We have lagged behind the tiny house movement in the past, but we are catching up. Yes, I said tiny house MOVEMENT, and if you don’t know what that is, you’d better wake up. Tiny houses are up to 400 square feet in living space, are usually on wheels, are often set up to be ‘off grid’, are almost always ADORABLE, and the interest is growing almost by orders of magnitude.
Why would anybody want to live in such small space, you ask? Well, ask the teachers, the IT professionals who work from the tiny home, the retirees, who are looking to downsize and save a lot of money (actually everyone does), and the people who crave a sense of community over materialism. That sentiment is growing. People are tired of living in a fire ant bed, and some of these tiny home communities have community garden spaces, natural areas to share, some have picnic areas, places to barter goods or sell art, you name it. By the way, most tiny house dwellers are highly educated; a large percentage have masters’ degrees. But whatever the case, there is a huge wave of interest in this phenomenon, which started a LONG time ago. Some people live in less than 100 square feet, some go up to 400. And their bank account is much larger, let me just say.
In case you wonder, some of these homes have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, walk in showers, dishwashers, the list goes on. Many find they actually CAN live without a microwave oven, many have telescoping windmills attached and solar panels. Most have a wifi booster. So it’s not like camping, folks. Not at ALL. And by the way, some builders build these homes for people with chemical allergies, or even EMF allergies. The builders are very good at what they do, and are very green and very consumer conscious. Most tiny homes are custom builds, so you get what you want.
In college, I studied the influence of age ‘cohort’ (fancy word for group), usually defined by decades. What became clear is that peoples’ values change by the decade, almost on cue. Thirty somethings are all about building, buying, going and later having kids, very self focused often. Forty somethings are all about raising kids and growing careers and they begin to contemplate how they fit into the overall universe. But seniors (over 55)stop placing value on material things and money, and focus on home and family, and they are most aware of their impact on others. That’s it. Many current tiny home buyers are approaching that age.
Imagine a home with SIX lights. Count the ones in your house right now. So there’s that savings right out of the box. Yes, tiny houses have an average of six lights. You can add lamps. Appliances are smaller, space is at a premium when it comes to storage, so you can’t have a bunch of stuff…that you would otherwise spend money on, but you CAN put full size appliances in if you want. It takes peanuts to heat and cool such a small space and if you put solar panels on top, goodbye light bill. Your carbon footprint is smaller, your cost to live is minimal, you tend to spend more time outside in nature, and you get to feel like you again, without all of the stress of accumulation.
You know, many people live in vans now, did you know that? That’s ANOTHER movement. Tired of the spot after three days, start the engine and move along; see the country. People from all walks of life are becoming more ‘green’ aware, seeing the advantage of not being a conspicuous consumer, and most tiny house owners have NO…ZIP…ZERO…NADA…mortgage, whether they live in a camper, a schoolie, a van or an actual tiny house. That’s life changing, folks. Oh and let’s not forget the innovative ones who build phenomenal homes from SHIPPING CONTAINERS. Yep, some are breathtaking.
Do people with kids live tiny? Yep, some do. And some folks with kids live in schoolies, which I forgot to say, is an old school bus converted to a house on wheels. Really guys, you have to catch up on this stuff.
Go to Youtube and check out Tiny Houses, though. People ALWAYS smile when you talk about them, and there’s a good reason for it. They are usually uniquely stunning, they represent a freeing and relaxing lifestyle, they represent a sense of connecting with community and getting back in touch with nature, all good stuff. Our NC zoning and planning departments need to get on board and get ready. This IS the way we’re heading.