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Asking 27 People Why They Went Tiny

Tiny House Talk has been around since 2010, and during that time we’ve interviewed a lot of tiny house dwellers who have many reasons for going tiny.

While most people immediately assume tiny living is about reducing costs, that’s not the case for everyone who chooses this lifestyle. Some people go tiny because they’re stressed out by belongings; others want to travel more; some want to live more sustainable lifestyles; and some just want to be different, just to be different!

We thought it would be fun to make a compilation post of many of the answers we’ve gotten to “Why did you choose to go tiny?” Below you’ll find 27 quotes, along with links to our full interviews with these tiny home dwellers. Enjoy, and let us know why you’ve gone tiny in the comments!

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We Asked 27 Tiny Home Dwellers *WHY* They Went Tiny

Why Go Tin

Elise: Jungalow Tiny House


Oh man, so so many reasons. I think the main reason is that I didn’t want a mortgage. I have been saving up my whole life, so I wanted to use that for something beautiful and that could bring Joy to this world, so I thought “why not a place where I can welcome people! And have it decorated however I want!”. I have always wanted to run my own Airbnb, so now we can.

Read the rest of her interview >>>

Elena: Life at Edgemere


When we started looking for homes in our favorite location, I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed with work, kids, housekeeping. Then I watched Marie Kondo and a little seed of simplifying life was planted. I looked at a ton of houses but the thought of keeping up with them made me hyperventilate. When our agent showed us an itty bitty house in our favorite location, it was like fireworks. I totally saw myself living small. Our current house came along soon after that and to this day I feel like we made the right decision.

Read the rest of interview >>>

Alexis: No More High Rent & Independence


I decided to go tiny because I was tired of paying high rent honestly. I figured I have been living in student housing and dorms for the past few years living in a tiny house really wouldn’t be that different in terms of space. By living tiny I’m hoping to just live a simpler life and find happiness! My goals are to live off the land, eventually raise some chicken and really just find a sort of independence that’s hard to find living in an apartment or living in a city or suburb.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Ida: Minimalism in Norway


I got inspired by the documentary The Minimalist (Netflix). Then I started to think about it as an option to buy an apartment. It suits my lifestyle: I love to live close nature. But also I have lived in so many different places and countries, and I know I have a hard time to decide where I want to live. There’s so many beautiful spots in this world. So right now I live in the south of Norway, but If I want to go somewhere else I just bring my home. The feeling of having a home, but also the freedom of be able to move it suits me perfect. It’s cheaper than an apartment here in Norway and it’s more environmentally friendly.

I hope I will get a better life, less stress and closer to nature. Be able to do more of the things that make me happy.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Tiffany: Financial Freedom in RV Renovation


We want financial freedom, less stuff and more experiences. We really want to teach our children that life is not about what you have but who you are. It’s about building character and experiencing as much as you can. It’s about loving people and being grateful and generous with what you do have.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Talia: Tranquility in Minimalism


I think a big reason why I was so drawn to tiny living is due to the fact that I am a neurodivergent, (meaning, my brain is wired differently) introverted, highly sensitive person (HSP). Due to my sensory sensitivities, I am particularly affected by the subtleties in my environment and so a simple, calming, clutter-free space is truly mandatory for me in order for me to function well. I get overwhelmed and exhausted by sensory overload in cluttered, noisy, or chaotic environments so a streamlined and easily-managed home environment makes a huge difference in my life.

As an HSP, I am also highly empathic and concerned with issues of justice, equality, and ethics and am therefore a passionate believer in Gandhi’s words: “live simply so that others may simply live.” For me, this concept has informed many of my life choices including being a vegan for 20+ years, choosing not to have children, and also choosing to be a minimalist, now in a tiny home.

