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Posts Tagged Tiny House

Hosting A Party In A Tiny House

IMG_2383Life has been very busy as of late with lots of new things coming down the pipeline for us here at The Tiny Life, but when I saw how nice it was going to be this past weekend I knew I had to close the laptop.

It takes work to break yourself away and make time for relaxation with friends. In a world as fast paced as ours, we need to keep sight of what’s important. The work will never be done, but time with friends and family is a precious commodity. This past weekend I decided to take advantage of the perfect weather by having a cookout and campfire.

They say the best way to clean your house is to throw a party…it’s so true! But in a tiny house, that takes me all of 15 minutes of work! It was going to be a small group, but still bigger than I could seat in my tiny house. So when the invite went out I said BYOB and BYOC (bring your own chair). We had a mix of meat eaters and vegetarians, so we had burgers and hotdogs for the meat eaters and veggie patties and veggie kabobs for my vegetarian friends.

Because of the number of folks, I decided to host it entirely outdoors. I had my grill all set up, plus I brought out a folding table that I’m able to keep tucked away most of the time and bring out when I need some more working room. With the table setup, I laid out everything we would need to keep folks outside the house. I left the door to the tiny house propped open, as people inevitably want to check it out.

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Amy and my friends Caroline, JR, Jared, and Lauren came over for food and to hang out. Amy brought the veggie kabobs and tried her hand at grilling for the first time; we all got together, chatted and grilled. Once we filled our plates we moved over to the fire.

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After eating and chatting, Lauren broke out supplies for s’mores, but instead of marshmallows, she brought Peeps. So we roasted the poor marshmallow chicks over the fire and ate s’mores. All in all it was a great time, grilling and sitting by the fire and enjoying the stars after dark.

Your Turn!

  • What type of tiny house party are you going to throw first?

 

Tour Tiny Houses in Person at the 2016 Tiny House Conference

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I remember the moment I knew tiny houses were right for me: when I first got to see a tiny house in person. You see these amazing photos and great video tours online, but nothing compares to walking into a tiny house in real life.

The best part of running the Tiny House Conference is seeing that look on hundreds of faces as our community comes together to tour a ton of tiny houses in person. The feeling of seeing so many houses is pretty magical.

Each year we have a lot of houses at the Conference. This year we’ve confirmed 8 houses with many more soon to be added. With each of these houses we have their builder/owners on hand to answer all your questions. Since each house is as unique as its owner, you get to see a huge variety to help you figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you as you design your own tiny house.

Want to tour these houses? Click here!

State of the Tiny House Union – 2015

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I thought it would be fun to put together a “State of the Tiny House Union” 2015 edition!  So looking back at 2015 here are some of the things I’ve noticed, lessons I’ve learned and trends I’ve seen.

Results From The 2015 Tiny House Survey

In early 2015 we started getting the word out about the Tiny House Survey, which is the single largest census for the tiny house movement.  We had last done a survey in 2013 and it was clear that a lot had changed with our tiny little movement, so we launched a new survey.  This time around we learned a lot from the first survey and improved it a ton, this time we were able to capture a lot more really meaningful data that was designed to answer some very important questions about the tiny house movement.  It is important to note that we of course couldn’t survey everyone in the movement and our survey wasn’t perfect, but we were able to get a large enough sample size (just shy of 2,000) to clearly understand trends.

More Female Tiny Housers

In 2013, the last time we conducted the Tiny House Survey, women lead the movement accounting for 52%, in the 2015 survey we saw a dramatic increase to 64.1% of the movement being made up of women.  This is particularly interesting because most tiny house folks want to build their own tiny house, meaning we have a lot of women builders, it is in stark contrast to the construction industry that is high nineties percentile for men.

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Age And Locations Stay About The Same

Overall we saw very little difference in change (+/- 1%) with the tiny house community when it came to the make up of our movement when it comes to age and location.

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Household Income

I wasn’t able to compare 2013’s survey data with 2015’s data because our scales were different, but as a whole, it seems that tiny houser’s income is normalizing more to US patterns.  In 2013 we saw that tiny housers were typically more affluent by a good margin, but in 2015’s data we are seeing income following standard patterns for the USA.

