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Recession Proof your Life with a Tiny House?

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To me that’s what tiny houses are all about.

Because a tiny home provides shelter at it’s most basic form.

Meeting your Needs the Smartest Way

Life is all really about meeting our basic human needs and growing from there.

And only after we do that can we really flourish, or grow. Right?

That’s what I believe, anyway. Before we can be creative, give to others, and share- or discover and embrace- our gift with the world we first have to meet our own basic needs, would you agree?

Below is one of my favorite quotes. I first read it in The Small House Book by Jay Shafer.

The Small House Book Quote

Photo Credit The Small House Book (page 6) by Jay Shafer

It reads, “There is only one success – to be able to spend your own life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley

So Here Are Some Ideas on How to “Recession Proof” Your Life with or without a “Tiny House”

To me, the goal is to be as independent as possible. To do my best to be my own economy. Or at least, not be at the mercy of “the economy.”

In Other Words.. To Become Our Own Economy

And we can do this with or without a tiny house. But the smaller and more efficient, the better (usually- but not always).

That’s to say, I don’t think you should deny or have to convince your family and loved ones to downsize to some kind of extreme.

More Than Just One Way to Get There

There are many ways to achieve the goal of being recession proof and “free” without tiny spaces.

But in many cases, smaller is an option. Just not tiny.

Loving to Labor?

I believe we are here to serve each other with our talents. So as long as we are dedicated to serving in some way, then we are on the path to our own kind of freedom.

A labor of love. So you can do it with a farm or with a business.

With art work or a product. With a book or a blog. With an earthship home or a sailboat.

You can do it by creating a self sufficient home or you can work to become financially self sufficient in your own way as an artist, entrepreneur, writer, actor, musician, carpenter, or anything- really.

But that’s why I love tiny houses and small spaces in general.

The Ultimate Pathway to Freedom

Because they’re the ultimate tool to take back our freedom and independence in whatever way we choose. That’s the thing, though. The. Choice. Is. Yours.

But ultimately, I think it’s so we can live the rest of our precious lives on our own terms. The way we were meant to live.

Needing Less Even Better Than Having More?

With a tiny house you need less. So you’re less reliant.

And that’s why they kick ass and everybody, even the “tiny house haters”, actually want one deep down or at least wish they would have had one way back when.

One Thing We Must Agree On

One thing I hope we can all face is this: tiny houses aren’t for everybody. They’re really not the magic pill to anything.

If you hate your spouse now, you’ll hate him/her even more in a tiny house. Funny, right? And not always true of course.

So while a tiny house might not even be right for you now, maybe it will be later, or is now, we really don’t know.

But I do know that at least in one point in your life, a tiny home would have been perfect.

Tiny houses are just what you need and nothing more. And that’s what’s great about them.

They keep expenses and stress low.

This (a tiny house of some sort) is the perfect foundation to start a life.

Whether you’re young and want to start life with an “edge” or you’re able to retire early and start doing what you’re passionate about in life now.

Why beautiful small houses of all kinds are the answer to many issues

Heck, many of us agree that we would all be more free and/or “rich” today if we had lived in a tiny or small home, having been living the simple life for a long period of time.

But isn’t it true that beautiful, simple, and small homes are rare?

I mean, not even small houses are an option in most areas.

It’s like large corporations and investors are so out of touch with reality that they fail to see the demand for tiny and small cottages, cabins, houses, communities and even micro apartments.

So we have to do something about that.

And these are just a few of the many reasons why more tiny house communities must exist. For our kids and for our parents. So that our future generations, and our elders, have the opportunity to live a high quality life, on their terms, at an affordable price, while building/enjoying a life filled with purpose and passion.

The action is always in the comments below so don’t hesitate to add your input below then if you want we always appreciate your “Likes” and shares using the buttons below. Thanks!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 95 comments… add one }
  • May 21, 2013, 2:21 pm

    “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
    Henry David Thoreau
    From Walden
    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 9:35 am

      Thanks for sharing two great quotes 🙂

    • Cheryl
      May 23, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Great quotes! Reading Walden a second time about a year ago is what led me to the Tiny House community.

  • LaMar
    May 21, 2013, 3:28 pm

    This is what I have been preaching for many years. 4 million people lost their homes to foreclosure in the US because the media sells people a dream and says put it on your credit card and everything will be OK.

    I own my cabin and my power supply and I have no house payments and no utility bills. I own a business and several side businesses and that money stays in my pocket. I can produce most of my own food and there is hunting and fishing available all year here so food is not an issue.

    So if the economy collapses or one of my businesses fail it is really not a problem for me and I will survive and that threat no longer exists so I can enjoy my life, my hobbies and because I have more money in my pocket I can help my kids and I am secure in my retirement.

    That is freedom!

    • Sonia Munson
      May 21, 2013, 5:13 pm


    • Ross Lukeman
      May 22, 2013, 2:53 pm

      LaMar, rock on! We need more people to lead by example like you. All of the expert “advice” out there isn’t working.

    • Rich
      May 22, 2013, 10:18 pm

      I had that life at one time and I yearn for it again. I will have it somewhere. That is freedom.

    • Cubed
      June 12, 2013, 9:38 am

      If no one spends there is no economy. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. You’re business will fail if everyone lived liked that. Could you imagine if everyone raised their own food and just bought bare necessities that they themselves could not produce? Economies are built on consumerism. Consumerism is built on wanting personalized thing. I think it’s more of a matter of spending with in ones means. No, it all about spending in ones means and spending on quality not quantity. Literally speaking to companies with your money. Personally I like experiences more then things. It’s great that you are self sufficient but it is not for everyone nor does everyone wish for that.

    • Allyson
      June 10, 2014, 8:37 pm

      Thanks LaMar. I’m enjoying reading your book and studying all of the generous information that you share in it. For folks who don’t know you yet, as you don’t self-promote, here’s LaMar’s great website with all kinds of info. http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com/
      Also, I’m reading Walden for the first time because of your recommendation. I get it! Thanks, Allyson

  • Cahow
    May 21, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Recession Proof your life? Hmmmmmm…..

    Yup. Tons of ways from learning to save a portion of your income from childhood, starting at the lawn mowing/baby-sitting stage. Invest, Invest, Invest! I don’t care if it’s proven stocks like Colgate or land, people will ALWAYS need to use toothpaste/deodorant (unless the Big Bomb drops or Zombie’s invade) or people will ALWAYS need to buy raw land/homes to move into. Both my brother and I started buying up properties and flipping them in college; also buying common stocks that everyone uses and placing the dividends into a CD or bond. That way, you’re not tempted to spend the extra cash. Have ONE credit card that you MUST pay off each month (AmEx) to build up a credit rating and pay cash or use lay-away for everything else. Barter: do you have a skill someone with a different skill set needs? I have 100% of my entire family’s hair care needs covered by trading my landscaping skills for service at a salon. We match the finished products price with each of our skills and I haven’t paid a penny for hair care nor products in 10 years time!

    Now, you can Recession Proof your life all you want, but it’s building in the limitations of AGING that really should be addressed!!! Ever see any SENIORS living in tiny homes? Really? Show me the link to the articles because I haven’t seen the videos on youtube nor read about them on Alex’s site. Concerns for knee replacements, hip replacements, Rheumatoid arthritis so bad you can’t open most windows or cabinet doors…now THAT’S what I’m talking about! How about a walker or wheel chair…any tiny homes address THAT issue? What about when you need more meds to live day by day than years of education you’ve logged? Is your tiny home in an area that you can get to these medicines?

    Sure, tiny homes with loft ladders and small aisles and outdoor showers/loos are grand when you’re Fit As A Fiddle, but if your tiny home is supposed to take you to the Grave, will it? Or, will you end up in a sterile assisted living facility like the person you hated that owned a 10,000 sq.ft. home?

    Aside from some bad knees, NONE of these problems are mine, yet! However, I’ve had my heart torn in two the past three years as I’ve watched amazingly vibrant friends fall like domino’s, one after the other, to Alzheimer’s, Quadruple bypass surgery, onset of arthritis so bad there’s days they can’t get out of bed, etc. These people are gazillionaire’s: more money than could be spent in two lifetimes. Homes they designed from scratch that they thought they’d leave, feet-first. But, their bodies betrayed them and now they are ALL living in assisted living facilities, waiting to die.

    I’d really like to see some tiny homes that are specifically designed to be handi-capable for the FIT senior citizen to grow gracefully into their later years. Now THAT’S a challenge I could get behind! You can recession proof your arse off, but no amount of money can help you wipe that arse if you can’t stoop low enough to sit on the average toilet!

    • Kim
      May 21, 2013, 4:24 pm

      I so agree with what you are saying here…

      I am 51 years old and have rheumatoid arthritis. I probably will never be able to live in a “tiny” house but I am gathering ideas to build a small home. I think 500 to 600 sq ft would be doable for someone who may eventually end up in a wheelchair. I will build a 2 bedroom place in case I need a live in caregiver. My problem right now is finding the perfect piece of land that is far enough away from the city so I can build a small home but still close enough to get the needed medical care I require.

      The biggest problem I am finding is locating an area that does not require at least a 1000 sq ft home, and many require 1600 sq ft and larger. I know it is out there and I am saving my money, living very frugal so when that piece is found, I have the cash to snap it up.

      Thanks Alex for all the ideas, many I will be adapting and using.


      • Cahow
        May 21, 2013, 4:41 pm

        Kim: I am sending prayers your way and also BEST of luck in finding a place to realize your dreams! One of my best friends, a former Master Carpenter, is now relegated to working only for the most lenient of clients who have NO time table, because his R.A. can disable him for days if not weeks. His hands are SO crippled, it makes you weep to view them. He’s “getting by”, living in a tiny house (200 sq.ft) behind our property; it was a former Summer cottage that hasn’t (yet) been found by the money crowd to be torn down. Just today, I made a grocery run for him when I did my own shopping, because he could neither grip his steering wheel or the trolley at the grocery store. Bless him, we adore him and pay him to watch our property when we’re gone and mow our grass when he can, just so he has some income to live off of.

