Tiny Houses Suck!

This is a guest post and reprint from a fairly new blog in the Tiny House Community. The blog is called the Tiny House Life and brings a new angle to our growing community. This is very interesting read and provokes some thoughts. What is your reaction? What do you think? Please comment below. Here is the article…

No the website hasn’t been taken over by Russian Hackers, they are trying though, No you haven’t entered into the twilight zone or some rift in the Space-Time continuum. But I was answering an email of a reader who asked about Tiny Houses and hurricanes. It got me thinking….

I am a very opinionated person, I love debate; What I love even more is debating an indefensible position. I like to indulge the opposing view on strongly held beliefs, so that I can see if my stance needs adjustment or potentially, I could be wrong about it all. The point is, I try not to only listen to people who agree with me on things. It is like a Christian (let’s not get bogged down by the topic of religion on this example) talking with an Atheist about God, it allows both parties to test their views, to adjust their idea and bring new thoughts to both sides. So here it goes!

Tiny Houses are completely impractical! They are too small to be a viable option for a normal person’s needs. From the get-go, you instantly outcast yourself because of social norms and influences. Social norms, regardless of if they are right or wrong, still exist and to go against them, will be to your disadvantage.

There are tons of examples of how going against the grain with your tiny house can impact you in a negative way. With your tiny house, you often have to live under the radar of building code and tax assessors. This poses a big risk if you are discovered and turned in. Potentially you could be removed from your own land; you could be charged fines/back taxes or at the very least, your neighbors could begrudge you.

Since you have to build your house and keep it on land where building codes prohibit it being there and you don’t pay your taxes because you haven’t been assessed, you are, by law, illegal. You are no longer a law abiding citizen. Your neighbors will never appreciate someone who doesn’t pay thousands of dollars in taxes, like they have to, but still uses all the services of the town/city.

Speaking of money, many people will see a tiny house as a cheapskate’s way to live. In this world, unfortunately money talks, you have to have it and without it, you can’t do much in this world. Let’s say you are a single male, you met this great girl. After a few dates, things are going well, which leads to you bringing her home. What the hell is she going to think when your car is bigger then the house you live in? Even if she goes with it, it’s possible at this point that you might have been drinking on your date, but now – as you make your way to the bed – you somehow have to navigate a tiny ladder and hope not to break your neck.

Even if she goes for it, even if she has a good time, what is she going to do the next morning? Go tell her friends. Now if you are in a hippy town, you might be able to capitalize on this, but for the majority of you, this will not be the case. That girl is going to tell her friends who will then make a comment like “so he lives in a mobile home?” or “is he so cheap he can’t afford a house?” or “he sounds immature, he needs to get his life in order”. Regardless of how great of a time she had social norms will force her to never talk to you again.

Bigger IS better, bigger house, bigger bank account, more space to store things you just have to have, and a bigger rock on your fiancés finger. If you can’t do all these things, your social and professional life will suffer. If people at work find out that you live in a house on wheels, they will think of you as homeless, a transient, and most likely think that you live the way you do because you managed your money so poorly.

Why would a person making $70k a year live in a 100 square foot house unless they were so broke that they had to? This will come back on you; your boss starts to wonder how well you can actually handle a budget, because in your personal life your finances are managed so you seem “poor”. Even if you explain it, that it was a choice, it is from so far left field that no one will believe you.

Lacking of space for key things is a huge issue. There are some things you simply have to have which take up a lot of space: a washer and Dryer, a real toilet, regular fridge. All these things take up allot of space. They are necessities and not having them is not practical. Doing laundry at a laundry mat is a pain in the ass, it costs a chunk of change and undoubtedly there is that one really sketchy person who feels the need to talk your ear off! A small fridge and no pantry means you have to make extra trips to the store for things you can’t fit, here’s to saving the environment.

The biggest concern is safety/liability. Living in a tiny house means that it is very susceptible to high winds, severe weather and if a tree fall on your roof, you’re dead! Fires can rip through the entire house in no time flat and being that it’s on a trailer; people can steal your whole house! Take this and compound it with the fact that you can not insure it, you essentially have a $20k-$50k liability.

Of course all these things don’t matter unless you have a fat bank account, because you can’t get a loan to build it. No bank will take on this loan; it is an unsecured loan because the house, in a normal market has literally no value.

So to sum it up. Living in a tiny house means several things: You are cheap, you social and professional life will suffer, which means you seemed “poor” but you are now actually are poor. Forget about getting married, because her family will never approve, and her friends will call you cheap. Your house will be swept away in a flash flood and you didn’t have insurance on it so you are out 10’s of thousands of dollars. All in all it doesn’t make a strong case for tiny houses.

