The other day on Facebook I posted something titled, 5 Reasons You SHOULDN’T Live in a Tiny House.
I did this because for all the reasons that there are to live tiny, there are also reasons that some people shouldn’t, at least for now, right?
So here’s a recap of what I wrote- below- and then I’ll show you some of the comments that others left which I found insightful.
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5 Reasons You SHOULDN’T Live in a Tiny House
1. You have kids who are accustomed to their own space
2. Extended family/friends stay frequently (and you like it)
3. Your spouse despises the idea, and this person is more important to you than the size of your house
4. You enjoy cleaning or forcing your children to for punishment (better yet, discipline!)
5. You have to move because of building codes and you don’t want to
Below are some of the interesting comments on the topic that I wanted to share with you.
If you enjoyed this post, please “Like” and share using the buttons below then continue the conversation in the comments below. Why shouldn’t you live in a tiny house yet? Thanks!
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I am a single guy and live with two dogs and two cats. I recently down sized from about 4000 sq feet to 1400 sq feet. That was an adjustment, but now, I feel that I could easily live in a much smaller space, even with all the critters.
4000 to 1400, wow! Great how you found yourself wanting even less now, too. There’s something that makes you feel lighter and more agile, isn’t there? ..about shedding away ‘stuff’ and extra space. Thanks for commenting Steve!
Thanks, Alex. I had a little encouragement called divorce…lol
The best ‘homes’ I have ever seen are indeed ‘tiny houses’….and all of them are thru this web site. The Med. stone shed in Spain is my heart. Following close behind; Lairds ‘wedge’ tiny in the Yukon..and the tall brothers(?) tiny house. I could live in one tomorrow!!My husband (at 80 yrs old) has slapped stage 4 colon cancer in the face. We can do it all, even in a tiny house. I would build a full foundation for storage and W/D. Also check out the 10’X10’X10′ cubes on that estate in France..Fabulous! As long as there is a view..
Thanks Carrie! A view is a must, I agree. The cubes in France are fantastic, I love them. We need to bring them here to the US, too, for those who like them. Glad you like what you see here. Let me see if I can pull up those links to the houses you’re referring to so others can click and take a peek.. 😀
Ok, here’s the Tall Man’s Tiny House
The Wedge House
The French Cubes
I want to be free to use my money to help my children and others. With no mortgage, solar electricity, composting toilet, and very little water use, I feel that I can be self sufficient and have money to spare. As small as my homeis going to be, I will also have my time to use for others, probably the most important thing I have to offer.
Marsha I love this. It’s got to be one of the most valuable parts of ‘living within your means happily’
With a tiny house and its minuscule expenses- most people, especially those used to paying for normal housing- will end up feeling quite abundant.
When you attain abundance, you can share and help others. And that’s awesome.
Thought I’d add this, kinda unrelated, but fun.. it’s one of my favorite songs and it relates to Marsha’s comment on being able to ‘give’.
Marsha, Well said. You took the words right out of my mouth, lol. The only thing I am having trouble with is the toilet, cant get used to it. Ha.
We plan on building a tiny house (hopefully commencing this summer) and we fall into the category of “shouldn’t.” We have a baby, plan on more, 4 dogs (all under 15lbs), a bunny and possibly some rescue kittens (still undecided). We planned on home schooling before we had even heard of tiny homes, so no real big change there!
We feel if we live in a tiny home, we won’t “live” in it at all. It’ll be where we sleep, eat and shower. We’ll live outside. I designed a tiny house that would fit our needs and give each creature a little bit of their own space. As well as space that is adjustable to make space for guests. I just had to be… Inventive. It’s sort of what this is all about!
I believe the only reasons people “shouldn’t” live in a tiny home are the reasons of closed minds and materialistic ideals.
We have 4 dogs (over 65 lbs each) 1 new tiny kitten and more STUFF than is believable for 2 human beings. I did luv my stuff at one point but after my hus-bunny got sick; nothing mattered but Ed and our beloved animals..I finally focused on real ‘stuff’. I am in the middle of serious downsizing…for my future tiny home. And Samantha, best of luck going tiny!
Couldn’t have said it better Samantha thank you so much for sharing! Would love to get some updates as you go 🙂
Carrie, I you say you and your hubbie earned the right to do whatever you want.
