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 suit your needs, the chance of you 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 your 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:
- Kent Griswold: tinyhouseblog.com
- Deek Diedricksen: relaxshacks.com
- Alek Lisefski: tiny-project.com
- Ryan Mitchell: TheTinyLife.com (this website)
- Macy Miller: MiniMotives.com
- Ethan Waldman: thetinyhouse.net
- Ella Jenkins: littleyellowdoor.wordpress.com
- Vina Lustado: vinastinyhouse.com
- Gabriella Morrison: TinyHouseBuild.com
- Andrew Odom: tinyrevolution.us
- Jenna Spesard: TinyHouseGiantJourney.com
- Jess and Dan Sullivan: livinginatinyhouse.blogspot.com
- Laura M. LaVoie: 120squarefeet.com
- Steven Harrell: tinyhouselistings.com
- Kristie Wolfe: Kristiewolfe.com
- What else do you think people don’t understand about tiny houses?
- What tips have you learned from others?