Those who lived through the 1980s may well remember it as the decade of excess where bigger was better, and whoever died with the most toys won the game of life. The concept of living large may have continued for years were it not for the housing market collapse in the Great Recession of 2007.
Tiny Houses Make Their Debut
For all its disadvantages, the Great Recession also introduced the country to a wildly new way of thinking about housing. Suddenly, small (typically under 600 square feet) creatively-built, often whimsical homes called “Tiny Houses” began to get a toe-hold in the housing market.
Twelve-plus years later, tiny houses remain an attractive option. From an economic standpoint, they cost significantly less than a traditional home, and often buyers can outright avoid even carrying a mortgage. Additionally, many homes are available in kit form, an appealing choice for the growing DIY demographic.
Statistically, tiny homeowners carry less credit card debt. After all, with less room for storage, they simply aren’t going to buy as much. This creates the added benefit of being able to save more or invest in other more adventurous pursuits. Tiny houses also tend toward lower energy costs, a seductive sales point for the environmentally-conscious among us eager to lower their carbon footprint.
If not already a minimalist, deciding to live in a tiny house requires the paring down of possessions. Tough decisions must be made about what is needed, and what can be done without. It also requires making a pivot toward the concept of more open, functional, multi-use living space.
Partners and family members must also consider how their tiny house might impact their relationships. Even the closest of couples need their space once in a while, which can be a challenge in tight living quarters. Having a game plan about how to handle disputes or the need for alone time is an important consideration.
There are also residential zoning regulations to consider. Many towns have established minimum square footage requirements for homes, or restrict where they may be located. And if they are built on wheels, they may not be considered as permanent housing at all. Then again, having a tiny house on wheels offers its advantages, opening the door to travel and the freedom to live large in a whole new way.