Five Tiny House Misconceptions

Here are 5 misconceptions that have cropped up while living the tiny life. Some were my own before moving in to a tiny house and some are what I’ve been asked over and over again.

Numero 1: Oh you live in a tiny house on wheels? It’s like a camper, right?

C’mon! Does this look like a camper to you?casita Once you mention wheels peoples’ brains seem to zone in on this comparison. It has to be one of the top 3 questions people consistently ask me when I try to describe living the tiny life.  First biggest difference between the two in my experience is a tiny house is usually built by it’s owners and is meant as a year-round residence. Secondly, a tiny house is a less toxic living situation than a camper which is usually made with a lot of plastic and glues that are harmful to one’s health. Lastly, you can tow a camper behind a car-I don’t know of a car than can haul a tiny house. At the very least, even the houses on the smaller end need a truck.

Numero 2: The tiny life is the simple(r) life!

Okay, so by simple I mean the misconception I had before living in a tiny house that financial freedom would mean increased simplicity in my overall life. This has not necessarily been the case however. With less bills life has become more flexible for sure but simple not so much. Living the tiny life proves more complicated on the day to day for us due to the time it takes to perform chores and daily tasks, especially if you are without running water like we are. Staying organized is a constant demand, doing dishes takes more time and while cleaning is fairly simple, it has to be done a lot more often. Other complications include finding storage for possessions you don’t want to part with but won’t fit in your tiny house, renting or finding land to buy, setting up utilities and having space to do hobbies and projects. I’ve mentioned other difficulties in a previous post so I’ll leave it at that.

Numero 3: A tiny house means ultimate mobility!

Not quite…if you want to move a tiny house any significant distance plan on paying a tidy sum of money and movingexperiencing a fair amount of stress. At least that was our experience moving from South Carolina to Vermont. Having our own truck would afford us more flexibility and ease of movement but if ultimate mobility is what one seeks, I’d recommend an RV or one of these. Tiny houses are not meant to be moved all the time in my opinion and they don’t have the flexibility of movement that a RV or camper enjoys ( harking back to misconception numero 1).

Numero 4: If you own a tiny house you must be motivated by a anti-establishment, anti-consumerist sentiment.


Ok, so in my case, and many others, this is true but what I’m getting at is that the tiny house movement is growing and diversifying. This is certainly not how everyone in the movement can and should be portrayed. The general opinion of who builds and lives in tiny houses is definitely changing and folks living this lifestyle run the gamut of age, gender, occupation, religion and political leanings. I think the driving force and interest in tiny houses is spurred more by economics rather than politics, social issues or environmental motivation. These certainly play a role in many folks’ interest in living the tiny life but ultimately smaller housing just makes sense economically and while I am living this life for a host of reasons, saving money is a big one.

Numero 5: If you can live in a tiny house you can live anywhere!

I have had dozens of people say this to me and my response is “There is no way I could live on a sailboat of the same size.” Cedric has lived on sailboats and has regaled me with stories of storms, lack of refrigeration and the range of difficulties living life on the water provides. It reminds us both how easy we have it! People who live in large houses can’t fathom how we do it though. This misconception seems to invariably lead to a comment on Cedric and I’s relationship and how it must be some miracle we can live together in such a small space. It’s not a miraculous thing, it’s hard work but we make it work because we love each other and try to support each others needs. Humans are highly adaptable and when someone makes such statements I think, “I bet if you tried it you’d be happier.” I think less space means less stress. Maybe not quite 98 sq. feet small but surely 300, 400 or 500 would suffice for many who choose to have 2000+ sq. foot homes. In the end, it’s really all about perspective and a willingness to live a little differently.

Your Turn!

  • What can you add to this list of misconceptions?
  • Disagree? What’s your opinion?
  1. Well put, you covered the biggies for sure. The only other thing that’s more a point of contention than a misconception is what size of house can be truly called “tiny”. Also need some catchy words for “tiny house on wheels” and “tiny house on a foundation”.

  2. Ohhhh be still my heart, Ryan, Please let me hold your jacket, and I am so on your bandwagon.

    On another site there have been some very active discussions which have more or less circumnavigated your 5 points. I, being rather shy and reserve, I have given one or two shallow comments on these subjects, as brief and candid as I possibly could.

    What fits one does not fit the other and I have a much expanded wardrobe of lifestyles that did fit the young me, not so young me, mature me to, well, I think you get my drift. I could not now live where I once could. Age maturity and health dictate that for us and that is inevitable for all of us. The thing one has to think about is what point you go from ok, let’s build this cute little house to wow, I am spending money on this cute little house that may fit me for how long? Now, someone is going to say or be thinking that is just the stepping stone much like going from a starter home to the palace. I focus more on a down scaled lifestyle which had opened my eyes to simplicity, the environment, social networking
    Point 1 You can see where they are coming from because I would just about put money on there being more and more of these used for weekend homes, guest homes, rentals on spare yard space, office space, hobby space etcetera than full time living, wow, I may get a battle here but who has done the count. I hit on as many blogs and websites as I can so that’s where I place my money. But it will have to a small wager if you want to ever collect.
    Point 2 Once you are organized with running water and all things nice. That will make things simpler; you reform old and adopt new habits so you came up a little short on that one but only a little. I now know where my keys are, wallet, watch and hat and I am in a mess of construction. Cleaning, come on, the hours you and Cedric spent cleaning that beautiful large house, Ryan, I am a slob but this little place is clean and neat, it has to be and its effortless.
    Point 3 I offer nothing because you are still focused on tiny buildings on a trailer.
    Point 4 total senses, you can’t slice the cake any thinner. But the nice part is if you need to you can live on a hell of a lot less income and enjoy life much more. Skip overtime and turn that into loving time.
    Point 5 My pet of all subjects. Now you’re out of the trailer and into alternate thinking and you are absolutely correct. I even argue with myself referring to that side being the lazy SOB I live with who when I have built in a system don’t use it until reprimanded 20,000 times. That is multiplied by every member of an unorganized household no matter how big or small so you have to have a good attitude with yourself if you are one or understanding with your mate. Two people have to be in some harmony no matter where they live but even the mindset of small house and compensating can bring some people into realizing they have some adjustments to make. That could be a good thing!

    Ok Ryan, here is your jacket back I’m gone. Have a Great Day

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