising a family. But Molon’s right, it can work in some cases. But when the kids start getting older I think they deserve their own space. Thanks guys!

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  • Brook August 8, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Alex and the rest,
    Great topic. I live in a Tiny house near Lake Tahoe. For me, living in a tiny house is about being outside and having a lot of elbow room. I am a 5 minute bike ride from town. I am not in compliance and I don’t really care. My neighbors know that I am here and don’t mind. In october, I will not be able to stay because we get feet and feet of snow. I would enjoy it, but it’s inappropriate for my 3 year old son. For me, Tiny is perfect for many stages of life. I am a builder and my dream is to build a family home that will last for centuries. A tiny house is a way for me to live close to nature, sustainably develop a piece of land, and smartly invest in my future. By October, I plan to have enough infrastructure that I can rent the compound out to others. I let young people camp on the land in exchange for help. As it stands today, I have a 150 s.f. Sleeping Cabin, 200s.f Tipi, 160 s.f,(24′) shipping container ( in progress) and 2 guest tents. 5 people living simply without running water or electricity for the summer. By contrast, the 700s.f, apartment that I lived in last winter was a depressing cave. I have evolved from a stressed builder to a calmer artisan. I am sitting under an umbrella in my infinite outdoor living room, the falcons are hunting squirrels. I spent the morning discussing building a container house for someone else and building an art project for Burningman. My tiny house is a great asset.

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  • Dixie Hacker Hurley August 8, 2012, 4:41 pm

    I loved all the comments on tiny houses. Years ago, my children’s Dad left me for another woman, an late just say it left me destitute money wise too. I had no education either . well, I moved into an rented a tiny I mean tiny place which was actually in someone’s back yard, it had a bathroom , an one other room, that was a larger area decided into a kitchen dining area, an the other side a liveing room space. I had an antique dresser, a love seat, dining table an chairs, an a couch that made out to a full bed the kids being little slept there, I slept on the love seat. . We spent almost three years there before moveing into a small house, with two actual bedrooms.
    Yet , the thing both of my kids will tell you they remember most about that tiny place was that time was an is to this day remembered as being the happiest in their childhood lives..

    I decorated it to the nines like the cutest little doll house you’d ever seen, nothing was off limits to the kids unless it was dangerous, I had their friends over all the time on weekends for slumber parties an pizza parties. I sang to them , I told them stories, an read from the bible to them now abn then too.
    I cleaned other peoples dirty big houses for a liveing, an baby sat, an did everything I could to make an honest dollar to support my children an myself. We had so little, an yet my children to this day. Tell everyone listen to what my mom did for us, an they describe that time, an say it was the best time hands down in their childhood memorie bank! Wow I’m still stunned every time I hear them say this.

    Dixie Hacker Hurley.

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    • deborah August 8, 2012, 5:50 pm

      Dixie as you know too well, kids don’t need big houses and things, they need a parents love and time. You did very, very, well by them……and yourself, too!!! ;-) deb in s.AL

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:25 pm

        Thanks Deborah, right on!!

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    • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 12:26 am

      An associate of mine had a similar occurance. He worked years and years, to put his wife through nursing, and month before he retired? He caught a round into his chest, another as he fell over, into the back, and into his spine. He was semi disabled. Now adays? He can walk. Not run, or lift anything. But he can thankfully walk, his wife left him, kids and all. For some rich Dana Point Dwelling gentleman.

      Anyways, his medical expenses all but left him near broke. A man we once provided services to, and extracted his family when his daughter was kidnapped, we got her back, AND as well pulled his family from region, and settled them elsewhere. Long story short, times have changed. That man became a huge deal, his finger legitimately in everything down there. Heard about his situation, said, you come down here, train the staff for some of my stores, and security for housing, etc. And you can have a slice of heaven down there. So now he’s got a 3 bedroom little home. His eldest daughter has the property next to his a 1 bedroom home, has 2 grand kids btw. His son has the home next to him on other side a 1 bdrm as well. My associate is a security consultant now. Also over sees community outreach, education, projects for sanitation and basics like water, and etc.

      He will be coming back stateside for surgery around Dec or so, hopefully help finish repair work, to allow him to be more active and capable again, as to keep up with his grand kids.

      Life takes one in weird places, you don’t need a huge home to feel complete, nor to give a child a whole and loving upbringing. Often times, you can make such a dwelling an adventure, and because of the close knitt nature of the home? Make life more meaningful, complete.

      Dixie, ANY MAN, who leaves his family? Is not a man, honestly? In some places of the world, they bury such guys in dumps. Just saying. You make a life with someone else love, someone who’ll appreciate you, and take advantage of your value, and know you are a great woman. A real woman who takes care of her family? Deserves a REAL man. Your ex’s loss. Not yours. God Bless and take care of yourself.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:25 pm

      Hi Dixie. Thanks so much for sharing that. It’s beautiful and so true that what children need most are parents who love and care for them. I’ve seen this with my niece and nephews. They just want to be close. I look back and remember being in a big house with my little brother. We all had our own rooms. He would never be in his own room because he wanted to hang out with his brothers and parents. He hardly even wanted to sleep in there. He wanted to be close to the family. Wishing you the best, Dixie!

