Tiny Houses: downsizing, moving and living

Mourelle Josiah-Wong, July 31, 2019

Tiny Houses! Could this fascinating concept be the key to the home you’ve always wanted?

What are tiny houses?

Recently a tv show on Netflix called ‘Tiny House Nation’ further popularised a movement which has gained some traction across the United States. For a fraction of the price of purchasing a house to live in, it’s now possible to build that same home only; smaller. “The Tiny-house movement” (as it’s commonly known amongst its community) has introduced a whole new way of living through ingenious space management, architectural innovation and the hardened can-do attitude of prospective tenants that are willing to take a punt on living differently.

How tiny are we talking?

What constitutes a tiny house? (And here’s some interesting information for moving companies!) The average size of a 3-bedroom house in the UK is between 1,200 – 1,300 square ft or about 120m². This contrasts with a tiny house which will be less than 1000 square feet (92 m²) even going as small as 221 square feet or 20.5 m². This means that we are essentially looking at a property one-sixth of the space that most people are used to occupying, whatever will you do with all your worldly possessions?! There are some removals and relocation companies out there that will provide consultative advice on how best to remove, transport and store your possessions ready for your new tiny home.

Time to consider storage options!

Downsizing your home is a sure-fire way to make yourself decide what is truly necessary in terms of the objects you choose to surround yourself with at home, and what is instead just clutter. A top tip to help with the tiny house downsizing process would be to consider long-term storage to prevent you from throwing away items in haste which you may regret later. Various storage options are available from both self-storage facilities and services offered by removals companies. For more information check out this blog:

Have you considered long term storage with moving companies?

https://www.removalsjobs.com/blog/have-you-considered-long-term-storage-with-moving-companies

Now, let’s explore some of the positives and negatives of tiny living...

The Positives

Huge savings

Using information based on accounts from those that have built tiny homes in the USA as a point of reference, typically the costs involved with building your own tiny home can range between $12,000 to $35,000 on average. It’s made clear from these figures alone that already the total cost of owning this property outright can be cheaper than the deposit you’d be expected to put down for buying a regular-sized home. However, on the extreme side of this spectrum, tiny houses can be built in a basic fashion for as cheaply as $10,000 or as lavishly for $150,000.

Low energy demands

This is just the initial saving, the daily running and bill maintenance of owning a tiny home; it follows are also significantly cheaper. To heat in the winter for example there’s less space necessary to heat up, therefore utilising less energy and money. The environmental benefits of this are obviously great! Not only because tiny home dwellers use fewer resources to build their tiny home, but in the long run tiny house living will dramatically reduce the homeowner's carbon footprint by employing renewable energy sources to power the home (for example solar panels). Generally, tiny house owners consume less energy as there are fewer possessions to power (i.e. one blender as opposed to multiple soup or smoothy makers) giving way to a greener way of living.

A simpler way of living

Now, this point is dependent on your perspective, the very nature of tiny homes dictate that you cannot possibly have a lot of material possessions. For some, this is a nightmarish way of living, but for others, the decluttered, efficient and minimalist lifestyle suits them perfectly. In many instances, the lack of ‘stuff’ creates less mess and for many people, helps to create or more relaxing environment.

Increased mobility

A fork in the road of decisions when deciding to build a tiny home is whether you would like your Tiny Home to be mobile. We now live in a time where to ‘move home’ does not necessarily mean just your possessions but instead the whole house too! It’ll certainly make staycation holiday’s a lot more comfortable! Imagine having the ability to take your whole home with you, wherever you go.

Combatting homelessness

Tiny homes are also a hot topic when it comes to building solutions for social issues. Homelessness is prevalent no matter where you are, increasingly, local councils or smaller branches of government not only in the US but also the UK have dabbled in the idea of tiny homes providing an answer to homelessness. Cheap to build, affordable housing that is both aesthetically pleasing and fits into a small area of space is now being viewed as a realistic residential option. Whilst this may not be a permanent solution to homelessness, at least for a time it grants residents an opportunity for stable housing.

The Negatives

No space for things

Despite the romanticised idea of living in a tiny home, it is ironically a ‘big’ decision to make. There may be some comfort provided during the relocation process via the expertise provided by a reliable professional moving company, however, a lot of sacrifices would need to be made regarding possessions. The key to a tiny home is space management; there will only be enough room for a few sentimental items. Clothing (not too much), practical household goods and food are essentials that will need to fit, but everything else is secondary. How would you cope without that garage/shed/attic full of items that you aren’t using right now, but might need one day?

Unrealistic for a family

We’re also working on an assumption that it may just be the individual thinking about relocation to a tiny home, it becomes a very different story if there’s a family to consider. A couple may manage well with their ideals aligned but there will be very different requirements for a growing family, it makes sense that the idea becomes less feasible with more people to consider. I’m sure there are some families out there that have succeeded well is adopting a simple and minimalist lifestyle, however, for most the fact remains that with more people (even little people) inevitably more ‘stuff’ will be required.

Guests

Depending on the size of the tiny home, would there really be enough space to entertain guests? Investing this much time and money into a project such as this is something that you’d want to share with your friends and your family. But where are they going to stay? Visits and parties may end up limited to views of the property from the outside, on a warm day. This might be fine during the summer months but consider the winter and bad weather when outside entertaining may not be an option.

My thoughts & conclusion

Whilst I’ve tried to surmise a balanced perspective on Tiny Homes, ultimately this article is intended as a steppingstone, providing thought material for wider consideration. For me, it feels like Tiny Homes can work for individuals whose lifestyle matches a very specific criterion. However, this may not work for others based on practicality. It seems innovative and exciting to live in a Tiny Home and the advantages discussed seem enticing but I’m uncertain whether maintaining that level of enthusiasm would persevere after the novelty wears away. Despite this, I would 100% book a holiday in a Tiny Home and having spoken to my colleagues many feel the same way. It seems there is a gap in the market for Tiny House holiday rentals!

Written by Mourelle Josiah-Wong - Team Assistant at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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