        Tiny Homes are billed as the answer to all of life’s problems yet the BIGGEST problem: aging, is NEVER addressed! With 79 MILLION Baby Boomer’s out there, that is one of the largest U.S. problems barreling our collective way! One of my best friends spent her 85th birthday cycling through China. The following year, she slipped on ice and fractured her hip, never fully healing. She and her husband were forced to sell their home because it couldn’t be outfitted with either an elevator nor stair climber thingy. They thought they’d die in that house; now, they bought a single floor ranch house in the suburbs which they despise, as they had to leave 90% of their city friends behind who don’t own cars (they bus or cab it).

        Not being in debt is important. Not being able to open a refrigerator or climb into a tub to wash your body is critical! Best of luck, Kim! I’m pulling for you!!! <3

        • Alex
          May 22, 2013, 9:41 am

          Cahow, you rock, thanks so much for your presence here. I love the issues you bring up here.

        • Kim
          May 22, 2013, 10:33 am


          I feel for your friend and totally understand. When I am having a good day, I get a lot done (a lot for me anyway). The bad days can get one down but I keep plugging along. Oh Yes, I save my money so when I find my land everything will be paid for. I may need to live off my meager retirement someday…hopefully not too soon.

          Just a little over 2 years ago I lost my job as an Intensive Care Nurse. I loved that job but my body could not take it. I was off work for just under a year because no one wanted to hire a broken down nurse. With the help of God, I was able to find a job I can do mostly from home and it pays pretty good. With this job and a lot of frugality, I am able to save quite a bit of money each month. If I lose my job again because of my health, I plan on having enough saved to either pay off my current home or purchase my land and build my forever home.

          I plan on having a permaculture set up no matter where I live. Even on my tiny lot in the city I am able to grow much of my own food. On those bad days I talk about, I am barely able to go out into the yard to pick food for dinner but with the grace of God, I am still able. Somehow the spirit continues to thrive no matter how the body wants to stop.

        • Cahow
          May 22, 2013, 12:54 pm

          Your words mean a great deal to me, Alex. My gratitude to you for allowing so many differing view points on the subjects you share. 🙂

        • Ellie
          June 9, 2014, 6:54 pm

          As one of those ‘seniors’ I’d like to note that the 79 million boomers are not a problem…. it’s an opportunity for creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurs and problem solvers of all sorts to create an entirely new industry to answer those needs. Jobs will be created. Products and production of same will add to the economy. Millions of them will continue working into their 80s. Yes they will have needs… but we found ways to help working mothers, etc… this mass of boomers will be the very energy behind better solutions for folks like Kim and Cahow and others. Tiny houses don’t solve all our problems but they do cause us to tilt our head and try a new perspective. Keep up the great work, Alex.

        • Alex
          June 9, 2014, 8:00 pm

          Thanks Ellie, I love your perspective.

      • Dave
        May 21, 2013, 4:59 pm


        I think the small home is a great way to go but you do bring up an interesting point. Finding a building lot that will allow a small home to be built is quite a problem.

        My wife and I decided to downsize from a much larger home last year. There were many driving factors but the two biggest were reduction in debt and a more conservative lifestyle to raise our children in. Anyway, we settled on a home with a 992 sqft main floor and a finished basement. The home was designed to accommodate us as we age. The biggest problem we ran into was finding a place to build. The smallest footprint you could generally build in our area, per most subdivision covenants, was about 1200 sqft on the main floor (1600 sqft if no second floor or basement.)

        To make our plan work, we searched older neighborhoods (pre 1980) where people with larger lots had subdivided off part of their lot. We found these types of lots did not have building covenants so all we would have to conform to were the building codes. We had a whopping 3 lots to choose from in a 15 mile radius of where we wanted to live but lucky for us, one fit the bill perfectly.

        In the end it was all worth it. We just moved in in February and we are enjoying the lifestyle that comes with having less.


        • Alex
          May 22, 2013, 9:42 am

          Congratulations Dave thanks for sharing that!

        • Kim
          May 22, 2013, 10:35 am

          How wonderful for you Dave. Something to think about 🙂

        • Tom Zollinger
          May 23, 2013, 10:06 pm


          You kissed the cheek of a years’ long complaint. P&Z and building codes are a pet peeve. Having grown up in an area with little P&Z, I was an adult (sorry, a lawyer adult) when I started noticing. As a young lawyer, I defended too many drunk drivers. The “neighborhood taverns and bars” which were near my folks’ house have been planned and zoned out of every US neighborhood built after 1960. Growing up, I was accustomed to seeing my older neighbors walking to the neighborhood bar. There was seldom even parking space for more than the owner. Today, those old neighbors would be my DWUI clients. I live in a cold climate. Over a period of years, at least two of my neighbors have died from exposure just trying to walk home. Even grocery stores are zoned into non-residential areas. I long had a terrible chain-smoking habit. When I arose in the morning, I lit up before my feet hit the floor. Going to the nearest market before bed for cigarettes became part of that habit. I had to drive more than a mile for my “fix.”

          I had a client a few years ago who owned several acres. He lives “out of town,” but not far enough out of town. Housing for the area miners is/was in short supply and he set about building rental cottages. Beautiful structures of about 200 sq ft. Tiny houses before they had become “the thing.” The building inspector paid him a visit and informed him that “because he was within a certain distance of the town limits, he was subject to the town’s building/zoning code. Stairs too narrow and violations too numerous to mention including the one which provided that structures of less than 1200′ were unfit for human habitation. His livestock and poultry now have the nicest insulated barns and coops ever built.

          I own substantial acreage in Appalachian E Kentucky. No building code, no P&Z. I have not moved back there nor have I built — yet. My house will have a footprint of 200′ but the bedroom and “master bath will be on the 2d floor accessed by stairs 16” in width.

        • Erik Markus
          May 23, 2013, 11:04 pm

          You bring up an excellent example of the fraud that has be perpatrated on the American people.

          It is unconstitutional to tell people they HAVE to have a product such as a house of a certain sq. ftg.

          Well meaning people, wanting to work with society, haven’t often questioned where these came from.

          There is no THEY out there, just some faceless, namesless THEY. When ever you find yourself saying “well THEY said it” ask who.
          If you can’t formulate an answer, why would you blindly follow?

          There is no they that fraudulently snuck around behind the scene putting these illegal building codes in place in some areas.

          Mainly lawyers and realtors associations and insurance companies trying to create a uniform product for their benefits, not the whole of society.
          That small group of people or investers don’t count. They are here to serve the whole of society, we AREN’T here to serve them.

          Often times building size and type limits are snuck through as health regulations.
          NO !
          Health and safety is understandable. That is when wiring is not safe, or someones water well is polluted. (With fracking, you can expect inspectors to be paid off to turn a blind eye on the pollution that will follow).

          Ask questions of the people who are paid to work in government and serve ALL of society.

          When building/zoning codes have been corrupted by an UNSPECIAL interest, bring it to others attention. Don’t put up with unconstitutional behaviour.

          I’ve already seen victims (family) of these codes, in rural areas no less.

          If you think your acreage is safe, you need to think again. Be on the look out for articles in local newspapers where lawyers associations plan to come to town and sell the leaders of your area on the idea of instituting these unconstitutional rules.

          At the very least, building /zoning codes will have to become voluntary in the future. That way the pathetic realtors can state accordingly and buyers will know if a house is built in such a way. There are already grand-fathered in structures. It isn’t anything unusual.

          It inferiates me, thinking of the slime that have sleazed their way behind the scenes, in decades past, pushing this crap.

          You can always tell the awful areas that have adhered to this crap. All the buildings look the same god- awful ugly. cement, glass, steel, and petro chemicals.
          YUCK ! republican-ugly.
          It’s Gotta go.

          In some areas, paid under the table, building inspectors have been harrassing people, hoping to push people off their land so that developers, the ones doing the paying under the table, can buy up property.

          I’m referring to NE areas of the Los Angeles area, and others.

          Greed is disgusting.

        • Tom Zollinger
          August 1, 2014, 4:48 pm

          Dave, Erik etal:

          My Appalachian acreage is several miles from the nearest incorporated community. I would enjoy making any number of acres available for tiny house living. It has countless hills and dells (or is that dales?) and is heavily treed. The “road” meandering through is my private driveway. It was advertised and purchased as a “hunting farm.” Fortunately for the occupants my vision and mobility have made the land a sanctuary. It is loaded with turkey, deer, too many snakes, ticks & mosquitoes, and the occasional black bear. My “dearly beloved” tired of keeping me alive and I have welcomed her divorce as the opportunity to return to Kentucky after nearly 50 years in Wyoming.

          I have listened to far too many “progressive” and anti-lawyer opinions to find them engaging, entertaining or even remotely intelligent, so proceed with caution. OK. There is one aspect of your humanity with which I am comfortable. The attraction to tiny house living. I have enough land to accommodate several tiny houses. OK, you can even paint them red with a white picket fence. You may even have a 2 story (or taller) Hansel&Gretel ish witch’s house if you’d so desire. Town water is available, but well water is sweeter. Septic is the rule and one tank may be shared by more than one tiny house.

          My tiny house will have gas for cooking, lighting and refrigeration. I will have some solar for the internet in my tiny house. (Electricity is available but my chosen site is too far from the lines for economical hookup. You may like a site with more access to power — your choice.)

          I proudly supported Goldwater in ’64 That defines my libertarian bent. If (Erik) you want to engage me in political debate (chat) that is OK. Neighborly, in fact. If you want to speak evil of lawyers, that is OK, too. But please be advised that lawyers are “hired” to make sense for loony tuners of all stripes — conservative as well as “progressive.” If, of course, debate is like food, there is but one rule: the landlord wins.

          Some may find my tiny house a bit far from civilization. The County Seat has a pop. of fewer than 700 and is by far the largest “city” in the county. No federal roads. No 4 lane roads. A birthplace of several country music legends. The kids live for basketball. At last count there were 8 or 9 on NCAA scholarship for hoops. The school is too small for a football team.

