Over the weekend I watched a documentary on “Tiny Houses” (thank you Amazon Prime) and now I am obsessed. The documentary (watch here) http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/we-the-tiny-house-people/ is about a man who decides that he is going to build a house on a trailer that is less than 200 square feet (apparently they are built on trailers because housing codes do not allow such small structures.) He is going to build it from scratch with just help from some friends and when it is done he is going to park it on some land in Colorado and live simply in his small space. The part of the documentary that I thought was even more interesting were interviews with many other people who were living in tiny houses that they had built.
All of the people interviewed living in the tiny houses were very happy with their decisions. Some of them were very green and didn’t want to make a big impact on the environment. But others said they wanted to build a tiny house simply because they had paid in cash to build it and not having a mortgage or the costs that come with a regular house would allow them not to work as hard and to enjoy life. Let me also point out that even though the tiny houses were small…..they were NICE. We are talking interiors that (if they were bigger) could have been part of a million dollar home here in Indiana.
Before you ask, I am not planning to sell my village of Zionsville home and build a tiny house on a trailer. However, I have never understood the mega mansions that many Indianapolis suburbanites build either. Isn’t there a happy medium? Couldn’t a couple live comfortably in 800 square feet? Is it so crazy that a family of 4 would live in 1300? Can’t we all let go of the amount of “stuff” that we feel the need to be surrounded by and take that opportunity to simplify our lives and at the same time have more financial freedom?
This documentary really has me thinking about my living situation. Although I don’t currently own a large home (about 2,000 square feet) I know there are about 3 rooms in the house that my husband and I do not often use. This is a lot, especially considering that there are 8 rooms in the house total. That is 3 rooms that we are heating, cooling, painting, buying “stuff” to fill, cleaning and paying property taxes for that we don’t use. I also shared the tiny house movement with my business partner. We both agree that we have a lot of stuff that is fairly useless. One example my partner used was the set of fine china that he and his wife own. They received the dishes as wedding presents and then purchased a cabinet to store them in…..but he doesn’t recall ever using the china set. I would say that it is fairly typical for people to own a set of dishes that they do not use to eat off of, but that they use to display in their home. That leads me to ask the question, what are we all doing? Seriously, having an extra set of fancy dishes to look at when there are many people starving in this country seem completely crazy when you think about it…..but we all do it.
My challenge is for those of you thinking of purchasing a home….think about what you need and how buying a smaller house could favorably impact your financial life and your freedom to do what you wish with your time. Think about how you could put the space you do have to better use. Could your children share a bedroom? Do you really need/want a formal dining room, what “stuff” do you have that you don’t even want? The moral of the story that I took was that life is better with less stuff. Do you agree? Does your stuff make you happy?