So I really like the idea of a tiny house. Long and short, and to be fair, is the idea is that you should be able to live in a higher-end trailer. It’s easy to deck out a tiny house with features that will total up to almost $100,000, which even for a 500 sq ft tiny home is about $200/sq ft. Of course what drives the costs up are your own heating, electricity, water, and waste systems. You’re not paying for water anymore if you can collect it from the rain on your roof! Beyond that there’s also the life-style benefits which mainly amount to moving very far away from materialism. You have to get rid of a lot of your stuff at the outset and from then on you really have to ask yourself if you really need every next thing you think about buying/keeping.
It’s a great idea. I was going to share a blog post about tiny houses that I found funny because it pointed out a lot of things that you don’t see so much of on reality TV shows. You’re going to be sleeping in what amounts to a glorified coffin. You’re going to be keeping your poop in your home for longer than a few minutes. And you’re not exactly able to go to another room, either. There’s quite a bit of good criticism of the tiny house ideas online, a lot of it pretty funny. All of it amounts to: you’re pooping where you’re eating.
Even so I still love the idea. Thing is I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a tiny house. They’re probably great for vacation homes, or other situations where you need a place to stay briefly. Many of them are probably perfect as listings on AirBnB. I’ve gone on short trips with little more than a mp3 player, a book, and my laptop. I wanted for nothing knowing I’d have all my stuff at home again.
If I had a tiny house it’d definitely be for the times I want to get away. They’re also very efficient and self-sustaining, and as such perfect for remote or hard-to-reach locations. If I had a tiny house on several acres of land on Kauai or the Caribbean I’d likely spend the vast majority of my vacation time there. (Maybe there’s a way to time-share?)
But in the end tiny houses are a collection of good ideas that haven’t quite matured yet together. In contrast, look at the following video.
There’s a lot of space and energy saving options available today and they’d make a lot of sense for urban areas. Even 12V systems may actually be better for a lot of home applications depending on what you’re running off of them. AC/DC conversion isn’t cheap and most of your appliances do it. Avoiding excess materialism is also a great idea for anybody with limited living space. I know a few people who manage to keep only about as much as can fit in two large suitcases. They focus on what matters most in life to them.
On the balance I’m glad to see people move away from McMansions and towards more efficient and sustainable living. We’re not quite there yet. Tiny homes (be they trailers or micro-sized apartments) just don’t work for many people to become a long-term solution. Instead, I think a hybrid approach may be best. I lived in a 110 sq foot room for 6 years. It wasn’t fun but it was enough since kitchen and bathroom were elsewhere. Instead of trying to shrink everything down it’ll probably work better to have some kind of modularized living arrangements. If I were living in a big city I’d prefer to time-share a kitchen and bathroom, pay my share for upkeep, and pay rent only for a private room or two.