I have just finished watching a fascinating documentary called “Tiny: A Story About Living Small” and up until an hour ago I had the misconception that the whole ‘Tiny House’ thing was for hippies and environuts. Well, I was very wrong! Living in a Tiny House is more than just a pie-in-the-sky idea, it’s a conscious decision to better your life and take control of what you have.
My family and I live in a house that is roughly 1900 square feet and prior to that we lived in a 750 sq ft apartment. When we moved this house felt enormous but now it’s filled in with our stuff and it feels homey and happy. I wouldn’t change it because this is where my kids will grow up, it’s where my husband and I do little house project to make it feel more like it’s ‘ours’ (rather than the banks which I guess it technically still is) and it’s spacious enough that we can each have our own little areas to chill out in. Having said all that I sometimes look around at what I have and I think, “if (God forbid) I were to die tomorrow and my family went through my stuff, they would probably throw it all away anyway!” My ‘stuff’ would mean nothing to them. I love all things paper, stationery, books, art etc and I have collected quite a few bits and bobs and to me they are things I enjoy, but to my parents they would be obsolete and possibly weird.
The idea of living in a house no bigger than a flat-bed trailer is something that has always seemed near to impossible to me simply because it wouldn’t fit my current lifestyle but I have always secretly wanted my own little space, away from the house and the noise, that I would call my Potting Shed. This space would be mine alone and it would be filled with the things that make me happy; arts and crafts items, books, music and a nice comfy space to just do nothing in. Oh, and a stove so I could make tea! If my situation was different I’m sure I would hop onto the Tiny House bandwagon and find a beautiful spot in the middle of Caithness and happily live in seclusion amongst the beautiful hills and heather.
The documentary itself followed the journey of a young man called Christopher Smith who, after travelling most of his life, wanted to have a place he could call ‘Home’. After months of research he decided he would build a Tiny home before driving it onto a parcel of land he owned in Colorado. What he thought would be a quick and easy three month build actually became a year long adventure but he got through it with the help of his friends and family. It was really inspiring to watch him build his home; he had no building experience whatsoever but with the help of the always glorious YouTube, he did it! I felt something near to pride towards him by the end of the film as he parked his new Tiny House and stood looking out over the vast, stunning landscape around him.
During the documentary various Tiny House owners were asked what their home meant to them and why they chose to go small rather than big and for many it was a financial decision, as well and a health decision. The recession in America showed many that bigger was not better and a make or break choice had to be made. For others their well-being became the pivotal point in their decision as to whether they remained desperately unhappy trying to pay off an enormous mortgage or to completely overhaul their lives for their own betterment and sanity. One woman in particular made the idea of living small seem totally reasonable; after being diagnosed with a serious health issue she was forced to re-evaluate her life and she came to the conclusion that life was too important to waste on mundane things like stressing over bill payments and job pressures. She moved into an 86 sq ft home with her dog and now looks at everyday as a blessing in which she lives as best she can. She had no idea if she would live a further 6 weeks or 6 years but she felt confident knowing she was living her life in the way she wanted to – at peace with her surroundings and happy with what she had.
If you get a chance to watch the documentary I highly recommend it, even if it’s just out of sheer curiosity. It’s currently streaming on Netflix but you can also buy the DVD. You can see a trailer and find more info here.