          My email address: [email protected]

      • Alex
        May 22, 2013, 9:39 am

        So smart of you to already be saving up for the day you find the perfect piece of land. I’m beginning to do the same thing. I don’t want to rent anymore.

      • Joe
        June 9, 2014, 7:09 pm

        I have been fortunate to be able to go on 10 cruises. I have had difficulty walking my entire life. On every cruise I have been on conversations were engaged in with couples who had access to the best medical care and more than enough money to do whatever they wanted.

        They said I was wise to take a cruise at my age(then 35) because once your health starts going all the money and best medical care won’t improve your health. ( You just have access to legal drugs to “address” the pain.)

        • Alex
          June 9, 2014, 8:00 pm

          Thanks Joe.

    • alice h
      May 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

      I’m with you on the diminishing health thing. I’m about to hit 60, have one knee replacement, going for my second this fall. I walk with a rollator or two canes but I was still able to do a lot of my own building. It just takes longer and sometimes you need to ask for help. (Same swear words work though.) I know I can only live in my tiny house for a certain amount of time, 10-15 years if I’m lucky, but during that time I’m going to get together with like-minded people and work on setting up a senior housing co-op that allows people to age in place. There are lots of people looking for the same thing and just like our grannies’ fashions and attitudes aren’t necessarily ours so too the most common model of senior housing isn’t going to work for a lot of people that will need it in the next decade or two. In my tiny house the loft will be strictly for storage of occasional use items. Still working on a manual lift for getting up there and down, basically a bosun’s chair kind of doodad with self-braking winch similar to ones used for confined space entry. Sleeping space is a daybed on the main floor which works well enough for a single person but can be adapted for two. If I end up needing a wheelchair I can adapt and modify or just move someplace easier but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy what I can while I can. I have ropes all over the place to help me get up and down my steep, hilly land. About that toilet thing – regular 5 gallon buckets are too low but I found a type of wine concentrate bucket that’s just that little bit higher and still fits a luggable loo lid. Makes a huge difference! Empty the sawdust toilet when only half full and it’s way lighter. I’ve rigged a zipline (OK, it’s really just a clothesline with a hook) down the hill to where my compost pile is so I don’t need to carry buckets that far. There are lots of adaptations you can invent to make even very basic systems easier. Gravity can be your friend as well as an enemy.

      • Cahow
        May 21, 2013, 4:44 pm

        alice h: I stand in awe of your genius! Also, alice, I’ve really enjoyed your comments on many topics; I’m a fan of yours. 🙂

        • alice h
          May 22, 2013, 12:34 pm

          OK, that’s awkward. No genius, just adaptive. My motto, and I’m just finishing the needlepoint sampler, is Adopt, adapt, improve. So many people have come up with great ideas and the internet lets me find them and adapt them to my situation.

      • Alex
        May 22, 2013, 9:44 am

        Alice I enjoyed your comment so much – thanks again for sharing!

        • Kim
          May 22, 2013, 10:25 am

          Alice, I commend you! Wish I could see pictures of your set up as well. These are they types of ideas I put in my future home book to incorporate.

        • alice h
          May 22, 2013, 1:08 pm

          Right now it’s just 1/3 acre of heavily treed steep hillside on a Pacific NW island accessible by public transit, ferry and a 1 hour walk (15-20 minutes for non-gimps) I don’t own a car, I modified some bags to carry what I need on the rollator and made a harness for it to help keep it from getting away going downhill and still provide support. There’s a 4×6 wash house/tool shed/daytime sawdust toilet place with double laundy sink outside, 13′ Boler trailer with 10×12 partly covered deck, slowly accumulating savings towards an 8×20 house on wheels and a lot of scribbled plans and discarded models. Water is bucket and chuck it, using small blue Coleman jugs for drinking water and larger ones plus a larger plastic barrel for washing. Fillup courtesy of nice neighbour. Rainwater harvesting is on the list. Due to being needed by my family for parental and grandkid care I can only part time at my tiny place and spend the rest of the time in a 300 sq ft apartment in the basement of the family home. I’ve mostly lived in tiny and small places since leaving home way back when, some more functional than others. So far I’ve built everything at my place by myself over the last 6 years as time and money allowed but will need help with the 8×20 since I’m more lumber than limber these days in spite of the new knee and some of that stuff is up pretty high. I’ve modified the Boler extensively to make it more comfy for one person. Last week I finally replaced the fibreglass unit under the bed with a wooden slat platform so no more condensation problems and improved storage. A lot of it is fake it as you go more than completely planned to the nth degree. The basics are there but you have to be open to quick change improvements on the fly.

    • Sonia Munson
      May 21, 2013, 5:21 pm

      I’m with you here!!! I’ve commented many times on this…loft bedrooms are out for me..I can’t climb a ladder. I know a tiny house can be built to accommodate a senior. I would love to see a community of tiny houses that are senior friendly, gardens, walkways, access to transportation, fresh air, their OWN!! High rise apartments are no bigger than a tiny house and these apartments are depressing. Now, how to do it and how to make it affordable so it’s not just for the wealthy!! PS…a walk in bathtub! Now that is a luxury AND would fit in the space…I’m a caregiver and that is one of the biggest complaints…never being able to take a bath again…so sad!

      • Alex
        May 22, 2013, 9:45 am

        Thanks Sonia!! Great points that MUST be addressed.

    • Dorothy Mitchell
      May 21, 2013, 7:49 pm


    • Patricia Hawn
      May 21, 2013, 9:28 pm

      Cahow, check out this “Home Care Cottage”. It looks like it has everything a disabled person could need. A ramp to the front door, wide doors and walkways and a downstairs bedroom.

      • Kim
        May 22, 2013, 10:23 am

        thank you for sharing this link…finally someone is thinking about the ageing population. This is definately a huge step in the right direction.

      • Cahow
        May 22, 2013, 1:22 pm

        Patricia: MANY thanks for providing the link and also a ‘nod’ to your fortitude in being able to read all the comments, so far! 😉 I followed the link, watched in appreciation the entire video and Thumbed it ^UP^, out of gratitude. In the Comments Section, I only added two thoughts, 1) Take the microwave OFF of the top of the frig and place it on one of the shelves that parallels the bathroom doors. Leave an empty space to the side of the microwave door, so once opened, a !HOT! plate of food or dangerously hot liquid can be safely placed on the empty surface, to facilitate closing the microwave door. If someone was really handy, they could make a small extension of the shelf, directly in front of the microwave so a surface would be even closer. Of course, a plate of food or mug would need to clear the door’s closing. 2) I know these type of windows are on most people’s HATE LIST, but using either Casement-style windows (they hand crank open/closed) or Slider-style windows would TRULY make this wee gem of a home Handi-capable and useable! Speaking from my personal experience when I was wheel-chair bound for 6 months after I was hit by a Hit & Run car in 1985, you lack the upper body strength to shove a single hung window ^UP^ enough to have good air flow. Plus, if your silly window has a mind of it’s own as some of mine did, an aggressive shove on your part can shoot the window panel up to the highest level, where it is impossible to reach from a wheelchair! I had to use a sponge mop that was wet (allowed for friction) to pull the window down when a thunderstorm hit our area. I was NOT a Happy Camper! >:-(

        Thank you, Patricia, for finding that video and posting the link to gift many unknown people with hope. Bless you.

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 9:38 am

      Cahow I think you brought up the best point that desperately needs attention. How are we really going to help/provide for all these folks? Especially since we’re living longer than ever. Many people aren’t expecting to live as long as they are. This is a HUGE issue.

      • Cahow
        May 22, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Thank you, Alex. I truly didn’t intend to go Off Topic regarding your column on Recession Proofing, but to my mind, they go “Hand-In-Glove”, so to speak. What good is a bucket of money if you can’t use the toilet or the bathtub or even open the frig or access the dumb microwave on top of the frig???? Ya gonna toss dollar bills or Brussel Sprouts you grew from seed at the problems?!? Nay, I say!

        So, having a grand money plan in action is your Foundation, but what you place ON TOP of that foundation, i.e., a Tiny Home, is critical to millions of people’s wellness, both mental and physical.

        As a Baby Boomer, I’ve seen the ads on TV go from Sugar Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms being aimed at my generation to E.D./Dementia/and Cholesterol drugs now being the primary aim. Close behind is Assisted Living Facilities for Aging Parents. I strongly feel that the real, driving force behind Tiny Homes (100-400 sq.ft.) should be for the massively aging population. Rather than useless lofts and furniture that you must open-close-open-close to use, real thought needs to be addressed in designing this massive need that approaches ever closer.

        And, then, when we’re all gone, you youngin’s can come in and live in our paid-for Tiny Homes, courtesy of Granpa and Granma. (LOL)

        • Alex
          May 22, 2013, 3:32 pm

          Loved how you ended the comment, genius!! Haha. Actually, I think you should have your own column with all of your genius ideas.

        • Cahow
          May 22, 2013, 3:43 pm

          Ah, you’re too generous, Alex, but I’ll take your compliment and remember it on irksome days in the future. Having a regular blog/column takes a great commitment; I’m only a Rainy Day/Snowy Day writer. Both my husband’s and my 3 companies are weather driven: if it were dry outside these past two days, you’d never have heard from me. But, it’s been raining buckets these past two days so a Pot O’ Tea and Thee is what passes the time. 🙂

    • Kay
      July 18, 2014, 9:25 pm

      I’m 59 with many complex health issues including mobility. I live in rural NE New Mexico. I’m designing a 12×32 tiny/small house that will be created from a pre-fab shed. It’s considered a portable building so exempt from zoning and building codes. I will be living off the grid with solar & wind power.

      Because of my physical limitations I’ve put a lot of thought into the design. That’s why the 12 ft width. Most everything will be created as built-ins that fold out or down. Many items will be multi-purpose (transforming furniture). I will have lots of room for a wheelchair when that time comes (using rollator or cane at this point).

