Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

Bigger is not necessarily better.  Bigger can certainly be beautiful!  And there is nothing inherently wrong in bigger.  But bigger can be quite costly in both the short and long term and can bring with it many headaches.

It’s important to be compassionate: many of us could not but help buy into the belief that as we grew up that we, too, could purchase the type of homes our parents did– homes just as “spacious” and stately– even if we were raised in a row home or semi-detached dwelling.BigSmall

But for chiefly economic reasons– many of which readers of “The Tiny Life” are aware– the purchase (and sustaining) of long-term mortgages has become less likely, less possible, and fraught with more risk.

For the sake of example, let’s suppose you and I can purchase such a home.  My father worked for a corporation and was employed 33 consecutive years with that same employer before he retired.  In general, such job security today, let alone with a single employer, is not the norm nor the reality for the vast majority of us.

Therefore, taking on a 20-35 year mortgage brings with it the worries of what will happen if one or both incomes become imperiled.  What happens to our long-term investment if 23 years into our 25-year mortgage we lose either our jobs or our health?  What if savings and the help of family &/or friends is not enough to “save” our home?

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New Urbanism

While I may have a Tiny Lifestyle blog, I have always been trying to really hone in on what the Tiny Lifestyle truly is.  It is more than just owning a tiny house; it is a culmination of many things which leads us to a life which addresses human needs that we find are absent in our lives.  It’s seeking more time, discovering ourselves and loved ones.  It’s getting back in touch with nature; I would even go as far as saying there is a spiritual side to it as well.

I feel that the course we are going on as humans isn’t sustainable in both ecological and psychological terms.  With so many humans on this earth we are feeling cramped, we lack room to roam, time to be and other needs of the human condition.  What does this all have to do with Urbanism?

Like I said the way we live today isn’t sustainable in many ways, we must rethink, reengineer and adjust our behaviors.  With 6.5+ billion people on this world urbanism will happen and we have to be smart about it.

So today I want to share these a few videos (if you only watch one, take time for the first it’s phenomenal) about building better.  There are many people who are part of the Tiny House Movement that do so in an urban setting.  For those of you whom are a bit more remote, while these things talk about cities and urban area, there are undoubtedly gems we can gleam.  Whether these ideas are used to develop your community, your own tract of land or a small community of tiny houses, these ideas are invaluable for the backwoods or cities alike.

 

 

More great videos after the link

 

 

 

Modern Home Water Catchment

While this isn’t a traditional Tiny Home, I really loved the modern feel and of course the insane water catchment potential and look of this roof.  modern water catchmentThis house is still about 1,200 square feet smaller than a typical American home.  You can see several large tanks off the back of the house which is used to collect rain water from the roof.  One square foot of roof can yield ½ a gallon of water from 1 inch of rain.  So roughly estimating for this roof, one inch of rain yields over 1200 gallons of water!

The house is also cleverly designed to have an upper roof as primary shelter and sun shade and then there is a roof on the actually home’s structure.  This is brilliant because the main roof is topped with highly reflective metal, reducing heat absorption.  Then there is an air space between the main roof and the home’s roof to prevent any transference of heat to the home itself.  The space allows wind to cool both sides of the upper roof and keeps you cool below.

See more photos Here

Electricity for Tiny Houses

Jeff and Arlene have been sharing some great info about how they are approaching their tiny house in terms of wiring.

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 27 11.58

Before we get into it, a quick lesson:

Volt is the measurement for “force” behind a electrical current

Amp is the amount of energy in a electrical current

Watt is the amount of energy something uses (Volts x Amps)

They first determined what they use:

Its always good to design your electrical system to handle more than you think you will need for two reasons.  First is that if you do need a lil extra umph, you have it.  The second is a safety concern.  A system that is strained is a potential danger for fire, overload and other really really bad things.

I would always recommend installing a small circuit breaker between your power source and your home, this is a bit overkill, but it protects your investment ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 27 12.30and the things and people you care about.  Of course make sure you use electrical plugs with a breaker built into them in near the sink and in the bathroom.

Another interesting idea that I have found address the issue of the limitation of wall sockets / electrical plugs.  Namely there is only two sockets.  A Japanese (which I couldn’t figure out their company name) had came up with a design to address this, its called Node.   I could ramble on about it but a picture is worth a thousand words and its brilliant!

Check out Jeff and Arlene’s post here

The Slow Movement

The Tiny Lifestyle affords us to living in the moment, to enjoy life unburdened by not having to vacuum 6000 square feet, to have to get a second job to make the mortgage payment this month.  slow foodYou are able to focus on the two most important things:  your relationship with others and yourself.  Its about being able to take time for important things in your life, to do what matters most and pursue your passions.

For some time now I have been aware of “The Slow Movement” which touts taking time to savor whatever you are doing.  The two main groups that have really jumped on board with this are travel and food.

The Slow Food movement and the Slow Travel Movement are all about taking the time to really enjoy, living in the moment and developing connections with others.  Slow food movement was obviously a response to Fast Food.  In the US 1/3 of Americans eat Fast Food every single day.  The main reason is because its convenient and easy.  For those of you who don’t know I am 25, and I can easily say that 90% of everyone my age that I know don’t know how to cook a simple meal.  A friend of mine who had been living for several years on their own, I had to teach how to boil pasta…. No…..I’m not even kidding.

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