4 Simple Living Lessons From Tiny House People

Hello Lovelies!

I have a feeling that most of you have heard about tiny houses. Once a small, fringe community, the tiny house movement has gained a huge amount of interest in the social media and blogging worlds, and has even spawned TV shows and documentaries.

I’ve been a fan of the tiny house movement for years, and I’m not surprised to see how much interest has been generated over the ultra minimalist community. Actually living in a tiny house may be too extreme a version of simple living for most, but the movement has managed to strike a chord with people from all kinds of backgrounds and current housing situations.

Don’t think that the tiny house movement is simply about a race to the bottom in square footage. At its heart, it’s about people wholeheartedly embracing simple living and minimalism and freeing themselves from mortgages, debt, and the physical trappings of day to day life.

Four Simple Living Lessons From Tiny House People

Just in case you’ve missed out until now… what exactly is “the tiny house movement?”

Simply put, it is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.

– TheTinyLife.com

What lessons on simple living should non-tiny housers take away from the tiny house movement? Let’s take a peek!

We Need Way Less Space Than We Think We Do

The most obvious takeaway from the community of people happily living tiny… even average and modest sized houses have way more space than we need.

House sizes have ballooned over the last few decades. The average new house in America is a full ONE THOUSAND square feet larger than in 1973 (source). I couldn’t find a comparable figure for Canada but I can’t imagine my homeland is much different.

Do we really need that much more room than the average family did 40 years ago? Do we just have that much more stuff now? Or have we fallen into the trap of believing we should own the largest, best house we can afford? While you may not be interested in living in less than 400 square feet, most people could easily meet their needs in a much smaller home than the current average.

Society may tell us that bigger is better, but the multitudes of happy tiny housers prove fulfillment can be found in small and cozy places.

We Can be Happy With Less Stuff

If you want a picture of how little you truly need to run a household look no further than your nearest tiny house dweller. Tiny house people are masters of minimalism!

They show us just how far we can go when it comes to purging our own closets, kitchen drawers and other hidden junk collecting spots. In a larger house we can fudge it a little, there’s more room for the “save for now” and “sort through it later’s”, but there’s no such luxury in a tiny house!

Tiny house people aren’t some strange breed of human that requires less than everyone else. They’ve just figured out and taken to heart a simple fact… it’s never our stuff that makes us happy.

Simple Living Lessons from Tiny House People

Experiences are More Important Than Things

Tiny house people often cite their belief in prioritizing experiences over material possessions. That set of priorities is often the driving force behind their decision to live tiny.

By sloughing off the material possessions and financial responsibility that go with a larger home they’re able to create room in their lives for travel, adventure, and whatever else is near and dear to their hearts.

For me, this is the most powerful message from minimalism and simple living in general. Experiences like travel and adventure help us grow and develop. They help us learn how to venture out of our comfort zones and refine our understanding of the world and our place within it.

Material possessions, the stuff we accumulate – just doesn’t satisfy the soul. When your life is simpler, when you’re not directing your finances at keeping up with the Jones’s, you create space in your life to pursue what matters.

There is no material item you can buy that will provide the same enduring, perspective shifting value as seeking out travel and experiences.

Related Post: Prioritize Experiences Over Things

It’s OK to Live Unconventionally

I love the counter-cultural. I always get fired up by stories of people who do life differently. People who look at what society expects and say “That’s not quite for me.”

That’s exactly what tiny housers do when they pare down their possessions to the bare minimum and move their entire lives into a space the size of many people’s bedrooms.

They don’t plan their lives around what people consider a normal or traditional path. They don’t care if people judge them based on a material valuation of success. They’ve decided what’s important to them and built their lives around that.

If your personal priorities don’t jive with the mainstream – who cares?

Whether it’s building a tiny house, pursuing an unconventional career path or packing up your life to travel the world – Build the life you want and don’t worry if other people don’t “get it”. It’s a gift to have the courage to go against the norm and pursue the lifestyle that makes you happy.  

If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it

– John Irving

The tiny house movement is here to stay and is not to be dismissed as a fad or a novelty. It’s become a movement that inspires us all to keep pursuing simple. They may be doing the minimalism thing at the extreme end of the spectrum, but the core values have something to teach all of us.

