Posts Tagged Tiny Houses

Should We Even Be Building Tiny Houses?

Today I came upon this little graphic and it struck me that maybe even Tiny Houses are too high impact.  As you can see from the graphic below, there are so many empty houses in America and so many homeless people.  Now this is certainly an over simplification of our homelessness issue, but it does beg the question: Should we be building new houses at all?

To me there a few reasons that I can think of why we don’t you existing houses and build new ones.  That houses aren’t in the location we want, for many people it is they aren’t big enough, we didn’t know about them, they don’t have the features we want.  These are many of the rationalizations we a society make when it comes to not utilizing an existing home and instead build a new one.  But the worst one of all is the fact that the vast majority of homes made in America today are cheaply made, lack aesthetic appeal, and there is no pride put into them.

One would have hopped that we would have learned our lesson with the market crashing and bad home loans, but in the past few years we have seen the emergence of the 40 year home mortgage.  Couple this with poorly made houses by the 10’s of thousands and I have spoken with several realtors saying people are taking 40 years out and the loan will outlast the house.

The other consideration to be made is are tiny houses that much more efficient to offset the impact you create by building one (however small) when compared to a larger house.  Heating and cooling are two things that I think you could make up the difference possibly.

What do you think, should we be build new houses?

Designing A Tiny House Community

Many of you have heard me talk about Google Sketchup, it is a pretty easy drawing utility that allows you to draw floor plans, models, tiny houses etc all for free.  I really like it and it can be downloaded here for free:

I thought I would share some models I have found for you all to use to design your own Tiny House community, to see what it might look like!  I want to see what your creativity can do!  I want to see how you envision a Tiny House Community.  Use the models I have here, add your own, add some landscape etc. When you are done tinkering send them to me and I will share them on the blog.  My email is ryan112ryan [at]


Hello To Our New Readers!

As of late I have seen many new faces on at The Tiny Life, particularly with our recent coverage in the New York Times, so I wanted to say Hello!  Over two years  ago I started this blog and could never could have imagined that there would be so many folks interested in Tiny Houses!  So today, I wanted to introduce myself to everyone and once you are done reading, please introduce yourself in the comments section.  I will try to say hello back to everyone that intros themselves in the comments!


Untitled-1 My name is Ryan Mitchell, I am 28 and run The Tiny Life. It has been an interesting journey to where we are today.

It all started by getting fired, yup, that’s right, fired. About 2 years ago I found myself facing layoffs at my job; I was a recruiter. That is when the economy took a turn for the worst.

I found myself with no job, no car, had to move home, newly single, was uninsured and didn’t qualify for unemployment. It happened so fast that I could barley believe it; That is when I found Tiny Houses.

After spending a few hours looking for jobs that day, I was surfing around the web and came upon a photo of a Tiny House. I thought they were kind of neat, I had always had this affinity for alternative housing, but there was something different about Tiny Houses. To be honest I didn’t think too much of it until later I found myself on Jay Schaffer’s site. That’s when I had my a-ha! moment.

Here I was realizing that the system I was taught to go by, had essentially failed me, I had done everything “right”. I went to High School, was awarded Boy Scout’s highest rank of Eagle, I had a impressive list of extracurricular activities, which got me into college. Four years later, I graduated with my bachelors. I was quickly accepted into a Masters program, which I did well in. I landed contract after contract, making way more than I should have right out the gate. But what did it really amount to?

I was looking at Tiny Houses not just as a downsized living space, but as a lifestyle which circumvented the pitfalls of the typical framework. I began to realize that it was not about material things. It was what mattered: Relationships, Time, Freedom, & Peace of mind. You must love the life you live. You must love those you live it with. You must have time to be in the moment. Finally, in the end, it’s the choices you make in life that allow you to realize all of this. I realized my initial approach was flawed, it did not support what truly mattered.

Canada Road Trip 09 082So that’s how it started.

I researched Tiny Houses, drew literally 100’s of floor plans, talked with builders, bloggers, dreamers and skeptics. I took a trip to Canada with a friend, timed it so I could meet Jay Schaffer and toured his Tiny House. While there I met Jay and many other Tiny House folks. We stood in this Tiny House for 3 hours talking about our passions and ideas. It was nothing short of inspiring. It was there that folks urged me to start a blog, a blog that talked not just about Tiny Houses, but Tiny Living.

Tiny Living Encompasses:

  • Tiny Houses
  • Life Simplification
  • Environmental Consciousness
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Sound Fiscal Plans
  • Social Consciousness

So today I speak to you, employed in a job I love, in a life I love, with a future that I love. I work for a local non-profit and follow my passions. I have come a long way, but have still have a bit to go, but now it is with purpose.   So I invite you to join me in this journey and share in it.

Do I Live In A Tiny House?

Not quite yet, I made two key decisions from the get go:  1) I wanted to be debt free before I got into a Tiny House 2) I wanted to save up for my house and land to pay for it with cash, in full.  This isn’t any small feat, but I have been able to make some huge steps.  To date I have reduced my student loans by 50%, I found a job that I love, but it also tripled my income, and I moved into a home where I house sit long term and pay no rent.  The money I would pay on rent goes to debt, then saving for the Tiny House.  I am so close I can taste it!

How This Blog Works

So typically I post a few days a week. I am open to anything that is related to Tiny Houses, Tiny Living, or environmental concerns.  If you ever come across an interesting article, video, house etc, email me at the below email address!  Have a knack for writing?  Passionate about Tiny Houses?  Have a great story to share?  What to talk about your Tiny House?  Email me, you can be a guest poster on the blog!  I have 100’s of thousands of people come to The Tiny Life, have your voice heard!

Help Me Out

I try my best to post a few times a week, what really helps me is if you all have interesting stories that you want to share. You might find a neat video or article, you might have a Tiny House of your own. I would love to hear from you. This along with comments make for a great blog. If you think of something that you would like to see on here, no matter how crazy, let me know.  I am happy to have guest posters share their story and their passion!  Regardless, I love hearing from my readers, because I want this to be a community.

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If you haven’t already, join in the conversation at these places:


Where We Have Been Featured

Well that’s about it. Enjoy the blog and I thank you for checking it out.

Introduce Yourself In the Comments!