As for me, I’d probably have two—one for me, one fitted out as the Kitties’ paradise, with perches and nooks and cubbies.
Reasons not to have a tiny hpuse? Well, there’s still lots of books not on Kindle…..
Myself, I like the coze cubby aspect of tiny hpuses. One of the little house plans I saw had a little compartment with seats at each end, facing each other over a table, with a sliding door between it and the rest of the housr. I’d make that into a cozy nook that turned it into a bed, myself, with a table that folded up and/or slid down, with a nice shelf over it. In tiny houses you have to exploit every inch—-and that’s why they’re so effective.
I just renovated my attic, and I realized I have too much stuff, and that it’s doing me no good if it’s boxed up. It could be good for other people, which is why I donated Grandma’s crystal. What I do love is seeing what I have at a glance. If you can’t really do that, you buy stuff you might already have, and then it’s a vicious cycle.
Your environment can make you feel better, but I’ve found that small spaces and minimal belongings are very satisfying. Must be why I liked the Army so much. I think these huge echoing American McMansions make people feel like they’re rattling around like the clapper in a very big bell.
Living in a small home is not for everyone and will not fit all lifestyles. Small homes do work well for single people, young couples with small children, and retirees and empty-nesters.
Living in a small home does require some changes to the way you think about stuff and priorities change in a small home. Shopping is a new experience and you think about how any purchase will fit into your home and if it is really a need or just a want.
My cabin is 14×14 and I often have several guests over and people staying at my cabin along with two large dogs and 3 cats and we never feel squashed. Small spaces are more intimate and most kids like that closeness.
In a small home the outside space, porch, and yard become another room and I spend a lot of time outside the home.
I would suggest people stay in a small home before building one to see if that is what they really want.
Thanks LaMar- great points you made! Hope you’re doing great! Alex
About 20 years ago, my husband and I built a house. It is about 1400 sq ft. Just before we began the build, I discovered the book about tiny houses by Lester Walker. I bought that book and drooled as I looked at all the tiny homes. Trying to convince my husband was of no avail…We built the house from the ground up, with other people doing little, other than my dad, who did the electric. About seven years after moving in, my husband had a back problem that landed him in a wheelchair. Now, the dream of a tiny home seems so foreign, although my heart still longs for such a home! We do have a camper and when we go out in it, life is so much less complicated. I so dislike being “owned” by stuff and would love to spend more time helping others where I can. I just love seeing all the tours of tiny homes and reading about them. We come into this world with nothing and how sad it is when folks leave this world with stuff that family neither wants nor wants to even deal with…..
I love Lester Walker’s books too and I own one of them. So many neat designs and sketches in there. Your last statement… so true its kinda sad. Anyway though I’m really glad you enjoy spending time looking at all of the examples of tiny living. Best to you, Katya! Alex
We own a 3500′ 5 bathroom, 4 bdrm thing. It has a balcony overlooking the sunroom and connecting master BR to nursery (office). Three sets of stairs, inc spiral. In a wreck, I broke my back ans shattered my pelvis. My recovery was interrupted several times with falls down stairs, etc. (I’m the guy who raised the average of how often folks over 65 fall.) Built a one story house — I fell some more. Thinking now about O’Reilly’s “track chair”, and a small house. For the cost of even the 1400′ house, we could have a small house, a tiny house and comfort — and a track chair. I want a 2 story tiny house — with a narrow enclosed staircase with handrailsX2. We have 3 Bernese Mountain Dogs (150, 120, 100 lbs), 2 cats (inside) and a dairy goat herd outside. Our big dogs just want to be with us and protect us. They do not want a big house. If dogs can see us, they are happy. Me too!
Hey Tom thanks for sharing and hope you keep us updated! I’m a dog lover too 🙂
Faircompanies.com has the Mediterranean stone shed used as home in Spain. 2 guys had a contractor build it; out of stones that are NOT mortared…amazing a true work of art! And notice the fireplace in the video….I could be sooooooooooooooo jealous.
Enjoy this small beauty.
