The tiny house movement has emerged as a response to a number of factors. These include climate change and the need for sustainability, the availability of affordable housing, and growing trends of simple living and minimalism. They’ve even been used in Australia as a solution for homelessness. Tiny homes are an obvious and practical answer to these issues.
What Are Tiny Homes?
Tiny homes are exactly what they sound like – a small scale house, usually under 400 square foot. There are a variety of tiny houses that can be purchased pre-made, though many people choose to build their own to suit their individual needs. They’re often built on wheels so they can be moved around. Many people even use refurbished shipping containers, as they’re eco-friendly and easy to modify.
Downsizing to a tiny home can be a daunting prospect because it means giving up your possessions and space. But there’s a lot to be gained from downsizing. Whether you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact or it’s simply more affordable and practical, there are a number of factors to consider.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
A tiny house has limited space, so you’ll need to declutter first. Decluttering involves going through your possessions and getting rid of things that aren’t necessary. It’s worth considering even if you aren’t downsizing. There are many methods of doing this. Some popular examples include the 100 things challenge, where you reduce your number of possessions to 100, and the KonMari Method, which involves keeping only items that “spark joy”. It’s equally important to consider how you get rid of your possessions too. Rather than throwing things away, look into recycling, selling or donating them.
2. Less Space
Downsizing naturally means you’ll have less space. Think about your lifestyle– Do you have a big family? Do you love entertaining groups of friends? Do your hobbies involve large equipment like a surfboard or piano? Do you have health issues that would make living in a small space impractical? Tiny houses may not be the right solution for everyone, but even downsizing to a smaller traditional house can still be an option.
Here are some tips for living with less space:
- Make use of vertical space with shelves. The same can be done in outdoor areas like the garden, utilising vertical planters. You could also create storage space under the floors/in the ceiling.
- Digitize CDs, movies and books.
- Downsize larger items like your TV and furniture.
- Find multi-purpose items, such as kitchen accessories and tools.
- It’s better to have fewer items of high quality, such as cooking products and clothing items, rather than multiple items of lower quality.
- You may not be able to have large appliances like a dryer or dishwasher, so you’ll need to find space for a dish rack and washing line.
3. It’s Not Just A House But A Lifestyle
The tiny house movement isn’t just about where you live; it’s about how you live. A lot of people choose tiny houses because they’re affordable. Living in a tiny house means you’ll save money on things like utilities and possessions. It will change the way you shop and consume, as you won’t have room for anything unnecessary. Another reason people choose tiny houses is to reduce their environmental impact. A 2019 study showed that on average, people who downsized to tiny homes reduced their environmental footprint by 45%. Living in a tiny house, you’ll be more conscious of conserving energy and water, especially as they’re often solar-powered.
If a tiny home isn’t the right answer for you, you can still enjoy the benefits of downsizing by moving into a smaller traditional house or even just decluttering. Downsizing will make you think more about what things are important to you, and help you discover what you actually need to live rather than what you think you need.
Cloe Matheson hails from New Zealand’s gothic city ~ Dunedin. She believes that living sustainably is a lifelong process and a commitment to help reduce carbon footprint. Read more tips from Cloe’s Writings on how to live a sustainable lifestyle.