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Adam - February 11, 2010 Reply

Where to start. I’m not sure if the writer actually doesn’t like tiny houses, or if it was a test to find the downsides of tiny houses. It seems to me that this person is really hung up on social norms. Obviously someone living in one of these probably doesn’t care about that, and probably would surround themselves with people who don’t care as well. Often the people who build these don’t have a lot of money so 70K a year living in a tiny house seems an extreme example. This is too long already…guess I’m done. I’m Adam btw, will be building a tiny house soon.

biscuitninja - February 11, 2010 Reply

You make interesting points. BUT as far as taxes go, you could rent. In which case the taxes you pay on personal and federal taxes are quite large. With no house to offset your tax base, you end up paying… and boy do you pay.

As far as safety goes, I have a small container house build in SoCal. It is about 450 sqft. Not exactly tiny, but it is rated for a 50 FOOT snow load, 4+ hrs of fire resistance to direct flame. When anchored properly the house as a wind resistance of 60+ mph continuous (Forever). I do agree the space is VERY small and it does prevent you from having a more robust social life. But part of the small lifestyle is modularity. I have solved this problem by setting up a “multi residence” on a different small piece of land. I can have several visitors over as well as rent them out when i’m not there.

I would say ingenuity is it spice that brings these small houses to life.

good luck

Patricia Wehner - February 11, 2010 Reply

O.K….he’s entitled to his voice, but.. You CAN insure it. And if you need that much stuff, and care that much about others’ opinions, then that’s a personal problem. And as I tell everybody who hates hurricanes – THEN DON’T BE AN IDIOT – DON’T LIVE ON THE COAST!!!! I love tiny houses – we’re talking freedom here.

Veronica Bradbury - February 11, 2010 Reply

Well you have some good points I guess, if caring what other think of you is a problem you have. The only thing that I can relate to is the tiny house not being insured. Your argument that space for things is nessasary, really only applies to people who think they need stuff to be happy. It all depends on how you view life. If a person is under the impression that you are important if you own junk, then they will not fit the tiny house life style. If a person is content with living free of clutter and unnessasary household items then the only problem I can see is there is no argument that could change my mind.

Lucas - February 11, 2010 Reply

Wow, so much to say, so little space and time. These sound like the rhetorical musings of someone playing contrarian, rather than truly disavowing the Tiny House Movement. But, I’ll bite. So, social norms. Aren’t breaking social norms the goal here? Afterall, social norms of everybody following lockstep in to buying a house they can’t afford seems to go so well in America. Well behaved people rarely make a difference.(to paraphrase/borrow from a popular bumper slogan) As for zoning codes and being kicked off my own property, etc.: is this the “freedom” someone keeps whispering in my ear about? When someone tells me I shouldn’t or can’t, I just want to do that more. People of Tiny House, unite!

ian - February 11, 2010 Reply

The points have already been addressed and the reasoning too shabby to bother arguing with.

Larry - February 11, 2010 Reply

LOL, this is a plot to draw more visitors to the writers blog.

This is an old trick, go against the grain to get more comments, visitors, reactions, etc…

Raise your hand If you fell for it! 😉

Lesle Mora - February 11, 2010 Reply

There was no trick or ploy, he basically stated he was playing devil’s advocate.

The point of the post, which I think he accomplished, was to highlight issues that people living in a tiny house might encounter. And they would be advised to at least think about them and how they would deal with them before taking the plunge.

-billS - February 11, 2010 Reply

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. -the dude.

Kane - February 11, 2010 Reply

I thought that one of the underpinning ideas of tiny houses was to step outside the norms of society. Sounds like the writer is stuck with a bad case of affluenza.

Finally as for his comments about cash being king, visit the Guardian website here


and here


and read about cashless man.

chesapeake - February 11, 2010 Reply

I think everyone needs to go back and read this article again, particularly the first few paragraphs.

The whole point of this article is to provide the common reasoning AGAINST tiny houses so we can all be better prepared when we face these criticisms ourselves. It’s like studying the opposing view in politics so you can better defend your own. The author is pro-tiny homes (hence the blog name of “Tiny House Life”), but has clearly written out the typical response from most people who just don’t get the tiny lifestyle.

Thanks for posting this! I enjoyed the message.

Carolyn Pearson - February 11, 2010 Reply

Codes? Should be finding an area where you can live in a RV in the first place. Many areas you are allow to live/camp while building (which is what I’ll be doing). Gee, it might take 4+ yrs to finsh…….

There are also different levels of “tiny” under 100 sq ft. & then under 200 sq ft.. I have a design at 160′ (8′ x 20′) with a Apt Frig & double bowl kitchen sink, w/just under 5′ of counter space, as I COOK! Guestbed/couch/storage, dining, & even an “office”. I could push it to 22′ & put a washer in it. Personally laundrymats don’t bother me, if I can do my shopping close by? Always line dried anyways. I’d rather put a 18″ dishwasher in! I had one in, til I cut down to a 20′ trailer.

And if you “care” what other people think? That’s YOUR problem in the first place. And why so many people are up to their necks in debt.

Paddy - February 11, 2010 Reply

I built my tiny house on a trailer to house my Family that come up from Chicago for a Visit. Yes my tiny Cedar Cabin on wheels is very unique and different in appearance than a conventional Cabin but it serves a very specific need for me. It serves as a spare bedroom or guest house. Would I want to live in my little house full time? Yes I would. It’s just the right size for Me. If I were a single man I would move in it today. By the way my neighbors love my little cedar cabin on a trailer.

