A Simple Life in a Tiny Home

In Wake of Housing Crisis, Tiny Homes Offer Sustainable Living

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted December 9, 2010 at 5:06PM

I'm sure we've all heard about, if not watched, those TV shows that focus on our need to keep things...

While You Were Out, What Not to Wear, the recent phenomena Hoarders — programs focused on people who are unable to let go of their possessions, often to the point at which their "stuff" has taken over their life.

Even if you don't define yourself as a pack rat, the amount of things we collect and acquire without realizing it is incredible.

And at the other end of the serial collector spectrum, a movement is taking root as minimalist lifestyles in small homes prove to have economic, sustainability, and health benefits.

People are enthusiastic about downsizing and living with less.

“My name is Jay Shafer and since 1997 I have been living in houses smaller than some people’s closets.”

Up until a year ago, Jay Shafer lived in an 89-square foot house. When his son was born, he and his family upgraded while downsizing to a small house that is 500-square feet and sits on a plot of land next to his old house.

“It's very un-American in the sense that living small means consuming less," says Shafer. "Living in a small house like this really entails knowing what you need to be happy and getting rid of everything else."

Shafer is co-founder of the Small House Society and co-owner of Tumbleweed Tiny House, a company that designs and builds miniature homes with a minimalist style, ensuring no cubic inch goes to waste.

The Tumbleweed website showcases a number of tiny houses ranging from 65 sq ft to 172 sq ft, and small houses ranging from 261 to 874 square feet.

Tumbleweed also holds a number of workshops throughout the country on how to build your own tiny house.

The 89 square foot house Schafer lived in is 8x15 feet and comes with a two-person porch, a main room that has a fireplace and a desk, a kitchen, a 'wet bath' (the bathroom is the shower), and a lofted bedroom large enough to fit a queen size bed.

This unit ready made costs $45,997 or $19,950, if you want to build it yourself.

The low cost of each house has helped Tumbleweed's business to grow significantly, especially in the wake of the housing crisis according to Shafer.

"People's reasons for living small vary a lot, but there seems to be a common thread of sustainability... A lot of people don't want to use many more resources or put out more emissions than they have to," Shafer explains

In a video tour of his tiny house, Shafer said he only spent about $100 on utilities for one year.

Built with high-quality materials, good insulation, and eye-catching design, these little homes also come with wheels making them portable — allowing owners to curtail housing regulations for stationary homes.

So if you're tired of spending money on high heating bills, rent or mortgage, repairing a large roof or siding, or the cost to store all that extra "stuff,"... and think you can free yourself of the excessive clutter of everyday...

Maybe small living in a tiny house is for you.

Until Next Time,
Angela Guss