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  • Sandy Honea August 8, 2012, 4:52 pm

    I love the house and it would be very hard to leave. Glad someone close to you will use it. One day we hope to have a tiny house on family property for visits. For now we use a teardrop to go camping, so close quarters is a reality for us, but only when camping.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

      Thanks Sandy! Would love to see your teardrop. I’ve always wanted one since I found out about them a few years back.

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  • mary August 8, 2012, 4:52 pm

    After years of living in smallish apartments (the last probably 500-600 square feet) I upsized, and then upsized again. Now I’m downsizing again-for now to 600 square feet as I plan to build my dream small house.

    Housing depends on our values, needs and goals. Those change with time. In my 20s I wanted mobility. Small apartments were fine. After all, everything I owned fit in a Ford Escort during college. I thought I owned the world when I actually needed to make two trips to move everything. In my 30s, I thought I wanted to settle in, prove my success, show everyone what I’d accomplished. I thought I was tired of small spaces and that buying a larger repo would be a great idea. It was, for awhile. I hit the housing market just right. But now in my 40s I see things differently again. My idea of success has changed. My goals and future plans are radically different. I’m looking for cozy and comfortable. My own, but without the stresses of ownership that come with a larger structure.

    I liked my small apartments. I enjoyed my bigger houses. And I will love my small house when it’s built. Maybe in my 50s I’ll do something different again. But for now, I’m finding that a small house will be just right.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

      Hi Mary thanks for sharing that. It’s so interesting how our needs change with time. I guess it’s because a lot of us change over time, huh.. My biggest home so far was a 2br/2ba condo. It was beautiful. But was unnecessary. With a family or housemates I could go back to something like that. But for now, I love simple and as small as possible.

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  • deborah August 8, 2012, 5:30 pm

    When one is young, it is often a time filled with dreams and wanting to be different from the rest of the herd. Once you try to be a rebel you often find it’s not really for you. How many of we old hippies are left, after all?

    I feel for those who left because they had to and didn’t want to and I truly hope and pray they can one day get back their dream. I really despise people who try and destroy someone else’s dream for whatever reason. I hope Karma steps in quickly for people like that.

    I am in my mid- 60’s and have always walked the path less chosen and will die this way. I live small, way out in the boonies on ten acres, and am considered a recluse, but it makes me happy to live as I do. Live and let live is my motto as long as you are not hurting someone else by doing so.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:30 pm

      Right on Deborah, thanks so much!

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  • Alberto August 8, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Thanks all for your stories and input. I’ve been following the movement, saving pictures and design ideas for whenever I finally take the plunge.

    The problem for me is 4-fold, I’d say. Money, Land, Security and Work. Some of the concepts I like I’ll be implementing soon as I can in my current dwelling (560sqft), like going off-grid in a small scale and living as simple as possible.

    Money is hard to come-by. I work on my own, which gives me some freedom, but to start a project like this and do it right I need some cash saved, which will take additional time. The good thing as we can see, is that you recoup a lot more when going in, so is just a matter of finding the basic $$$, but Im not there yet.

    The land part is a problem too, and house permits and so on, gotta find out how lenient the laws are here in that regard, but honestly I havent gotten to that part yet. I’ve seen small houses before but not as small as a Tiny and livable (you could have one for a vacations kind of thing but to live I havent yet seen one). This one also goes hand in hand with the Work. Where my clientele is usually located is in an area where buying land is impossible (for my budget anyways) Going farther inland is possible but then I have to factor in gas money, car maintenance and tolls). I have a very efficient car, so is not that bad, but it requires lots of planning definitely.

    The Security part, well, things down here are kind of crazy, bad guys spread their bullets whenever they feel like and in Dec 31st, bullets go high and then do the return trip and I’m not quite sure how a tiny house roof would survive a few landing bullets. Quite honestly this is one of my biggest concerns, not only the ones coming from up high, but when bullets are shot specifically at your house…

    Right now I live in this place where all walls are thick concrete, so bullets might go in thru windows, but walls are secure. Also, our weather features lots of rain and from this month down to november the ocasional hurricane :)

    I keep looking for options, I loooove the idea, the concept, the zero mortgage or rent payments, and really low footprint.

    One thing that attracts me a lot is one that some folks dont realize and is just that we might see a really tiny house, but once you open your door and go outside, you have the biggest rooms and views available to you and your family. You could have a BBQ everyday if you so choose, or whatever you enjoy best. And this is what I like the most of it, small quarters, low upkeep, choose a job that fits into your new lifestyle and keeping in mind that stuff happens… saving some for a tiny house replacement is not a bad idea.

    Thanks all, its really inspiring to read about your experiences and all that, and one day, I might be able to be one too.

    Alberto

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:34 pm

      Thanks, Alberto. I’m wishing you the best from over here. I think it’s important to factor in stuff like your commute. Is a tiny house worth it if you have to drive an extra hour or two daily? It’s a tough call you know because it’s not just gas money, it’s that time.. everyday. That’s important to me. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your thoughts! Stay safe!

