As a teacher of tiny house living, designing, and building, I have had the opportunity to witness Tiny House People in their natural environment… While you may think that there is a single group of people called “The Tiny House People”, there are in fact sub-species of those who are drawn to tiny houses.
In the name of science, I have begun to give categorical names to these fascinating creatures. PREPARE THYSELF, for there are at least 13 different groups of specimen that call a tiny house their habitat:
1. The Minimalist: These people have learned that “stuff” doesn’t equate to happiness. They feel that consumerism is destroying our world, and prefer the beauty of simple, high quality, functional items. Well, it doesn’t get more minimal than a tiny house – and this house becomes a perfect expression of their values and needs.
2. The Snowbirds: Birds don’t migrate, they just follow the people who feed them. So many retirees are skipping the RV life and getting into an affordable (or luxury) tiny house that they leave it behind for half the year to enjoy the beach and feed the birds.
3. The Travel Lifers: There is a whole other category of people who live to travel. Backpackers, cruise-shippers, nomads, and restless rollers – a tiny house enables their life so they can either roll around with their tiny house or just save money so they can afford their trail mix, plane tickets, and expensive travel socks.
4. The Environmentalist: Houses can be atrocious for having huge environmental footprints. Harvest, production, transportation, construction, demolition… but the highest impact is heating and cooling a house for its life. Thank goodness we have some people who are trying to save the earth by building smaller conscientious homes. They also have much smaller bills!
5. The Family Podders: Some people have realized how weird and disjointed community is. And community starts with family. So instead of booting out the 18 year old or putting grandma in an old folks home, just throw them in the backyard instead! (Gently). Tiny Homes make for great nuclear family proximity so a kid or elder can have independence and yet support.
6. The Reality & Renter Savvy Investors: A whole group of Tiny Housers are using tiny homes to get rich. Either they are renting their backyard tiny house for Air BnB style or long term style, OR they are living in the tiny house and renting out the main house. ALOT of people are interested in renting one – to trial the lifestyle or for novelty.
7. The Off-Gridders: There is a growing number of people who are looking at the state of the world and are saying “NOOOOPE!” and they start looking for alternative living solutions and how to be self-sufficient. An efficient and portable tiny house has a lot of pros to someone who thinks the worlds going to fall apart… Plus its simple to fortify against zombies.
8. The No-Debtors: Who WANTS debt? To live in an urban center with a nice, modest house is no longer within most people’s means. Even for those with a decent income, it means getting a massive mortgage for 30-40+ years of their life. There is a growing group of people who aren’t buying in, and instead are realizing a tiny house will do just fine.
9. The Naturalists: If you knew 1/10 of the chemicals that are in your house, you would shudder. Some people DO know… A tiny house offers them an option to afford high quality, natural building materials and possessions, so they can ensure their health and the health of their family.
10. The Pinterest-ers: You know this person. They have planned out their whole tiny house (and the rest of their life) through Pinterest boards. This community of individuals love tiny homes for their ingenious design, space hacks, DIY projects, and orgasmic lighting and decor. A tiny house offers them a blank canvas so they can afford, and possibly even craft, their entire house.
11. The Tree-forters: Call it what you will: the man-cave, the she-shed, the bat cave, the cave of wonders – some people just want a cool house, something they would have drawn up with crayons as a kid. Someone should match make them up with liberal Pinterest partners so they can dream and build together.
12. The Jump Starters: Some are going tiny, not cause they want one, but because it’s a stepping stone to their forever house. Build tiny house, save money. Buy land and place tiny house, save money. Build forever house on bought property while living in tiny house, move into forever house, rent tiny house or give it to your gigantic dog.
13. The Community Lovers: I’ve mentioned a lot of different types of people already, and a sub genre of all of them is the people who just want to be with other people who share their passion. This could be their passion for alternative living or for being with others together and forming their own healthy community.
And there you have it! 13 different species. Might you be one yourself? Or are you some hybrid?
Share this very sciency article and post which of these species you are.
Think you got what it takes to go tiny? Join me for a workshop and ill teach you how to design and build the perfect tiny house for YOU, whatever you are.
Kenton is a passionate tiny house educator who runs workshops across the continent (hes also an avid scientist). He runs a wide array of workshops to help others create awesome & sustainable homes, edible landscapes, and healthy communities.