Every once and a while I discover a new obsession when it comes to buying stuff, keeping stuff and organizing stuff. If you are a regular reader, you will know that I discovered The Minimalists a couple of years ago, and have been a faithful follower of the movement ever since. I continue to embrace minimalism in my own life as best I can. In fact, I recently moved from my 3-bedroom home to a 600 square foot apartment! I truly believe that the easiest path to an organized life and greater simplicity is through having less stuff in my life. I love it!
Well, I have also discovered an entire posse of people who have embraced something called the Tiny House Movement. The coolest thing is, we have a group of such like-minded people right here in Nova Scotia. I have been hearing rumblings of “tiny” or “micro” in the real estate market in larger cities. Developers are building micro condos to try to make a downtown condo affordable to more people no matter how tiny it might be. And younger people are looking at building a tiny house in order to be able to more easily afford their first home. Others embracing life in a tiny house crave the freedom of living in a small space with no stuff.
It’s not quite as simple as you would think to define what qualifies as a tiny house, but my sources tell me it’s anything under around 350 square feet. Although, anything over 300 square feet is considered big by tiny house standards. Yes, I did say 350 not 1350! The average square footage is about 285 square feet or thereabouts. If you do the math, that does mean that your tiny house is 8 feet wide and 35 feet long.
One of the main struggles for this movement is that building codes in most provinces and states require a house to be a minimum number of square feet in order for it to be a permanent structure. In Halifax that minimum is 900 square feet (huge by tiny house standards). Therefore, in order to build a tiny house it has to qualify as an RV and has to be built on a platform with wheels so it can be moved. And you’re technically not allowed to live in your tiny house in the winter because it’s an RV. Do you get where I’m going with this?
I’m told Texas is the only state that has tiny house communities right now. Other tiny house villages are starting to spring up in California and Washington and plans are in the works in British Columbia. This happens very slowly as residents must actually petition and pay to have zoning laws changed to allow for them to build their miniature abode.
Most of the local Halifax Tiny House Movement members seem to be do-it-yourselfers. There are lots of building plans for sale online or you can design your own from scratch. I found a bunch of builders across North America who offer plans for sale and are offering tiny house building as a specialty if you don’t want to do it yourself.
Could you live in a tiny house? I’m not sure I could. After watching a couple of tiny house videos on YouTube, I estimate that I could probably manage to share a minimum of about 500 square feet with one other person but that would be pushing it. You certainly do have to embrace the Minimalist movement before you even think about embracing the Tiny House Movement. Check out HGTV for shows about tiny houses. I know, one more reason to be even more obsessed!
Could you live in less than 350 square feet? Would you be willing to live in a tiny house? What might it mean to make the move?