      Loft space (standard on the shed) will be for storage using a block and tackle setup in conjunction with wide stairs that I can get up and down on my butt if I have to. Bathroom will be extra wide with roll-in shower with room for my home healthcare nurse to work with me.

      Kitchen stuff will be built so that I don’t have to bend over to reach things now, but easily lowere to wheelchair height in the future. I have tried to take everything into account as I design this future home. And believe that I will absolutely be able to live out the rest of my years in it if I choose to.

      So it is NOT unfeasible for elderly and/or disabled people to live the “tiny life”.

      • Kay
        July 18, 2014, 9:37 pm

        Should mention that a small one room cabin has been a dream of mine for many years. My favorite apartments have always been the studios

  • alice h
    May 21, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Your comments made me think of that old Bob Dylan tune, Serve Somebody, though I don’t actually believe in either “the” devil or “the” lord. I think in terms of needing less income to maintain a comfy life, which is more about resiliance than freedom. Freedom can be a bit nebulous, an easy word to toss around and an interesting concept but not very likely to occur in the way many people hope it will. There’s always going to be an obstacle of some sort popping up in your life and the easier it is to adapt, dodge or recover the more resilient you’ll be. Losing and having to replace “everything” is a lot less daunting when that everything is small scale. Not saying it’s easy, or free from misery by any means. Needing less to maintain basics can give you “freedom” in the form of more time spent the way you choose though. I wouldn’t say I like to serve necessarily, but I do enjoy being useful. If I can’t be useful I can at least stay out of the way.

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 10:21 am

      I love that song! And I think you hit the nail on the head with the word ‘freedom’. The harder you try to grip it the more it seems to flee from you, right? lol. I don’t usually enjoy serving for the sake of serving someone either, but when I know I’m doing it for the greater good— or at least I might be— then serving feels good. Even if it’s doing my regular thing with a little more happiness/energy/radiance or whatever, ya know..

  • Cahow
    May 21, 2013, 4:18 pm

    What a manefesto, Alex!!! (LOL)

    Yet, I’m confused when you argue against yourself. Care to clarify?

    You wrote: “One thing I hope we can all face is this: tiny houses aren’t for everybody. They’re really not the magic pill to anything.” But in the same paragraph you also wrote: “Tiny houses are just what you need and nothing more. And that’s what’s great about them.” Shouldn’t that read “..what SOME need?”

    You also wrote: “But ultimately, I think it’s so we can live the rest of our precious lives on our own terms. The way we were meant to live.” and “and everybody, even the “tiny house haters”, actually want one deep down or at least wish they would have had one way back when.” Using words like “everybody” and “we were MEANT to live” seems rather inclusive, doesn’t it, in the same way that Tiny House Haters think that EVERY tiny house owner is just one Lotto Ticket away from a McMansion? I somehow doubt that Michael Jordan, sitting in his new 28,000 square foot home on 3 acres of land, is secretly dreaming of a 100 square foot home on wheels. Really!

    Let’s face it: we’re all different. And ever since Ford Motors moved on from cars in “any colour you want as long as it’s black”, we humans DEMAND to be different. Some folks enjoy wee spaces. It makes them happy. Other folks like medium sized spaces. It makes them happy. And other folks, like really BIG spaces and they are very happy indeed. I feel that if you’ve got your finances in order and don’t owe anyone you can’t easily pay, what’s the difference with being different? I’d sure hate for anyone to tell me, as a construction company owner, that I’d have to drive a Smart Car to work! Yet, I adore the wee cars ever since I worked in Paris and hope to own a tiny hybrid car at some point in the future. But, we’ll still own at least one pick up truck for hauling big-heavy things.

    Let’s let everyone have what makes them happy as long as they can afford it, shall we?

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 10:23 am

      I know that’s confusing and I did it on purpose because it’s perfect for some and not for others so I wanted my writing to speak to both. 🙂

      Good point on Michael Jordan! He’s probably NEVER thought a tiny house would be good for him. He’s been too big since age 12 for one more than likely, haha.

      And your last point is the best… Let everyone be happy as long as they can happily afford whatever they choose. 🙂

  • May 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

    I am a bit of a hoarder and think that a tiny house would benefit me as I would HAVE to lose a load of junk.
    It is also incredibly difficult to get a “proper” mortgage at the moment, and this seems like a really affordable option!

    • Susie M
      May 29, 2013, 11:45 pm

      I’m with you on that one Lee-Anne, I’ve been quite ill lately, and my dishes cover my entire kitchen! ugghh! If I had a tiny house, I could limit myself to just a couple of plates, bowls and mugs. That would force me to keep it clean and organized. I have yarn and fabric everywhere! Let’s not even get into the books… yikes!
      Yes, I can see many benefits to tiny houses and the choices they force you to make.
      I would love to have one within easy bicycling range of a really good grocery store. Up here in Vermont, part way up a mountain that is covered in snow half the year, is probably not the ideal location though.

  • Tom Zollinger
    May 21, 2013, 5:27 pm

    LaMar, Cahow, Kim have spoken for me. The walk from my computer to the kitchen sink is too much. A few years ago, I broke my back and shattered my pelvis. I am still trying to recover — but with great difficulty. Building my own tiny house keeps me trying — and alive. Owning substantial acreage in Appalachia, I won’t need to worry about government imposed minimum footage. No building or zoning ordinances. Good water 16 feet down. Solar generated electricity backed up by my diesel generator. Good septic and gray water. My dearly beloved objects, though. But she is heading in the right direction if she keeps me alive long enough. When I did my back and pelvis thing, we found renters for our 3500′ “big house” with all the stairs upon which I occasionally fell — and built a 1500′ one level house in which I still fall — most recently earning me a broken shoulder.

    I figure I can build a livable tiny house using my electric drill — no hammers, nails — and we can rent out the 1500′ house, too. (Wow! Now, I am making money.) I will need help with the roof. I will need to pay to dig a well and basement (OK, storm shelter/fruit cellar.) “Assisted living” costs more money than I can (or want) to pay. I will be doing more for my fellow man by being self-dependent than by any service I can provide others.

    • Cahow
      May 21, 2013, 7:05 pm

      Tom: thanks for sharing your story. It touched my heart. We, too, have a condo for income producing properties: it’s a 3 bedroom that we rent out two of the bedrooms to vetted college students. We bought and paid for the condo completely when we sold our large 4 bedroom home (all kids in Uni or married) so the rent we receive pays for ALL utilities, taxes and money left over for savings. One of the bedrooms is reserved for my husband and I when we go into town, but we’re fair and give the renters a clear “head’s up” when we plan on coming into town. It’s worked well for us these past 10 years and when we no longer have a need for the city, at all, we’ll sell it at a very clear profit. Very smart thinking on your part to rent your large home! Many families need a home that large but can’t afford the down payment or maybe they want to rent vs. own. Best of luck to you and your “dearly beloved” on your dream! BTW, you might try to barter some of the services you need for tech work or even web site building; can’t hurt to ask. 🙂

      • Alex
        May 22, 2013, 10:25 am

        Thanks for sharing Tom and to you Cahow for always sharing some great stories/tips/experiences. I’m all for folks who are able to acquire real estate now and rent it out to folks who need homes but can afford to buy or get qualified to buy. It’s unfortunate how many of us lost our homes in the last decade.

  • Jerry
    May 21, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Not to disparage smart savings and investing, but I’m hoping I can downsize to the point where money isn’t an issue. I plan on using aquaponics, chickens, and goats to provide my food, solar/wind to provide the small amount of power I will need, all in the goal of reducing my monetary needs to less than $400/month. With any luck, I’ll be able to produce on a small homestead (less than an acre, it’s possible with aquaponics) enough to earn that $400/month and be as close to self sufficient as possible. I’ve been building computers for years, and doing tech support on the side for the past 10, so I do have fall back options, but I hope to be a small self sufficient homesteader, and leave the monetary rat race behind for good!

    • Cahow
      May 21, 2013, 7:15 pm

      Jerry said “Not to disparage smart savings and investing, but I’m hoping I can downsize to the point where money isn’t an issue.”

      And right you are, Jerry. We just happen to enjoy traveling around the world too much so we need money. However, our careers are our passion so it never seems like a rat race to us. I’d rather die than not have my company to wake up to each morning; it keeps me smart, current and challenged. LOL Neither my husband nor I golf, sail, collect anything or gamble but we do LOVE seeing the world and for that, you need $$$. We’ve even mildy discussed renting out our cottage and buying an RV to just travel for years, on the road, but it’s never gone beyond talk. I think we’re still too young to retire so we both kinda want to play our last hand with our careers before we take to the road. But, I realize that that lifestyle is not enjoyed by many; most people like coming Home to the same place each night, which I respect.

      • Alex
        May 22, 2013, 10:26 am

        Great point, well said!

    • Kim
      May 22, 2013, 10:44 am

      I totally agree Jerry. I am practicing permaculture and no matter if I stay here on my tiny city lot or get the piece of heaven (acreage), I know I will be able to live on a very meager amount of money. On my little lot, I am able to grow/produce enough food for at least 1 to 2 full, healthy meals a day for myself. If I had more space, I know I could produce all I need.

      • Jerry
        May 23, 2013, 1:36 am

        Thanks Kim! I’m amazed every time I look in the garden and realize how much easier it is to grow my own food as opposed to working and purchasing (the end results of which makes someone else wealthy). I’m just now beginning to experiment with aquaponics, and it looks very promising. I used to think I needed 3 acres to feed a family, I know realize you can do it on a half acre. Fresh fish, fresh vegetables, chickens for meat and eggs, a goat for milk, and trade the excess for what else you need. And living in a tiny house I built with my own hands. It’s obviously not everyone’s dream, but it’s mine.

  • Kathy R
    May 21, 2013, 7:09 pm

    My Tiny House Philosophy

    I’ve always loved tiny spaces. With blanket forts under a chair, to having my Dad in for “tea” with my dollies under the snowball bush. The dollies’ “bedrooms” were Easter Baskets hung on the interior branches of what I later learned was a hydrangea. Dad was a good sport.

