When I tell people that I designed, built, and live in a tiny house I get one of two responses…. “AWESOME!!” or “…why?”
There are many exciting reasons to go tiny, but here are mine:
1. I wanted to live in a house I could actually afford right now.
When I started my project, I had been working for a few years and had saved up a little bit of money, but I had nowhere near the bank you’d need to buy a typical house out of pocket. I mean, building the tiny house hasn’t exactly given me a Scrooge McDuck pool of golden coins to swim around in, but I was able to build my own house and be debt a year later.
2. I wanted freedom from property.
This one sounds funny, because I do eventually want a piece of land to stick my house on permanently, but there is something cool about my house being on wheels is that I can roll with whatever comes my way. Get it?! ROLL WITH IT. The house’s wheels roll… I’ll see myself out.
Basically, if I ever want to move to another place, I can still keep the house I love and not have to part with it or pay for it again.
3. I wanted to live with less stuff.
Coming from the generation I do, I think I’m a millennial?! Yikes, are all those articles about us?! Anyway, existential panic aside… I was raised with the environmental push of the 90s here in Canada. I mean, I can remember being in an elementary school musical singing songs about the effects of polystyrene on the ocean. Box office was sold out, I’m sure. So anyway, I wanted to walk that singing… err… talk. By moving into a tiny house, I reduced my need for “things”. I don’t even have space for things. And do you want to know a secret? I kept what I really needed and I don’t miss any of the things I got rid of.
4. I wanted lower bills.
Living tiny comes with tiny little house bills. Like what are these, bills for ants?! Is that reference too old now? Can you hear me, kids? Um, so my house costs me very little to run year round. The only resource I chose to use that isn’t renewable is propane, and I tried to build in systems that would reduce even that. So I pay internet, phone, propane and truck in water. That’s it. And that leads to my next point…
5. I wanted freedom from money.
The best way to make money is to save money, so they say. I think it’s true, though. If you spend less on mortgage and bills, what does that leave you with? Money in that bank! And with mo’ money, mo’ chances to do other stuff with your money! You can invest, you can travel, you can drive a big dumb fancy truck, or you could just… Earn less money. Honestly, that was one of my top reasons for wanting a lower cost of living. I could work less and enjoy my life more.
6. I wanted to have a cool house that reflected who I was as a person.
OK, this one isn’t the most philanthropic goal but it’s still true! I think I’m cool. I have people to vouch for my coolness. My mom might even comment on this post. The truth is, I never wanted an ordinary life with an ordinary house. And boy, I did not get those things. Awesome. I got built this thing with an amazing community of also cool people and make it exactly what I wanted. I got to choose all the colours, all the whacky transforming furniture, all the sustainable utilities, all the spaces to sleep and play and cook and clean. This house has ended up being an extension of myself and im dang proud of it.
7. I wanted community.
In building this house I ended up gathering around me a bunch of skilled, cool people who were excited to be working on the project. Many of these people I had never met before, but in the process of building this weird house, they became friends and family. I would never have as cool or sleek a place as I do without their countless hours, expertise and lots and lots of beer and pizza.
Now there are lots of other reasons people build tiny houses. Some people build really mobile ones to take on the road when they travel for work. Others want them as a supplementary house to the one they already have so they can cram their mother in law back there or rent it out as a cool novelty bed and breakfast and earn some extra cash. I’ve heard of people building them as vacation homes on the lake, or as a home base to come back to when they spend most of their year travelling abroad.
The thing is, there are as many reasons to build a tiny house as there are tiny houses. Every weirdo who has no idea what they’re getting into picks up a hammer and says, “Yeah, I think I can do this” has a different life, different goals and a different personality and will end up with a different tiny house. That’s the beauty of it. Every person can have a beautiful, functional, financially feasible house that really does check all those individualized boxes.
If you’re wondering if you’re one of us weirdos, you should really come and find out for real. I run tiny house workshops both online and in person on the weekends all over the country, and if you don’t see one close to you, email me and lets see if we can set one up!
Kenton is a passionate tiny house educator who runs workshops across the continent. He runs a wide array of workshops to help others create awesome & sustainable homes, edible landscapes, and healthy communities.