What’s the Point?

I was just told that ‘I missed the whole point of tiny houses’.  This was in a comment that had the settings such that I couldn’t even reply if I wanted to… so instead of venting back at them about how much I hate when people start off with ‘the point’ of the tiny house (when really they should be saying ‘THEIR point’), I did a little reflection on MY point of the tiny house… here is what I came up with!

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I absolutely still ‘hit’ my point when I started this tiny house journey.  Not only that, I have nearly hit my goal of designing, building AND living tiny for two years. Life changes over time and missions change along with that life get’s more meaning and there are different ‘points’ to consider and work toward.  Sure, over the time I’ve been on this journey my life has changed, I’ll get to that in a second.  Initially, when I starter this I thought it would be hard, it’s not.  I thought maybe it would be gross [composting toilet yuck!], it’s not.  Initially, ‘the point’, for me, was to learn about construction [check], it was to learn hands on experience about more sustainable methods like composting waste [check], radiant floors [check], green roofs [this one I have yet to learn about because I have yet to plant it!], and living in a more compact space [check].  My point was to design my own house [check], to provide a great and loving home to a sweet Great Dane [check].

Along with all of those things there were plenty of challenges.  My life is not one dimensional, we all look for community and partnerships.  Dating while building a tiny house was hard.  Not only because time was limited but it was this really weird thing that made a lot of people uncomfortable.  It was more common than not to be on a first date and know that it was an only date.  The goals just don’t line up with most people, that is great though, no time wasted!  But when you meet someone and it just clicks because they think what you are doing is awesome, it feels good!  And when you think their goals are the bees knees too, checkmate!  Dating was tough but also it made things so much clearer to cut through all the BS, lay your lifestyle out on the line and have it be embraced and lifted by another… eventually.  The tiny house simplified dating [cool ‘point’ I didn’t expect].   The process eventually lead me to meeting a great life partner.  We decided to start a family (some of you who read early posts may read that in the design phase I was well aware that the family starting and the tiny living may overlap and I made considerations for that in the design!).   This change offered an opportunity for new purposes.  At each major life change, subconsciously, I think we all reevaluate our directions.  For me, and now ‘us’, tiny continues to make sense.  We have so shame or fear in switching directions, in fact the thought often sounds tranquil compared to some of the reviews of our life we read!

Once you are living tiny and you realize that all those things that you thought would be hard or challenging aren’t really hard or challenging, you just have a home that is yours, if you’re lucky, a place to park it [which I didn’t have until near completion, then a lot of options opened up!], money coming in and less going out… we are achieving all of ‘our points’, why change the game now!?

Oh, that growing family thing… right.  That DOES change ‘the point’, quite a bit.  Instead of the tiny house being a way to spend less and save more,  it becomes a way to provide a better life for myself and my family, to spend more TIME together.

I’ve been accused of trying to ‘fit my life in this little box’ when I feel completely opposite from that.  I am very grateful I decided to build ‘this little box’ when I did, it wouldn’t have made sense at any other point, or maybe it just seems like it would have been harder…  Since we have this little box, James and I decided that we wanted to keep using it to better all of our lives.  We want to be debt free [check], we decided we wanted a family [check and check], we decided that we want to spend time with them instead of working on other people’s projects, unless we WANT to work on those other projects [check].  We decided that we never want to live in an over-sized (for us) little box again [ongoing but check!].  The tiny house allows me to live off of a very meager blogging wage (I make money at this from those little ads on this page, feel free to ignore them, I do! (: ) and stay home to enjoy watching my little one(s) grow bigger.  I get to teach them new tricks and just be there for them when they need me, I consider that a HUGE ‘point’ to my tiny house [check].  We decided to stay here after our family grew because we WANT to be here, because it is the best thing for me, James and our family.  No, we won’t be here forever, the kids will eventually want their own space and stop beings so clingy (I LOVE every moment of their clinginess!),  I have always wanted a little sun room for painting, James and I both have the passion to build more alternative dwellings… Tiny is a stepping stone for us to make our life better, that is OUR point.  The fact that our house is an asset that pays us back instead of a liability, taking money every month is just the cherry on top!

Our next goals and more of the reasons we are planning to continue living tiny are:

  • Our kids need US, not things, not trips, not anything but us and our attention, I want them to have that.  When they are ready to explore the world more and be exposed to other situations we will put them in those situations, right now, they want to know they have security in their family, parents that love them, time to do silly things like spend 30 minutes at the park practicing going up and down curbs… our tiny house and lack of a mortgage provides that time for us to give them just that.
  • We want to save cash for our next projects.  We never want to be dependent on banks again.  In order to get out of the rat race you have to do things differently.  even though I don’t work a ‘real’ day job anymore and I stay home to be with Hazel, James continues to run his online businesses and contract pretty much full time with firms so that as a family our income has not decreased, just our expenses.  This allows us to save for our next adventures to be paid in cash.   “There are two ways to get rich, make more or spend less”
  • We would like to be location independent and not be tied to one spot via a standard job so that we can travel the world with our kids and expose them to different lifestyles an cultures.

