Why Live in a Tiny House

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Macy's tiny houseI’ve been thinking a lot about tiny houses, and I sometimes wonder what other people think about them. So I have to ask:

Do you think people are crazy to want to live in something so small?
Do you wonder how they manage to live with so little stuff?
Do you wonder why on Earth they do it?

Maybe you think you know why people do it:
– because they can’t afford “a real house.”
– because they want to live like a hippie.
– because they like small spaces.
– because they want to be mobile — not tied down.
– because they want to live with a smaller footprint on the Earth.
– because they want to live simply.

Now, obviously, I can’t help but add my own feelings about why tiny houses are so cool. I particularly like the last 2, but I also should say that I think tiny houses are a direct response to the hugeness of modern houses — some are positively ridiculous! Unless you are housing 25 members of your family, it just doesn’t make sense to build such a mansion (in my opinion). So, for fun, I have taken some big houses and divided them up into triplexes. Why not? They are certainly big enough for three families, and with a few extra walls and another entrance or two, it is pretty easy to do.

big house floorplan-main floor

The other reason some people like tiny houses is so that they can actually own the house they live in. Some like the DIY aspect — to build your own house with your own two hands holds huge appeal. Some people are striving for a simpler life — wouldn’t you love it if your weekly housecleaning took a total of 5 minutes? Some want to live lightly — with less possessions, less obligations, less of an impact on the planet. Today, I stumbled on Leo Babauta’s this zenhabits article on living lightly. I thought this might add some insight into tiny house living.

Well, it wasn’t at all about houses, but it did give me plenty of insight. It starts with a quote by Eckhart Tolle:

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. ~Eckhart Tolle

Wow, that alone would change everything about how you approach your day, wouldn’t it?

Leo’s main point is this: think of nothing as either good or bad. Stop judging, and stop expecting.

Regarding judging: “When you stop judging things as either good or bad, you are no longer burdened by the emotions of the judgement, and can live lighter, freer.”

Hmmm… that strikes a chord with tiny living, being lighter and freer.

Regarding expectation: “When people disappoint you, it’s not their fault. They’re just being who they are. Your expectations are at fault.”

My expectations are at fault? Could it be true? Oh yeah, that’s totally it. All the time.

“But why make this change? … Because judgements stop us from understanding, and can ruin our happiness. When we judge, we don’t seek to understand — we’ve already come to a conclusion. If we stop judging, we allow ourselves to try to understand, and then we can take a much smarter course of action, because we’re better informed by our understanding.”

Well, I’ve never lived in a multi-million dollar house, but it seems to me that a lot of judging is going on. People are constantly trying to appear better than their neighbours. It’s not just “keeping up with the Joneses” anymore. We want to seem happier and healthier as well as wealthier.

I think tiny houses let people give up on all that. There is no more keeping up. The tiny house is in a class all its own, and other tiny house owners aren’t interesting in judging, because they would much rather understand and learn. Maybe they have more scientist in them — a curiosity about life, an interest in living smarter, and a desire to live life to the fullest.

So, let’s not judge someone else’s choice of house. Let’s try to understand, instead. The same goes for others’ life decisions. Everyone has reasons — complex, unexpected, interesting reasons — for doing what they do. And, they have every right to do whatever they want without messing up your opinion of them, just because of your expectations. Live and let live, eh?

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