Here’s what Carrie’s referring to in case any of you are wondering 😀
My two cents: People LOVE big houses, but they REALLY only use the kitchen (and dining area if the kitchen is too small to eat in), and living room, and bedroom. Any other rooms: formal dining room, formal living room, den, craft room, etc. are all unnecessary really. How often do people GO in those rooms. Families only go in three rooms: kitchen, living room, bedroom. Oh, sorry: THE BATHROOM too. 🙂
Hey, I live in a tiny home now in CT, and I lived for most of my years in a Brooklyn, NY apartment when I was little, which were some of the best years of my life, and I can honestly say that one can have as much love and happiness in a tiny home as one can have in a huge home.
To reiterate: KITCHEN, LIVING ROOM, BEDROOM. That truly is all a family needs.
Thanks for letting me voice my opinions, Alex! 😉
Hey Gloria! Thank you for sharing your thoughts always great when you stop by. You are so right. This is something I’ve always that was strange/stupid growing up. “Why do my parents and every adult/family member of mine have TWO living rooms?? One of which is HARDLY EVER used..”
I live in an 85% recycled “casita” I built 5 years ago. I have a full kitchen, Jacuzzi style soaker tub, paper mache’ counter tops, tankless water htr, sky lights, beam/vaulted ceiling etc. etc…all in 279 sf! Someday Alex will have to feature it on Tiny House Talk. The master bathroom in my previous house is 288 sf. I bought a 1300 sf house last year on a short sale. I couldn’t fathom living in that much space, so I rent it out. My casita blows minds and wins people over to what possible in small space living. You shouldn’t live in a Tiny House if your ego is wrapped up in “big is better”.
Michael, I’d love to see and feature your casita! If you have pictures you want to send my email is [email protected]. How cool that you were able to snap up a regular home and rent it out, too. Smart move I’d say! I love people enter small spaces and realize how little we really need when it come so to housing and living happy.
3. /sarcasm mode on: If spouse can finance extravagant lifestyle OK. Else get new spouse 😛
We have 5 children, homeschool and are starting a business. I can relate to Sheri. We just bought a 819 sqft house with no garage. 7 people in 800 sqft is a good stepping stone for us. I thought about making the couch out of books. Homeschooling has a lot of stuff with it. The kindle and ipad rock! I’m adding up dates on my MissionMama.com blog. We would like to create a separate Microsizing website. I have a facebook page so far. https://www.facebook.com/MicroSizing I love all your comments.
Thanks Sherry! I agree- I really love Kindle/iPad.. I just started using it and haven’t bought a physical book since. Really does help, especially when you’re “extreme” downsizing.
I bought a sheet-fed scanner last year and scanned about 150lbs of paper, files, magazines, textbooks, 2000 photos, and various things like books and even class notes. The result is a complete PDF library on my iPad and computer and I plan on cutting some book spines next…then recycling the pages…or giving them to someone to put them in a binder. I will keep some intact though!
Wow that’s pretty incredible. Lots of work, but how cool that pretty much an entire library can now fit in something as small as an iPad. Thanks for the idea Nick!
I have lived in 8 states and was in the military, plus always enjoyed the comfort of our tiny lake cottage and tiny yellow house beside it. It was family built and post-war, very simple. As most of these places away from Big Turkey Lake were unaffordable, I got used to rents and tiny rooms. I found and fell in love with tiny houses about three years ago and see it as a natual progression to OWN a home and still live my preferred traveling lifestyle, living lightly is the way to go, and instead fill your drive with digital photos and experiences in your brain. I also like the modular comment, to which I would like to lean eventually. Two or three tiny houses on a piece of land out here in CA is no doubt cheaper…but who knows where I will ship my tiny home! 😉 All I know is I can own a home in LA and live lush for $25,000 or less…yeah, I am sold!
That’s awesome Nick once again thanks so much for giving us an insight into your very interesting world. I’m in the process literally right now of getting down to just a backpack. Letting go of our apartment by next week and going traveling, can’t wait.
I finally thought of 1 reason I would not want to live in a tiny house: I am OCD about cleaning 7 days a week say a 4000sq ft home….I love having worn my fingernais down to the quick and seeing my skin peel off my hands from the clorox bleach..my back is breaking from vacumning….SURE !!!!
I bet I could get any of my Favs spotless in uder 30 mins….
Tiny houses forever!!!
It took me a while to come up with only 5 reasons hahaha the thought of cleaning in 30-, 20- minutes or less sounds sooo nice.