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  • Dixie Hacker Hurley August 8, 2012, 6:40 pm

    To deb in s. AL thank you from Dixie Hacker Hurley for the nice compliment ..I am certainly not sorry I had to live the tiny life with my children, it made us all better human beings I think, an it gives children the chance to learn that love an family are more important than things , you are so right they don’t need everything. So I have no regrets for that life an even now sometimes find myself missing it a lot. I’d move back into a tiny house in a heart beat, an will if I ever get the chance to again.
    Dixie Hacker Hurley.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:35 pm

      Thanks again, Dixie! You are so awesome. God bless!

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  • Linda Lyons-Bailey August 8, 2012, 7:16 pm

    “My tiny house is currently still on the property in Michigan. It’s perfectly legal for me to leave it there; I just can’t live in it there. Yes, see, it is fully within my rights to buy the land and do whatever I want with it – neglect it, trash it, whatever. However, I am not allowed to live on it and take care of it because my house is too small.”

    This is so, so stupid. Why do we restrict the freedom of people to live in homes THEY built, in a simple lifestyle that consumes less and that they can actually afford? Could it be that richer people make less money off of us that way?

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    • Bill August 8, 2012, 8:57 pm

      Hey Linda,
      I hear what your saying but I don’t think we can lay our problems in the “Rich peoples” lap.My feeling is that the County/state/nation governments “WE the People” elected have created a govt that is too huge and needy…Smaller Govt=smaller houses…

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:38 pm

        Well said Bill, thanks! It’s a difficult thing because homeowners don’t want people living in old beat up travel trailers next door.. I mean, I wouldn’t either. But if it’s a beautiful tiny house on a trailer I wouldn’t mind at all. So there does have to be some kind of rules/laws so that it’s all fair.

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        • Garth August 10, 2012, 5:55 pm

          Yet there’s such inconsistency in the laws. Our neighbor on one side has a back yard that’s a mess, with weeds, and lots of old, dirty, non-op cars, trailers for ATVs, absolutely no lawn left, etc., which is not illegal, but a beautiful little live-in house in the back would be illegal. (We are good friends with the neighbor, and although I don’t like the mess, I would stick up for his right to do whatever he wants with the land as long as he’s not producing fumes or noise or something that causes problems for us. If the view got bad enough, we have the freedom to put up a tall, decorative fence or wall on our side of the property line if we wanted to.)

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    • Ann November 18, 2012, 8:51 am

      Did you apply for a variance? If the neighbors are OK with your little house, a variance can often be had. Especially if the zoning board knows that it is easy to move if a future buyer decides to build a larger house.

      Everyone talks on TV about corporate greed, but the bigger greed IMO is the government greed that won’t let a person buy a property and put a perfectly nice home on it because that home is small and won’t raise the taxes you pay!

      Government greed is behind most zoning, and all the added fees, and it wasn’t always this way. We like our freedom, aren’t asking for anything except to be let alone to enjoy what we want to build.

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  • Ann August 8, 2012, 7:52 pm

    I’m interested in the small movement for many reasons. I have discovered that we spend nearly all our time in PART of our house. Hubby needs a large building for workshops, parts, tools, etc. But we’re discovering we don’t need so much house.

    My entire work area– sewing, music, and writing fit in a bedroom.

    Nearly 2/3 of the floorspace in the house is currently storage for tools we do not yet have workshop space to house– and I DO NOT MISS the living space. It has been an interest revelation.

    I even have found myself going through boxes of my stuff to evaluate what I actually need vs what is there simply because somebody decided I ought to own it. I’m feeling lighter each time I send another box of stuff away.

    Truthfully, the music, the sewing, the books and my desk/writing area are the only essentials– I have a kitchen 4 times the size I actually need. I do all my prep on a short stretch of counter that is literally only 1/4 of the counter space in there. The rest I simply don’t use and I hate having to clean and pay taxes on space I don’t use and no longer want.

    Don’t get me started on how much I HATE having four, yes, four, bathrooms to clean! Do you know that if you close the bathroom door on a CLEAN bathroom and don’t use it, when you go back in the blasted place will STILL need to be cleaned again?

    And we keep down-sizing and evaluating how we actually live when we are happy. Money would be so much easier if we had less house.

    I may not be a 120 sq foot living gal, but the ideas behind this movement are so very spot on that anyone can benefit from them and I’m encouraged to keep paring down our lives as I read blog posts and comments like this.

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    • Liesl Schick August 10, 2012, 12:44 pm

      Oh, Ann you and I must be related in some way! My family does not seem to get it. I too purge constantly to the horror of my parents and siblings. “What if you might need it someday?!” The bathroom thing – I agree. I have 3 and it drives me insane. Personally 1 bathroom and an outhouse for my 3 boys would suffice. Speaking of which – I have put off cleaning the bathrooms all week and must now get to work :-(

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      • Ann August 10, 2012, 2:12 pm

        Well, I spent a good bit of my time being a pack-rat and found I was not happy. So I swore to change my ways and find a better life for myself. hence, the slow purge.

        I’ve taken it slow because when I began I simply had NO idea what of all that stuff and furniture was there because I needed/wanted it or just because it was socially expected of me. NO CLUE.

