Archive for the Essentials Category

Tiny Houses Suck!

No the website hasn’t been taken over by Russian Hackers, they are trying though, No you haven’t entered into the twilight zone or some rift in the Space-Time continuum.  But I was answering an email of a reader who asked about Tiny Houses and hurricanes.  It got me thinking….

just say no

I am a very opinionated person, I love debate; What I love even more is debating an indefensible position.  I like to indulge the opposing view on strongly held beliefs, so that I can see if my stance needs adjustment or potentially, I could be wrong about it all.   The point is, I try not to only listen to people who agree with me on things.    It is like a Christian (let’s not get bogged down by the topic of religion on this example) talking with an Atheist about God, it allows both parties to test their views, to adjust their idea and bring new thoughts to both sides.  So here it goes!

Tiny Houses are completely impractical!  They are too small to be a viable option for a normal person’s needs.  From the get-go, you instantly outcast yourself because of social norms and influences.  Social norms, regardless of if they are right or wrong, still exist and to go against them, will be to your disadvantage.

There are tons of examples of how going against the grain with your tiny house can impact you in a negative way.   With your tiny house, you often have to live under the radar of building code and tax assessors.  This poses a big risk if you are discovered and turned in.  Potentially you could be removed from your own land; you could be charged fines/back taxes or at the very least, your neighbors could begrudge you.house maze

Since you have to build your house and keep it on land where building codes prohibit it being there and you don’t pay your taxes because you haven’t been assessed, you are, by law, illegal.  You are no longer a law abiding citizen.  Your neighbors will never appreciate someone who doesn’t pay thousands of dollars in taxes, like they have to, but still uses all the services of the town/city.

Speaking of money, many people will see a tiny house as a cheapskate’s way to live.  In this world, unfortunately money talks, you have to have it and without it,  you can’t do much in this world.  Let’s say you are a single male, you met this great girl.  After a few dates, things are going well, which leads to you bringing her home.  What the hell is she going to think when your car is bigger then the house you live in?  Even if she goes with it, it’s possible at this point that you might have been drinking on your date, but now – as you make your way to the bed – you somehow have to navigate a tiny ladder and hope not to break your neck.

Even if she goes for it, even if she has a good time, what is she going to do the next morning?  Go tell her friends.  Now if you are in a hippy town, you might be able to capitalize on this, but for the majority of you, this will not be the case.   That girl is going to tell her friends who will then make a comment like “so he lives in a mobile home?”  or “is he so cheap he can’t afford a house?” or “he sounds immature, he needs to get his life in order”.  Regardless of how great of a time she had social norms will force her to never talk to you again.

Bigger IS better, bigger house, bigger bank account, more space to store things you just have to have, and a bigger rock on your fiancés finger.  If you can’t do all these things, your social and professional life will suffer.  If people at work find out that you live in a house on wheels, they will think of you as homeless, a transient, and most likely think that you live the way you do because you managed your money so poorly.

Why would a person making $70k a year live in a 100 square foot house unless they were so broke that they had to?  This will come back on you; your boss starts to wonder how well you can actually handle a budget, because in your personal life your finances are managed so you seem “poor”.  Even if you explain it, that it was a choice, it is from so far left field that no one will believe you.Inside a Tiny House

Lacking of space for key things is a huge issue.  There are some things you simply have to have which take up a lot of space: a washer and Dryer, a real toilet, regular fridge.  All these things take up allot of space.  They are necessities and not having them is not practical.  Doing laundry at a laundry mat is a pain in the ass, it costs a chunk of change and undoubtedly there is that one really sketchy person who feels the need to talk your ear off!  A small fridge and no pantry means you have to make extra trips to the store for things you can’t fit, here’s to saving the environment.

The biggest concern is safety/liability.  Living in a tiny house means that it is very susceptible to high winds, severe weather and if a tree fall on your roof, you’re dead!  Fires can rip through the entire house in no time flat and being that it’s on a trailer; people can steal your whole house!  Take this and compound it with the fact that you can not insure it, you essentially have a $20k-$50k liability.

Of course all these things don’t matter unless you have a fat bank account, because you can’t get a loan to build it.  No bank will take on this loan; it is an unsecured loan because the house, in a normal market has literally no value.

