Why Tiny?

June 28, 2015

We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so work on the house has come to a stand still. The trailer is wrapped in tarps with the hopes we don’t find huge wet spots on our brand new subfloor. In the meantime, I thought I’d try to explain what motivated us to “go tiny.” One of the first questions we always get asked is, “Why?” And when we answer, that’s usually followed up with, “Yeeaaah, but why?” That always makes me laugh because I completely understand people’s hesitation and skepticism as I once had it, too. But, eventually I came around to the idea, and here we are. So, let me explain why I finally agreed to tiny.

Over the past few years, we’ve realized it’s just too easy to get caught up in obsession over jobs, money, status, and stuff. We decided to take a step back and look at what we were focusing our time on…and we realized it wasn’t great. Eric and I don’t mind working hard at our jobs, but we don’t want those jobs to dominate our lives. Unfortunately, the American way of life doesn’t really meld with that mentality.

As we looked at what we were spending our time and energy on, we realized everything revolved around stuff. Stuff like renting a nice house, buying new clothes, buying furniture, buying toys, etc, etc. I should point out that Eric and I have always been pretty cheap and careful with our money, but even then, it’s still hard not to buy more, have more, want more. Stuff, and the money to have more stuff, was running our lives. That was the catalyst for our personal tiny house movement.

So, what would we rather be focused on? Eric and I talked about what we wished we were doing with our lives. What were things that were important to us? Here is a small part of the list we came up with:

  • We’re Christians, and we need to be living like Christ: caring for for the hurt, loving the lonely, praying with the lost. We had lost our focus of being Christ’s light to others because we were so wrapped up in living the American dream.
  • We want to travel. Both Eric and I love the idea of traveling all over for a chance to see the amazing world we live in. We also want to devote large amounts of time helping others in places of famine, drought, war, and poverty.
  • We hope to be able to follow our passions. Eric really wants to learn how to blacksmith. He also wants to do landscape designing or maybe work in a small vineyard. I would love to teach English around the world, or possibly work for a charity I believe is doing good work, or maybe start selling paintings. These are things that become very hard to do when large bills are due at the end of the month.

Maybe for some people accomplishing these types of goals in the traditional housing situation is easy-peasy. But, it wasn’t working for us. By living in a tiny house we can devote our time and money towards making these goals a reality. With a traditional rent or mortgage payment, we couldn’t just up and leave to help in an earthquake disaster across the world- we’d have to be reporting to work so we could make the money to pay for our house. And as much as I’d like to, I probably couldn’t rely on selling paintings (sadly, I’m no Claude Monet) or working/volunteering at a charity because I’d have too big of bills to pay without a traditional, full-time job.

However, with a tiny house comes tiny bills and a lot of freedom. Our living expenses will be dramatically reduced and the temptation to continue to amass stuff will hopefully be squashed. But here’s the thing: this new lifestyle of living in a small box isn’t for everyone. Lots of people are accomplishing their own goals and living the life that’s important to them, all while doing it the traditional, normal way. I’m happy for those people. But, I’m also happy that Eric and I recognized the traditional route wasn’t working for us and started our new journey towards tiny living.

I was going to end this post with some links to good articles about why tiny living and tiny houses make sense for some people, but then I realized after reading those well written articles, you may never return to my blog. So, tough luck, people! You’re stuck with my say on things. Hopefully, we can pick back up on building the tiny house soon, or this is blog is going to get boring fast. Next up is framing, so stay tuned!

 

2 Comments

  • Reply Katie July 8, 2015 at 11:44 PM

    I am so thrilled to have stumbled across this blog! It’s been a dream of mine to build a tiny home in Charleston for a few years now. I especially agree with your point about down sizing as a way to follow Christ. Aside from learning to be content with less, I also think its being a good steward of this planet to downsize and use less resources. It may be here and I’ve just missed it but I’d love to see a post on the legal issues…are you two hoping to get a certificate of occupancy? Have you been in communication with building review board?

    • Reply emar2012 August 4, 2015 at 2:05 PM

      Hi Katie! Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m sorry it’s taken a while to respond. I just put up a new post, so hopefully you have some time to check it out. Also, I will definitely address some of the legal concerns of tiny living in a different post sometime in the near future. It’s definitely something to consider when taking on a project like this… At the same time, however, I doubt either Eric or I would be too worried about the government’s input on a matters like stair height, head space, etc. Without getting too political, I’ll admit I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the government is worried about whether the stairs in our own home are too steep. I’m not saying we would blatantly break the law, but I’m happy to dance in the grey areas, and if necessary, move to where the legality of tiny living is more welcoming. Anyway, please share this blog with your friends, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to continue with your own tiny house dream!
      EM

    Leave a Reply