Tiny houses are kind of unconventional. If you’re living in one, chances are you’ve given up some of these things. And chances are you’re not too bummed about it.
1. A new outfit every day
When and how did we end up with so much clothes? If we think back to Victorian times where women would have, like, three dresses (if they were rich), it really puts our closets full of stuff to shame. Good news! In a tiny house, you don’t have the closet space for your 652 sweaters that you sort of like, but not really. We know fast fashion is killing the planet, so if we needed an extra push towards reducing our impact, a tiny house closet can be that push. Bonus points for vintage or sustainably-made, well-designed clothing that will last decades and never go out of style.
The alternative: Tiny house owners plan their wardrobes intentionally and still look amazing every day.
2. A mountain of Christmas presents
The season of gift-giving is full of conflicting feelings for the minimalist. If you live in a tiny house, chances are, you already have every object you need. Each one has been carefully selected for its beauty, function, and size. In fact, every object in the tiny house is a carefully balanced formula of how much joy it brings versus how much space it takes. So, the idea of getting a lot of well-intentioned, but kind of random gifts from family and friends can cause anxiety.
The alternative: Tiny house owners cringe at the thought of unwrapping tons of items on Christmas morning, so look for different ways of expressing yourself. We suggest cookies and chocolate.
3. Working to pay the mortgage
A really great side effect to not having a mortgage that eats up most of your income is that you can find more fun things to eat up your income instead! Think exciting experiences, reconnecting with nature, spending time with family and friends, travel, and learning new skills. In fact, if your high-paying but kind of unrewarding job is not really your passion, there may be room in your budget to pursue a different and more flexible career path!
The alternative: Tiny house owners have the disposable income and free time to live a meaningful life on their own terms.
4. Slamming the door
Most tiny houses don’t have rooms with doors, expect maybe a sliding door to the bathroom. So, if you and your partner like to have a dramatic argument and slam the door, you might need to find other ways to express yourselves. There is not much room in a tiny house for fuming or silent treatments. And rushing off to the bathroom when you’re upset doesn’t have the same effect. However, they say, getting some fresh air and a walk is the best way to calm down and see things from your partners’ perspective.
The alternative: Tiny house owners who share their tiny house with a partner or family develop harmony, and that’s a skill.
5. Accumulating stuff and “upgrading” to a bigger home
This is kind of a big one that comes up a lot in conversation with tiny home experts. With the climate situation that we are in, it is simply inappropriate to continue to reward ourselves with stuff. And that means, as a society, we need to move away from the notion that when you do well, you get a bigger home. How about, when you do well, you can afford to live a more interesting life and give back to the community?
The alternative: Having lots of things and a big house does not have to be the status symbol that it is. If you live in a tiny house, you’ve developed different priorities.
6. Shopping for fun
This goes with the accumulating stuff scenario. When did shopping become a hobby and a way to spend quality time with people? There’s some kind of primal desire to go out and bring things back home. We are hunters and gatherers at the shopping mall. But, when you bring the stuff home, don’t you feel a little bit like you’ve now started relationships with all these things that you have to maintain? There are many elements about shopping that we enjoy, but that we can also get from other activities that don’t result in more clutter in our homes. Museums give us things to look at, nature gives us things to experience and touch. Let’s stop hauling and start enjoying the moment.
The alternative: Tiny house dwellers spend a lot more time outdoors and soon they don’t miss shopping at all.
7. Spending the weekend doing chores
Tiny houses are easy to maintain. Quick to clean. There’s pretty much nothing that you need to do around the tiny house that will kill your spirit the way a weekend spent organizing the basement would. If you’re into permaculture and gardening, you can spend your time in communion with nature, growing beautiful and delicious things. If not, you can just go for a six-hour bike ride. No, that’s not irresponsible. It’s how it should be.
The alternative: Tiny house owners spend time doing what they care about and what’s meaningful to them, whether that’s outdoor adventure, photography, or farming.
8. Cookie-cutter homes
When you can’t afford a big custom home, you may find yourself shopping in those developments where the houses are a sea of sameness. Or, you may be looking at condos in a high-rise building full of anonymous doors along the sides of windowless hallways. Or, you may get a tiny house. There is something so refreshing about the tiny home industry – it is still so very focused on the individual buyer. Canadian tiny house builders customize their homes to your needs because they have the utmost respect for your individual needs. The fact that you know your tiny house is a reflection of who you are and what’s important to you makes it feel like home.
The alternative: Tiny house owners have put a ton of time and thought into their choice of floorplan and finishes. Their builder did too. Together they created a tiny house that has so much personality, its owners often give it a name of its own. Turns out, you don’t need much money to be unique and true to yourself.
When we talk to people living in tiny houses already, or planning to move to one, there are many interesting shifts in perspective that they talk about. We’ve discussed some of them here, but there are many others. It seems, the main point is that tiny house owners don’t have a lot of space in their homes, but they do have a lot of space in their lives.
When you choose to go minimal with your home, you free up a lot of money, time, and even mental space. And then, you pretty much do what you want.