In the words of Dave Ramsey “If you want to live like no one else, you have to live like no one else”.  This lifestyle is not hard but building it takes effort and intention, if I had not started when I did I don’t know that I would have the gumption or the time to dedicate to it now.  I am grateful and lucky to have followed my gut when I did because it really is opening the doors to the life that we want to live.  We are not fitting our life into this little box nor are we ‘missing the point’!  This little box [I may officially have a name for my house!] is helping us to build the life we want.  Tiny houses can open possibilities to live the life YOU want to live.  THAT is ‘the point’, to do what YOU want.

Moral of the story, everyone has a different ‘point’ to deciding to go tiny, if it makes sense in your life is only up to you.  So does it?  What doors will living tiny open in your life?

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‘remarkable’ is relative! :)

 

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Other Resources

I’m not sure if I have ever announced the other tiny house resources that I work on, this site is obviously my own personal blog which chronicles my own personal adventures in tiny house designing, building and living.  I have been working in the community though to provide information to help others along their own path.  Since my build stopped I’m sure you’ve noticed I don’t update as much here, I hate feeling ‘forced’ to write relevant tiny house articles, there are a ton of sites out that which to that much better than I could so I’ve opted to keep this site just my adventures and insights to tiny house living and building.  For those who are looking for more info I do have a hand in some other sites that offer more broad information that may be helpful to those looking.

 

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Planning Tiny – This is a site I started to offer information on what choices and decisions go into planning your own tiny home, and the pros and cons of each.  It isn’t as much about the lifestyle but that actual construction choices like picking insulation, how to frame, how to start designing your own and various systems and what may lead you to pick one direction over another.  It is fairly new but I am really going to start making a better effort to put more info on it (My goal, I’ll just make it public so I can be accountable is 2-3 posts a week).  If you prefer to follow and get updates on any new posts via Facebook there is a page that I update with new posts here.

As a part of that, I recently started a forum section where you can interact with others.  I know I have announced in my newsletter before that I run a tiny house Facebook group (more below) but I have heard feedback that it isn’t easily searchable for past conversations and people are not happy with Facebook’s privacy policies in general.  I am not certain there is a real need for a tiny house forum but I think it is important to provide the opportunity for it to be a resource for information from others.  If you’re interested I think others would be happy for you to sign in and add to the conversations as you can!  (it’s BRAND NEW so it’s not extensive just yet! Let me know if it’s buggy! :))

I think PlanningTiny will ultimately be MY best resource for others on their specific builds so I have put a quick link to it at the top bar of this website for easy access!

 

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Tiny House Chat – This is a joint venture that Ryan Mitchell and I teamed up on mostly because we wanted to learn a new platform, podcasting.  It is available for free on itunes and stitcher as well but the main website where you can go through the archived episodes at www.tinyhousechat.com.  It is a user driven podcast so our topics all come from voice-mails left by people who have tiny house questions.  We play them on the air and talk about our perspectives and experiences as well as what has worked for other people.  For those of you who prefer to be notified of new episodes via Facebook there is a page where we post them here.  The podcast platform allows us to cover a lot of information fast, if audio is your think we hope it is a valuable resource!

 

 

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Tiny House People – Lastly, and maybe the most ‘fun’ is the Facebook group.  We are quickly approaching 18,000 members, we talk about all things tiny and share progress updates to support and encourage others.  I do strictly enforce some basic rules such as no advertising, name calling or general rudeness, I think that is very important in making a productive and encouraging venue that is a ‘safe zone’ to ask ANY tiny house questions and share any ideas, there are people at every stage in there.  You can find this group and join here.

 

Other than that I imagine MiniMotives will get more exciting in the next few months as James and I do the renovation for Hazel’s room and of course I will continue to answer any actually ‘what is it like living in a tiny house’ questions and provide our family updates on our adventures here.  If you are new even to MiniMotives I put together an eBook that covers the whole build process which is much more concise than sifting through 300+ posts which you can find here.  Each site is it’s own effort, MiniMotives was always just intended to be my personal blog but it occurred to me I’ve never really made it clear I have other resources for tiny house information that I take part in!  So there you have it, hopefully you find some/all of it helpful!

 

Happy Easter for those of you who celebrate! :)