As I transition further into the minimalist lifestyle, I'm finding that my big house is just too much for me. I don't need all this space as I pare down and revamp my life, so I started researching tiny houses and even Skoolies. I wanted to share some of the pros and cons of this type of living with you.
Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what exactly is a tiny house?
A tiny house is any dwelling under 500 square feet. They're also referred to as micro homes or small houses. They can be fixed (unmovable) or mobile (on wheels). Tiny houses may be tiny in size, but they're big on features and benefits. Tiny house living has a lot to offer, including affordability, mobility and eco-friendliness.
Let's dive into what I see as the biggest pros and cons of tiny living. I'm currently comparing these houses to Skoolies to decide which choice is best for me. I'm sharing this information with you to help with choosing whether this style of living is for you or not.
First thing's first
The first thing you need to do is decide whether this type of home is right for you. Here are some things to consider when thinking about tiny house living:
1. You will have to give up a lot of space.
2. You will have to make compromises in the way you live, such as giving up your washer and dryer or not having a dishwasher.
3. You will need to be able to do some of the work yourself. Owning a tiny house is a great way to learn skills around the house.
4. If you are living with a partner, you will need to decide how to split up the work.
5. You will need to be open-minded about your living situation, as there are some people who might not understand your decision.
6. You will have to think about the long-term cost of your house, as it is not likely that you will be able to sell or rent it out easily.
7. You will need to be comfortable with having a very small space, as you won't have extra storage space or large rooms. Though there are some great, creative ways to make storage in the fixtures of a tiny house.
8. You will also need to be comfortable with the idea of living in a house that is not permanently attached to electricity, running water or sewer.
9. You will need to be comfortable with the idea of not having a large yard or a garage, if you want to live in a tiny house. Unless you choose to have a fixed tiny house or choose to place it on property you own.
10. You will need to be comfortable with the idea of living in a house that is less than 500 square feet. There are options around the country to stay in a tiny house for a weekend or longer. These options will give you the idea of what it would be like, though your tiny house will ultimately be customized for your needs and these will be set up the way the owners choose.
Pros of Tiny House Living:
The biggest pro is the freedom it affords the owner. Whether it is a fixed tiny home or mobile, the amount of time and finances owning one of these offers you is the biggest payoff.
One of the biggest benefits to living in a tiny house is that it's affordable. You can build your own tiny home for a fraction of the cost of a regular-sized home. The average price for materials to build a tiny house is $23,000. Even if the work is done by professional builders, the cost to build a tiny house is still 80% lower than the cost for a regular-size home. That makes it easier for people to save money, because maintenance costs are lower as well.
Smaller living spaces typically mean lower utility bills and less time spent cleaning. You can also save money on decorating costs, as tiny homes can often furnished with secondhand furniture and other inexpensive items.
Tiny House living may be a great choice for someone who enjoys traveling. A mobile tiny home is a great option when wanting to see the country and not be tied down to a specific place.
As noted by tinyhouseexpedition.com, “travelling in your own home can make the experience even more special, as you can stop and see the sights whenever the mood strikes.”
This will also allow a person to live in places where they could never otherwise afford to purchase property.
People who live in tiny houses have a chance to save up money. A person may not be able to afford the mortgage or rent on an apartment, but they can get started with a small house that is only a few thousand dollars.
Reduced consumption is another benefit of tiny house living. People who live in small houses have to be more selective about what they buy and use less energy as a result.
Many Tiny House dwellers cite energy efficiency as one of the biggest pro’s to living small.
When you have a smaller space to heat or cool, then you spend less on the energy bill. The process of heating or even cooling a tiny home is so low-energy use it might be possible for a mobile solar panel and good solar battery storage to take care of all your needs.
Tiny homes built in the city can be connected to a sewer system for modern plumbing needs . If you integrate advance toilet systems and sanitation by using composting toilets full-time, you will be able to stay comfortable without ever having to worry about your connections again because many of these homes are designed for mobility and convenience. You can also equip a black water tank and plumbing capabilities for a traditional system even on a fully portable tiny home.
Cons of Tiny House Living
However, the tiny house movement is still in its infancy and there are a few drawbacks to living in a tiny home.
Legality and Location
One of the biggest issues with this lifestyle choice is that it can be difficult to find a permanent place to park your tiny house. If you are not near a city, it could be hard to find an area that allows people to park their homes on the land.
Additionally, if you are living in a tiny home on wheels, it can be hard to find a place that allows people to park them legally. Many areas require homes of this type to be hooked up to the local utilities, which can be expensive.
Some communities have building codes that dictate the minimum size a home. These codes will work with pre-fab houses, but make sure that you comply with them also. It may be necessary to contact local authorities to ensure your tiny house conforms to the code before construction can even happen!
For instance, my county in Iowa requires homes to be at least 660 sq ft. So, to stay in my locality, I would need to buy property outside of my county or find a campground that would allow a tiny home to be there.
Privacy is one of the biggest cons to tiny house living. In many cases, a tiny house consists of an open floor plan living area and lofts for bedrooms. The lofts are typically more open so it's hard to get privacy when living in a tiny house. However, there are some unique ways to close off areas in your home to gain privacy, so don't let this part discourage you.
One of the major disadvantages to living in a tiny house is the lack of space. Tiny houses are typically only between 100-400 square feet, which means that there's not much room for entertaining guests or even hosting a family dinner.
The lack of space has a tendency to bring families closer together and teach everyone to work as a team.
Storage space could be a challenge as there will not be much room to store items. Storage is typically in the form of a loft or under-the-stairs space, but this may not offer enough space to store all of your belongings. You may need to limit what you bring into the house and find other storage elsewhere, or just accept that not everything will fit in your tiny home.
If you've transitioned to a minimalist lifestyle, the lack of storage won't be as hard to manage because you're already accustomed to only belongings that bring value to your life. You'll find tiny house living helps you keep your priorities in order, as well.
Unique Rules – Pets
When living in a tiny home travelling with your pet, you might find yourself having to schedule extra shots or going through the hassle of checking each and every location and state's policies that can ban specific breeds of pets. Unfortunately, many places have BSL (breed specific legislation) so always make sure to check the areas you plan to travel.
The Pros outweigh the Cons
If you are a person who is excited about living in a tiny house and want to learn more, you can find plenty of information online and in books. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons.
For me, the idea of being able to travel and be in warmer climates in the winter months (Iowa is cold), but be back in my home area in the summer months is enticing. I love the idea of having my own space and not being a burden on others.
It's also very appealing to me that I can save money by living in a tiny house. I'm not sure how much money it will save me since I haven't lived in one yet, but the idea of saving enough to travel and have a nest egg for emergencies is very appealing.
I'm also very interested in the idea of being off the grid. I like that when I'm living in my tiny house, it will be completely self-sufficient and will not require me to rely on utilities from the outside.
What kind of experiences have you had with tiny homes? If you have the time, tell your story.