Household income for 2015 survey

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Data source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032015/hhinc/hinc01_1.xls

Education

As a whole, tiny house people are more likely to hold a college degree or a graduate (advanced) degree that the average person in the US.  College degree attainment for the US is 34% while 35.2% of tiny house people hold a degree.  For advanced degrees like a graduate degree, Master’s etc. 5% of US citizen have graduated from such a program, while tiny house people are more than three times more likely to have graduated at 19%.  Data source: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=27

 

The Rise Of The McMini Mansions

Over the past year we’ve begun to see tiny houses that are pushing the limits of what you can fit on a trailer.  Triple axles and 30+ foot tiny houses are becoming more the norm in the tiny house movement. A large tiny home used to be around 24 feet, but I’ve seen 32 footers with huge pop outs and even 34 foot tiny houses.

Part of me wonders why all of a sudden are we seeing these large homes being built.  Is it because more designs are coming out, is it people want more space, or is it something else?  I’ve noticed on TV show builds and custom ordered pro built homes seem to fall in the larger category, while I see more DIYers tend to stick with the smaller homes; this is, however, anecdotal at best.

What does this mean? What does this say?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Part of me wonders if your mentality, which you gain working for a year plus on a build like most DIYers, actually changes.  I know when I first started my build, I knew I wanted a tiny and I thought it was right, but during my lengthy build something shifted for me quite dramatically.  It simply took time to sink in, to reprogram old consumerist habits, and shift my thinking.  The verbiage of talking to some (not all) of the larger tiny homes seems to be how to jam a large house’s function into a small package, not examining what must be cut out to simplify.

When I talk about downsizing material possessions, I often say “it’s not about organizing what you have to fit a small space, but reducing the things which you must then organize to begin with.”  It gives me pause when I see these McMini Mansions because I’m not sure the tough internal mental work has been done; that said, I don’t know every facet of the dynamics for each person, so I do put a large asterisk here.

TV Shows Galore

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If I had a dollar every time that a studio emailed me begging me to promote their show, casting calls or the like, I’d be rich.  Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Builders, Tiny House, Big Living, and Tree-house Masters. The ironic thing is, I haven’t had cable TV for over a decade now!  I remember me and the other bloggers trying to find someone with cable so we could see the first show and we ended up giving up because none of us did.

All that said, the shows have brought a lot of awareness to tiny houses.  It is astounding how much general public awareness there is about tiny houses.

Tiny House Fight For Their Rights

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We are beginning to see a lot of tiny houses built and as a results, more legal battles where tiny housers work to secure a legal existence in their own community.  Sarah Hastings has been a recent tiny houser to take her house to the city and push for acceptance.   We’ve also seen some cities allow tiny houses to slide by, Portland has been allowing tiny houses to flourish while still not coming out and fully endorsing or legalizing them yet.

People REALLY Want Tiny House Communities

There are a ton of folks looking for places to park their future tiny houses, but more specifically people want to do so in communities.  Countless community layouts have been proposed and even some folks have tried to develop their own communities.  There are some folks that have found parking in trailer parks etc.  Legal barriers still exist, but some headway has been made.

There are two communities that exist that have actually moved from idea to reality an import note, I think all these communities are full and may not be open to public tours:  The community of the Tacks of Tiny Tack House, Sean of Unboxed and Baliey of Little House Big Adventures.  The second community is Lina Menard‘s tiny house community which I’ve had the good fortune to meet all of them and tour their community in Portland.

Finding A Place To Park & Building Codes/Zoning

Tiny Housers still face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding a place to park and making it legal.  There is a lot of misnomers around building codes and zoning.  There is a huge percentage (almost 34%) of people in the tiny house movement who report that the legal ambiguity of tiny houses hold them back from going tiny.

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I think it also goes to show that one of my most popular videos is this video about finding land and the most popular tiny house ebook on the entire internet is on building codes and zoning

 

Your Turn!

  • What other trends did you see in 2015?
  • What do you look forward to in 2016 for tiny houses?

Ethan Waldman – 2016 Tiny House Conference Speaker

Ethan Waldman is one of our new speakers for the 2016 Tiny House Conference. We’re excited to have him on board! Check out the videos below to hear more about his speaker sessions: Lifestyle Design and Tiny House Utilities. Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

 

The Tiny Life’s Goals – 2016

It’s officially 2016 and with that, many folks are looking forward to this new year and planning what they want to do. I’ve written a lot about this topic before. I’ve shared my goals in years past and even written how goals and New Year’s Resolutions aren’t effective. You can read some of the older posts here on goals. This year it isn’t just me here at The Tiny Life, so Amy and I each wrote a bit for this post and shared it below.

