Around the House | February 19, 2016
There is a steadily growing movement to downsize from larger spaces to smaller micro-apartments and small or tiny homes in the United States. Television shows such as Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters follow homeowners who want to change their lifestyles by purchasing or building tiny homes. The movement has been around for decades, but has had a resurgence due to author Sarah Susanka’s 1997 book, The Not So Big House. The return to a simpler way of living, via small house living has become increasingly popular ever since.
The tiny house craze is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. Tiny houses come in all shapes and sizes and they enable a simpler living experience in a smaller more efficient space. The typical American home is 2,600 square feet. The typical small or tiny house is 100 to 400 square feet, with the average being 186 feet. Living in a tiny house can lead to a simpler yet fuller life, freeing owners from mortgages, wastefulness and an urge to keep up with everything your neighbor is doing. It is minimalist at is best. Currently, two out of five homeowners are over the age of 50, with baby boomers making up a large portion of the tiny house movement. However, millennials are also fueling the tiny home trend.
There are many reasons that people are choosing to downsize to small home living. The biggest reasons are environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom. Living in a tiny house cuts the costs of mortgage debt dramatically. Typical costs of a tiny house range from $20,000 to $50,000 compared to over $250,000 for a regular-sized home. These numbers are even higher if you include mortgage interest over 30 years. According to The Tiny Life, 68 percent of tiny homeowners do not have a mortgage compared to 29.3% of U.S. homeowners. Also, 78% of tiny homeowners own their homes outright compared to 65% of homeowners with traditional houses. The movement has grown so much that there is an organization of tiny home owners and builders called the American Tiny House Association, whose mission is to promote the tiny house as a viable, acceptable dwelling option.
One of the advantages to tiny house living is that homeowners can customize and build their living space. They can be built on a tract of land or on wheels. Tiny houses on wheels are built to last as long as traditional homes; they use traditional building techniques and materials that are aesthetically similar to larger homes. Traditional homeowners are building tiny homes on vacation lots or to create additional living spaces on their property for guests, family members or caregivers. The one caveat about tiny house design is the need to have lots of hidden and usable storage spaces under the bed, on the walls, and above any appliances.
Each piece of furniture or storage cupboard in the tiny house space will have to be functional as well as decorative. Zones will need to be created in the space for sleeping, eating and entertaining. Vertical storage solutions should be utilized as much as possible. In the closet, use ultra-thin hangers to hang clothing as they take up less space, and add shelves in the top of the closet. Since the kitchen space will be extremely small, only essential utensils and accessories are required and there is minimal room fro food storage. Organization and tidiness will go a long way to making your micro-living space appear much bigger than it actually is!
Downsizing to a tiny home will require quite a bit of organization and de-cluttering skills. There will always be items that you will need to keep, but will not have room for in the tiny home. So, what do you do with the belongings that won’t fit into a tiny house? Renting a storage unit is a great option for the small to tiny homeowner’s household storage needs. It is important to find a storage facility that is near your tiny house so you can easily access your items. Storage units are perfect for storing clothes, suitcases, and larger kitchen accessories that you don’t have room for, along with boxes holding those personal belongings that you cannot throw away. ezStorage has 45 self storage locations in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas that are great storage options for those entering the new frontier of living in a tiny home.