        Well, we no longer own a couch, do not miss it, and I have gone from there.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:41 pm

      Wow, Ann, thanks SO much for sharing. It’s amazing the amount of effort it takes to part with all of the things we’ve accumulated over the years and it’s encouraging to see you going at it ahead of time. Thanks again!

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  • CPF August 8, 2012, 8:06 pm

    The question I want to know the answer to, every time I see a Tiny house or read about them, is: do the people who live in tiny houses DO anything (besides the job and the vegie garden)? Artists, crafters, woodworkers, farmers etc have tools and supplies, and need space to store finished items. If you ‘live in’ the Tiny house, but you have an additional studio &/or workshop &/or garage &/or barn, aren’t you sort of fudging on the concept? If you use 1600 sq ft that happens to be in several separate buildings, it is still 1600. It is much like insisting you are “off grid”, but you use gasoline to move your home around, use a hose & extension cord to access a friend’s city water & electricity, and dump your waste at a trailer dumping station.

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    • Garth August 8, 2012, 10:15 pm

      CPF: Since I became aware of the tiny-house movement, I’ve thought about this many times as I’ve observed that some people’s interests definitely take a lot more room than others’. I know people who actually own private museums, even for cars and motorcycles which take room. A piano takes far more room than a flute. Restoring antique furniture requires more room than writing software or books on one’s laptop. Some sports equipment requires a lot more storage space than a pair of running shoes. My wife and I probably wouldn’t fit in a Tumbleweed tinyhouse, but neither do we need anywhere near the 1260 square feet plus 2-car garage we have after the last son gets married and moves out. Unfortunately some of our space is occupied only because it’s there, and parents have wanted to “bless” us with a nice diningroom set, a friend with very little money keeps wanting to show friendship by giving me stuff he found at the swap meet, etc., and it would be easier to turn it away if we just didn’t have the room.

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:48 pm

        Thanks Garth! I also like and appreciate the middle ground homes between Tumbleweeds and today’s “small” homes and would love to see more of them for people like you. I guess it’s like 1950’s style homes, isn’t it? We need to bring those back.

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    • deborah August 9, 2012, 8:10 am

      I agree. There was an article in MEN last year, I believe, about this man and woman who built a 350 sq. ft house, but she also had a 350 sq. ft. studio on their land which was just for her artistic endeavors.

      I see nothing wrong with this idea if you are on your own land. We have a 50′ X 30′ shop for my husbands auto restoration business, a 12 X 10′ PB for his office, a 12 X 24′ PB with garage door for parts storage, a 12’X 24′ PB made into a guest cottage, plus a 10’x 15′ greenhouse where I start my seedlings and cuttings I sell.

      Our goal 15 years ago was to buy affordable land with cash and move our businesses onto it. We knew we were going to be retiring and needed a way to add to our meager Social Security. My husband retired last year and we are doing very well because of our plans years ago. It wasn’t hard to see that the “bubble” was going to burst before all was said and done and we took action sooner than later.

      My advice to everyone is to start now, not later to become a frugal thinker. Ask yourself what is really important and what is just BS.

      Well, I better stop here. I have so much advice but this is not the place to write a book…lol…

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      • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:46 pm

        Thanks, Deborah. How interesting! Glad you were able to see the bubble before it was too late. The last few years have taught me a lot. And it seems like cycles like this happen over and over, even though this last one has been intense. But at least now I know what signs to look for the next time around in life. Wish you and your husband the best!

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      • Ann November 18, 2012, 8:59 am

        Deborah, you could write an ebook offered on Amazon for $.99 and see where it goes.

        I find I will try nearly anything that interests me if the ebook is under a dollar. If I like it, I write my friends about it. Who knows, you might end up with huge sales.

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    • Alex August 10, 2012, 4:43 pm

      Great question CPF.. I guess tiny homes for people like this just wouldn’t work unless they had an additional workspace either on site or somewhere else that they’d have to commute to. I think some of them have jobs though and others are being able to work out of their laptops. Thanks for the interesting question!

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  • Nichole August 8, 2012, 8:12 pm

    Michael,

    [I have already purchesed 22 beautiful wood-land achers of off-grid land in Tennessee. The land is “unrestricted” and allows trailers and or R.V.s to be parked on the property as well as lived in.]

    Go MAN go! Good for you! Unrestricted land is difficult to find in many places. Would you mind sharing how you found unrestricted land? Are there certain counties in TN that are easier to find the unrestricted land versus others? I have been looking at TN…great place, not too cold, not too hot, far enough away from the New Madrid Fault. In other words great “strategic” location :)

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    • Michael August 9, 2012, 10:39 pm

      Hey, Nichole; thanks for the encuragement. We have bought our land through Clasic Country Land. There are still a few very nice properties like ours in the same area of Tennessee. Look them up on the internet; they have land in other parts of the country as well… but not sure if those properties are unrestricted as well. Just have to check with them or the counties of that state prior to making the commitment to buy it. We bought our property, nt just to be able to have a place to put our tiny home; but, to build a work barn to build more tiny houses. We are planning in the future to put a couple more tiny houses on the property to rent out. Being about one hour from Nashville will make our property attractive for “glamping” opportunities for the city dwellers who want to “get away” from the city for a few days or so. We also plan to do some “prepping” by building underground food storage (i.e. storage container under ground).

