I was talking with a friend over the past week and doing some thinking about the general tiny house movement when a few interesting observations struck me. There are some really obvious outcomes that happen because of tiny houses and people embracing them, but at the same time there are some that are often overlooked. I have had the good fortune of meeting so many tiny house people and after blogging about this for over 4 years I begin to see some interesting patters. So today I thought I’d share the top five unexpected outcomes of tiny houses.
1. Opening doors for women, even if they have to build the door first
When it comes to home building, it is largely a male dominated with only 9% of the industry being female, there are very few women working in the field. Of that 9%, the vast majority of them are office/clerical positions for the home building industry. What has struck me about tiny houses is that women actually dominate in movement about 60/40 and we have seen this time and time again in metrics and surveys.
What is interesting about this is not only are women more interested in tiny houses, but more women are actually building tiny houses themselves. This is pretty significant because by looking at the numbers, tiny houses are empowering women to learn construction skills, a path not traveled by many other women. Now it is true that most of these women won’t necessarily go on to become professionals in the field, but it certainly challenges the status quo and empowers women.
2. Fostering a new era of informed consumers and citizens
Tiny houses have spurred a lot of great questions on things are done and brought creativity to the problems we face. In this process many tiny house people become more aware of how homes are built, the resources they use, how they spend there dollar and where.
When people get into the details of building a home, they learn about the process and choices being made. It is here that they begin to learn a lot and then become, at least, somewhat informed on the subject. This translates into many aspects of our lives, we think about the impacts our buying habits have, we question the life we lead and the houses we lead them in. In the end, our propensity to ask “why?” makes us more engaged citizens.
3. A commonality between generations
I am of the younger generation, Gen Y’s aka Millennials, but what I have found is that with a common interest of tiny houses generational gaps are bridged. It is true that generally tiny house people are pretty amicable and just pretty darn awesome, but the inter-generational discussions being had on the topic of tiny houses is impressive.
It’s not that there is some great schism between these groups, but we as humans often flock with the same birds of a feather. So to have this common ground allows use to bring the best of both groups into a single movement.
4. Boosting local and green economies
When we build our tiny houses, we often have to tap into resources of those around us. It could be friends or family, but it can also be professionals too. One surprising thing that I have discovered when working with my local big box store, Lowes, is how often I am buying from local companies. All my roofing came from a plant not 50 miles away, my siding was milled by North Carolinians, and the list goes on (I fully recognize this isn’t the truest sense of local, but for big box I was surprised I got this close!).
I have tapped into local trades people: I consulted with a local electrician. I had to run water to my tiny house site, so a local plumber had to be called in because the city of Charlotte requires their license to install. I paid a farmer to have him grade a new road for me. I also had to connect with a local welder to make my trailer modifications.
When it comes to green economies, many people have turned to alternative materials for their houses. This has lead to an uptick in sales of green building materials, further encouraging the growth of these products.
5. We rub off on our family and friends
When we start talking about living tiny we often bring, what seems to our friends and family, a whole new level of crazy ideas. However, its funny how the idea starts to gain favor over time. It isn’t about getting everyone to live in a tiny house, but they begin to ask themselves questions about their choices in life. My family went from “okay Ryan, that’s nice” to my Grandmother looking forward to share photos of her Grandson’s house he is building himself.
These things might be small in comparison to living in a tiny home, but it effects a broad range of people, so in a way its more impactful. With more and more people listening to us talk on and on about tiny houses, they begin to open up to ideas that they had never considered. These ideas impact their way of living, spending of money and impact on this earth.