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Series: Tiny Planet, Part 3 – Tiny House

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There’s a movement that’s going on right under your noses–a simple, unobtrusive, changing-the-world-one-square-foot-at-a-time movement.  The name of this movement?  The Tiny House Movement.

The Tiny House Movement encompasses, not only a physical, architectural move into a small or tiny living space, but also a social move that truly changes the way you look at life and what in it is actually important.  The idea is rather simple: live life simply, with less stuff.

The strangest aspect of this movement, is giving up our excess stuff.  Keep in mind, you don’t have to give it all up. The idea is not to empty your life of your possessions and live in the sticks, but to live only with what you need now and what you’ll definitely need later (such as Hanukkah  or Christmas decorations).

hoarding_Apartment

Yeah, we know it’s excess, but it’s ours!

In the past four or five decades, we’ve all been hammered with the need for the “American Dream,” but the fact is that this dream isn’t actually ours, but the government who governs us.  By that, I mean, the more money we spend, the more stuff we own, the more debt we put ourselves in, the more taxes, fees, and interest we pay.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s never a bad idea to support your country, but don’t let it take you to the bank.  We all have a responsibility to take care of us and ours and so do the government officials–the difference? they have more power (and they get that power from us, by the way).  One of our presidents even encouraged us to go shopping after an attack on the World Trade Center.  In retrospect, a terrible idea–not only did it fuel hoarding, it also fueled personal debt, which increased more than you realize (do a search on personal debt rates).

The concept of the Tiny House Movement is to, essentially, start over.  Sell or donate the overages that we don’t need and keep the rest in our tiny house, hidden in very innovative storage solutions (search innovative tiny house storage).  Did you know that about 60 years ago, most of the non-farmland country lived in tiny or small houses?  Their reason was simple–why buy or build more than we need?  Today’s mindset is quite different–buy buy buy, whether we need it or not, just buy so we can have it (the “American Dream”).  Technically speaking, the original American Dream is nice: start poor, work your butt off, and earn (then enjoy) your riches.  Today’s “American Dream” is very different however (thus, in quotation marks): start poor, buy on credit, enjoy the riches that aren’t actually yours, then work to pay the debt off (or just accumulate it and leave it for your children–yeah, debt does not dissipate when you die, it transfers to the next of kin).  The Tiny House Movement truly encompasses the actual American Dream.  Considering a tiny house is inexpensive, compared to a normal-sized house, you leave a lot of money in your pocket to spend on other, more important things (such as non-GMO Verified food and drink, a family vacation, a garden).

As with most movements, there are categories to this one, as well.  The Tiny House Movement has three main categories:

  • Small house
    • Less than 500 square feet for a single person or family of two
      • Add 100-200 square feet per additional adult
    • Built on foundation, this option allows for more space and is ideal for families of four or more
    • Requires building permits in most countries
    • May be hard to find a willing contractor that is as excited as you are
    • Depending on your country’s laws, you may not be allowed to build it yourself
  • Tiny house
    • Less than 340 square feet
    • Generally, built on a trailer and can be taken from one property site to the next, though it’s not suggested you haul it too much
    • This option is ideal for family of one to three, though four may work, but may become crowded in the kids’ teen years
    • Uninsurable by most companies
      • Not considered a dwelling or an RV
    • May be impossible to find a contractor
    • This option allows you to build it yourself
      • You may also buy ready-made tiny houses or tiny-house kits
  • Micro-home
    • Under 90 square feet
    • Generally, built on a trailer
    • Intended for one inhabitant (two, if they are extremely close)
    • Uninsurable by most companies
      • Not considered a dwelling or an RV
      • May be considered a temporary camper
    • May be impossible to find a contractor
    • This option allows you to build it yourself
      • You may also buy ready-made micro-homes or micro-home kits

Don’t care about having a tiny house?  You can use a tiny house on wheels as a travel home (instead of paying for hotels, park-able at any rest stop), or as hunting/fishing cabins, or even as short-stay vacation homes.  Also, you can still incorporate any of the concepts into your current life, such as reduce the unnecessary accumulation of unused stuff in your home, stow away the stuff you need in amazingly innovative storage solutions (such as this and many others), hook your dwelling off the grid (with solar panels, rain reservoirs, wells, septic tanks, gardens, greenhouses, and any other off-grid innovations you can think of).

The concept of the Tiny House Movement is to live simply and simply live, which is extremely counter intuitive to today’s “American Dream” of buying things you can’t afford and don’t need and going to work just so you can pay them off (resulting in you barely having time to truly enjoy them).  This “simple living” is not only easy on your pocket, but also on your environment.  By living off the grid and in a small dwelling, you are decreasing your carbon footprint to next to nothing.

By having:

  • A well or rain reservoirs: you decrease the contaminants you pour back in (the poisons that the municipal water systems add).
  • A septic tank: you decrease the sewage that leaks into the ground on its way to the processing plant and the excess that they dump.
  • A solar panel: you decrease your carbon footprint and greenhouse gasses that the power plant emits.
  • A garden or greenhouse: you add plants that will clean the air and you depend less on grocery stores, which decreases transportation emissions (both on your end and theirs).
  • What other innovations can you think of that will decrease your carbon footprint?  Write below and help us all make this a better world for us and our children!

However you choose to live, may you do it simply, organically, and healthily!


Next Post (9/26/2014):

Series: Tiny Planet, Part 4 – Living Large

This is the final part of a four-part series named Tiny Planet. In this final part, we reiterate that we can’t change the world, but we can start.


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