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  • Molon Labe August 8, 2012, 11:48 pm

    Liesl Schick: its still possible. To see the nation/travel. Friend of mine who worked security abroad for 30 years, has 4 kids a large airstream, and a f350. They spent the better part of 3 years modifying the thing. From dbl L and R rear bunk beds, to 2 ac units. a normal size shower, a 2 burner stove, roof full of solar panels, a handful few they setup a few feet away from the trailer when they are stationary. They have sets of bicycles, 2 ktm adventure bikes. They realized they were losing their 6bdrm home, that they didnt honestly like/need. Was just to big, to much to take care of. They sold nearly everything they had, they’ve had their fill of touring around. And have settled in Idaho. They purchased a 3 acre property for $6200. And are building cabin/tiny homes for their kids to have their own dwelling. The parents will have a larger cottage. The oldest at 18 is a promoter on the side, or was. And also does lots of work in solidworks. She does welding, and iron work. Is getting into woodworking as well. Amatuer model, and has been trying to get her parents to OK her documenting the sites preparations, and she wants to document the build process for their tiny homes. Did I mention for a kid whos been saving her pennies since she was small, to buy a horse originally, shes looking at buying her dream car instead? A new Toyota Tacoma 4×4 6cyl, she said she intends to be able to tow her tiny home later when she moves to a plot of land her own? She lerks on here and a few other TH sites, shes been using sketchup to design her home, as well to design what her green house will look like. Her dad being ex security, and both parents being former Military, they are aware and keen on safety. Lots of down scaling, lots of prioritizing. But one thing she wants is a larger warehouse structure, modular steel I believe, to house what she collects, such as art, she does alot of photography. She said she doesnt need a huge living space, but the things in her life do need a little bit more space. She wants a work shop her own. Business she wants to get into is maybe when shes older build shells thatre very very cheap to get into, that others can finish/alter and modify themselves. And or she also had a lively fb chat with myself and a few other people, shes outraged how there isn’t better land options within cities, or closer, or more freedoms in relation to where one can put their house. She said she wishes smaller plots of land could be made available in the cities, not to rent, but to own, with hook ups for utilities, shes a bit bitter, as her friends family lost everything too, and had to down size to an apt, then a loft apt. And the dad hung himself last year…

    But off topic sorry. But you see, you can be mobile, Tiny Homes in themselves may not be for everyone in an exacting form, but I believe promote and help show, less excess is a good thing :) from material/possessions to space :)

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  • Dixie Hacker Hurley August 9, 2012, 12:41 am

    To molon Labe thank you for your encouragement I so much appreciate it, you know it continually amazes me how many good an decent folks there really are left in this world. You just have to be looking in the right places. Over the years, I’ve indeed had many doubts about myself as a woman an a person, but I always vowed to try to be the best mother I could be, an my children now confirm they think I’ve been the best they could have. It’s a real Blessing to know your children feel this way. It makes every heart break, every sacrifice a million times worth it, an I’m Happy to hear your friend has been able to make such a good life for himself an his children as well. tiny houses always an forever now will represent hope an family love to myself an my children. They’re wonderful !

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    • Molon Labe August 9, 2012, 1:34 am

      Good people are everywhere, as jaded as I can be, I have to remind myself, to never forget that fact. Never doubt yourself, always question yourself yes, always put into check what youre doing outcomes and current situations. And choose a course of action, for what I can tell, you’ve done your best for your children, and yourself. Taking care of ones self alone is a task in the world today. But your kids as well? You are a great parent, most take an easy way out, they focus on things irrelevant and empty. Like cars, or etc things that revolves around THEM. Good on you for doing right by your kids. As a woman? Damn, taking responsibility and care of your children in itself shows the kind you are. As a person, a human being? Relate that to a tiny home, the most essential and unique as all are, each individual of their owners, not puffed up and in excess like massive homes that dot the southern california land scapes. Point of mentioning my friend is he was struck with misfortune, and dishonesty/unfaithfulness of his spouse. And because his actions and safeguarding a client and the extended family, years later, that same good deed/action was full heartedly repaid, when not expected in any inclination.

      Good people are so hard to find, and I have met many people, and in different places around the world. They say you can find out much about a person by the life they lead, the choices they make, the actions they perform, and the ideals and details as minuscule as some may be they do. Never feel disheartened, discouraged, no matter your situation or age, dream still. And reach. Reach for yourself, reach for your kids.

      I’ve never stopped dreaming. And maybe the draw of a tiny home for me? Is because I’ve never really stayed in one place. I’ve always lived a nomadic life, until I was married, I didn’t think much of a dwelling permanent. Nor did I fathom that one day? I’d settle and slow down. But now? Different possibilities are arising, even amongst the turmoil our nation has been in. From crazed shootings, in theaters to other various acts of violence…that now…even amid such things. A tiny home, the chance to work on a little car, the chance to just drive across stretches of woodland, come to some water, walk to the line, get some water to boil/sanitize, make some coffee, get some fishing equipment out…or just being in tiny home, playing a digital piano, or a violin, or guitar, or being able to finally sit down and enjoy tv shows ive longed to watch, though now they are done. No longer new…but remain in syndication. So much has passed by. The years have gone by like blurs of drunken memories, my work has consumed me, and I actually am very very tired. Though as I am, the things I’ve seen, places I’ve gone. A small tiny home, embodies, freedom, the chance to slow down, and watch tv shows like Smallville, or Stargate, or History Channel sets, heh.