In my tiny home, everything I own has its place which makes it easy to manage and keep organized and clean and also forces me to be mindful of what I am purchasing. My tiny home is a sanctuary for me, it grounds me by providing me with a soothing, simplified, self-contained space to retreat to and be comfortable in when I need to decompress and recharge from the external world. I believe that tiny/simple living is a wonderful antidote to overwhelm for everyone and especially for folks who may struggle with sensory sensitivities or executive functioning challenges such as highly sensitive people, autistic people, people with ADHD and sensory processing disorder, etc.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Chrissie: Breaking Up with Being Tied Down


Honestly, I think the decision was birthed following a messy breakup. I found myself tugging up my roots one by one for months without really having a plan or knowing why. No more internet plan, no more heavy furniture… I became obsessed with not being locked into a location. The apartment I was renting began to feel like a trap. It was the next natural step for me.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Kaci: Bus Life Homesteading


We wanted to break free of the never-ending cycle of constantly having to work just to exist. We felt trapped by the lifestyle of paying so many bills every month… Rent, cars, insurance, utilities, cell phones, etc. etc. etc. The majority of our lives were spent working for other people’s companies making other people’s dreams come true, but not putting the time and energy into our own. We wanted the freedom to explore this beautiful planet, to not stress about money or owing anyone anything, and live life how we were truly meant to live: by just being.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Amanda: Single Mom’s Tiny Life


So many reasons, as I’m debt free I can work less which gives me more time with my girls. I also love being predominantly off grid and as eco friendly as possible. I liked being able to design something that was uniquely ‘me’ and suited my family specifically.

Read the rest of the interview here >>> 

Marie & Ben: Less Stuff, More Freedom


That is a tricky question, as it was more of an organic path to tiny living rather than an conscious decision.

We met five years ago in Costa Rica. We were backpacking across Central and South America. Marie had a plan, Ben had a tent! We ended up travelling together for five months and falling in love somewhere along the way. I guess our journey began with a form of minimalism, with very little, yet everything we needed in our backpacks.

Our lifestyle has always been that way, often on the move, possessing little. The less stuff, the more freedom! From minimalism to tiny living, there is only one step. And Marie is from Paris, where living tiny is not a choice!

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Lindsay: One year, Two cats, RV life


I have always loved tiny living spaces. I look at it as a practice in minimalism. My first apartment was a little beach studio in Santa Monica and I fell in love with it. I love how I had to be intentional about every thing I owned. Every piece of furniture had to be dual purpose. But at the same time, I was able to decorate it to feel cozy and not cluttered. I hated how much “stuff” I accumulated when I lived in bigger places after that and wanted to return back to a more simplistic living style. When I move back into a sticks & bricks place some day, it will be something small.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Laura & Matt: Family Bus Life


Going tiny, we wanted to go back to appreciating everything we had in our life, feeling grateful for the abundance that you can see beyond materialistic ‘stuff’. It also meant we could fulfill our dream to travel Australia as family, creating adventurous memories together while learning about the land we live on.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Wooly Mammoth: Eco-Friendly Sustainable Living


As environmentalists, Rose and I are on a quest to continually minimize our carbon footprint in search for a sustainable, and eventual regenerative, lifestyle. We’ve also been experiencing the rising prices of the city, and we knew we might not ever be able to afford a home, so the concept of something we could afford to own and design ourselves was very appealing. I personally was also frustrated by the fact that I didn’t know how things worked in the home we rent in Toronto. I knew nothing about plumbing, electrical or heating, so building our own home seemed like a meaningful way to learn those skills.

Read the rest of the interview here >>> 

Emma & Luke: Home, Travel & Financial Freedom

Emma & Luke’s Amazing Modern 1979 Chevy Van Remodel (Interview!) 9

We decided to go tiny (vanlife specifically) to be able to travel but still have the comforts of our home everywhere we went. Another reason for this lifestyle is after years and years of renting apartments and the price always increasing we wanted to fully own our home. We know that a van might not seem like a real first home for many but living this way gives us more financial freedom than ever before!

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Van Life, Self-Employment & Reason for Being

Couple Builds Their Own Off-Grid Camper Van (& Can Help You Do It Too!) 3

We decided to go tiny to find our reason for being. What are we skilled at, can earn money doing, and will bring value and benefit to others? At the end of the day – we want to build a life we don’t need a vacation from.

Self employment enables us to feel more control over our future and lives. To build your own business, keeping costs down is critical.

Going tiny has let us invest fully into our passion, our business and our dreams.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Getting Back to the Basics in the Bus


I had been dreaming of tiny living for the last 5 years before I actually bought a bus. While on Active duty, I would plan out different types of tiny living options and work with illustrator and Sketch Up to make things seem more realistic.

