Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I Actually Want to Live in a Tiny Home

The tiny house movement has been gaining a lot of speed lately, and for good reason. Tiny homes are inexpensive and faster to build which means no big mortgage to pay off. Tiny homes are usually portable which means when you move you can take your house with you and never even have to pack! Tiny homes use less resources and are better for the environment, and much much more.

I've been wanting to build my tiny house ever since I saw a friend post pictures of this tiny trailer house on their facebook page.... Um I guess the photo was deleted. Anyway, it was a beautiful tiny house with white interior.

When my ex dumped me with an old motorhome I saw it as an opportunity to take a crappy situation and turn it into an opportunity to live my dream. My house probably won't look quite as snazzy as this one when I'm finished, but it will have cost me one tenth of the price, and it already has features this one doesn't.

After my first divorce I was so depressed I told my ex to take everything. I was basically left with a van from 1991 that was on its last working cylinder, a suitcase full of clothes, my makeup, sewing machines, and my guitar. While I ended up giving everything up because I was depressed I found an odd sense of peace from it. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and being free from my stuff felt so good I got rid of more of it.

Our corporate society has instilled a consumerist mentality on this generation. So many of us are just so overcome by the need to want more that we never take the time to appreciate the simple things we have. We are driven to consume and we are on the path to consuming and killing everything on our planet, but living in a tiny house simplifies all that.

My tiny motor house is only about 126 square feet. I built it out of at least 70% recycled or repurposed materials. The average house in the United States is about 2200 square feet. My tiny house is less than 6% of this size and used less than 2% of the new resources the build. For the cost of one average home we could build at least 10 tiny homes.

Depending on how many resources you are able to recycle and on the complexity of your tiny house the costs range from only $500 to about $40,000 (and the higher end ones are damn amazing!). Including all building costs, costs of things like new appliances, the motorhome I started with and repairs to the chassis (only a cost to consider if your tiny house is also a motor vehicle) my home has cost me about $4000 thus far. I still have a few things to buy: a couple solar panels and batteries, some plywood to finish my floor, and some paint for the exterior, but I don't anticipate spending more than $700 to complete the project.

Another thing to consider is that tiny homes that aren't built on permanent foundations are not only easy to move you don't have to follow building regulations or codes and you are completely free to build them however you want. Now with my motor home house I've had to consider size limitations and safety requirements for driving on the road, but that didn't take much time or effort.

I've been through a lot in my life, but my tiny house is bringing me peace. Instead of thinking about things I want. I think, "Do I really need this or is there something else I could replace both these items with? Is there a better simpler way of doing this?" I have more time to focus on what I have, not just material things, but things money can't buy like my children.

My home has become a symbol of my family. I built it with them in mind. The bathroom walls and a few other surfaces are made of whiteboard material so they can draw on them. They helped me pull nails out of old boards, rivet things together, rebuild the walls and just last month paint the walls, and they really enjoyed it. It means a lot to them to be able to stay the summers with me in a home they helped make a home.

After we had finished painting we celebrated by buying a Lego motor home and putting it together as a family. It was a blast!  

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