Why is tiny so BIG?

Posted on Nov 15, 2014 in inspiring INvironmentalism

Why tiny is so BIG?
By Brett Marlo DeSantis

In my parent’s generation size represented wealth. Bigger was always better. Now we know that’s simply not true. The more space you have, the more problems you have, whether you can afford them or not. Bigger is not an indicator of quality of life.

Today, the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. Tiny, a common adjective we often use to describe something very small, little, mini, diminutive, miniature, scaled down, or even teeny, itty-bitty, bite-sized, pint-sized, or wee is the new BIG.

By now you’ve heard about the tiny house movement, or may already own a: tiny house, repurposed shed, micro apartment, pod, small cottage, or little cabin, tiny yurt cabin, home on wheels or a tiny barge house on the water.

Whether you intend to live in it, rent it, use it as an office, guest house, party-house, take it on the road, host knitting headquarters, use it as a kid’s sleepover area, or invite your mother to live in it, a tiny house is flexible and useful.

You may have heard the latest phrases: Live Simply. Build Small. Live Large. Did you ask yourself some of the following questions: Is a smaller home really the answer? How much does a tiny home cost? Why build so extremely small? Do I have to go tiny to live BIG? Will it embody my values? What does my home say about me?

This small movement is so BIG now that there is much to discuss! While you may access a plethora of information available at your fingertips, let’s start here with the BIG picture, and talk about why living small is a BIG return on investment.

Living compact equates to less debt and less stress: lower first cost of initial investment, less ongoing maintenance costs and lower utility bills. Fewer chores to do around the house, equates to more time to engage in meaningful relationships.

More free time, less guilt and deeper relationships. Sign me up! Why would I want to dedicate half my income or work an extra fifteen years of my life just to pay to for the over-sized roof over my head? Seriously, we need to evaluate our values. More stuff and more debt is not the answer.
These tiny abodes come in all shapes and sizes and average between 100-400 square feet in size. Tiny living means less stuff to buy and maintain.

Here are some BIG facts about tiny house owners from the The Tiny Life, a website dedicated to tiny houses, tiny living: 55% of tiny house people have more savings in the bank than the average American; 68% of tiny house people have no mortgage; 89% of tiny house people have less credit card debt than the average American.

The average cost of buying a typical single family home today is just under $300,000. Over thirty years, with medium interest rates around six percent, taxes, insurance, maintenance, major repairs and improvements, your total cost would be over one million dollars. Did your blood pressure just rise? Mine did.

If simplifying your life just sounds too good to be true, you are not alone. I’m right there with you! In fact, our family is working toward the goal of reducing our debt, stress and environmental impact. Lofty goals but we have set the wheels in motion.

So what’s the alternative? Sure does make one consider living smaller. There is nothing tiny about living a mortgage-free or debt-free life. You may just save yourself a million dollars.

Of course, building small doesn’t mean you need to be extreme and build tiny. Those who opt for the tiny movement generally want flexibility or that’s all the space they really need to hang their hat, or perhaps can afford without going in debt.

Some need to build tiny to circumnavigate current codes and/or zoning restrictions on building small in their area. One of the advantages of building truly tiny homes are that often codes and zoning restrictions will not apply to tiny homes built on wheels. In the future, codes and zoning will need to catch up and adapt to tiny and small living as lifestyle choice.

While tiny might not be for you, there are lessons to be learned and applied to living smaller. If we simply discuss what tiny living means, you will find a much BIGGER conversation.

Let’s escape the cycle of debt (where most Americans are trapped right now, including myself) and simplify our lives together. Size does matter.