Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Living in a Shed?

When it comes to Tiny Houses, they come in all shapes and sizes.  CIMG1168Even the definition of a Tiny House isn’t all that definitive.  People who live in tiny houses live in areas that are urban to the most remote areas of the earth and everything in between.  Diversity of what Tiny is, is in itself, part of what makes it so fascinating to me.   As people take these ideals we share in the Tiny House Movement and manifest itself in so many forms, we find creative ways to live in small homes.

This richness of various forms allows us to rethink traditional housing in so many great ways.  I have toyed with building a Tiny Home a la Jay Schaffer, which I would venture is one of the most popular approaches today.  The other option I have considered is a prefab shed.  Today I was able to go see a model that I have been toying with the idea of purchasing and putting in the middle of a plot of land.

There are issues with this approach of course.  Like all other Tiny Home making this legal and to code is rather difficult by its nature of being Tiny.  One big advantage of the prefab shed option is that these structures will almost always pass code, are easily able to obtain building permits, if you even need one!  Of course officially this would have to be just a shed.  It gets a bit more complicated when you are not placing the shed behind a primary dwelling.  This is where I find myself.

When I was talking with the sales person at the shed store, she told me that they have had several customers live in these sheds.  They call these buildings “sheds” loosely, with models up to 1000+ square feet.CIMG1169

Why a shed though?  Well like I mentioned the ease of getting them legitimized of course helps.  Second they are cheap!  The model I show here is 192 Square Feet. Included are the windows, doors, installations, taxes, anchoring, site leveling and delivery all for the price of $4,200!  Figure adding in permits, running power, insulation and drywall (doing the work myself of course) I am looking at a sweet house for around six grand.  You could then deck it out with Ikea swag for another $500 and have a really really nice place!  The only drawback is there is no loft for a bed, so you have to deal with that, Murphy bed?

The other advantage to these houses is that you can move them!  Not as easily as a house on a trailer, but it’s possible.  The other advantage I see with this is that they offer payment plans of $70 a month, makes it pretty affordable, considering I have friends that pay over $1500 a month in rent.

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Jay’s Old House

Found this video, its a lil bit old, but it shows Jay Schaffer’s first Tiny House, a spacious 70 square feet!

5 Reasons Why I Am Going Tiny

Freedom

Freedom from stuff, freedom from excess space, freedom of time, freedom from cleaning.  All of these things take time, energy, money, and resources, going smaller means these demands are reduced drastically.  You then have freedom to do what you want, what is important, what really matters in your life.  Tiny House image

Money

McMansions cost allot of money, I am sure you have noticed.  The average US house costs around $265,000.  But it doesn’t stop there!  In order for you to get into that big house, you have to get a mortgage, which by the time you pay for it; it will cost you two to three times that, so roughly $800,000.  Then add maintenance, insurance, furnishing such a large space, cleaning products, etc.

Then there is the risk that comes with a mortgage, even with buying a house that is conservative for your income, even if you save for 3-6 months of pay in case you get laid off (which 95% of Americans don’t budget for), you could still lose your home after paying it off for 28 out of the 30 years you have on it.  So factor the cost, plus risk, then consider the opportunity cost, you could be well in the hole close to 1.5 million dollars and then be left homeless.

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Oil & Food, A Scary Picture

Oil is used to deliver the seeds to farmers

Oil is used to pump water to the cropspeakoil

Oil is used in production of fertilizers

Oil runs the tractors that harvest food

Oil is in the plastics that we package the food

Oil is in the tanks of the trucks that ship food an average of 5000 miles

Oil is used to drive your car when you bring the food home

Oil powers electricity at every step of this chain

Oil helps you cook the food when you bring it….

What would happen when Oil is $400 a barrel?

Peak oil is here and now, Get ready for the ride of your lifetime

Info on Peak Oil

Reprinted Treehugger Lester Brown July 2009

Today we are an oil-based civilization, one that is totally dependent on a resource whose production will soon be falling. Since 1981, the quantity of oil extracted has exceeded new discoveries by an ever-widening margin. In 2008, the world pumped 31 billion barrels of oil but discovered fewer than 9 billion barrels of new oil. World reserves of conventional oil are in a free fall, dropping every year.

Discoveries of conventional oil total roughly 2 trillion barrels, of which 1 trillion have been extracted so far, with another trillion barrels to go. By themselves, however, these numbers miss a central point. As security analyst Michael Klare notes, the first trillion barrels was easy oil, “oil that’s found on shore or near to shore; oil close to the surface and concentrated in large reservoirs; oil produced in friendly, safe, and welcoming places.” The other half, Klare notes, is tough oil, “oil that’s buried far offshore or deep underground; oil scattered in small, hard-to-find reservoirs; oil that must be obtained from unfriendly, politically dangerous, or hazardous places.”

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The “Tiny Life” Is Freedom

The tiny life is indeed freedom: freedom from long-term mortgages, freedom from unnecessary possessions, and freedom from the both the expected and unexpected headaches larger living brings.freedom

But it is not only freedom from, it is also freedom for: freedom to have more discretionary income to use wisely or to save; freedom for economies of scale; freedom for more focused energy to harness one’s will and talents with less encumbrance.

Sometimes our possessions come in the way of our self-actualizing.

Just as sadly, have we reached a point where we have allowed our possessions and the size of our homes or dwellings or that of others to define who we are and determine our self-worth, let alone those of others?

Perhaps the tiny life will bring us more into contact with those who do not allow the amount or type or “size” of one’s possessions blind them to the inherent dignity and self-worth of everyone.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

-Greg