Monday, December 29, 2014

Quick Guide: Would Tiny House Living be a Good Fit for You?

Have you watched the Tiny House Hunters on HGTV. The show is a new version of their House Hunters series with a is all about people that want to live tiny houses. I have watched every episode very carefully because this is the way we live in the winter. We traded an RV for a small space home. Our tiny home still has the wheel fittings underneath so it can be moved but is in fact fixed in many many ways.

Extreme Tiny Home from HGTV This probably has around 100 sq. ft.

Our Small Park Model...12x34...less that 400 sq. ft.

Our living area.
Our porch area.
Arizona Room cleaned for company. Still unfinished.
Most of the homes that HGTV are showing are a lot smaller than what we have. We live in less than 400 sq. ft. and we do have a covered enclosed area that we call an Arizona Room. Our Arizona Room is not finished in anyway so I use it as a utility area and we have a twin bed that grandchildren can sleep in when they visit. We also have a porch my husband built that serves as an extra room. We use a patio heater in the area when we want to sit out on cool/cold evenings.

As I began looking at the picture gallery HGTV has for viewing, several things struck me as very important for anyone considering this life style. Small space living is not for everyone so a person needs to be very realistic about the possibilities. Most of us consume a lot more space than is necessary. You need to ask yourself how small you can go and still be comfortable.

We have owned several RVs over the years and the one thing we discovered is that while marble counters and wood floors are nice, comfortable should come first. Living for an extended period of time in a small space will teach you that a good chair, a comfortable bed, a functioning kitchen and a big enough bathroom are essential. Everything else is just frosting on the cake.

But if you are a "frosting" person, you need to be able to see a way to make the space yours. When it is yours you should walk in the door and breath a sigh of contentment. I know that because that would be me. I don't like a mess, want the kitchen to be not only functional but also beautiful...even if it is very small. I realize though that not everyone is like me. Many people prefer to nest rather that decorate. It is up to you.

I also think that you should be aware that if you share a space with a husband or partner, you want to be able to dance around each other or you will be at each other's throat. It would be better if the dancing part was a part of your relationship before you start your very small space living.

Even the hallway and the passage through the kitchen has to be fact there probably needs to be some rules. Running into each other all the time can become annoying! In fact, it can be a deal breaker.

For example, we have a rule that the bathing routine is sacred. Once one person begins their routine, the other needs to make themselves scarce until given the ok to even set a toe in that area. Even a small bit of privacy can become so important to a happy arrangement.

Cost is also a factor. Many of the small houses shown on HGTV are portable. They cost very little if compared to a house with a foundation but then they need to be parked somewhere. A campground space can come at a hefty price. Some kind of services are important...telephone, water, sewer and electricity are essential and then if you are a computer geek or love your TV/video games, you are going to need a cable or internet hookup. The bottom line is that the house is only the beginning. Hookup, means of moving the small house from one spot to the next and your ability to manage all that can make the concept impossible!

And placing a new tiny house on a city lot can be a trick. Cities and neighborhoods are very picky these days.

But, if you find a very small house on a lot in the location that is perfect, consider it. We love our little house and plan on staying here. If we do change our winter home, we will probably look for something equally as small. We like our simple life and the freedom it gives us.

Be well!


Check the Pages at the top of the page: Small Space Living


  1. I added 400 sq feet to our to this old farmhouse when our children needed it. Grown now, we only use the addition when they or their children visit. Otherwise Norma and I occupy 800 sq ft of the old structure. Enough for private workrooms and together-places like the kitchen, which is the heart of every home. My friend Willie, in Sonoma, bought a modular home much like yours after retiring from teaching in Santa Cruz. I admire his place very much, as I admire yours. Our real homes are in our hearts and interests and are not defined by square footage. Excellent and instructive post.

    1. Thank you George.

      It really is true that wonderful things can come in very small packages. We are trying to restore this place slowly. I have seen it come back to life in the years since we bought it.

  2. Love this post. We live in about 600 square feet in the winter and it is plenty, though storage for my nester husband can be a challenge.

    1. Or it may be a way for him to learn that you can't keep everything.

      My husband kept our broken umbrella from last year...we covered our cactus last week so it wouldn't freeze. In 8 mo. we have found at least one good use for it. We are not a good example but hope springs eternal.

    2. Barbara, I'll have you know I went out this frosty morning and saw Norma had covered a potted strawberry plant with a large, unattractive straw hat I gave her her only 2 years ago. I just knew she'd find a use for it. I think your husband experience a similar prescience.

    3. My husband and your wife must be related! Finding a use for everything can make everyone feel good...even the giver of a very large, unattractive straw hat. :)

  3. If we get a second home it will be uber small- with a sleeping porch for visitors!
    We did completely down sized our "stuff" but moved into a much larger home this month. One 1/2 level for us-1 1/2 for the visitors. Seemed like the perfect solution for us.I cannot wait to have grandchildren spend the night. ~ Janette on my sil's computer :)

    1. Janette,

      You have hit on one of the things that all the seniors that live near me take into will they have visitors. We get very lonesome for our family if they do not live nearby. I even dreamed that one of our grandchildren would go to University in Tucson and come live with us for a period of time. I guess it eased my heart to even dream about it.

  4. I think there's tiny house living which is a choice and great and living in small spaces in apartment buildings in places like New York. Yes it's a choice to live in the area but before they made furniture, dishwashers, washer/dryers and even California type closets it was hard. In my 20's and first half of my 30's I didn't care but once I turned 35 I wanted more--and I turned two rooms with a huge archway into five rooms. If I had known how trendy that would become I would have taken many
    pictures. We all deserve to live well and when we live in an over-stimulating city we deserve to come home to space!

    1. I can imagine that the space you lived in back in the day was very small. And I think that in the middle time of our lives we seem to require more space for one reason or another. Then towards the end of our life we seem to take up less space.

      I have often compared the trend in small living for older people to the dorm room in college.

      Thank you for your comment Pia.

  5. I watch every episode, too. It would suit me fine as a vacation home, but I don't know I would choose a tiny house as my primary residence.

    One thing comes to mind. My prior house was built in 1920, about 1400 sq ft. with 4 bedrooms. It was fascinating to see how lives have changed since then: tiny closets (just for Sunday clothes), no coat closet (hung on pegs by the back door), no bathroom outlets, limited kitchen cabinets (no bulk purchases). It was built for a family, but I had no problem filling it.

    Anyway, my goal these days is to get to the point where I use what I have and pass on the rest.

    1. I love old houses...they just seem to fit my personality somehow. Even when we have lived in "modern" houses I tried to recreate the traditional 1920's house feel.


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