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Could I live in a Tiny House?

There’s a bit of a craze sweeping the world at this moment which has been titled the “Tiny House Movement”. It’s all about reducing your footprint, downsizing and reducing debt and it intrigues me no end, but in a practical sense of the world – is tiny home living really practical long-term?

Reducing your debt is a great incentive to follow along with the movement – I mean, which one of us are going to complain if we have more money to enjoy our lifestyles with instead of giving it to the bank each month or paying the landlord? Reducing your foot print on earth is also great motivation to decrease your living space and embrace a greener life with not so many earthly processions. Tiny homes are great for living off-grid and as a great percentage of them are moveable and built on trailers, composting loos and greywater tanks are enjoying their time in the sun that has come along with the movement!

But would a tiny home on a trailer with limited space be the solution for most people long term? Would it work for me? To discover the answer I chose to ask myself the following…

What stage of life am I up to?

Different stages of life bring different circumstances into perspective. What suited me when I was a teenager sure is not my plan for me now! And chances are, my circumstances now aren’t going to be me a decade from here. Although I don’t have a family of my own, I have a darling nephew and three nieces which I love having visit me during school holidays, but I don’t want them sleeping in my bedroom! So already I need at least two bedrooms or sleeping areas. I love cooking so a practical kitchen space would be a must. I’ve have been pretty impressed with the kitchens I have seen in the various You Tube videos I have watched regarding Tiny Homes, so I think a workable kitchen space is achievable. So in planning and deciding it is best to work through your list of wants and work out which are your needs and take into account what stage of life you are at. Be prepare that what is suitable for you at present, may need adapting in the future. Tiny homes are versatile enough to change with you as your circumstances change, but good planning initially will mean the home you plan will suit you across a number of different life stages.

What do I plan to use my home for?

Travelling? Full-time living? Extra income? The smaller your tiny home the harder it will be to fit everything you think you need into it, but then if you are going to be traveling you are limited by weight and the fact that you don’t want to have to tow a giant size trailer along behind you on your holiday! New Zealand Transports maximum dimensions and weights for trailer’s can be found here. If you are planning to just leave it in one place for a long time and limit it’s road travel time then you probably can dare to go a bit longer and fit more into your tiny home.

Where will my home be based?

Do you own your own piece of land in paradise? Or are you a nomad that enjoys freedom of a travelling lifestyle? This point is related to the question above in relation to your planned homes size and weight. You need to be certain that if there is a chance you will be moving your home along a public road it is roadworthy and under the maximum weight and dimensions that are legal in your country so it is important to plan your home with this in mind. The legal weights and dimensions will play a major influence on the type of materials used to build your tiny home.

What is important to me and my lifestyle?

This is an important one as our hobbies and lifestyles directly influence how we live in our homes. I love gardening so I’ll always want a piece of greenery in my life that allows my fingers to feel the dirt. If your particular hobby is sewing (not me BTW!!) you’ll most likely want, at a minimum, a table that you can place your sewing machine on. If you are a PlayStation pro you will need space for your equipment. An outdoors enthusiast will need a space for kayaks and bicycles. Whatever your favorite hobby may be planning a space so it can be easily stored and accessed is important. Tiny homes can fit a lot into them and I have seen some very well thought out trailer homes, but there is a limited amount of space, so the larger the hobby the more unsuitable living in a tiny home is going to be. It would pay to work it out before you take the plunge of downsizing your living space!

What couldn’t I do without in my current home I live in?

That’s easy – for me it’s a bathroom! I guess I could live without an actual bathtub, but I would absolutely need a full bathroom set up. So a space for a shower (as big as possible please!), a toilet (preferably a composting one as I don’t really like the thought of a chemical one!) and a hand basin. It gets cold here in wintertime and I’m hot and sticky in summertime so my daily cleansing ritual makes a bathroom essential!

What could I do without?

I like to have everything! But I guess if I have to chose to go without one thing it would be a laundry! Most towns, including tiny wee ones, have laundromats and a washing machine uses a lot of water if you are off grid and who doesn’t want an excuse to put off doing laundry until you can get into town!

So to honestly answer the original question of whether or not a tiny home would work for me, I am still undecided. I think many things in my current lifestyle would have to change. I like entertaining people and the number of guests I could accommodate would need to decrease. I like to garden and unless I owned my own piece of paradise the space would be limited. I like to have my nephew and nieces to stay and a tiny home would certainly make it more crowded while they were there. I do think though that with careful planning and some clever space design I could live very comfortably in a tiny home – I would just need to be prepared to give up a few conveniences! Downsizing your space requires a lot of planning and even some sacrifice. There’s no room for sentimentality!