Monday, June 6, 2016

Tiny Houses: A trending faze or powerful movement?

Found HERE
If you haven't watched the Netflix movie "Tiny", seen HGTV's newest shows "Tiny House, Big Living" or "Tiny House Hunters", or been aware of the on-going movement sweeping the nation by storm, then maybe you won't have any clue what I'm talking about. If you have, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Many people who are just learning about the "Tiny House Movement" may immediately think of "rednecks, traveling hippies, gypsies, and freeloaders". Yes, I've actually been told - and called - that. What many don't know is that tiny house living is much more than that. It's about finding financial freedom, traveling, exiting from the "rat race" all together, retiring with a peace of mind without government assistance, minimizing the tiny house owner's carbon footprint, and living off the land with a simple life. Regardless of the personal choice, it's a huge "fad" seen all over social media and TV. 

Found HERE
Let's take a second to talk about this. You may think, "yeah well what happens when this isn't 'in style' anymore?" Trust me, this is a life choice about long term free living. At least for many that I've met and witnessed. Of course there could be people who are doing this just to fit in, but I don't find that to be big "thing". These houses can be a costly ($500 to $60,000 depending on MANY factors), so thinking that someone would spend that type of money without a long term plan, seems a bit....wasteful. Buuut that's just my thought process. Think what you will. 

Even if someone decided to do this for a few months, the amount of savings would be rather big compared to living in an apartment. An example would be this. Let's say you live in San Diego, CA where a 1 bedroom apartment, outside of the city center, on average is around $1300. That's JUST rent. Now include maybe $160 for TV, phone, and Internet, $50 for SDGE during winter time (our's is $25 during the summer, but were lucky because we have loads of windows), and maybe $400 a month for food between 2 people. Add an additional of $350 for living expenses (household needs, gas, phone, etc). That's a grand total of $2260 monthly and we haven't even included car payments, car insurance, paying for water (yes some apartments pay for water, but not all), health insurance, loans, and emergency funds. Can you say "crap"? Now want to know what the average monthly expense is for a tiny house owner? $120 for all their utilities (water, gas, electricity, etc.). Do you realize that is a potential savings of up to $2140 a month or more shockingly, $25,680 a YEAR! Intrigued yet? 

A ton of tiny house owners grow their own foods to take care of fruits and veggies, only having to buy meats and specialty items. Composting toilets are also huge in the movement, with a wide variety of them. Some using electricity (incinerators or fan's) but some are extremely portable, using nothing but sawdust. Yes, actual sawdust. Pertaining to electricity, solar is everyone's favorite. Not all are off grid though, there are some that prefer to be hooked up to the city, which is very obtainable. What I'm getting at here is that a tiny house is a house made for your needs, wants, and dreams. 

I have been a tiny house enthusiast for a while now, with the possible anticipation of owning our own tiny house and land. Throughout the years I've done a multitude of research and after much anticipation, I was able to set foot in an actual tiny house to gain an even better understanding. 

During San Diego's infamous "Earth Day Festival" at Balboa Park, one of the amazing "exhibits" was a tiny house built by a very kind man. I won't include his name here, as I don't have permission, so his information won't be provided, but the Tiny House Enthusiasts group that helped make this "exhibit" possible, is a public group. Therefore I thought I'd include them and their meet up link (HERE) for anyone to gain knowledge. 

When touring his beautiful home, I will admit I was very nervous upon entering as I knew it could be the "make it or break it" moment for me. Either I could see this as the final nail in the coffin, inspiring me to venture forward in my son and I's tiny house future or it could mean that I was utterly insane to even think about living that small. So what happened? 

7 people were in that house, including the owner, my son and I. 7 people were walking around, checking out the loft, moving through the entire layout, and 7 people had space. No one was elbowing each other, no one was in the way, and no one got hurt. Of course there wasn't furniture and we all took our turns seeing all the nooks and crannies, but I don't even have 7 people I'd want there at one time. Even with this in mind, the space is amazing. I absolutely was astounded by the decadent detail placed all around the house. The bareness of no furniture only brought forth the wonderful possibilities of what's to come. After seeing the gorgeous beauty, my son and I plan on visiting a few more (rumor has it that the Del Mar Fair has tiny houses on display, in which case, I can't wait!), along with taking a nice trip along the coast while vacationing in tiny house hotels. That's right, they have tiny house hotels! We're aiming for the one in Oregon this fall! We've officially fallen in love and we can't wait for the moment we have our own home. 

Found HERE
Still think we're crazy and this is just some "weird trend that will fade soon"? If you are interested in learning more about tiny houses, there are LOADS websites just for tiny houses! A quick search on Google, Pinterest, or even Instagram, will provide you with stories, information, and pictures. 

My personal favorite tiny house person is Deek Diedrieksen, who has a blog - found HERE - and an awesome YouTube channel where he visits and films tiny houses, along with providing amazing tips for your own personal builds - found HERE. Two more YouTube channels I also enjoy are:

Living Big In A Tiny House : click HERE
Tiny House Giant Journey : click HERE

Overall you can watch thousands of tiny house videos on YouTube, some simply tours for inspiration and others actual step by step instructions on how to construct your own! You can also search quite a few tiny house builders around the nation (probably world), who would be happy to assist you in your designs. Of course you can just dive in and build it yourself, as - like I mentioned - there are tons of videos online, with websites offering actual builder plans. 

To answer the age old question, is it just a fad or is it an actual movement that is worth pursuing? I can't answer that, only you can. 

Found HERE
Every single person is different and every person has different realities. It doesn't matter what someone else decides or if this movement trickles into a non-existent topic, but it's something I find suitable for our lifestyle choices. 

I am part hippie and I dream of living off the land, owning my own home, and freeing myself - and my son - from the burden of financial stress. Of course I do still want to work full-time, but what I'll be doing is still up for debate. I do have a degree in the medical field, but as I get older I can only hope to potentially start up a farm that would benefit thousands of people. I crave the tiny house living, because it would allow me to save up for my own personal retirement, for my son's college (or whatever) fund, and to travel the world. Concerning my child's growth, I would make space for both of us and have the ability to fund his very own tiny house in the future, if he see's fit. Not only that, but with the savings, I could potentially build a small cottage on a foundation, to peacefully retire from the world as a bingo champion. Ahh, the good life. I could apply creativity and an artistic touch, with whatever features I feel necessary, into a personalized home that would specifically suit my son and I's needs, with a fraction of the price a house in today's economy would cost me. At least here in California. Stairs or a ladder, tub or a shower, in floor storage or storage loft. Options are definitely existent with tiny homes. 

To me the "Tiny House Movement" is about finally taking control of my life and my son's life, for good. It's about fulfilling the lifelong dream I've had of being on my own land, with my own garden, and all the space to relax. It's about never worrying and allowing my son to be free as well. Let this be a inspiration for you. Maybe you don't want to live tiny, but this could be the push you need to go out and just live. Downsize your unnecessary stuff to allow for better energy in your home, save by cutting expenses that are frivolous which would allow you to travel, or perhaps find alternative ways of living to just better yourself. Do what makes you happy, even if people think it's just a faze. 

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