Ryan:

ryan1I have to be honest, this year I have been struggling a lot with what the future looks like for me. I have concrete things I want to do, but they don’t feel like lofty goals that I must strive for, but just something that I need to put in the work for; work that I find interesting, fun, and achievable, but nothing that is going to push me to my limits. I’m in a very good place with my tiny house, with my career, with the relationships that I have, and with other important parts of my life, but there is something I just can’t quite put my finger on.

Tiny houses force you to ask some tough questions and the answers are often complex, open-ended, or spur larger questions. Tiny living leads you down a road of introspection and spurs existential questions. When I think about two years from now or five years from now, I don’t really know what else I want to do and what I do now, I quite like.

Perhaps I’m circling the root problem with what many call “achievement culture,” which is the idea that we have to always be chasing the next shiny thing, to always do more, do better, and do bigger. Maybe what I need to consider is not what I want to do, but instead focus on how to be content with what is. Writing this makes me think of this story:

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The truth is, the happiest I’ve ever been in my life was during the times when I was most grateful. I also learned a valuable lesson: happiness is a hard won thing that comes from within when you’re willing to do the work. Barring having a home, food, and health, you can’t buy happiness.

So with that in mind I have come up with a few things I want to foster in my life for 2016. They’re a little vague at this point because I feel like I’m only touching the soft edges of what is a deeper truth, one that is within me, but I haven’t fully brought to light.

My Goals for 2016:

  1. Learn something totally new, try a new hobby or dig into something complex
  2. Take a class, go to a conference, workshop or other learning event
  3. Seek out situations outside my comfort zone
  4. Talk more to you, my readers
  5. Teach/mentor/coach
  6. Test things to foster gratitude
  7. Do more trips with friends and family
  8. Read a book on stoicism
  9. Book time with no phone or internet, preferably in the woods

My Long-Term Goals:

  1. Sail from Florida to Mexico, arriving to see the Giant Sea Ray migration
  2. Do a river boat tour down the Danube or Rhine
  3. Go see the fall colors in New England
  4. Go on the Trans Siberian Railroad in luxury class
  5. Learn to play the harmonica
  6. Continue being self-employed
  7. Pay for my next car with cash

Amy:

amy1I love this time of year, because I get to do two of my favorite things at once: set goals and make lists. My friends can attest to how much I love New Year’s resolutions – last January 1st, I holed up in my apartment and set goals the entire day, and no one saw me leave my room until dinner time.

Last year was also my first time taking a new approach to goal-setting. I followed Chris Guillebeau’s method of conducting your own annual review, which you can learn more about here. It helped me analyze what went well and what didn’t in 2014, and helped me chart the course toward a more productive 2015.

I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, but in my defense, I had one heck of a whirlwind year. From an insane winter in Boston, to the Tiny House Conference in Portland, to moving down to Charlotte and starting a new life, I’ve learned how to recognize opportunities when they arise – and more importantly, how to grab onto them when they do!

This year had a lot of ups and downs, and I had to grow and adapt very quickly. I like to tell people that it’s been a crash course in “adulting,” but it has certainly changed me for the better. After a year and a half of living in transition after graduating college, I feel lucky that I have a new city to call home and put down some roots. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

Here are some of my resolutions for 2016.

My Goals for 2016:

  1. Quit eating sugar for one month
  2. Read twelve books
  3. Purchase my tiny house trailer
  4. Bench press my own body weight
  5. Create five finished art pieces
  6. Do one input deprivation day per month
  7. Write five handwritten letters

My Long-Term Goals:

  1. Build a tiny house (but you guys already knew that)
  2. Live in Japan for at least 3 months
  3. Learn to play the violin
  4. Road trip across the US in a hand-built camper
  5. Play Hamlet
  6. Deadlift 400 pounds
  7. Write, illustrate, and publish a graphic novel

Your Turn!

  • Did you accomplish your goals for 2015?
  • How do you like to set (and keep!) your New Year’s Resolutions?
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