So to sum it up.  Living in a tiny house means several things: You are cheap, you social and professional life will suffer, which means you seemed “poor” but you are now actually are poor.  Forget about getting married, because her family will never approve, and her friends will call you cheap.  Your house will be swept away in a flash flood and you didn’t have insurance on it so you are out 10’s of thousands of dollars.  All in all it doesn’t make a strong case for tiny houses.

Practical Tips For Downsizing….Everything Part 3

Just Say No!:

This is your brain, this is your brain when you have so much stuff to do that you literally can’t do it all.  That where saying NO comes into play.  Saying no is harder than you might thing, try it.  Someone asks you to join in on some committee for a volunteer organization, your church needs a Sunday school teacher or you are asked any number of things which add strain to your life.Busy_Woman

It’s not that you don’t want to do these things, it’s not that you are lazy, it is the simple fact that there are 24 hours in a day and at a point you are booked solid and you didn’t leave any time for you.

You need to factor in time for you, again it’s not selfish, its not greedy or lazy.  It is taking time for you to take a break and unwind a bit.  You aren’t any good to anyone if you can’t focus, you are always tired or you are running late to everything.

But how to determine what to say yes to and what to say no to?

 

First Schedule 1 hour of time for yourself, odd huh?  You don’t let anyone know that you are free during that time, you don’t give it up and you take time to be alone for a little bit.  Once you are on YOUR time, you start to think about what you want in life, what are your goals?  See my post about this.  I do my best thinking in the shower, I can beat my head against a keyboard and then get into the shower and find instant clarity.

Now that you have determined your goals, you write down every commitment that you have and go through the list and ask yourself “does this get me closer to my goals?”  If the answer is no, put an “x” next to it.  There are those things like eat or sleep that are nonnegotiable.  Of the things that put “x’s” on go through and determine how much time roughly you spend doing that thing during the week.  The one that takes the most time take it and drop it!  That’s it Drop it.  Send an email saying that because of time constraints and responsibilities you have to your family etc. you need to stop doing whatever it is.  Remember that with big commitments, you might have to phase it out, but you can get there.

Many of you at this point are saying I can’t do that!  Its not possible!  No I WILL NOT!  Haha  Now if this is one of those things like eat, sleep, take care of your child, then no, of course.  But what would really happen if you said no (politely of course)?  If you went to those people at the meeting that you have built a relationship with and said to them, I need to step back because I need to focus on my family, my relationship, my education.  A true friend would see your good intention, listen to them and back you 100%.

Now I really encourage you to eliminate your most time consuming thing that doesn’t work towards your goals, but reality dictates that you have to eliminate the 2nd or 3rd instead.   The end result is that you have just freed time to work towards a goal and also time for yourself, so protect it by just saying no.

Practical Tips For Downsizing….Everything Part 2

Goals:

Knowing where you are going can be an immensely freeing thing.  While you should always leave room for some spontaneity and sometimes we just need to let life take us where it leads us.  There are times where a plan is good.  We all have dreams and it’s never a bad thing to do our best to get to them.goals The empowering thing about goals is that from them we can determine what actions we need to take to get to them.  We can change our behavior now to get to the goal later.  It doesn’t mean that we drop everything, it doesn’t mean these goals can’t change or be replaced, but we only have so much time on this earth and its good to make it count.

How do you figure out your very top level, most important things to you?

If you were at the end of your life looking back, what would you want to have achieved?

What would make you a better person?

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Why “The Tiny Life”?

So why embark on “the tiny life”?

The answer is found in stewardship– the wise use of one’s time, energy, fiscal and other resources.

Are you wisely using the space in which you live?  Which room or rooms do you live in the most?  What happens to the others?  Are you bothered by all the space within your dwelling that is least occupied?Tiny House image

“Tiny” is the efficient use of space.  Admittedly, there is much less space to “expand” one’s life—one’s possessions and one’s decorative sense are two examples.  Where do we really live, though—in our dwellings or in our hearts and relationship space?

But “tiny” also means less money expended to maintain a larger space that has become for many of us an idol.  In 1963, my parents took on a 25-year mortgage on a new, two-story house with four bedrooms that cost $17,500.  That same home today can sell for close to $300,000.

How scales of economy have changed!  “Tiny” addresses the buying power of present dollars as much as it reflects  the desire not to buy into the myth that bigger is better.

Bigger is not necessarily better.  For most of us fascinated by tiny living, the exploration of all things tiny imparts hope.

-Greg

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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