Tiny House Nation. Tiny House Builders. Tiny House Hunters. Those are just a few of the shows depicting the recent trend of tiny homebuilding. There is a lot of wisdom behind the idea of simplifying you're life and purging of the extra 'needs'. As I mentioned in a past post (Yes, Your House is Too Big), we, as a culture, have become accustomed to extravagance and excess. Economic and social hardships have led many people to reconsider the 'American Dream' and explore an alternative lifestyle. For some, that alternative lifestyle is minimalism. The Tiny house movement and minimalism go hand in hand, as at the center of both is the desire to eliminate excess and unnecessary items and space, clearing up their life to be able to live a more fulfilling, meaningful, and less distraction filled life. Those are aspirations that we should all have. Which is why I admire those going that direction.
My mother is a dietician and has often said the phrase, "anything, in moderation." She has generally been referring to food, but there is a lot of wisdom in those three words that could well be applied to the rest of our lives as well. People seem to enjoy extremes (and I, as a general rule, cannot say that I am exempt from that), so it is not all that surprising that Tiny Houses have gotten a lot of coverage on TV shows, magazines, and blogs. But are Tiny houses the answer to our problems? What if you are a family of six (my wife and I have four kiddos)? We could all fit in a 170 square foot house on wheels, but have you ever spent a 3 degree day in the Midwest with a 6 month old, a 1 year old, a 3 year old, and a 6 year old inside? It would be difficult to build a trailer that could contain the energy! What about 300 SF? Technically, yes, you could survive in a home that small with a family of 4 kids, but I'm not talking about survival only. We could survive in tents. If you really want to get to the bare minimum then you live in a tent and forego a permanent structure all together (illegally, of course). The extremes are where we get ourselves in trouble. We could all stand to do some purging, but when we latch on to the extremes we separate the camps too significantly. What about going down to 1,500 square feet instead of the 3,000 square foot house? That's a significant change and it's likely to be appealing for more people than moving into a 180 square foot trailer. Big change is good (and necessary), but we may be missing an opportunity to provide an even greater impact by providing a middle ground and reaching more of the masses with the wisdom behind the mantra of moderation.
Have thoughts on living with less? I'd love to hear from you! Comment below or shoot me an email.