Tiny Homes (Part 1): 4 Lifestyle Changes You Need to Think About

by Andra Hopulele
5 min. read

Many people dream of closing the door on their hectic lifestyle and trading it all in for a slice of the good life. Downgrading to a tiny home sounds like the perfect solution, especially after another stressful day in the city, but are you sure you’re ready for the massive lifestyle changes tiny houses can bring? Read on to take a look at how becoming a tiny home owner can potentially affect your lifestyle and find out how you can be sure you’re doing the right thing before it’s too late!

Nothing Compares to Trying it for Real

From the comfort of your spacious living room, the idea of going tiny might sound fantastic. Anyone who has even been camping or travelled in an RV knows that living in confined quarters can be a challenge – but most of the time you can always hang out outside when things become claustrophobic.

Weekend camping trips in fine weather and months upon months of living in a tiny home during the rain and snow are two entirely different experiences however. If you’re not emotionally, physically and mentally prepared for it, cabin fever can soon set in. There really is no better way to know whether you – and your partner/family – can hack it, than by doing it for real.

You can find a number of tiny homes for rent on Airbnb, so wait for the off-season and book at least a week, preferably longer. In this way, you won’t have the luxury of escaping outdoors if things get tough, replicating realistic living conditions. See how you get on and be aware that if you’re moving in with a partner, there may be nowhere to hide out for some alone-time when the going gets tough!

It Can Cost More Than You Think

It’s true that most tiny homes are cheaper than your typical house; however, that’s not to say they’re inexpensive. Prices can and do run into the hundreds of thousands, regardless of whether you’re building your own or buying a turn-key solution. Besides the cost of the house itself, you must also factor in a number of additional expenses, such as buying a plot of land, inspections and insurance.

For the DIYers out there, to get an idea of how much the building materials alone will cost, take a look at some ready-to-buy tiny homes. A good rule of thumb is that the money needed to build the house would be roughly 2 thirds of the price tag. If you do buy a turn-key home, be advised that if you wish to customize the original designs at all, it will cost you more.

Additionally, those looking for mobile tiny homes will also need to consider the cost of a safe and legal trailer, plus a vehicle that is capable of pulling your new tiny home. The costs can and do mount up and drafting a thorough budget is essential.

You Will Need to Downsize Drastically

It’s surprising just how many possessions most of us actually hold onto in our average-sized homes. Storage space is not a luxury afforded to tiny home owners, who must instead find ingenious ways to cram all their belongings in whatever space they can.

A big clear out will be required, including clothes and shoes. Hobbies that require large equipment, such as homebrewing, may also have to be abandoned. Cooking is another area that is affected, as many tiny homes don’t have the space for an oven or extensive work surfaces. Think long and hard about what you may be required to give up.

The Importance of Having a Plan

There are many reasons why you might want to switch to tiny home living, but it’s important that you plan it properly. What is the end goal? Is this a temporary measure in order to save up some cash, or an entire lifestyle change? The answers to such questions can help you make more informed decisions about how you go about implementing this change.

For example, if your plan is to live tiny for 5 years or so, it’s worth investing in a more permanent structure that can be more readily sold – mobile homes tend to lose value far quicker. On the other hand, if you’re craving the simple life and wish to travel and live off the land, a mobile home may be the best choice for you.

Consider also whether you wish to build your own or buy a ready-made home. Building your own requires a wide and varied construction skill set. If you don’t possess this, you will struggle to build a home you can comfortably, and indeed legally, live in.

Tiny homes do offer a dream come true to a growing minority of people. The simple life is ever-more tempting as big city life takes its toll, but it’s never wise to rush the decision. It’s well worth making a plan, experiencing the lifestyle first hand and ensuring you understand exactly how much you’ll need to cut down before you start to contemplate the tiny life. 

The second part of our ‘Tiny Home’ series takes a look at the logistical side of making the move to a tiny home. Stay tuned and when you know it’s the life for you, explore the legalities and regulations you’ll be required to follow as a tiny home owner.

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