To some degree one must adapt. For example if you like in a tiny home a flute is a better instrument than a Sousaphone. Or you could create a tiny unit just to play your Sousaphone which might make a spouse a lot happier.
The greatest potential, in my humble opinion, for tiny homes is in people having multiple tiny units. It is an easy way to save energy.
I’m going to throw tact out the window for the moment and mention that sex in the loft of a tiny house is difficult. It can be done but it requires some finesse.
That’s a good one, haha, very original. I’ll have to do a post on sex positions that are possible in a sleeping loft!
It’s a crude but valid point. People who plan to live in such a small residence always say that the major details like sleeping and eating will remain the same, the things that are necessary for living. But what never seems to be considered are the details that affect “comfortable” living, e.g., having sex in a loft, making coffee in the morning, and having enough elbow room. It’s not just a matter of having enough space to store all your possessions; it’s a matter of being able to call your house, no matter its size, a home.
I’ve lived in some small spaces. They were ok, but for a time I wanted more space. I wanted room for the cookware that would allow me to take things to work, for clothes both for the weekend and the workweek, for the games to entertain with when people came over. Then there came a time when I didn’t need space for those things. I’d hit a different point in life. I’d had my career, my bigger house, my nice things. For awhile I enjoyed them, but then they started becoming annoyances. My friends wanted to go out together, not go to people’s homes. My job changed so I no longer needed to take food to work or several wardrobes. I’m happy with the changes. My life has turned around. Now I want less things, not more. But I want more of other things. More savings toward retirement, more outdoor activities, more free time. Still, a tiny house isn’t for me. I want safety and security, comfort and warmth. I want the freedom not only to do more of what I want (less maintaining and cleaning) but also to enjoy my indoor spaces completely and constantly.
For me, 400-500 sq ft seems adequate. I’m trying on about 500 sq ft for size now, and so far it’s working well. I’m using the space, not just filling it. Yet I don’t feel cramped and I haven’t needed to give up anything that I enjoy. For me it’s not about living in the smallest space possible, but using the space I have well. It’s about balance, not about either extreme.
I like how Mary stated that she is “using space, not filling it”. Our goal would definitely be to use space, and not fill it. This we don’t know how to do, with all the nuances required by society (e.g. keeping financial records for 7 years, etc.) Clothes for work, clothes for play. I ruin most of my clothes in my free time of taking care of our kids, gardening, cooking etc. Another problem we face is the ability to throw out. We would prefer to upcycle or recycle, and have found that can sometimes be difficult to do. As a for instance in the new york tri-state area many things such as baby strollers, wheelchairs etc. . can’t be accepted as gifts because of liability. These things take space!
I would love suggestions on how to deal with some of these things.
Nice post and I enjoyed reading all of the comments!
By the way: I read this very interesting article: April 27, 2012 100 Years of Staying Put
By BENJAMIN WEISER and NOAH ROSENBERG
“At first, the family lived in two rooms behind the candy store, which also sold toys, cigars, newspapers and comic books. Her mother created window displays involving toy soldiers, dolls, tea sets and the like. “People began to come from blocks all over,” Ms. Jacobs recalled. The family later moved to an apartment above the shop; Ms. Jacobs described the building as “a real tenement house.” The family had a washtub in the kitchen, and shared a toilet in the hall with neighbors. “Living was very modest,” she said, adding that it was hard to invite friends over, unless they were familiar with tenement life. “
“They kept the building at No. 502 as a rental property; its rear cottage became a favorite landing spot for writers like Judith Thurman, the essayist, and later, the novelist Donna Tartt, who lived there for about a decade, until 2004. “It was a perfect retreat,” Ms. Tartt said, “like a tree house or a doll’s house you’d dream of living in as a child, with its own secret garden.” “It was also very quiet, and I could work there in perfect seclusion, reading and writing.”
My family of five–and one cat–currently lives in about 1500sqft. To be honest, even though I love the idea of a tiny house, I can’t imagine going any smaller. We actually may move into 1800sqft to provide each kid their own room … because it’s important for our family harmony.
I still aspire to “live tiny” if not in actual size, then in attitude by letting go of material possessions and keeping only what is needed and cherished … and buying less. We’re still working on this. 🙂
I have learned from experience that too much stuff can cause strife–internally and externally. For me, that was the most important lesson … and the movement to live tiny has been wonderful moral support encouraging me to push towards my goal.
