Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

15 Experts Share What Most People Get Wrong About Tiny Houses

I sat down with the top tiny house experts to ask them a bunch of questions, today I am sharing their responses to the question: “What do most people get wrong about Tiny Houses?” The folks in this post have built tiny houses, live in tiny houses and teach folks from all over the world about tiny houses, so we are lucky to be able to tap into their brains on these questions.


It’s not about the house. It’s not about fitting all the amenities of your current house into a smaller package. What people don’t understand is that it’s about a very conscious self-reflection and simplification of life, to figure out what is it you really need to be happy and what might just be getting in your way. In my experience of actually living the tiny life, in the end it far more about the people in your life (partners, neighbors, etc) than what your house does and does not include.


They seem to expect that every last convenience of a large home will come along with them, just in a tinier version. A big part of choosing to live tiny is choosing simplicity. This word often seems to be confused with the term convenient. You will not have every last little convenience gadget known to man, there simply isn’t space for that. You must choose a shorter list of what is most important to YOU.


They don’t do the work on themselves first. The truth is that people need to understand themselves deeply before they can move into a tiny house. What ACTUALLY makes you happy? What is your purpose? How do I interact with a consumer culture?


They jump into the build before they have a place to park it, don’t take the time to really design it to suit their actual needs and movements, and often don’t start downsizing before the build, which leaves them in a panic when push finally comes to shove. Downsizing is NOT easy and takes time.


The downsizing never ends. I feel like a lot of people assume you get rid of all your stuff and then move in and you’re good to go when in reality it is a constant, never ending challenge that some are more suited to than others.


Assuming that they have to live tiny in the same way that they see other people doing it. For example- not everyone NEEDS their house to be mobile (on wheels), but this is the norm because it’s what we all see all the time.


It’s not so much about the house. It’s about the lifestyle and making daily choices to be mindful that brings the greatest level of joy.


I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to live tiny. Just enjoy yourself and the process. Whatever positive element the lifestyle brings into your life, appreciate that.


I’m not completely sure that there is a wrong way to live tiny. Everyone comes at the lifestyle with different motivations. I do think some people get caught up in the house size rather than the philosophy of simple living that started the movement.


Most people tend to think it is mostly a financially driven decision, which may be true for some folks but I don’t think the majority of tiny house dwellers think of it that way.


Most people have a stereotype of the kind of hipster, millennial tiny houser but really the people that choose to go tiny are a really diverse group.


You don’t have to be a total minimalist to live tiny. The beauty of living in tiny houses is that it can be flexible to fit your needs. I have a separate office space in downtown and another shed on the property for outdoor gear storage. If I wanted more space, I can build another tiny house for additional members of the family.


People focus on the actual square footage as apposed to their specific needs. If a home isn’t right for you and doesn’t suite your needs, the chance of your staying in your tiny house long-term is pretty low.


It’s not the square footage that matters its the lifestyle that is the most important. 1. Getting rid of the excess and clutter in your life. 2. Living debt free and within you means. 3. Doing a job you love and having the freedom to do the things you enjoy doing.


That it is about square feet. It is not.


A very special thanks to the folks who participated:

Your Turn!

  • What else do you think people don’t understand about tiny houses?
  • What tips have you learned from others?
  1. i sooo totally agree with the comments that living in a TH is about a LIFESTYLE of living simply. it rubs me the wrong way sometimes that tiny houses have become almost a “fad”.

    i did think that i’d downsize my stuff, move in, and have it be all good. what i discovered instead is a constant process of moving things around, and making decisions that change all time. my friends now chuckle every time i call and say, “i just rearrange the house. again.”

    i used to hate that. i wanted to find a place for everything and keep everything in it’s place. but i’m really starting to enjoy the constant challenge and fun in moving things around, getting rid of what i don’t need and re-purposing what i do have. all the time.

  2. SO true about the constant re-arranging! Sometimes old habits make us choose a place for something that would’ve worked in a large house but that simply isn’t logical where we initially put it in our tiny house.

    After having lived in a tiny house for 3 years, we would agree that not NEEDING so much is key: does it really matter if I (Carol) had every shape of cake pan known to mankind? (no). Do we care that people see us in the same 5 outfits just about all year? (no– the clothes are clean and appropriate). Do we miss having a dryer? (of course not– clothes smell much better dried on a clothesline). A full sized stove? Oh yeah– needed that one! A larger place for tools? Yep– needed that extra shed.

    Living in a tiny house shows you who your real friends are; if they love you for you, they don’t think anything is wrong with sharing a meal at a tiny table or in a small living room or outside. They don’t freak out at our composting toilet or at having (albeit temporarily) less than 2 acres of countertop space.

    And while tiny living is somewhat about a $25/month electric bill (soon to be $0 because of solar), it is more importantly treasuring being able to spend so much time just enjoying each other’s company without having to work so much just to have to pay so much.

    More than anything else, tiny living is a conscious acknowledgement that our human-ness comes before our consumerism, that our needs are met without acquiring lots of “stuff,” and that we are a small (sorry– couldn’t help the pun) contributor towards using fewer finite resources in our “pursuit of happiness.”

  3. I like the diversity of answers here. I agree with them all in a way… that it’s about simplifying, but that the simplifying is about so much more. More money, more time, figuring out what you really love and need.

    Sometimes what you love and need takes up more room than is available in such a small space; maybe you need a barn, workshop or office as wall.

    Living in a small space means that the space has to fit “you” to a tee if possible, not a generic person. That means picking a pre-built one carefully, or taking a lot of time to try out different layout (in tape on your floor helps a lot) if you are building your own.

    There are as many reasons for living in a tiny house as there are tiny house dwellers. There isn’t one right motivation for going small. Sometimes it IS money, but that doesn’t make it less ok, as long as thought and care is taken to ensure the space works for you.

    Anyway, thanks for this. 🙂

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