Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tiny House Obsession

I have recently developed a bit of an obsession with the Tiny House Movement.

There are at least three television shows that deal with people finding, buying, or building tiny houses to live in--Tiny House World, Tiny House Hunting, and Tiny House Nation. They have been on the air for a few years, but I hadn't noticed until recently. Then I became fascinated. I have seen living spaces ranging from 700 square feet to a mere 98 square feet. Most seem to be in the 200-300 square foot range.

I think the thing that most fascinates me about these tiny living spaces is the ingenuity involved in design and development. Can you have kitchen, living, dining, sleeping, and bathroom spaces in such a small area? The answer is "yes" and I have seen some amazingly creative designs to make that possible.

This was the country school teacherage in 1945.
It measured about 7 or 8 x 10 or 12 feet and four of us
lived in it. No running water, no indoor plumbing,
heated by a small wood/coal burning stove.
It is also interesting to see how much stuff people have to give up and get rid of in order to live in these tiny houses. And even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that after the difficulty of the purging, the new tiny house dwellers feel so free.

Now, I do like stuff. I have stuff that I don't want to give up. I also have stuff that I could live without quite contentedly, but I don't know what to do with it. I am working on that. I don't want to get rid of everything, but I definitely want to lighten the load and I think I can lighten it quite a lot. I have made a start; there is a long way yet to go. I'm just doing a little bit at a time, whenever the mood hits me.

I have actually lived in tiny houses in the past. I have blogged about "The Rabbit Hutch" house our mother and her first three children--of which I am one--lived in when she taught country school while our dad was away in the army during WWII.
This is me in the corner of our first little house, ready
to go to a banquet in May 1967, about a month before our
marriage (I moved in when we found the house, to hold it).
I am in the corner of the living room. The curtain is the
 bedroom "door." The heater in the corner of the photo is
in another corner of the living room. I wish I had a photo of
the outside of this little house, but, I do not. (Gotta love my
 glasses. Oh, my, styles do change.)

When Jerry and I married we lived in a little house that sat on the back of the lot behind a bigger house. It was not cramped for two people. I don't know what the square footage was, but it had a small living room, small bedroom, small but pleasant dining room. and a little kitchen. There was even a bonus area equal in size to the kitchen area, that we had no use for! (We did not have much stuff at that time.) My guess is that it was probably about 500 square feet. I have very fond memories of that little house.

My current home falls into the small house category, though it does not really feel small to me at 1,000 square feet. It is a downsize from the house I sold and moved from after Jerry's death. That, while not a huge house, was, at 1500 (and a little) square feet, very roomy for us. Before that we had lived in a 1,000 square foot mobile home quite comfortably.

July 4, 1968. Here I am in our first little house dining
room. The width of the room ran from the left edge of
the photo to the other side of the kitchen door, the left side
of which is visible on the right side of the photo. 
Would I really want to go smaller? I know I could, and be comfortable. One problem is that I do like to have space for visitors. If I went as tiny as many of the houses I've been so fascinated by, I guess the solution would be putting out-of-town guests up in a motel--after all I don't have that many visitors. But I would miss their presence in my home.

And, for me, a tiny house would have to be connected to a sewer system. I know that composting toilets (the solution for many of the moveable tiny houses) are considered wonderfully "green," but I practically gag at the thought of actually living with one. I've lived with outhouse toilets. As unpleasant as they are, at least they are not in the house. I know composting toilets are not supposed to be smelly, but I find the very idea positively revolting.

Tiny house living could be a money-saver, could bring on a sense of freedom from tending to "things," and would mean certain sacrifices and adjustments. Many people find that very much worth doing.

I'm glad I am not actually thinking about moving right now! I like where I am. I just need to get rid of some excess baggage and make it even better.