I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year convincing myself and my husband that a tiny house was a the right move for us. I’ve been all over the Facebooks posting tiny houses and swooning over their adorableness.
Because minimalism! Because money! Because convenience! I dreamed of us having our adorable tiny home on a trailer with only our necessities and our dog. We would find a couple acres of land, throw our tiny house on it, put up a fence to let the dog run around, and maybe even grow a garden.
Living the hipster dream!
But then I visited some tiny houses this weekend and to use the phrasing the owners of the houses repeated many times, I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore.
Logistics. Apparently the tiny house dream isn’t as easy to make happen as all the cool bloggers would like me to believe. And when cool bloggers post about the cool tiny house they built, many of them don’t explain exactly where they will be placing said tiny house and what sort of government nightmare choosing a tiny house is.
There are places in the United States that allow the tiny houses on trailers to be considered accessory dwelling units (ADU if you’re up on the lingo) but that means it has to exist on a property with another house. A real house. With plumbing and specific square footage, and safety measures. So if we went that route we wouldn’t be downsizing on account of that whole extra house thing. And we could potentially rent out the house to other people but then that defeats the purpose of getting our own land void of other people because we hate other people. Additionally, these tiny houses are often grouped in with your typical trailer park trailer and there’s about a million regulations on where those can and cannot exist on account of how ugly they are.
And also poor people. Poor people are great and all when you’re helping them from the comfort of your home but most people don’t actually want to be near poor people. Because cooties. And poor.
Oh and if you were thinking you can just slap your tiny house down on a concrete foundation and call it a day, think again. That requires your house to fall into previously mentioned zoning laws and regulations. Laws that dictate square footage, plumbing, amenities, safety features, etc. Your tiny house just got untiny.
FWIW – I have no idea what zoning laws exist outside of the United States so maybe it’s more possible in the UK or North Korea or something.
Space. Okay so this one is obvious but I don’t think I could have really considered the limitations of this space better than I can right now. David and I live in a two bedroom, two bath apartment and we already feel limited by the size. We used to rent a house which probably helped to change the way we view space too. We love that we have less space to clean these days but hate that we also have much less space to entertain. We also have less space for the three more dogs I want.
And really, our relationship is better when we both have space. I identify mostly as an introvert while David is mostly an extrovert, but he has his moments where he just wants to come home and hide. We both need me time and we need me space. When we lived in a one bedroom apartment we were easily frustrated by the lack of personal space. Now, when we need me time I disappear into the bedroom and he disappears into the office. It works for us. On top of that, the office is David decorated. It has movie posters and toys galore. It’s much more David’s space than it is mine and our bedroom is much more our space than it is mine. I want my own space. When we buy a house some day I’m getting my own craft/fitness/dog snuggling room. It’s going to be awesome.
Materialism. I’ve been considered this idea of a minimalist lifestyle for a while now and it always sounds so appealing but you know what? Fuck it, I like stuff, and I’m done feeling bad about it. We don’t have much money so we don’t run around filling our house with chotchkies on a regular basis which is helping for now. Because of an upcoming move I started going through our house room by room and decluttering to get rid of things we never use or don’t need.
We don’t have a lot of stuff but we have more stuff than we can fit in a tiny house. And I’m okay with that. I have sentimental attachment to some things. I like my bookshelf. I have way too many clothes but I wear them all. I love shoes. David loves movie paraphernalia. Stuff is fun. I’m done focusing on how many things we have, and I’m done feeling guilty for having it all.
I came away from the tiny house tour knowing that this was not going to be the next step for us but I also could understand the benefits of examining the tiny house movement more. The houses we saw were built on a fenced-in alley lot in the middle of DC. They took unused, wasted space and made it something appealing and livable. They also mentioned that they recently hosted council members in an effort to see if this could offer some sort of solution for tackling the homeless population in the area. There’s potential to the idealism in tiny homes, but it’s no longer appealing to me as a thing I need to keep trying to convince my husband is the best choice for us.
So the tiny house story isn’t our story. We’re moving in with family for a while and after that, when it’s time to find a home of our own, we’re going to find a nice home with plenty of space to put all of our stuff in. And I’m going to go back to dreaming about my perfect Victorian home. The beautiful one full of character, with personal rooms for each of us, a massive master suite, a guest room or two, possibly a future child’s room, a game room basement, plenty of entertaining space, a wrap around porch, and a fenced in yard for my four dogs. Oh and a pool. Definitely needs a pool.
You know what? Make that five dogs.
And don’t forget the friendly ghost in the attic.