When I transitioned out of the Marine Corps I went to art school. Originally for art education, but soon changed my major to sculpture and ceramics. During that time I realized that bus life was an option for my family. It was time to get rid of the excess we had been collecting in our lives, and get back to gather with the things that meant the most: each other. So on a whim, I bought a bus and my children and I started building. We haven’t looked back since.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Reevaluating What Really Matters: Bus Life


We decided to build a tiny home for ourselves as a way to get out of the typical “American Dream” rat race. Adam owns his own business but was no longer enjoying the work involved. It was time to make a radical change in our lives, to get out of our comfort zones and to create a life we loved. This lifestyle isn’t forever though, and we never intended it to be. This change just allowed us to re-evaluate our lives and decide what we really wanted.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Young Couple’s RV Renovation


Parker and I have been dreaming about living tiny once we got married since we were dating. We even had a shared Pinterest board of various tiny houses that we both loved. We began to
consider the possibility of renovating a 5th wheel trailer into a tiny home when we came across @ArrowsandBow on Instagram. They were a family of 5 living in a darling trailer in Thousand Oaks. That’s when we thought, “we could do this too!”

We know that we won’t live tiny forever, but our dream has always been to use our tiny living situation to save more, give more, and travel more. Living simply while we are young is giving us the ability to prepare for our future together.

Read the rest of the interview here >>> 

Life on a Short Bus in Germany


There was a day were I realized that I had to work a lot in order to pay for stuff I didn’t really need and for a lifestyle that didn’t make me happy. So I decided to reduce things and started little by little. The less stuff I had the more I started to feel free. It was an eyeopening experience for me.

Read the rest of the interview here >>> 

Cedar Bend Travels: Work & Travel with Kids


We wanted to travel, and found it difficult to do with our job. By converting the bus, we are able to take our pups along with us while we travel. The biggest thing we hope to get out of this is just exposing our kids to as much as we can. We love that they can read about mountains and ocean life in a book and then also experience those things first hand.

Read the rest of the interview >>> 

Lexi & Tyler’s Homesteading Bus Life


We decided to go tiny because we wanted a more simple life and to be able to experience more instead of living to pay rent in our small apartment in LA. Living tiny has definitely taught us how to live a minimalist lifestyle and to be more accepting to change. I think the thing we hope to get out of living tiny was to meet like-minded people and to get out of the city grind.

Read the rest of the interview >>> 

Nikki: Saying Goodbye to the System


I decided to go tiny because I’ve never been a fan of the system, and want to be completely off-grid eventually. Vanlife is an amazing way to live and shows you what really matters in life – which is connection, love and nature. I’m hoping to be debt-free and off-grid one day soon!

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

The Giving Tree: Land Steward Homesteading


Wow, so many reasons. The first that comes to mind is to be closer with nature, we wake up and fall asleep to the sounds of the frogs and birds. We are immersed in nature everyday. We truly believe that if you do not have a relationship with nature, you are less likely to want to save it, and we are both environmental advocates in our own way.

Furthermore, we wanted to have a relationship with our home, living in a condo that was taken from us, we had no control or idea how our house worked, if we needed something it took weeks to figure it out. We hated it. We wanted to be true homeowners, not just on paper. Living tiny we know how our hydro works, we know what our limit is, we hooked up our own water and heater, we installed our own toilet (composting) we know our house inside and out. A huge inspiration was wanting our son to be raised in the wilderness, away from screens, we wanted a simple slow life, that wasn’t taken up working or cleaning our house.

Ultimately, we wanted a life together. One where being together was the most important part. Going tiny gave that to us.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Passenger Bus Turned Home: Australia

Family of 4’s Passenger Bus Turned Home in Australia

We decided to go tiny because we were feeling the urge to live simpler. To peel it back to basics and instead of being rich in money be rich in time and memories. We decided that we didn’t want to wait for something to happen to push us to live the life we wanted so we jumped in and bought a bus. We ended up selling our house, cars and most of our earthly possessions.

