Did you know that there is an entire community of people who are leaving their mansions to build and live in a house that is under 200sqft? Why? How can they live in such a small space? What about all their stuff? If two people were confined to such a small space every day, wouldn’t they kill each other? After watching the documentary “Tiny” (http://tiny-themovie.com) I had a million questions, but the most difficult question to answer is, what would make me want to downsize my living conditions to this extreme?
The simple answer is “nothing”. I have lived in a 300sqft studio apartment and it sucked. Living in a space smaller than that would drive me crazy. But, I do acknowledge the romance of living a minimalist lifestyle. I grew up camping and enjoy extended vacations, but while I stayed in a small tent or a hotel room, that is not the same as living in a small space. My hobbies alone would require me to have more space, not to mention my job and marriage.
I do believe that many people in America live extravagant lives in large homes. Many homes have more televisions than occupants. Heck, some homes have more vehicles than occupants. I try to live within my means and reduce my impact on the environment and its resources. I am not a heavy consumer, nor do I generate a lot of waste. My wife and I commute to work in a Prius and if I have to drive into town by myself, I ride my motorcycle. My freezer is stocked with wild pig that my friends and I have hunted and eat a lot of reef fish that I spearfish each weekend. My home does not have an air condition and I only have one television.
Economically, the tiny house is an attractive idea. Being able to purchase a plot of land and build a tiny house for under $100,000 is pretty tempting. In Hawaii, land is scarce and very expensive. Building any size home is also pretty pricey compared to what you can get on the mainland.
The programmer in me looks at a home as a computer and my life as the software. The computer needs to have enough RAM for running programs and hard drive space for long term storage. I need my home to be able to accommodate my daily activities as well as my less frequent but regular activities. My home is also a network hub where friends and family can congregate and spend time together. Maybe one day, the home will be more like the “cloud”, where things can be shared or stored outside of the home but still be accessible whenever we need them. Some features of our homes like kitchens, bathrooms, and garages may become community-based. Or maybe we will return to a more communal form of living as we had in the past and as many people are living today in other countries.
I would recommend watching “Tiny”and hearing what others think about this extreme lifestyle. Whatever the case is, this seems to be a growing trend and I for one welcome it.