Any time tiny houses make it onto a non-tiny house blog the comments turn to “oh, I could never do that.” When The Tiny Life Infographic that Ryan Mitchell published early this year made it to Gizmodo on Monday, September 2, 2013, the comments began pouring in. The same old objections came up in several ways.
- Permitting is just impossible.
- This is only feasible for one person.
- I couldn’t fit all my stuff in it.
- Why not just get an RV?
I thought I might take a minute to readdress these objections. Living in a tiny house is not an untested theory. I have been doing it comfortably for over a year and I know several other tiny house dwellers that have happily downsized as well.
I encourage you to read my thoughts on these subjects below:
Permitting. So, yes, I won’t lie and say that this is the easy part of tiny house building or living. Permitting and zoning issues are probably the most difficult part of the process. It is also probably the number one question I get asked and I would think that others do as well. I get emails almost daily asking about permits in specific cities all across the US. Unfortunately, I can only answer these questions one way: “I don’t know.” Building codes are different from municipality to municipality and can practically change when you cross the street. The only way to know what is permissible in your area is to talk to your local government. However, the most helpful tool available right now is Cracking the Code by Ryan Mitchell available here.
Occupancy. “If I were single I could live in a tiny house.” Again, this is not a one size fits all answer. However, if you are even remotely interested in tiny house living as a couple or a family I can say it is quite possible as long as you can change your entire mindset about space. There was never a question that Matt and I would be doing this thing together. 120 square feet seemed like a reasonable size. And I can tell you with absolutely authority that I do not feel cramped or claustrophobic in the tiny house when we’re together. In fact, being in larger spaces seem strange to me now. We are not the only tiny house couple or even tiny house family. Check out Smalltopia and Tiny r(E)volution for more insights.
Stuff. Yes, if you move into a tiny house you will not be able to keep your collection of over 1000 books. Or your complete set of Star Wars action figures. Or all of your antique furniture. That is just a fact of tiny living. Once again, this is a complete change of the way you think about posessions and if you can’t transition to fewer things then tiny living may not be the right answer for you. However, once you realize that your feelings toward your things are a psychological attachment then you can begin to rethink your relationship to them. Donate your books to the library so others can enjoy them. Sell your action figures. Give your furniture to other family members so the heirloom pieces can be kept and passed down.
An RV. Often people ask about RVs and why someone would spend all that time building a tiny house when they could just buy something off the lot. The only answer I can give is that it is a matter of personal preference and taste. If you want to go tiny and living in an RV make sense to you then, by all means, buy an RV. However, most tiny house people wanted something different. In our case we were looking to build a home on a permanent foundation on our mountain. An RV would have been impractical and impossible to get to the site. We built tiny because it seemed like something that just the two of us could manage together. It is exactly what we wanted.
The audience of a site like Tiny House Talk is going to be very different than that of Gizmodo. If you’re here you probably have a general interest in tiny living. So what are your thoughts on these typical objections to tiny living?
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