Read the rest of the interview >>>

Grace: Massachusetts Tiny Life


We decided to go tiny because it really fit our lifestyle and our values. From living in a tiny apartment in NYC and traveling, we were very used to living in small spaces and had adopted a minimalist mindset towards our possessions. I have always loved camping and spending time in nature and wanted a house with a cabin-like feel. We hoped that living tiny would really force us to be more mindful of our possessions, simplify our lives, and to help us focus on the things that really matter.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Mollie: Nomad at Heart


I’ve been looking at tiny houses for years because I love small spaces, but I finally took the plunge when the monthly rent prices around here have passed the point of what I feel good paying. Buying a house here is out of my price range as well, plus the houses for sale tend to be larger than I like. I found a beautiful, affordable lot to rent with a septic tank, well, and electrical hookups. My dream is to buy land here soon. Land is still pretty affordable. I also love that my house is built on a trailer so I can move it at any time because I am a nomad at heart.

Read the rest of the interview here >>>

Debt-Free Family Bus Life

Mom, Dad, Baby Girl & Baby Boy on the Way: $12K Skoolie Remodel (No Debt!)

We decided to go tiny after our first year of renting a town home. We were hustling each month to make rent yet barely could spend time together because we were working so hard to pay for this place we weren’t even going to own at the end of the year. When we did have time together, we spent it taking road trips around the country in our station wagon. When our lease was ending we knew we needed to make some serious decisions regarding our living situation. We didn’t want to pay rent anymore for something we wouldn’t even own, but knew we wouldn’t qualify for a home.

We wanted to travel and have a paid off house. This was in the beginning of November of 2016. After talking about the idea of maybe investing in an Rv, one thing led to another and by the end of November we had our bus purchased and began demo-ing it! What we want to get out of this lifestyle is the experience of traveling while also living simply. We are showing ourselves that we don’t need much to be happy. Having each other, and living a minimal life is more fulfilling than living with more space and things.

Read the rest of the interview here >>> 

Our big thanks to all these Tiny Home Dwellers for sharing their stories!🙏🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Garth
    June 24, 2020, 4:38 pm

    Possibly like Talia, I am very detail-oriented. I have to process everything thoroughly, and it’s stressful to handle a lot of stuff. (It’s also why I commented on an earlier post that I can’t stand the busy-looking floors where each plank is a different color of wood, or knotty wood! I also want doors on cupboards, to hide the busy look of what’s inside.) I’m tired of owning so much. It’s not particularly about the cost, although I don’t want to be required to pay for more than I choose to own, either.

    And possibly like Kaci, I don’t want to work hard for the things I don’t even want but which family and society insist that we own. I don’t want it! I also do not accept debt. (But unlike Kaci, I don’t want to travel. To me, travel is stressful too.) In the Porgy & Bess musical, there’s a line in a song that says something about people working hard to pay for a big house and all their possessions and then worrying that someone will rob them while they’re away at work.

    I’m still looking forward to a simpler, tiny life. Our 1260-square-foot house is too big for me. It will be a while before my wife is onboard with the idea of going tiny though.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 25, 2020, 1:34 pm

      Maybe you can go down to something like 700 square feet first! It’s really radical to pare down to under-400, but a downsize could be doable!

  • Pam
    June 25, 2020, 12:42 pm

    I went tiny 4 years ago when I retired and have not regretted it one bit since then. Knowing I could not stay were I was, I needed to get something that I could pay cash for and be able to live on less than $800 a month. I bought a used 5th wheel trailer and found a beautiful place to park it full-time. I have also spent my summers making improvements to it as well as trying to make it warmer in the winter time. I live in the mountains of Colorado and winters can be very cold. I spend the winter time figuring out where I need to make improvements during the summer months to help lower my electric bill in the winter. I love the fact that it takes hardly anytime to clean it, and it’s really a great way to get rid of things that do not improve your life, like “stuff”. I’ve kept a few things that were my mother’s, but I have rid myself of so much I never realized I never needed in the first place. And, I’m still getting rid of “stuff”. When I redid my skirting last summer, I build a small storage area under the overhang on my trailer to put my gardening tools and some other miscellaneous stuff. It’s amazing this 74 year old woman can do all I have done to improve things around my home. I’ve only needed help twice, once to do the roof (I don’t do ladders, lol) and once to hang my new awning over my front door. Everything else, I’ve done myself. I’d love to find some property to move to so I could do a garden and maybe have a few animals, but when your income is only Social Security, that possibly will not be within my budget anytime in the near future. I’m super happy with what I have and have all I need.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 25, 2020, 1:30 pm

      Wow Pam! That’s just so lovely to hear. I’m glad you are able to live tiny and live well.