I’m in a similar situation with the five (almost six) of us. As much as I like the idea of a tiny house, our family size and current ages and dominant local weather patterns make our 1500sf, 3 br, with playroom perfect for us. My girls share a room happily but my son has special needs which may necessitate him having his own bedroom for the entire length of time that he lives with us as well as needing homeschool and therapy space. We have a mix of electronic and non-electronic hobbies (which inherently take up more space) and need somewhere to store all of the home-canned produce that I do to avoid commercial preservatives and off-season prices.
That said, we store way too much that we don’t use every season or even every year. Every day, I try to prune away a little bit of the excess though as I would rather have more kids than spend that time looking after stuff. For now, simple living is the goal if not tiny living. 😉
I do have that dream of a tiny place out in the woods somewhere for our retirement years…
Reasons #1 and #3 resonate fully with me. Plus pets. ; )
It is my personal dream to live in a tiny house…the only thing holding me back is that most have stairs or a loft. Do you know of anyone or maybe you could come up with some plans that do not have such items. Sorry I know I am probably being a buzz kill. I really do not like this feature after falling down a flight of stairs in the pitch dark of my house one early morning. Does a tiny house have to have stairs or a loft? Could you do it all with a “cathedral ceiling” but, without the stairs or loft and just have one floor? The only thing I have seen that is somewhat close are a few tiny houses that are under 900 sq. ft. with a permanent foundation and the need to buy land.
It’s totally possible yes you’d just want to shoot for a larger size due to no loft. And of course you can always have a loft for storage or guests 🙂
I am building a TH on a gooseneck trailer. My bedroom will be on top of the gooseneck and I will be able to stand up straight without brushing the ceiling fan. I currently plan on four steps as access, but I am thinking of a design that will allow an incline ramp for access.
I have to repeat a snippet from two posts above!
“Any house is a tiny house if the space is being well used” : Jay
“Use the space don’t just fill it” :Mary
There in, is the difference between a tiny house and a storage shed !
I have spent almost a month selling, giving away, and donating a large portion of 24 years of accumulation in my current home in preparation to downsize into 160 sq ft. I was most fortunate to find a building I can use as my shop and it serves as a overflow for the items I could not part with. I am a tool freak and while I found no remorse in getting rid of all of the house trappings, I could not part with my tools. I build tiny trailers , mini barns, and putter with all kinds of craft stuff to later sell at festivals and flea markets for extra income. That takes some space. I have no qualms about eating sleeping and just plain living in the tiny caboose replica I have built. However, my hobbies are a large part of my life and as such required the expenditure for the extra shop space and I am so happy to have it. It is unfortunate I can not live on site with my shop as the county zoning requires 750 square feet minimum for a home. Therefore, I will live out of county about 14 miles away. I have toyed with building a tiny house inside the building but really hate to sell my caboose tiny house. Damn building commissioners anyway !
If a home must be 750, then build one with the living areas downsized to what you want and need, and allocate all the remaining square footage to a lovely large space for workshop space. Zone so that you can heat the small house part separately from the rest, and insulate accordingly, in this way there is a home with everything it needs and the square footage is used in a way YOU need. Anyway, that is the idea. So often the minimums are an aggravation, but no reason not to have the extra space be designated as spaces for whatever the zoning needs to accept the plans, and yet used by you as you need for the work you do.
I’ve turned many a space with a traditional label into a different use space. The realtor called it a formal living room, I saw an office acoustically separate from the greatroom. The realtor called it a formal dining room, but I saw a nice space for a snug library. A large patio room can be a place to dance.
We can think outside the box and find ways to apply the legal guidelines to distribute square feet to spaces we can rename for our own purposes.
I agree the laws can be a pain, but if we are creative enough, much of the time we can work within them and still get something right for ourselves.
One thing that I want to avoid in life is the opportunity for the “gummint” to come and tell me that my home is in violation of some code or ordinance. I want very badly to have a small vacation “shack” in the Delaware Water Gap area of Pennsylvania, not on a desert tract in Arizona. If this means that I have to build a larger structure, to satisfy the demands of the applicable guidelines, then that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to have to move, or to be saddled with property that I can’t use.
