More and more people every day are choosing to move towards a minimalist lifestyle. This trend of aiming to get back to basics isn’t just about throwing out all of your old junk, however.
And don’t worry, it doesn’t involve a teeny tiny Matt Damon convincing you to ‘downsize’ yourself, ah-la Honey I Shrunk the Kids (there’s a reference here for every generation!). It’s about using what you need, and many innovative and sustainably minded individuals are translating this into their homes. Hence, the tiny house movement is enjoying a huge spike in popularity of late, and some of the designs are breathtakingly elegant. We take a closer look at why people are choosing to downsize their homes, and how achievable it actually is.
The housing affordability crisis in Australia
Australians are accustomed to big houses, big properties and big backyards. Brisbane is particularly lucky in this regard, as you can still find large Queenslanders with substantial yards just a stone’s throw away from the CBD. But these homes aren’t always the most affordable option. Even less so in Sydney and Melbourne. Not only are the sale prices of these properties out of reach for most first-time homeowners, but they also encourage people to fill them with more, well, stuff. And much of it is stuff that we simply don’t need. We spend money on a massive home near the city, and then more commuting to work, and filling it with expensive things so that it doesn’t feel ‘empty.’ Where’s the sense in that?
Living a simpler & more affordable life: the tiny house movement
Tiny houses aim to ease the cost of owning your own property. Another reason why many people turn to the tiny home is so that they can live in more central locations, without paying quite so much money to do so, and without having to resort to high-rise, apartment-style living. Adversely, many homeowners choose a tiny house because they’re also ideally suited to an off-the-grid way of life. Tiny houses are versatile and can be built to accommodate a variety of lifestyles. They take up less space, can be built in people’s backyards or on large properties, they use minimal energy, require reduced building materials and enjoy smart, space-efficient design. And most importantly, they’re filled with less stuff and encourage homeowners to focus on a life of experiences, rather than a life of things.
So, what defines a tiny house?
A tiny house is just 37 square metres or less in size. Considering the average Australian home is 240 square metres, this is a massive reduction in space. We bet you’re thinking “how on earth could I live in that?!” But so many people do! It’s all about smart, sustainable design and a willingness to change your way of thinking. Tiny houses can be very beneficial in assisting you to lead a more active lifestyle rather than staying at home all the time. That’s not to say that we don’t love a good old Netflix and Chill session, and it also doesn’t exclude homebodies. It’s important that your home is your sanctuary, so it’s also critical to think of innovative ways to create more space so that you don’t feel ‘trapped.’ Tiny homes encourage people to use their local facilities such as libraries, parks and recreation centres. We also live in Australia for goodness sake – many tiny homes utilise that pure Aussie sunshine and attach foldable or adjustable decks to their property to make more room. Tiny houses can also be stationary or movable, but there are distinct differences between the two that need to be considered before building. The law regarding living in moveable dwellings differs from state to state, as do the places where you are legally allowed to park your tiny, movable house.
Reasons to embrace the tiny house movement
There are many reasons why the tiny house movement has gathered speed in the last few years. One of the main reasons people choose to go tiny is so that they can utilise larger properties and save money. If your parents own a property with a big backyard, why not build a tiny house out the back? You can have your privacy and space, without needing to move away from your community, family and job. This is particularly useful for those who live in expensive cities where it just isn’t affordable to buy your own home, or move to the outlying suburbs and commute every day. It is also beneficial when thinking towards the future when your parents get older and require additional care.
Tiny house advocates are also often concerned with reducing their carbon footprint. Tiny homes use far less energy than their larger counterparts, simply because there’s less there! You’ll be surprised at how little your electricity bill amounts to each month. Tiny homes are ideal for country-dwellers too, especially if your aim is to live comfortably without irreversibly impacting the environment around you.
So there you have it, the tiny house movement in a nutshell! Whether you’re a fan of living small or not, you have to admit that it is innovative, affordable and sustainable.