    I lived for 4 months with my husband on a 20’ outboard, with camper canvas. We spent frequent nights ashore, but I treasure those nights (and meals!) aboard. We also tent-camped, and loved it. Then I continued the small saga, by living for 11 years (summers only) on a cabin cruiser on Lake Michigan. I would “clean house” in 10 minutes, flat.

    I imagine a 12×12 cabin, inspired by my Mom’s wish for retirement: “a one room cabin with maid service.” I designed that cabin in my mind, but never did anything with it. It was always alpine with a loft bed over the bathroom, the rest of it open.

    Now, I’m thoroughly enjoying the TinyHouseTalk blog. I’ve done some “tiny” things where I currently live: I have a raised bed with storage underneath for example. But the “real” tiny house days are behind me now. (Although I still have a tent…)

    Which doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned the Philosophy. I’m still amazed that Man was once a Nomad! Can you believe It! And so I strive to get there. Life is a journey, after all.

    With paring down the clothes, and the “stuff,” I feel that I’m in communion with the whole idea. It doesn’t matter where I live, or how, really. What’s important is that we all are sentient beings, thinking about just what we’re doing, and acting accordingly.

  • jerryd
    May 21, 2013, 7:49 pm

    Great piece Alex. It basically read as my life. Back in the 70’s recessions, I just bought a boat/TH and went sailing. Once you own the boat if not too large it owns you, life has little costs and can be quite fun working only 1 month/yr traveling around as you feel like and the weather suits your cloths, a pair a shorts ;^P.

    I’ve always said it’s not what you make, but what you spend. And TH’s allow that nicely. I bought my land/TH’s for $300/month for 5 yrs right next to where big shopping centers, bus lines, etc would be, paid for in 97 and now in the middle of the massive new population growth only places like here in Fla see.

    Since then my utilities including internet, phone are under $100/month, another $100/month for food and $40/month for my EV’s, their fuel, etc mean I have to work little to survive well.

    If needed could do food for no money and when I move onto my 34′ trimaran need no utility as completely solar powered, $1k/1+kw, supplies my energy needs the rest of my life.

    So once living onboard my costs go way down. Why this is important it leaves money for other things and allowing one to pick and chose the small amount of work needed for living making that and the extra time for other things more enjoyable. I’ve never heard of someone dying saying I wish I had worked more. Work smart and spend smart and you’ll have to work a lot less.

    It can also take one most anywhere in the world at little costs and mine is only costing $3k in materials. But I’m a boat designer/builder kinda gives me an edge here.

    Fact is being able to live on little, well, is the most freeing thing you can do as no one has any leverage on you as you can just walk away. Not being chained to massive bills that must be paid to me is similar to not being a slave, which most are now to their bills, cars, mortgages, etc. Google Affluenza.

    To sum up, get a very low cost home of your choice. Doesn’t really matter as long as you like it and it costs little to run.
    Line up 2-4 energy sources that don’t costs like solar, wind, hydro, used veg oil, plastics to gasoline/diesel, etc for use and/or sale.

    And get low cost transport like a lightweight EV made from a golfcart and a MC or an older diesel car run on veg oil of plastic derived fuels.

    Have multiple low cost, free food sources. Here in Fla the wild chickens come to you!! ;^P Plus fishing/hunting is great in most areas as as few are doing it anymore. I plan to fish, barter them for vegs if needed. Gardens, etc are other choices.

    Interesting with Cahow’s point my Tri is designed with me getting much worse off than I am now which isn’t that good. But TH’s are perfect for less mobile people. And since it’s being built for someone it can be taken into account.

    It’s a big reason I like 12’x12′ as nothing is far away. You could even put a crane in the center to move even a completely immobile person around from head to kitchen, wheelchair at the door to go out for a while, etc. Maybe a round unit for the less able like this.

    I see nothing about TH’s that limit but far more able to stay in them longer than a bigger house. Some TH are not suited, So? As most are custom homes that means little as one just has the best version for them built.

  • Erik Markus
    May 21, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Excellent article, as usual, Alex !

    About an hour ago I was pondering how in the last 10 months (the amount of time I’ve lived in my tiny house) I haven’t had to make a mortgage payment, or be concerned about mortgage rates. I have no mortgage.

    In the last year I’ve heard how bank of america, and other banks, have admitted they committed fraud and nearly pushed the World economy into collapse, yet they were given HOW MUCH in tax paid monies? They don’t deserve that.

    As a society, we in the U.S. in particular have GOT to change SIGNIFICANTLY, our transportation system, our resource useage, our housing, our disregarding of the environement.
    Yet, looking back over the last 30 years, entrenched corporatists have done nothing but obstruct. And now, they don’t even bother to hide their criminal behaviour.

    The criminal corporatists, like the koch brothers, need to be prosecuted and removed from hurting our society, ever again. Our society needs protection from the greedy sleaze that are a minority group. There is more to life than money.

    … and they are always pastey whiteys, too. I’m middle aged white male and embarassed to say that I’m an American because of the corrupt, racist, white corporatists.

    I got to experience my first minor earthquake a few days ago, and it was cool. I had just gone to bed and there was no other noises and in a split second it was as if someone gently bumped the house and it shook, causing no problems. I verified the next day that it was a quake and felt good knowing that living in a detached structure that has a rubber cushion(tires) protecting it from the ground, an earthquake isn’t likely to affect me. Someone living in a house that is built on a slab has got to be constantly worried about their foundation literally crumbling.

    If I lived in an area affected by hurricanes or flooding, I would just hook up and move in-land for a bit. Those outdated “stuck to the ground homes” can’t do that.

    I’ve watched as Hurricane Sandy did it’s thing to entire neighborhoods that were attached to the ground, causing billions of dollars in damages and costing numerous people their lives.

    Just a few days ago, a huge tornado in OK. wiped out another swath of fixed to the ground structures, costing $XX… , causing how many lives lost ___….. , plus damages. It’s an old story.

    We as tiny housers need to be there, to educate these people that there are alternatives.
    Hurricane Andrew & Hugo, the Northridge Earthquake 1994, the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco,….. the list goes on. The damages go on.

    The damages to our environment from FAILURE of corporatists to make changes to prevent global warming, that they have known of for decades now, …. and it’s only going to get worse.

    I LOVE my Tiny house. If I won a fortune tomorrow, I wouldn’t move out of it. I might move to a different spot.
    I’m building my solar electric system and WILL be off-grid soon.
    I’m not dependent on a septic or sewage system.
    I don’t use fossil fuels (propane) in my home.
    I garden and am growing more of my own food.
    My conscious is clear. I’m doing and have done the right things. It hasn’t been easy, but also, not that hard. It’s really been fun for me.

    Now, I don’t say these things to make others who haven’t, or can’t ,make progress in their own lives feel bad, or to pump my ego because I feel I have something others don’t.
    I do what I can to educate others, to give them confidence that they too, can improve their lives. Helping others is a powerful, enriching gift.
    This is why I make videos, as well.
    As it becomes more obvious to people they need to change, I want to see my fellow human be able to improve, not be left in the dust.

    I’m not some sleazy, degenerate, greed-based, materialistic, selfish, corporatist. (remember, not long ago, white corporatists were patting each other on the back for being selfish, as if it were a good thing. LOL) I’ve seen those people and their ilk, and they aren’t desirable. It is those people who are to blame for the condition our society is in. Shame on the oil-based society. They have blood on their hands.

    Like I said, my conscious is clear.

    I’ve got a better camera and have a whole list of video I want to make, going forward.

    I have to go water my garden, now.
    Take care.

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 10:30 am

      Hey Erik I’ll be on the look out for more of your videos. So great to hear how well you’re doing and the progress you’re making. Very well said and thanks so much for sharing it with all of us. I’m a big fan!

  • Anthony McCarthy
    May 22, 2013, 7:57 am

    It’s funny but my major problem with the small house movement is that it isn’t especially progressive. There’s nothing admirable about the parts of it that lead people to be more tightly self-centered, though there are parts that are a lot more idealistic. People who believe they are self contained and “independent” are often deluding themselves, selectively giving attention to parts of their lives and ignoring other facts of it that would show how much they depend on other people, constantly.

    “Greenery”? You don’t seem to realize where the food you eat and the oxygen you breathe comes from. We’re not bacteria in the early Earth environment that weren’t dependent on “greenery”. That level of denial of the human condition is delusive thinking.

    • Alex
      May 22, 2013, 10:33 am

      This is one of the reasons I like to say that it’s GOOD and HEALTHY to want to SERVE others. Because we’re constantly BEING SERVED by others as we use our computers, eat, drive, sleep, etc. It’s a big exchange system, but yeah, it’s a little corrupt. Aren’t all organizations, even some members of most families, corrupt? To me, it’s almost part of nature. But when I KNOW, I can deal with it better.

    • alice h
      May 22, 2013, 10:34 am

      I used to have that argument with friends that lived in “the bush” up North after I moved to “town”. They had a sense of moral superiority for their “independence” and would let me know how disappointed they were at my choice. Usually after they drove to town to buy supplies, do laundry and use my shower. Then there were all the deluded summer people who wanted to “live off the land”, which somehow also involved flour, sugar, tea, coffee, clothes and equipment etc. They saw nothing false about their assumption they were “free of society” no matter how many roads and bridges they used to get there or how many stores they collected their supplies from. That said, I think what most people mean about being independent is that they have a larger measure of control over their life and aren’t so plugged into the larger system that its contortions affect them as directly. You can’t really be free of all that because whatever you do you’re dependent on certain systems and societal structures on a very basic level if you want any kind of comfort and control. If you live out of the way and are able to supply many of your own basic needs without involving a lot of other people you’re more independent than someone living in an apartment in the middle of a large city, especially if something goes wrong with the big system. In a way you are also helping because you aren’t drawing as heavily on the big system’s resources and may even be able to help others in an emergency. Many of the “independents” are actually part of smaller, local systems and help maintain their resilience which in turn helps stabilise the larger system. There’s more than one way to be members of a healthy, functional society than direct participation in the dominant culture, especially if your solution doesn’t violate basic health, safety or ethical concerns.