      Always dream, always keep your head up high. Good people are hard to find, you’ve done right by your kids. Keep dreaming~ its always the planning stages of possible futures :)

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  • Gus Gregerson August 9, 2012, 12:49 am

    At 60 years +, with an underwaterhome and job transitioned out of our badly-named ‘recession’ dein 30 years of cabinetmaking and remodeling into health care, the appeal of tiny living is enormous. Actually having a choice between living under a bridge in a cardboard box after paying bills for another decade, or having a universal-access, energy-responsible tiny home w/a outdoor view is also very appealing. I have friends who went into stealth-living mode just outside our urban-edged town. Bit of undesirable land (yup, its out there, marginal, have to bring in fill, on county gravel roads, commuting is required…but only for groceries, health care, and employment:) and a city/county/state-ordance approved steel building in 36×40-60ft dimension. Drag in an older travel trailer, gut, insulate and personalize the structure. Cut in windows in the “pole building” that match the trailer’s existing ones, and insulate the entire structure. Pole Barn exterior, gravel/stone/cement floor and the combo living area and shop areas, separate but accessible in your pajamas, are in place. Off-grid in pieces, improve the tiny space, pay taxes on the pole barn and develop good neighbors who appreciate your lifestyle…helps if you help them w/projects around their not-so-tiny places. The folks I mention above, lost jobs, suffered staggering health events, had family members lose everything a move back “home”. Some found property contract for deeds, others sold everything, paying debts (some are still paying on stuff they no longer have, vs. bankruptcy…heck of a lead-weight for thousands of folks) but are now happy, “Tiny inside of Bigger”. Thanks to all who posted. Inspirational blog and the ideas shared will keep me awake on my commute for many days to come. Gus

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  • Nick Penney August 9, 2012, 2:12 am

    Hey, I’ve been researching tiny trailer homes for a while, probably over a year and a half or so. I’m 23 (soon to be 24) years old and I am a part time sideshow performer. I do a lot of busking (street performing for gratuity), and I’ve worked in a small bakery for, July made it 6 years. It’s a small 5 man crew and I enjoy it and all. But the pay is low. My mother died the day after my 22nd birthday, what a phone call to wake up to :( and I nearly went bankrupt paying the $6,633 dollar funeral bill. I was living with my girlfriend and her almost 3 year old son, but the depression after my moms death was too much for her. So we split. I went to live with my 2 of my 3 sisters, trying to come up with funeral money and “everyday needs” money. I soon learned that there was no way that situation could last for long. Love my sister, just can’t live with her. Anyway, I went to stay at my best friend and co-workers place. That’s when I realized I didn’t need much space. He ended up moving back in with his ill mother (cant blame him), but it left me struggling to make the rent. 3 months later I found myself homeless. Did that for almost 5 months. I cleaned up in the bathroom at work, and kept my very little amount of possessions in a small storage unit. My boss ended up learning of my situation, and let me roommate with him. Thats okay for now, but I want to go full time as a performer. I can’t stay in Maine (my home state), there just isn’t a market for what I do. I need to build a tiny house. I have no carpentry skills, meaning I can hammer a nail, thats about it. I have a really limited income, and still trying to buy a gravestone for my mom (dec will be 2 years since her death). Life Stinks (great film by the way, watched it this morning). But you do the best with what you got.

    Regards, Nick

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    • Keith August 9, 2012, 11:03 pm

      Nick ,First Sorry for ur Loss ! If The Gov. Would let us live simple that would b so nice in so many ways Just Make sure u Have the vehicle to pull it & I also checked into Ultralite Aluminum Trai;ers ! ! VRV.com They Have the Best Construction . Wish U All The Luck .

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  • Norbert August 9, 2012, 8:57 am

    Alex;

    This is one of the things that I have heard from friends I know that we have discussed the simplicityof downsizing. The reason for most of them not making the decision has been due to the legal issues and red tape from Zoning laws and building codes. I can understand with Johnathan and his place in Michigan. The other problem is having a tiny house on a trailer and finding a “legal” place to park it. I am truly irritated that the beuocracy is not making living easier (Downsizing) instead they are more concerned with keeping homeowners in debt for 30 years with a mortgage to line their pockets. When people decide to downsize and build a tiny house, they are faced with places to park it. I do miss the simple life. That is what I would rather have; a life where you grow and hunt what you need, and light your house with solar power and recycle your poop in the field. It is hard to believe that life was so simple 100 years ago.

