Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

5 Misconceptions About Tiny House People

Having been working with Tiny Houses for years now, I have run into many instances where people have some perceptions of tiny house folks that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sometimes I feel like informing them of how it really is to live tiny, but other days, I just don’t have it in me to say anything.  So today I thought I’d lay to rest some of the common misconceptions about tiny houses and the people who live in them.

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1. We hate stuff

While it is true we don’t like the gratuitous, debt accumulating, clutter creating consumption of stuff for consumption sake, we aren’t against things.  In fact the things we own and take up space in our tiny houses, we really really like.  We have decided to only have those things that make our lives richer, happier and in some cases easier.

2. We don’t have a lot of money or a job

I remember one conversation I had with a woman that came walking off the street to see my tiny house.  After talking a while, I mentioned it had taken a while to build because I could only work on it when I wasn’t working.  She looked at me with astonishment and said “oh you have a job” she then alluded that my job must not be well paying and I informed her I had a good job white collar job that paid very well.  Her face was filled with a look of confusion.

The ironic thing is that most tiny house folks actually make more than the average American, are gainfully employed at good jobs.  What is more, we keep most of what we make, meaning we often don’t have any debt and we have more saved up.  Recently a report release by PEW showed that someone with no debt and $100 in the bank account has a higher net worth than most people in America.

3. We say no to big houses

For a long time I thought I was saying “no” to big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, etc. but I realized one day that I wasn’t saying “no”, but in fact saying “yes”.  I am saying “yes” to a life where I have no debt, where I have exactly what I need, to a job where I only have to work a few hours a week, and “yes” to travel, pursuit of passions, hobbies and interests.

So its not so much I’m rejecting bigger houses, but embracing the benefits of smaller living.

4. You can’t have a relationship or a family in a tiny house

Time and time again I get asked about families and relationships in a tiny house.  There are plenty of examples of people who are couples and also plenty of examples of families who live in a tiny house.  The truth is it’s possible, but its not for everyone.  Don’t get caught up in “I have to be ____ number of square feet because that is what a tiny house is”  Forget that notion, do what makes sense for you and those you live with.  If I were to want to cohabitate with someone else, would I live in a tiny house with them?  HELL NO!  Would I get a bigger house than a tiny house, but small compared to most houses, most definitely.  For some though, a tiny house as a couple is great.  For some families, they might live in 800 square feet or maybe more; that’s okay too.

5. A tiny house isn’t a real house

Every time someone learns that I live in a tiny house that don’t know what they are I get all the same questions.  Does it have a bathroom, a sink, a kitchen, a shower, a toilet, a bed, electricity, water, internet?  The answer is yes, yes, and yes.  My house has every creature comfort you could want and so do most tiny houses.  Tiny houses have all the same systems that a traditional house has, it is built the same way (mostly) and uses most of the same materials.  There are some things that I have chosen  not to have like a dish washer and microwave, but that’s because I didn’t want them.

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4 Comments
  1. Amen!

  2. I think the biggest misconception about tiny house people is that there’s a single, narrow definition of tiny house people or tiny houses. Even tiny house people tend to forget that their particular philosophy or aesthetic is just one of many along a very large spectrum.

  3. So here is my dilemma: I live in an apartment, which means I pay every month for something I will never own and will never be paid off.
    Also, I work at a job that pays barely above poverty-level, yet is demanding and which exhausts me every day; plus it’s given me carpal tunnel and foot problems. I have no debt, however, and I do have some savings. But I have no way to build a tiny house. I don’t have the skills. And also, I have no PLACE to build it. I can’t exactly build a tiny house in my apartment complex’s parking lot. I could have one built, I suppose, but then, where would I park it? I’m a single woman. Where would it be safe?

    Can anyone answer these questions for me? Thank you. :)

    • LongsToBeFree,

      Ultimately you’ll have to determine the best course of action for your circumstances but here are some suggestions that you might consider:

      1. Save up enough money to build the entire tiny home in one go so that you will take up less time/space during the building process.
      2. While saving, embrace minimalism and cut out all unnecessary expenditures. This will probably require a certain amount of creativity if your current job is paying just about poverty level. But necessity is the mother of all invention, right?
      3. Consider taking some building courses through a local lumberyard (Lowes, HomeDepot) or even attending a Tiny Home Building Seminar.
      4. If your physical limitations prevent this, try finding a local builder you trust and see if you can work out some type of barter situation. Do you have skills and training that you could exchange for the builder’s manual labor? For example, maybe you are good at bookkeeping or organizing and can help with projects in lieu of paying cash.
      5. In terms of where to park it, I would consider reaching out to friends or family members that might be agreeable to a situation such as this. Or maybe even run a CraigsList ad to find someone in your area who might be open to this. You could also take a look at RV parks in the area and see what their long term parking/camping options might look like.
      6. And safety is relative. That would be difficult to answer since I don’t know anything about your town or neighborhood. I suspect, however, that you probably know where the “wrong side of the tracks” are and I’d stick with your gut and stay away from those places.

      Good luck,
      Katie

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