      • Cahow
        May 22, 2013, 2:39 pm

        alice h: I could have Copied & Pasted almost your entire post, for the wisdom and truth you spoke. But this sentence, >>”They saw nothing false about their assumption they were “free of society” no matter how many roads and bridges they used to get there or how many stores they collected their supplies from.”, that really wrapped it up in a Nut Shell for me. I’ve personally known too many of those people throughout my life. Ugh. Sanctimonious gits, I tell ya.

        I shake my head and mumble under my breath when I read fervent posts, both HERE and at an Off The Grid website I frequent, where “The Gubment” is EeeVil personified, taxes are the equal of Soul Suckin’ Incubi, and the predominent mantra is “I don’t wanna live nowhere where there’s any damn rules!”

        Okay, Sunny Jim. Let’s say that 100% of American’s quit paying taxes. HOW long do you think the roads will last, followed by the bridges? Of course, there won’t be any rail system either, so good luck getting fresh powder for your muskets as you keep the Gubment and Revenuers off of your Squatter’s Rights patch of land that SOMEONE ELSE FRICKIN’ OWNS and bought! And, with no infrastructure, all the jobs that depend upon getting raw materials to fabricate your blue jeans, nails, plastic rain barrels and even the laptop you’re writing your manefesto from can’t be made or bought any longer, ’cause no one has a job! No free clinics to help you out, no food pantry, no schools, fire departments, police departments, no nuttin…basically, you’re back to Planet of the Apes or an indigineous society in the Amazon.

        And regarding having NO RULES, isn’t >that< "a rule", to have no rules? Just watch two pre-schoolers play together: within 5 minutes, the dominant one has set up rules. If they are both Alphas, either a screaming session or tussle will settle who's the Lead Alpha. Heck, name me ONE mammalian, avian, or insect society that doesn't survive and THRIVE on rules? Just one, Sunny Jim… tick-tock, I'm waiting!

        Oh, can't come up with one. I didn't think so. Pffffttttt…..

        We can ALL cut back our spending, we can ALL turn the lights off when we leave a room, we can ALL reduce/reuse/recycle, and that would go a lot further toward helping the planet than sitting in a bunker in a national forest, waiting for THEM to come and git y'all.

        • alice h
          May 22, 2013, 7:59 pm

          One of these days a whole bunch of us are going to have to get together for one heck of a campfire party and gab session. I was cracking up big time reading that! I might even manage to stay awake past 8:30!

    • Erik Markus
      May 22, 2013, 11:48 am

      It IS quite Progressive. Ina society where corrupted corporatists have been pushing people to build bigger is better… yes it’s progressive.

      Idealistic is good. Corrupted thinking that corporatists push, not good.

      Tiny houses are not about isolation or independence.
      Those are corporatist ideals. We’ve seen corporatists trying to ruin public organizations that serve everyone because they want to try and privatize, so they can skim profits off. And corporatists will claim people should have “independence” to sell their criminal schemes.

      People are by nature, very social animals. That means dependent on each other. Nothing wrong with that.

      Yet, if you listen to corporatists, they are forever trying to push people apart:
      Large suburban lots isolate people and (ding ding ding) cause them to use gas and automobiles.
      Breaking of your public protective services causes people to (ding ding ding) hire protective services.
      Breaking or preventing efficient public health care causes (ding ding ding) people to buy inconsistently applied health insurance and not all people receive the care needed.
      Breaking our schools so people will (ding ding ding) have to spend money on private schools.

      Corporatists are criminals. Being aware of their slimey schemes is a full-time commitment. Once you learn the lessons you avoid the trash, its a natural. So you work to expose the trash by educating people they don’t have to fall for their games.

      Oxygen is an excellent example of something we all share in, and we have a duty to be sure our air stays clean. Corporatists of course don’t care about this because the one thing they live for, money, can’t readily be made by protecting our air.

      Those of us who are building and living in Tiny homes have the same needs and desires as anyone else. Not all people use their tiny house the same. Some are content living on-grid, and designed their house accordingly using appliances and fixtures that reflect that. Others, like myself, know the negative consequences of using appliances that are fossil fuel based or demand energy that is hard to produce off-grid, so design our spaces with out those appliances.

      No paradox.

      For example, look at what the corporatists are trying to do the USPS. It has been very public that the likes of UPS and Fedex would like to take over certain routes.

  • May 22, 2013, 11:39 am

    Read and search for youtube videos of Jules and his family.
    1/10 of an acre 7000 pounds of food annually. You don’t need a big lot to grow and raise 2 meals a day for one person! They have all they need for 4 people and sell their surplus to local restaurants.
    As for saving and investing you need those to factor in since you need money when you are no longer able to work the land or a job.
    Tiny houses can easily be built to accommodate ageing.

    • Erik Markus
      May 22, 2013, 11:52 am

      Thanks for the lead, Robert.

      Now THAT is a desirable goal.

    • Kim
      May 22, 2013, 1:07 pm

      I have been watching this family for years. I will never be at that point due to my health but I am at a point that I can and do provide many of my own meals…thanks to my raised bed gardens and 3 chickens. I can and dehydrate anything extra and barter eggs for chicken food. Quite a win win for me.

      • Cahow
        May 22, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Okay, I’m passing this along to whomever finds it helpful. I don’t know if it’s Truth or Rubbish; it’s yet to be published and reviewed. I just received an e-notice of new books from amazon and thought it might be of great interest to some on this site. At ShopDeerHunting (dot) com, it sells for $16.49, plus if you buy it there, you get the digital version as a pdf. file, for FREE!!!

        Here’s the title and the blurb about it:
        Title: “Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living” by Stacy Harris
        Release Date: June 24, 2013 $17.49 paperback/$12.99 Kindle
        Blurb: “Responding to the trend toward sustainable living, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living helps you make delicious food using natural ingredients.

        Inside this lushly illustrated volume, you’ll find:

        Tips and techniques to grow and harvest natural, organic foods in and around your home.
        More than 80 mouth-watering recipes for cooking those ingredients.
        Tips on preservation and storage of your harvest.
        Health benefits of natural, organic ingredients.
        Chapters cover:
        Gardening – Heirloom gardening, container gardening, herbs and preserving.
        Beyond the Garden – Foraging, beekeeping, poultry and eggs.
        Wood and Water – Venison, wild turkey, duck, quail, small game, seafood and fish.”

        From ShopDeerHunting (dot) com:
        “You’ll Love This If:
        •You are working towards a sustainable living lifestyle
        •You want to make delicious recipes using natural ingredients
        Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living, you will receive a comprehensive tutorial in growing and harvesting natural, organic foods in and around the home along with 80 mouth-watering recipes for cooking those ingredients. Tips on preservation, and storage are also included. Plus, the health benefits of natural, organic ingredients are explored.

        About the author: Stacy Harris writes from a passion that wild venison, turkey, duck, quail, pheasant, fish, fruits, and vegetables without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and without being genetically modified are the most nutritious and tasty foods that one can eat. She states that whether you hunt, fish, and gather yourself, or whether you purchase from a reputable harvester and shop at farmers markets, changing your eating habits to wild foods is the best choice in health you will ever make. For many, preparing wild game seems to be a daunting task. Stacy has a wealth of the information needed to melt away any intimidation of cooking from the wild. She also knows the techniques to simplify the process of making succulent, excellent meals. Her tried and true recipes come from her love and dedication to offer her family extraordinarily delicious food gathered from the garden, and hunted and fished from the wild.”

  • Ross Lukeman
    May 22, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Alex, thanks for the great post. I like your thoughts on requiring less and being more of service. I think where a lot of us get underwater financially is in requiring much more than our service to others justifies.

    I also think that those of us who think differently need to bring our ideas to market without demonizing those who are already successfully offering their services through their businesses. As we all know, if you don’t offer anything anyone wants, you go out of business. So obviously the successful businesses out there are bringing a lot of goods and services to a lot of people. Even if we don’t agree with the goods and services being offered, someone is, or they wouldn’t be paying those companies their hard-won money. If we want another option in the marketplace (such as tiny homes), we need to take the risk and invest our money to bring those options to market just like any other businessperson.

    Personally, I am 30 years old, have some college debt, and have been considering building a tiny home. I won’t be getting a mortgage regardless of what I build. I am going in July to try out Brittany Yunker’s tiny house for rent you have above. It has been a stretch to figure out how to pull off a tiny house (building it, where to park, etc.) in the Houston, Texas area. All the while, there are mortgaged builder homes in all directions. There are even people holding signs on the corners telling you where to go.

    I can tell from the amount of services offered on your site that you are an enterprising businessperson. I would encourage you to unabashedly continue to expand your offerings to help make tiny homes more available in the marketplace. Any earnings you get from your work in the tiny homes space is done through service to the public and is well-earned. Thanks for making this option more available to us through your efforts!

    • Cahow
      May 22, 2013, 6:20 pm

      Ross wrote: “As we all know, if you don’t offer anything anyone wants, you go out of business. So obviously the successful businesses out there are bringing a lot of goods and services to a lot of people. Even if we don’t agree with the goods and services being offered, someone is, or they wouldn’t be paying those companies their hard-won money.”

      Ross, thank you for your compassion and being a voice of reason in regards to life-styles that many people hate without knowing anyone personally that exemplifies that lifestyle. Just like Tiny Home owners are vilified by people that don’t know a single T.H.O. and think they’re all Wackos and Separatists, so too, people with wealth are generally viewed as Planet Gobbling/Trashing Elitists. We all know there are ‘some’ examples of both groups that exist, but they are the vast minority. The rest of the people in both groups, are just trying to raise a family and die happy.

      Here’s a window into just one family that my husband and I have worked for and become friends with. Both husband and wife, in their very early 40’s are Trust Fund Kids. Their grandparents began tiny companies that turned into global concerns and if you are over the age of 10 y.o., you and everyone in your family has eaten or worn what made them their mega-fortunes. BOTH husband and wife, (let’s call them Joe and Judy), did volunteer work throughout high school and Uni, including a joint stint in Doctor’s Without Borders, of which Private donors provide about 80% of the organization’s funding (both parents support this organization).

