You would think I’d be shocked when I learned that you could take almost 5 average homes from Hong Kong and put them all into 1 average home from Australia. But given how we seem to embrace the concept of bigger is better to an extreme, I don’t doubt it for a minute. No wonder the tiny house movement is taking the world by storm.

Allan and I prided ourselves when we were moving from our 1,400 square foot townhouse to the little to us 700 square foot home, when in reality our home now is about the average for several countries, including the UK, and is probably a palace for others.  A tiny house for us here in North America, might just be the norm in other countries.  I don’t want to get into that argument really, but I did want to go over what tiny living is to us in the land of the bigger the house, the better person you are.

The Definition

When we started this journey, I searched all over the internet to see if there was one single definition, but was unable to find it. It seems that every website or blog has their own and I guess here we will be no different.

To us a tiny house or tiny living takes into account a lot of factors. First off we will start with what most people think is the deciding factor – size

Does Size Really Matter?

We don’t mean it in that way – but size is an important factor when it comes to a tiny house. However, there isn’t really a one size fits all answer to what is a tiny house. Some websites or blogs say it must be under 400 square feet. This seems to be the most accepted number. If you are over this and under 1,000 square feet you would be considered a “small” house. Now others go out of this norm and classify anything  under 600 square foot as a tiny home and under 1,000 would still be in the small house definition.

But what if you have a house that is 401 or 601 square feet? Who knows – there is no real answer; but to us – you can be included if you wanna be!

Now what about us? Do we think size matters to be included in tiny living? Of course – but we don’t really believe it has to be a specific number or your out of the club. Obviously if you have a 4,000 square foot mansion where you need an intercom system to find your spouse then maybe we would raise a bit of an issue if you were claiming to live in a tiny house! Would you blame us?

So don’t get stuck on the number – its important but not the number one factor (and I might get shot by other firm believers for this out of the norm statement).

Is a tiny house all in the design?

For most people, when they think of a tiny house, they picture the miniature houses built on wheels, peaked roof and all, following behind the brand new shiny pick up truck. That is exactly the image that comes to my mind when someone says tiny house.

In reality though, I believe there is so much more to it and so many more options than to be stuck in this one rigid idea. To us the world is your canvas when it comes to thinking about what a tiny house is. Some of these include:

  • A Skoolie (a school bus converted to an “RV”)
  • Any Recreational Vehicle that you call home – whether it is a travel trailer, a 5th wheel, a motorhome or a truck camper.
  • A van conversion (same as a skoolie but converting a van)
  • Tipi, shipping containers, even an airplane
  • Any other ideas you could possibly come up with – make sure to let us know as we would love to hear them

If you want,  you can also check out our posts on all the different types of tiny houses:

How to Choose an RV: Pros and Cons of Motorhomes

How to Choose an RV: Pros and Cons of Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels and Toy Haulers

Do you have to be an Environmentalist or Financial Savant?

The list of reasons people enter the tiny life can probably be never-ending, but the top reasons for going with a tiny house are:

Environmental

I am all for saving the environment and for some, tiny house living helps them on their path to do just that.

Most tiny houses are self-sufficient meaning that they can generate their own electricity, carry their own water, have their own waste water disposal  and are often equipped with a composting toilet. Being “off the grid” is just one way tiny living helps the environment around us.

Also, given the limited space that a tiny house takes up and the significantly smaller amount of materials used, this type of building has less of a carbon footprint than “normal” size homes and building methods.

Some people will build their tiny house out of 100% all up-cycled materials.

Financial Savant

For some people, living in a tiny house alleviates some of the financial pressures that today’s society puts on us. With housing prices skyrocketing and consumers having an average of $22,000 in debt, it is hard to think that we can ever really get ahead.

Now is the tiny house movement the answer to our financial woes? Maybe

For some, moving into a tiny house can be the only chance at home ownership that they are ever going to get. Sticks and bricks homes are being priced farther and farther out of reach for a lot of people. For others, it might be an escape from the rent trap or from the insane mortgage payments they have to make each month.

Another bonus, if you do own your own home already, is getting the equity out of your home and purchasing a tiny house outright can possibly allow you to finally take care of that credit card debt, student loans or car loans and once and for all be mortgage free.

The idea of being totally debt-free is very motivating!

However, just moving into a tiny house doesn’t alleviate all costs of living. The biggest factors are going to be where you are going to park it. It is unlikely you can just park it on a street and live their rent free! Not that I would really want to do this anyway.

There are options for free camping such as boondocking but once in a while (or always depending on who you are) you are going to want to stay at a real campground with showers and hookups! In Canada, these are not cheap and can easily take over your mortgage payment and then some if you are not careful. There are ways around these costs as well – but you have to be prepared for some costs associated with where you are parking your tiny house!

Mindset and Adventure

Above are the two main reasons I see across the web for moving into a tiny house. For us though a big one is simply our mindset!

This life we are all living is not a dress rehearsal – it is our one and only! Personally, we do not want to waste it working in unfulfilling jobs, rarely if ever getting time to be out in nature (where we both thrive). We also don’t want to wait until we are of retirement age when we might not be able to do all the things we want to do. Even with a full pension – it is unlikely we could afford it either.

Another reason is travel and adventure. We want to see the world and tiny living gives us an opportunity to do this without less financial pressure. We want to experience all this beautiful world has to offer!

Tiny Living Is Whatever You Want It to Be

To us, tiny living is really just a mindset that simply makes life fun and adventure more important than the stuff that is filling up your home. We believe that life isn’t a dress rehearsal – you got one shot at it so do what you want, do what you love and have one hell of a ride!

So what are your reasons for taking up the tiny life?