Simple Living Lessons From Tiny House People 2

So dear readers, are any of you fans of the tiny house movement?  My Mr. and I are planning to start our own build in a few years. Are any of you lovelies living in or planning a tiny house? We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a comment below 🙂

Much Love,

Alyssa

** Special thanks to Alek Lisefski for graciously allowing us to use some photo’s of his tiny home. Alek’s build is one of my absolute favorites! I love how brightand fresh it is 🙂 Many more photo’s and his blog on the the tiny house lifestyle at http://tiny-project.com **

10 thoughts on “4 Simple Living Lessons From Tiny House People

  1. Laura

    I think this is quite posh and elitist (or maybe is an USA/Canada perspective). Many europeans we live in tiny tiny places, or rat holes, wich besides that they are extremely expensive. We live there just because we canot afford anything else. I do not want to live in a huge house, I could not care less, but it would be nicer (for me, my,partner and my cat, and the quality of our relationship) to have a bit more of space and privacy. This movement it is quite cute and “hippster”, but it is really frustrating when you live in a rat hole and all your salary goes to that and, fortunately, a bit of food. I would like to be able to embrace the minimalist tiny houses mouvement because it is my choice. Saddly,I am busy working full time to pay my tiny crappy studio. That’s what Europe is for many of us.

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    1. Hi Laura!

      Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. It really made me think hard today about whether the minimalism movement as a whole has an element of elitism to it. I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon writing a post to try to answer that question your comment sparked. I think you’re right about there being a North American perspective that looks at larger homes and useless clutter as somewhat normal. So yes, there’s probably an element of elitism in advocating for smaller living without addressing the fact that it’s only a choice for some. Thank you for giving me some food for thought today, hope you’re doing well.

      Cheers – Alyssa

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your response really made me think as well.

        I think minimalism can’t really help but be a bit elitist. After all, you’ve got to have too much before you even WANT to have less! It’s really only been this last most recent generation that has embraced minimalism, because we’ve become so affluent that we’re swamped by all the stuff we own.

        That said, I’m finding here in New Zealand, that minimalism works better for people with less money than for the very wealthy, because poorer people can’t afford the initial outlay to buy great quality items, so they buy cheap stuff that is poorly made, end up having to replace it over and over, and never throw the older version out, because they’ve been taught to scrimp and save because money has always been tight.

        By comparison, wealthy people can afford to buy a $200-300 pair of shoes, a $200 dress or whatever, which lasts longer and looks better to start with, so they don’t end up with as much clutter to start with as a rule. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but I’ve seen plenty of people on benefits here with very cluttered homes and it’s precisely because they don’t feel they can afford to let things go that the problem is worse for them, although the space issue isn’t as severe here as it is in Europe.

        I think the one thing that IS true, no matter where in the world we live, is that we’re all struggling with the pressures of consumerism and elitism, and we all of us (or almost all of us) feel pressure to buy things we don’t truly need. So minimalism, even when it does come across as a bit elitist, has some value for a lot of us, because we can learn to work out what is truly important, and what isn’t.

        Thanks for some thoughtful and insightful comments. I’ve really appreciated reading them and learning from other people’s viewpoints.

        Lee in New Zealand
        http://simplelivingwithkids.com

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  2. Rebecca

    Thank you for this article. It is inspiring me to keep pushing ahead with my dream of having a smaller home. We “upgraded” to a bigger house 3 years ago. I never have gotten used to my bigger house. I feel like my kids are lost somewhere in this house and I am exhausted from trying to keep it clean. I started minimizing our stuff a few years ago and embracing a more minimalist lifestyle. We have been looking for a smaller home to buy and it has been impossible to find what we need in our area, so we are looking at building. We have been met with such negativity about it (building sq. ft. minimums on land, builders comments that kids won’t be happy in small rooms, etc.). It is also going to cost us just as much to build our smaller house as it would be to buy a prebuilt big house. I am getting frustrated, but reading your article reminds me why we made this decision in the first place.

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    1. Hi Rebecca!

      Thanks so much for your kind words, it always makes my day to hear a post has resonated with a reader 🙂

      I agree, the minimum square footage requirements are SO frustrating! And I’ve definitely seen a lot of negativity flung at people who live small with kids and pets which is ridiculous. There are lot’s of people out there living small successfully and happily with spouses, pets and kids in tow.

      And yes – the best way to spend less time cleaning is to live smaller with fewer possessions 🙂

      Cheers – Alyssa

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