I really wish that this site and other related ones would “talk turkey” a little more with regard to these issues. One article recently was title “Legally Permitted Tiny House in Asheville,” but didn’t even mention the legal aspects of the situation. That’s very frustrating to me, trying to find my way between what I think I want – a very downsized, rather primitive occasional-use dwelling – and what I think is required – something more like a 1,200 square foot traditional house.
I delight in these discussions. For me, downsizing has taken place in my life in so many ways, yet, I am not a tiny house living person. My home base is my personal library and that takes quite a lot of space. Outside of that need, I am happy with the space in an RV, and I find by carefully selecting where square footage is use and where it is conserved, a highly livable space is created that is as small as it can be and still function well. Not every “small” house is going to be 120 square feet– yet I do know persons who could be very happy in 250-400 square feet and feel their home was perfection itself. I think right sizing your home is by far the most difficult skill and the example of the tiny house movement is needed. Everyone would be so much happier with their homes and their bills would likely be so much more manageable if every architect was focused on serving the person well as a guide to right sizing the house. Laws ought to facilitate this too! Anyway, great topic!
Call me madcap, but this is one of my favorite discussions on one of my favorite discussion sites on the web. Seriously! We’re not talking about terrorism, we’re not talking about profits, we’re not talking about more, more more! We’re talking about less. Or, rather, “right,” as in right-sized living. Where I’m at in my life right now, seeing this community of people, and the ideas expressed, actually gets me very emotional. If the world were to end and we had to rebuild with whoever was left, I’d truly hope that who was left would be this group of people!
I’ve been living in a 750 sf apartment for over 20 years, and in others more or less the same size for all of my adult life. The largest house mentioned here – somewhat humorously apologetically, even though living with 5 kids, and working from home, and sometimes needing to bring the little lambs indoors (really, lambs! they live on a farm!) – is 2,300 sf! That’s Tara Tarbet, above. Well, Tara, you do realize, don’t you, that the AVERAGE single-family home built in 2013 was 2,598 sf!! And you can bet that, on average, they’re not accommodating 5 kids and 2 adults working from home, and probably no sheep either! So by all rights, you DO live in a tiny house!
The thing that I think all the people here DO seem to realize, and those national-average-and-above people do NOT seem to realize, is that being in touch with what we need often goes along with being in touch with who we are. We think about this stuff. We look at the world. We look at the environment. We understand the impact that we have. We look at ourselves, realistically. We don’t try to impress, we try to express. So long as we’re doing that, it really doesn’t matter whether we live in 64 sf or in 1640 sf. Having a little intentionality in our lives, sticking to our guns, doing something with our hearts and our heads, rather than just taking what’s given or going with the flow, makes all the difference in the world!
I’d like to draw attention to the last comment featured in the article, from Jay Shafer, who has purportedly lived in a 36 sq ft home. In case you were wondering, that’s less than half the size of an average midsize sedan, i.e. there’s ABSOLUTELY NO WAY such living conditions exist unless you are living in a Japanese capsule hotel pod or a one-person tent. Incidentally, here’s a sixth reason not to live in a tiny house: you have basic, normally-developed human emotions and grow attached to things that hold sentimental or symbolic value. Not to rain on the tiny house parade (and we all know what a decent-sized storm would do to a tiny house), but throwing away everything you own and living in a space the size of a porta potty is not guaranteed to liberate you from some inner evil or make you enlightened. Sure, you might get *used* to it, provided you throw away enough of the things you own, and you will certainly feel less inclined to buy things, since you’ll know that you literally have nowhere to put them. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better. I’ve recently downsized from a 3000 sq ft house to a 1300 sq ft townhouse and after several months of the “joy” of having a tiny fraction of the things I owned I still feel like I’m a guest in someone else’s house. I want to go *home* to my piano, my family portraits, the gifts given to me by my friends and family, my shelf full of awards and things I’ve built, or even the swing on my front porch where I’ve sat and talked on countless occasions, but I couldn’t bring those things with me. And my townhouse dwarfs any tiny house. I’m not saying tiny houses are an outright stupid idea -it’s certainly an alternative to living in a trailer, and it could be a great solution to homelessness- but I despise the sanctimonious attitude some people seem to have about it, as if anyone not living in a tiny house is materialistic and vapid.