      They got married, moved from their original state and landed in Chicago, where I met them; Judy was expecting her 1st child. He continued his practice and she became a Stay At Home Mum, just as her Mum was. Fast forward 8 years, and 6 children later (2 sets of twins), they moved from their 1,300 sq.ft. home, to a 3,000sq.ft., 100 y.o. home several blocks away that we gut/rehabbed for them and did their landscaping and irrigation. Judy has returned to her Pediatrics Practice part time and Joe continues in Neo Natal Surgery.

      Now, here are the volume of people they EMPLOY, and how often:

      1) Three full-time nannies, one live-in. That’s FOUR women with a job!
      2) Two cleaning ladies, five days a week. That’s TWO women with a job!
      3) One dog walker, 7 days a week that comes by twice a day. That’s ONE man with a job!
      4) Various crew members from our company, for home repair, lawn service, planting and irrigation service. That’s up to 6 men/women with a job!

      These are the people I’m aware of; there’s a host more.

      Total amount of people who earn their living from this one couple: 14!!! And these people who would otherwise NOT be employed for various reasons take that money and buy homes and furniture and groceries and cars and movie tickets…driving the U.S. economy which drives the Global Economy.

      One Family. Fourteen people’s livelyhoods depend upon them. How many people are directly dependent upon any of US to put food on the table? This family also does extensive volunteer work, charity work, and makes massive donations to charities as their conscience dictates.

      So, a Negative Nelly could say, “Well, these people could work ANYWHERE! They don’t need to be shackled to the teat of The Man!”. Oh, really? You know this because……???

      The two house cleaners are a Mother-Daughter team from Poland, both legal. Mum was a doctor in Poland; she’s too old to take the tests required in America to become a surgeon, again. Daughter is loyal to her Mum and works with her to help her aging body while she cleans their home. They also send money back to their family that wanted to stay in Poland.

      One of the nannies has ADHD so terrible, that at 34 y.o., she can NOT and never has had a “normal job” for longer than a week. She refuses to be on meds, and as such, can’t count change; can’t take orders over a phone; can’t drive because she can’t pass the test….I could go on and on. But, what she CAN do, is love your child, wipe it’s arse, kiss it’s tears away, and is wicked good at playing games and keeping the children happy.

      Our crew is all Hispanic. They are all legal. Most of them are related, being brothers, uncles, cousins and even a Dad! The older ones were all farmer’s in Mexico; that’s all they know what to do. They can’t read nor write English, so it’s either wash dishes or work for a company like ours, where we treat them with respect and they earn from $12-$25/hour, plus bonuses. They ALL own homes. And lest you think that these immigrants are lazy because they can’t read or speak English well, you have now described my Grandmother and Great Grandparents, who never learned to read nor write English, no matter HOW long they were in America. They spoke Finnish at home and broken English when “out”.

      So, this is just one single family that I know, of the 127 homes we take care of each year. They all have similar stories: the math professor at a prestigious Uni who tutors Aspberger’s children in her spare time. The concert pianist that tutors talented children from “the ghetto” that could never afford lessons, let alone a piano. The stories go on and on.

      Just because you HAVE, doesn’t mean you don’t SHARE both your wealth and time. If all my clients were breaking their backs working three menial jobs, WHO would be giving back to the world what they do? Would it be YOU?

      • Ross Lukeman
        May 29, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Hi Cahow, I agree. It sounds like the couple you mention is giving a lot to society even before you take into account the volunteering and employment of others. Those very are important careers that really help people. Additionally, the trust money they received was earned by a business SERVING happy customers with whatever made them the money. I don’t think we should make building an alternative home a statement of class warfare riddled with human envy. Build it because that’s your dream.

        • Cahow
          May 29, 2013, 6:55 pm

          Good Evening, Ross. I appreciate your response; again, you are the voice of understanding and compassion. You’re so right: Class Warfare does NOTHING for anyone!!! Take the Rich & Famous people like Brad Pitt, who uses his money and power to help rebuild New Orleans. Sure, I texted $10 bucks a couple of times to Red Cross but I sure wasn’t down there, directly helping those in need. Or, Blake Shelton, who along with his Rick & Famous friends, is hosting a sold out concert to aid the tornado victims of Oklahoma. And once again, I texted money but I’m sure not down there, helping with the hard work.
          The world needs everyone who has time, money, experience or all three, to help heal so many wrongs.

    • Erik Markus
      May 23, 2013, 10:55 am

      “I also think that those of us who think differently need to bring our ideas to market without demonizing those who are already successfully offering their services through their businesses. As we all know, if you don’t offer anything anyone wants, you go out of business. ”

      In theory, this is true. Your 30 y.o. ideals are respectable, and the way that SHOULD be. But,….

      The problem is…. Baby boomers.
      As has been written in earlier posts here, this cohort of American society, is …. ewww, what is the right word….. a liability at this time in history, for the most part.

      OK, I’m 46. I missed the baby boomer cut by 4 years, but I’ve seen the activity.
      30 y.o.s today, don’t know the party that was the 1980s. This was prime time for boomers (in their 30s – 50s back then).

      And you certainly don’t know the changes our society went through during the 60s and 70s. Even I was impressed. It wasn’t simply a time when the clothing were a different fad.

      Baby-boomers grew up believing they “are all that”, that the world revolves around the “me generation”.

      There is a fair share of them that own real estate or other “assets” now, that have been lead to believe, and they hope, that are going to go up in value and they are going to be able to pan them off on the next generation.

      That isn’t going to happen. There is not enough people to buy their outdated stuff. The money in this country has been so funnelled in the last 30 years to the pathetic 1% of the richest, that there is no money for those assets to be sold to anyone, other than that 1%. And there is physically not enough “young people”.

      I was talking to a 60ish couple a week ago, who have been trying to sell a piece of rental income property since at least 2005. Greed, greed, greed, sums up their delusional attitude. They’ve been trying to sell their propety since at least 2005 when the market was giving away money. Now they have burnt their bridges. They just don’t get it. They still think their troubled property is worth a million dollars, but they are “serious about selling”

      About a month ago I was talking to another 60ish boomer, and his wife. We got into talking about the economy. “Our country is in real trouble because of the bank fraud….”, he agreed.
      The guy literally said “…I just hope our society doesn’t collapse in the next 5 years.”, with a tense look on his face. He clearly didn’t mean to verbalize this thought, but he did. Even his wife shamed him for saying it.
      This is how this selfish generation thinks. To hell with future generations as long as he did ok. Absolutely inferior.

      Look at the deficits left behind, at this point. Look at our environment. Boomers just pushed through rules that will allow fracking (dumping toxic waste) in public parks, in a quest to rob natural gas from the ground. disgusting.

      A boomer neighbor, lives across from me. Works on some road construction crew, I met them for the first time a week ago. They seem to be complimenting my house at first, so I thought I would socialize. He had a drink in his hand (so you know the outcome is predictable here), the conversation quickly turned and he decided that I was “a young guy” and that the younger generation doesn’t realize that his generation knows what it is like to recycle. This after basically bragging about his 38′ fifth wheel with 3 slides, and his house on 6 acres. I don’t know if he was jealous, or he was trying to compete? He came across as a crusted, drunk, hobbling his way to the finish line off life, deluding himself that he was still “number one”.

      This generation was bred to be materialistic consumers and self-centered. I hate to say it because there are some quality people, but it’s kind of a wasted generation.
      Their parents, at least had a degree of decorum when they lied.
      Their parents at least had a sense of what is right and wrong.

      My point, Ross, there is a large volume of people, at this time in this country, who think like the white, racist, ego-centric, corrupt group at fox (not) news. Obstructing REAL progress.

      They are so corrupt they will do, and HAVE done, ANYTHING to protect their outdated ways. They have no moral standing. It is simply criminal behaviour. There is nothing special about them, though they think they are the creme-de-le-creme. You can read the books of history and see that it has been done before.

      Look at what the baby boomers have done to our government. Defunding the DOJ- why? Criminals can not withstand strutiny.
      Defunding the EPA- why? Criminals can not withstand strutiny.
      Removing the Glass Stegal Act in 1998- why? Criminals can cheat easier when the rules are corrupted.
      Remove the Fairness Doctrine in 1986- why? Criminals can lie easier when media rules are removed.
      And what group of people have operated with the “benefits” of being able to cheat? yep.

      This all happened with the selfishness of one generation. And a small group, the 1%(mainly their elders) benefitted the most, while a lot of boomers have blood on their hands, now.

      Now, there are plenty of wonderful, thoughtful, smart people, of this generation. Its like the baby boomers have a much wider scale at which you can expect them to operate. You get some that are SUPER wonderful, Like Awesome Thom Hartmann or wicked smart Stephanie Miller , and then you get the other side. The Scott walkers of Wisconsin, who are entrenched criminals, plain and simple.
      Many are well meaning. And many of them are followers. And over the years they believed if you just follow the “rules”, respected your elders, some day you would be “rich” and “happy”.

      lol. I sat in on a employment planning group about 2 months back, that was open to anyone, any age. I looked around the room of roughly 30 people. Everyone there was older than I. 50ish, 60ish, and with subdued hope in their eyes.

      Dealing with these people in a nice fair way isn’t worth the effort. When self-centered people who have no morals will change or cheat the rules, what is the point.

      There are significant changes required to our transportation systems, our housing, our energy, our food, our legal system.

      When we have a large volume of people who, respectfully, are dependent on a way of life they have known all their lives, it is merely another hurdle to real change.

      It will require voting in every election, at least every two years. It may require law suits, it may require physical removal of the criminal element from the walls of our government. The likes of scott walker, the koch brothers, the tom colburn of Oklahoma, etc.

      I don’t want to seem a buzz kill. You, hopefully have youthful energy. Keep those ideals, learn the lessons of a corrupted generation before you. Greed and selfishness isn’t good.