  • Virginia Wyngarden
    June 25, 2020, 6:07 pm

    I so enjoyed all these inspirational stories — I just wish I had gotten this message some years ago as I have finally downsized and absolutely love where I am now. The only problem I have is — I neglected to toss stuff for many years and now am still dealing with boxes never dealt with. Unfortunately many of the boxes are filled with tons and tons of photos — I’ve gone thru many but have a long way to go. If I had this to do over again — I would toss stuff out regularly — like every day! On the positive side, I am loving so much my sweet, small space. It is so easy to clean; it is cozy and doesn’t have empty rooms that I don’t use and the only items in it are things I dearly love. In addition, no more more high mortgage payments, endless maintenance issues both in the house and in the yard!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 1:11 pm

      Oh that’s awesome! And yes I think tossing stuff every day is a must. We have never lived in more than 1,100 square feet and I still feel like we have too many things.

  • jbsilver
    June 27, 2020, 3:04 pm

    I’m older but I don’t plan to let that stop me from going tiny. I still go camping and love the great outdoors. I like living simply. My current apartment/home is just under 1000 square feet. I use my kitchen bath and one bedrm, all total less than half the actual living space I have. The rest of the apartment collects dust creating chores I don’t need or want to do. I have no bills other than monthly utilities, taxes and insurance. My house is a 2 flat and caring for it with rental income is not worth the time and trouble. I have a garden where I grow flowers and vegetables. I’m drawn to living small. I’ve purchased land for my tiny house once its built and I get this one sold I’m getting the heck out of dodge.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 29, 2020, 1:21 pm

      Wow that’s so awesome! Can’t wait to see your tiny space.

  • virginia wyngarden
    June 27, 2020, 4:29 pm

    I completely agree with you! I did it and I am very happy — should have done it a long time ago.
    Best wishes — you’ll get there!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 29, 2020, 1:20 pm

      We would love to see your home, Virginia!

  • Peggie Soltis-McGraw
    March 15, 2021, 11:32 pm

    My wife and I went tiny almost a year ago, right after I retired and sold my business. When we met, just over 3 years ago, my wife had just passed away and, though we didn’t yet know this, her adult Downs Syndrome daughter would pass away 7 months later. We had both always dreamed of tiny houses. At one point I had started saving but my dog needed life saving surgery and there went that money. Together, we could pay all the bills and still save every day I worked at my busimess. We paid cash for our house except the last ten thousand that we paid after escrow closed on my house. It took two years to downsize all the stuff my previous wife had collected. We also had alpacas, chickens and cats to sell or rehome. Now, in 20 feet, it feels as if we have more room to breathe. Two cats and a greyhound are much more manageable than the house, property and critters we had before. If we could start over, we’d go 4 feet larger, but all in all we’re quite happy in our late in life romance. This is our happily ever after.

  • Chris Hopkins
    September 4, 2021, 10:36 am

    I went tiny when I was accepted into a doctorate program (at age +55) and needed to find a place to live in the very pricy Boston MA area. Dorms were not available- plus I felt it would be a bit awkward due to my age difference to the majority of students on campus. I found a tiny home – all of 540 sq feet. It took a little adjusting to living tiny after living in a much larger home – but now I love it – The best parts are: low maintenance and low cost. Also – walking distance to restaurants, shops, parks, public transportation, etc.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      September 6, 2021, 7:28 am

      That’s so awesome that you were able to find a spot and find that you enjoyed tiny house living after all.

  • February 21, 2022, 7:34 pm

    Love this article. For me, I’ve always been fascinated by tiny living. At 7×11 my tiny house was already at the small end of the spectrum. When I sold that I took up vanlife in the shortest wheelbase Promaster. I just sold that and am kitting out a 2020 Kia Niro EV into an electric camper. What a sweet adventure! I’m loving everyone’s passion for meaningful living, adventure and beauty and alignment with your inner callings. Way to go! And inspiring to others.

    • Garth
      February 21, 2022, 10:26 pm

      Wow, 7’x11′?! “Small end of the spectrum” is right! Although my 1988 Ford E350 Clubwagon isn’t that wide, we did go to Home Depot to get some moldings, and the 16′ moldings went all the way in, not having to hang out a window! I’m sure you have more height though. 🙂

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