Our neighbors are Canadian and found an article about small/tiny houses in their Sunday paper magazine insert. They brought it right over and prefaced giving it to us by explaining that it was quite amusing to them and that the author had a very sarcastic style of writing. I didn’t think much about it at the time and when they actually brought the article over (it was featured in BC Homes magazine, or something like that in title) I didn’t read it right away. When I finally got around to it, I found that it was quite unlike I expected.
Small and tiny houses are in the news a lot right now. For whatever reason that trends begin (and I think anyone who’s been conscious for the last several years is pretty well aware of what might be fueling this particular consciousness shift) the interest in downsizing, simpler living, small houses, efficient use of space, etc. is definitely big news right now. So I really expected this article would be something addressing that growing trend. I was very surprised to read an extremely sarcastic approach to the small house movement that I’d never even considered before.
The fellow writing the article was singular in his approach to the small house movement in that he was very irritated and angry about it. He suggested that the way to get into the small house movement was to adopt a series of lifestyle changes. An example. He suggested that to live in a small or tiny house you would need to divorce your spouse (or otherwise dispose of them, he wasn’t specific) and get rid of your kids. Along with this you presumably would need to vacate from your life anything that gives you pleasure or offers happiness to yourself or others. And you won’t be able to entertain friends. The article didn’t make it clear if you could keep the friends you had. Are you grinning yet? I wasn’t at first, but then I snapped out of my grouchiness and thought about how inconceivable it was to me that someone would approach the trend of downsizing in such a fashion. I felt like I didn’t live on the same planet as this guy…like he wasn’t representing me or anyone I knew that was interested in the small house movement!
I haven’t seen any evidence in our boards or communications via email or telephone or in person chats that lead me to believe that people who choose to downsize to small or tiny spaces are antisocial or feel the need to eliminate people and other animals from their lives due to the size of their home. Shawn and I don’t do big dinner entertaining in our 160 square feet, but we do have people over for tea and frequently (sometimes too frequently, when you’re trying to put a roof on!) have drop in visitors. The size of the house hasn’t caused any problems. We’re still happily married. I’ve heard countless stories from people who have raised their families in tiny homes (well, that’s no surprise since several decades ago every family was raised in “tiny” homes and of course, families used to be bigger!).
I’m here to tell you from my experience (and I probably don’t need to) that the small house movement is about much more than getting rid of everything one values in order to live on the cheap. In fact, I would say that the exact opposite is true. Any comments out there? I have comments open on Facebook and for WordPress members. If you are considering downsizing, what about it is appealing to you, what draws you in?? If you are already living in a tiny or small space, what do you love about it? I love (most) being able to afford my home and therefore have a lot more freedom to pursue gardening, beekeeping and walking with my husband. I don’t feel like I’ve had to give anything up that isn’t in some way re-creatable (although I do think that our couch is incredibly uncomfortable…) Do you think a special temperament is required to “live small?” I’m curious to hear…feel free to respond!I won’t go on too much further with this entry as I am sore in the wrist from rafter painting (it’s a good kind of tired though) and because I trust that everyone reading this can pretty much guess how weird an experience it was to read a vitriolic piece on living in small spaces. Usually it’s exactly the opposite. All I will say is that the key to happiness seems to be to follow your heart, as much as you can given your personal circumstances. I haven’t met too many people following this rule that aren’t basically satisfied – which is not to say permanently elated. There are always going to be a smattering of folks out there that view change and new ideas and trends as somehow threatening. There are always going to be people who seem to feel that if some percentage of the population opts to enjoy downsizing and living in a smaller space (of their choosing – could be 100 square feet, could be 1000!) that those people must be (or are about to become) deprived, depraved, ascetic, or otherwise permanently damaged by the experience. Maybe it’s easier to think this way than to just accept that tastes and trends change and that not everyone anywhere is ever going to think or live exactly the same way.