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  • Dixie Hacker Hurley August 9, 2012, 10:12 am

    Once gain Molon Labe, thank you so much for the encourageung words an kindness, it really means much more than anyone can ever know. I have to tell you, I’ve forever been interested in a more self sufficient way of life too, the fishing etc you mention reminded me. Anyhow for the first time in my life this year I managed to acquire a dozen laying hens, an raised them from tiny chicks without loosening any to death or disease, an consequently now have eggs home grown truely organic eggs to eat an many more Thai we can eat around here, an everyone keeps telling me to sell them. But I do not. Instead I’ve been giveing them away.
    This is a small gift in my mind at least , but I love to give them, it gives me a smile, just to know whoever I gave them to does not have to pay a ridiculous price at tha grosrie store for them!
    An for the first time this year, my daughter has grown, is growing a Garden of fresh vegetables, also organic, an thy are all far above the store varieties in taste n quality! Would we have the courage to try these an many other things if not for the lessons we learned togather in earlier years ? I don’t know, but we are doing a lot of things now I believe because of those lessons learned. An everyone who may read this, I want you all to know I really believe its all because of the lessons from a tiny house. An in our economy
    Today a tiny house just makes sense as so many have said in these posts.
    Yhanks Dixie Hacker Huley.

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  • Pam August 9, 2012, 12:10 pm

    I am putting together a talk on the tiny house movement, so I greatly appreciate this article and all the great comments. I’m realizing building a tiny house is easy compared to finding a place where you can legally park it.

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    • Keith August 9, 2012, 10:57 pm

      Campgrounds ! ! ! & a Local P.O.box ! ! !LOL U can live in ur car & thats ok ! ! !LOL the laws r insane .

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      • RJ Hickey August 10, 2012, 11:28 am

        New Mexico Annual Camping Permit is $100/yr for local residents seniors, $180 under 62, $280 for non-residents. Plus $4/day ($120/mo. if you want electricity). You just have to move you rig every 14 days. Unless you are a camp host. Then everything is free.

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  • Kenny August 9, 2012, 4:33 pm

    I was just writing about the aspects of placing a tiny home, often in out of the way areas without access to basic needs on foot. Sustainability for us has been less car dependency. Being out in the sticks to avoid hassles is questionable to me, at best.
    http://simplelivinginamerica.blogspot.com/2012/08/tiny-home-living-more-community-based.html

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  • Keith August 9, 2012, 10:54 pm

    why not Expand & Have a Container Dropped on the Property & Back or pull right into it ! ! ! LOL

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  • Mac August 10, 2012, 5:54 am

    I like this article. But why would you get arrested for living in a small house?

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    • Laura M. LaVoie August 13, 2012, 8:08 am

      I’m not sure there is much risk of getting arrested but if you’re told to move out of your tiny house because it is a violation to live there you may risk heavy fines for not complying.

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  • Dixie Hacker Hurley August 10, 2012, 5:59 pm

    The issue of where to park a tiny house legally is indeed a puzzle, an right now I live in the big middle of the big oil boom going on in he Williston North Dakota area. once again , Dixie Hacker Hurley Here. as I said the Williston oil boom area, anyway there are many many many folks who have come here to work in the oil jobs an others, an they’ve left everything behind or these jobs, an come here in every kind f camper known to man. There are campers all over the city if Williston, an all over outside Williston, an really just everywhere up here, tents as well, an people liveing on the streets an in boxes on the streets etc. this has been going on since the boom started, an now the city of Williston is in effect kicking all these people out, they all have to leave the city limits by September, the beginning of it. An there is no place for anyone to go everything anyone could live in is full to the max an more,an rents are so high it’s crazy gr anyone trying to afford them..
    So now we are getting all kinda of crime that never or rarely used to happen here. Includeing all kinds of rapes killings car a semi wrecks with fatalities, motorcycle wrecks, bank robberies, you name it. I said to a friend , I could see makeing all the campers etc leave , but don’t jut tell them they must leave give them places to go where they can stay. because most of these folks are really just decent people trying to survive an make a liveing like all of us.
    so for any one out there looking for work , yes Williston has it, but be aware there is absoultely no, I mean no where to live! I’d really hate to see any more good people haveing to live out in the streets than there already are here. It’s heart breaking really .

    Thanks again to everyone Dixie Hacker Hurley.

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    • Ann August 10, 2012, 6:54 pm

      Why are the oil fields not giving their workers space to camp or park an RV or trailer and a place to dump their tanks?

      RV’s and Trailers fill a need, and ought to be given some sort of rules where people can use them as needed where needed provided they are not messing up someone else’s property. That includes being able to park in back-yards.

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      • deborah August 11, 2012, 12:13 pm

        They won’t do something about it until they start losing enough workers to affect them. Until then, “you’re on your own, buddy”….sad, but true…we are talking about BIG BUSINESS here and they care nothing about their employees other than the physical labor they can do. This is nothing new.

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  • jerryd August 10, 2012, 7:06 pm

    Where to put a tiny home? First you might want someone to ask the local code enforcement where such can be. Most cities let minihomes in especially now with so many more singles than before. Many cities are encouraging fill in construction on odd lots and willing to allow very small homes.

    Most places have trailer/RV/Camping places and another can be boat yards, industural areas where one can be a ‘guard’, etc.

    Many codes have gaps like here in Tampa where 150sq’ or less doesn’t require a permit if it’s not connected. So I’m building 144sq’ units that can be self suficient so need no outside electric, water or sewage connections.