      • Ross Lukeman
        May 29, 2013, 5:44 pm

        Erik, all great points. I agree, we need to overhaul a lot of transportation, housing, energy, (definitely) our food system, and for sure the legal system could use some help as well. All of us to some degree become dependent on a certain lifestyle and hope to preserve it. The job of innovators like you and me is to bring the change. We can’t focus on the people doing it wrong. We’ve got to be the change we wish to see in the world.

        Thanks for the tiny house videos and for spreading the word.


    • Barbara
      May 23, 2013, 9:16 pm

      If you find any places in the Houston area that will allow you to build tiny… please let me know. Thanks!

      • Erik Markus
        May 23, 2013, 9:57 pm

        Barbara, are you doing ANYTHING to help yourself?

        Last I checked, Houston is rather built up, already, and is in fact one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It is also one of the largest cities with few zoning codes.

        It depends on what you want to build, and where. I would steer clear of areas like River Oaks, the Memorial/Spring Branch area, Kingwood, and Clear Lake City.

      • Ross Lukeman
        May 29, 2013, 4:35 pm

        Hi Barbara, I will let you know if I find anything. My inclination is to avoid anywhere where deviation from the norm is seen as a threat to housing values. I’d say anything outside those areas should fly.

    • Alex
      June 12, 2013, 11:39 am

      Thanks Ross! Wishing you the best as well. I really appreciate your support! Means a lot.

  • Sandy
    May 23, 2013, 12:19 am

    Love, Love, Love, tiny houses ! I read and study everybody’s plans and builds. While I can’t do it myself; simply don’t have the skills, I am planning to build a small cottage as soon as I sell my 4BR, 2BA home. I helped my daughter buy a house on 3 acres so that I would have a place to build. My cottage will be 24×24. Small but not as tiny as the houses on wheels. You see, I play and teach piano and am blessed to have a grand piano. I am not willing to give up the grand, so have to build to fit it in. I will take lots of pics and share when I start building. For me 576sf is a good size, and that isn’t including the loft. I’m planning it so that I can retire in it, with a window seat/bed on the main floor and a bedroom loft. I’m hoping to heat with wood, as long as I’m able to chop it myself. There’s plenty of it onsite. I’ve already begun reducing expenses in my big house, looking forward to having very small bills in the little cottage. I agree with those who say the biggest obstacle is building requirements in local communities. Where the new cottage will be, we have to sign an agreement that I will be the only person EVER to live in the cottage; it can never be rented out as an apartment after I die. Seems like a waste. There is the perception, or fear, that accessory building units will detract from the value of surrounding homes, so when they are allowed they are heavily regulated. I was forced to eliminate even the covered roof over the door so I could stay within the 24×24 footprint! It really detracts from the appearance, not to mention the utility. But…we’re slaves to zoning boards. One of these days, when the reality of having to house millions of aging people who have no need for huge houses, and can’t afford them either, hits the marketplace, perhaps demand will dictate change. Until then, we just have to work harder to find solutions on a case by case basis. I have no retirement savings, so I will have to conserve resources to survive! I can’t wait! It will be exhilarating not to have a mortgage!!

  • Jerry
    May 23, 2013, 1:52 am

    I think the one thing that can be taken from all these comments is that no single lifestyle, political belief, religion, social status, or walk of life defines those of us who are interested in tiny houses. Rather than attempt to pigeon hole, perhaps we should all attempt to help anyone interested in tiny houses find ways to make them work for their situation. There are a thousand reasons to want to live in a tiny house, and a thousand reasons why it could be difficult, and a thousand solutions to those difficulties.

    • alice h
      May 23, 2013, 10:49 am

      Hear! Hear! Well said!

    • Cahow
      May 23, 2013, 12:37 pm


    • Ross Lukeman
      May 23, 2013, 8:32 pm

      Well said Jerry.

    • Erik Markus
      May 23, 2013, 10:09 pm

      I think the point of your statement is true.
      We need to work together.

      Thats why this awesome site is here. Thank-you Alex, and thanks to the various contributors.
      Thanks to those who have, and who continue to educate us to this wonderful new concept.

      There are few reasons why someone would want a Tiny house. They need a home to live in, being the main reason.

      There are as many personalities living in Tiny houses NOW, as there are living in all other types of housing combined. The volume will continue to grow.

      There are illegal zoning laws that need to be repealled.
      The benefits of living in Tiny homes needs to continue to be conveyed to people, so they know their options.
      And there are tiny homes to be built and welcoming communities for them to be settled in arranged.

      Pretty simple.

      No procrastinating is necessary. I got mine and I LOVE it. No mortgage and uses very little energy to heat or cool.

      • Alex
        June 12, 2013, 11:49 am

        Thanks Erik!!

    • Cahow
      May 24, 2013, 9:54 am

      Hey, Alex—want or need a new topic of discussion? Jerry wrote: “I think the one thing that can be taken from all these comments is that no single lifestyle, political belief, religion, social status, or walk of life defines those of us who are interested in tiny houses.” Tying into his wise philosophy, I just followed the Source link to your latest posting of “Two Tiny Houses Better Than One?” and was immediately put off by the reverse snobbism and elitism of some of the commentors. One commentor mentioned that he’d like to add a small bathroom to the tiny houses and someone came back at him with the comment,(paraphrased) “..that he wasn’t ready for the Tiny House Alternative Movement and he should stick to a Winnebago.”

      Really? Is THIS the attitude that we want to give, that Tiny House lovers are Eco-Warriors and if you want/need a tiny bathroom, you “Need Not Apply?” I’m still upset over what I read in reply to that poor commentor; seems to me that it’s a case of Reverse Snobbism when some Tiny House folks discriminate against potential creators of a Tiny House because they want a loo! Talk about hypocrisy! Future Tiny House builders are talking about the P&Z problems of finding a place to build but then some in the Tiny House community are creating their own agenda with Bathroom or No Bathroom discrimination. I’m posting with a sad note in my heart. 🙁

      • Alex
        June 12, 2013, 11:42 am

        Thanks for pointing this out to me Cahow. I’m making some changes to keep a better eye on that sort of stuff because nobody appreciates it and it serves no purpose. And I’ll keep this in mind for discussion/blog post too!

        • Jerry
          June 12, 2013, 12:57 pm

          You seem to have your hands in a lot of projects these days Alex. Perhaps you should look into some help. It’s not easy moderating a single public forum, and you have several, as well as all the other side projects you are working on. Team Tiny House with Alex keeping everyone focused, I like that idea!

        • Cahow
          June 12, 2013, 7:34 pm

          Alex! You LIVE!!!!! I thought you had gone on holiday because I haven’t seen any thought-provoking emails from you of late. Nice to see you back; you were missed, as were your emails.

          You’re right: bashing someone for a different taste serves NO ONE…NO ONE!!!! But, it’s a fine line between intolerance for another lifestyle and just general taste.

          For instance, one of the reasons why I really enjoy your emails are the tremendous opinions on floor plans. One likes lofts, one likes stairs, one wants exposed cabinets, one wants everything behind a cabinet. Grid, no grid, partial grid…I find it very interesting to read so many options and I’m sure it aids future tiny house owners, thinking about the options.

          But, where it just plain gets MEAN is when someone bullies THEIR opinion over another and makes that other person feel bad/stupid/ignorant. You want/need a loo? GREAT!, as long as I don’t have to pay for it! (LOL) You want to use a composting bucket? AWESOME, as long as I don’t have to empty it! Same goes for all the variables: hauling pails of water vs. water tank with pressure; wood for heating vs. gas; car vs. bike, and on and on and on.

          The more we see the similarities in our goals, the stronger as a group we become. Nitpicking at someone is like pulling a loose thread on a sweater: eventually, the entire thing comes undone and then you just have a ball of yarn rather than protection from the elements.

          And in closing, I can see it now: “Alex’s Army” aka Dumbledore’s Army…a scrappy, rag-tag group of moderators, making the Web Save, one post at a time. 😉

  • Michele Whitewolf
    July 17, 2014, 11:44 pm

    What if they gave a depression and nobody cared. Having been reading about this for a long time and having built several nice sheds that could become small houses even longer has convinced me that the time is right for us to start walking away from the insane life that has been sold to us like a bad horse.

    How many times do we need to be torn down before like the Mayan people we walk away from the craziness and as suggested start our own culture.
    We can not win at this game with all the odds in the hands of so few, so why play. Lamar has been at this for some time I followed his group on Yahoo for years, then my job went away as being 51 made me super expendable. And then my husbands job became a series of temporary gigs each paying less each time with months of no jobs between. We survived because we had a buss to live in. Now I am a 60 year young divorced mother with two
    girls to take care of. I am going to do this and when I get there I will share how I got there.


    Michele Whitewolf

  • Glema
    July 22, 2014, 1:40 am

    The dumb waiter idea may help with the loft to ground surface idea. Using larger pulleys connected to reinforced beams that help the weight to be disbursed around the whole of the house rather than just the point one is using it. Tiny House or other. ? It’s an idea, rather like a mini elevator for access to lofts by persons in chairs temporarily or permanently. And/or just for the moving of boxes that can’t be carried by someone for whatever their reasons are. ? the elevators that are placed in vans or buses to move wheelchairs on board and off, perhaps a system could be modified to use for upstairs downstairs sorta thing? Ramps that fold up with the fold up decks for Tiny Houses might work? or they could detach and re attach when the deck is out? Be set inside when traveling? Hope these ideas help. I like the fold out furniture ideas in that the bed one with the table where you just fold down the legs? one leg could be placed further under the table so an access could be made for “swinging” the wheelchair in and out from under the table if need be when holding stuff. I always have design ideas running through my mind, unfortunately I would need some of those engineer type fellows to put them into cohesive action :). Still, they might help someone so, I put them out here for all of you to use at will. Door style windows could be helpful as well. Be careful, think , rethink, build, try with inanimate heavy objects, then try self. I don’t want to be the cause of someone getting hurt who jumped the gun sorta speak. God bless you all and Happy Trails! Glema

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