    Converting a lot I own from the mobilehome it was sold to me as to rebuilding it as 2 144sq’ cabins plus an old tiny building on the property had a sink, shower and toilet which legally made it a home gives me another legal unit plus it’s actually 2 50×100′ lots so the other lot can have another ‘MH’ or house.

    Lots like this can be had here for $25k in town and can make a nice compound for a grown family or a retiree for income.

    Another way is buy a mobile home park ratted out and rebuild tiny homes on the old frames to rent, sell or make a small home community.

    Inland in Fla many public camping areas way in the woods many stay for long spells if you don’t need services.

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  • ghasem August 12, 2012, 6:56 am

    hi. im from iran.
    i love it.
    this is my dream.

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  • Nick October 1, 2012, 1:13 am

    Hello again, I see first-hand the transformation that occurs within people. As I discussed with my frat brothers in a mansion in Westwood, LA, this possibility, you can see the usual reactions…”Can You DO THAT?” and others…Many laugh until you show them pictures. Some still think I am nuts. Most LA women would think I am nuts, especially with a good UCLA income in a few years, grad-school, and talent to make more money, that I would want to live like this…but I have already started to downsize this year, and fast.

    I am already in the process of replacing my books with Kindle and Ipad books, and also getting rid of things, mostly by taking a picture, and also have downsized from a large storage unit to less than a third of one now, about to close. In addition, I sold my gas-sucking lifted truck I drove in West LA with 33″ tires and bought a Scion IQ. I found and am finding a renewed sense of passion and peace from downsizing,it’s like “The Secret”

    I am saving money (Yes, even with a car payment) and plan on building my tiny house before I finish my education, and using my GI Bill Stipend to fund most of it. Owning a home, small car, and a containable lifestyle is a dream to me, but soon and fast is becoming a reality. In Hawaii I had so little and lived with so much in storage, and the ball began rolling…”Why do we pay so much to store and protect that of which we do not use?” When easily and free were the mountains and ocean, beckoning to my inane senses and ability to appreciate that of which I come from…nature…

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  • Ann November 18, 2012, 9:09 am

    Everyone, consider this: zoning can be changed. It merely takes people talking to people about the advantages to young persons, the handicapped, the elderly and anyone whose income is smaller if zoning is changed to permit homes in smaller square footages.

    Also, making it easier to set up a property for your RV is good for local groceries, and allows you to use a nice used RV as your tiny home.

    These are zoning issues and if people take the time to get more and more people to recognize how a change in zoning can be GOOD for them and the charitable thing to do– enough pressure can create new zoning.

    Talking doesn’t cost anything.

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  • deborah November 18, 2012, 10:36 am

    One of the main reasons zoning is so hard to change is “taxes”. The counties/cities get big $$$ in property taxes for this McMansions or even a home of 2000+ sq ft. They couldn’t get these big taxes on tiny or even small homes. It’s hard to believe but I have seen homes whose yearly taxes are 25,000.00 !!!! You have to ask yourself where all this money is going considering the poor quality of the school systems in this day and age.

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    • Garth November 18, 2012, 4:59 pm

      True, Deborah, but my point to them again would be that far more houses fit on a block when they and the lots they sit on are small; so although the city doesn’t get as much tax revenue from each house, they should still be able to get the same amount per block. As for the school thing, here in California, not even half the public-school money actually reaches the classroom. Any way you want to slice it, there has been a _negative_ correlation between the quaNTity of money spent on public education and the quaLity of education that resulted. If a block or neighborhood has tiny nouses, those houses are not likely to be housing families with kids needing to be schooled.

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  • Kathleen February 14, 2014, 9:45 pm

    This is what is so frustrating about wanting to build a tiny house. If you end up moving somewhere you have to make sure that you are zoned for the home on the land. It is funny, because I have just made the decision to build my tiny home (it will take me a while to save up, but I being 27, I suppose I have some time) and my Mom was not exactly warm to the idea. She was fine with me living small, being the eco-nut that I am, she just wanted me to be on a foundation, not on wheels. However, she told me yesterday that she is coming around the idea of my future tiny home on wheels that she wants to buy me a piece of small property to put it on, so that I can have a small garden, some famr animals (if I want) etc. Hopefully, since I am going to be an environmental attorney, that’s the plan anyway, I will be able to have my dream of a tiny house sooner rather than later. It is my hope that these restrictions will be changed no matter where we tiny house enthusiasts choose to live (I have sympathy for the MI gentleman, as I currently live there, too).

    Great blog! Love it!

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    • Alex Pino February 16, 2014, 10:43 am

      Thanks Kathleen! Best wishes

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  • Mary April 9, 2014, 2:21 pm

    I live in 300 sf… down from 600 last year… down from 1800 two years ago. I’m glad for the experience of living small for lessons I learned about organization and necessity, but I hope to move on soon. I don’t care for 1800 sf, and never did. But room for guests, for exercise, for tools, for cooking… I miss those things. Other things I’ve learned I’ll probably never miss: ovens, large fridges, stuff for the sake of stuff. If I build, it will be something around 600 sf with a garage. If I buy…. we’ll see. This area’s homes are often too large for comfort, but there are a few that would be about right. We’ll see what the year brings.

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