Idgie - February 11, 2010 Reply

This lifeform actually displays a sort of prideful indignance in being an active member of the socioeconomic practices destructively consuming the planet. Fascinating, Captain. What could have caused such an illogical aberration in this species?

Epperson - February 11, 2010 Reply

Alright, I’ll take a crack at it…

The spate of collectivism and progressive policies have made individualism and self-reliance a legal obstacle. As it stands, the government is growing at a rapid clip. The Federal Reserve’s printing press coupled with toxic Keynesian Economic Policies have created unstable levels of inflation. Further encroachment on small businesses in the form of regulation, intervention and price-fixing has stifled investments and growth.

The argument for establishing a Tiny House business is therefore unsound and untenable in this climate. Many have in fact closed up shop and some are near bankruptcy.

Monty Rutherford - February 11, 2010 Reply

Who says that you have to live full time in a
tiny house? I’m interested in a tiny house as a
cottage to vacation in and what’s wrong with
that. Unfortunately, even in many remote areas,
there are unreasonable building codes that
mandate that even a recreational structure have
electrical, plumbing and a minimum square
footage that make it suitable for permanent
habitation. I only wish to spend about 3 weeks
per year in it so it doesn’t make sense to
spend about $200,000 and heat it and spend
thousands each year on taxes. Think about
what that does to the environment for 3 weeks
of fun. I only wanted to build a 12×16 cabin
without water, septic (I will use a sawdust
toilet) or electrical on my rural property in
Nova Scotia, Canada and legally cannot. A
permit is required here for all structures over
108 sq. ft. and you can only get a permit for a larger
accessory (storage) building if you have an
existing dwelling on it. I will probably build a
smaller 12 x 12 cabin/shed without a permit
as many of my neighbors have done and hope
that I don’t get bothered. The point I’m trying
to make is that tiny homes are a rational
reasonable response to zoning laws that are
too intrusive and not very eco friendly.


Freth - February 11, 2010 Reply

For 3 years now I’ve lived in 386 sq ft … and Have STUFF that I haven’t even used … much less looked at . In fact, some of that STUFF has basically been in storage for 15 years. Do you think I could do without it? Anyway, it’s true that we don’t normally invite more than 4 people (or two couples) over to eat dinner. We could probably squeeze in more … standing around. or gather outside for dinner in the summer-time. We have some friends, but we aren’t really big on social events.

While I am in the process of collecting materials (and buying a few) … I will slowly be taking my trailer apart to see how all the wiring and plumbing was done … and to rescue for re-use many things (stove, refrigerator, shower, water pump, tanks, etc.).

We’ve lived in a mobile home before … a LOT of people are living in them now … some places won’t allow single-wides on your property … but will allow double-wides. They are not taxed like a house. They are taxed like they are just another car or camping trailer.

In the meantime, my wife is looking at a 1325 sq ft house … which has all kinds of rooms and space that we would have absolutely no use for. $89,000 mortgage … total cost $270,000 … monthly payment of $550 – $600+ a month (with tax title & insurance). Compare that to accumulating $10,000 – $20,000 in materials and building your own home within a year … with the option of building additional support buildings for just $2,000 – $3,000.

I’ve lived in them, but don’t care for BIG cities … besides, it costs a lot just to exist at poverty level in them. I’m not young with great earning potential in front of me … I don’t like working full-time or driving truck all the time for weeks on end. Therefore, a small place that I build and possibly put on my own land (COMPLETELY PAID FOR) … gives me the option of having time to do other things … work part-time … and have more than enough to live.

How many U-Haul trucks have you seen following the hearse to the cemetery? And on the occasions when that is done … you can always count on there being “grave robbers”. (or Lawyers & bankers) You just can’t take it with you.

Enough of my rant … there’s a rummage sale coming up … and I’m going to contribute generously to it ….

LEE - February 11, 2010 Reply

Tiny houses, for the most part are not for conformists. I have never been a conformist,in the first grade or at my age of 58. I don’t care what the Joneses think, the assessor thinks or a potential mate thinks. This is my way of living. I’m self employed, work at home out of a 464 sq. ft. house and really don’t care about societel norms or pleasing anyone but myself and Marvin my 12 year old cat.
Peace,Love and Anarchy

Antibubba - February 11, 2010 Reply

“There was no trick or ploy, he basically stated he was playing devil’s advocate”

“The whole point of this article is to provide the common reasoning AGAINST tiny houses so we can all be better prepared when we face these criticisms ourselves. It’s like studying the opposing view in politics so you can better defend your own. The author is pro-tiny homes (hence the blog name of “Tiny House Life”), but has clearly written out the typical response from most people who just don’t get the tiny lifestyle.”

The posting is filled with grammatical and spelling errors, but the guest poster’s own blog is not. Are we to assume that the small-house hater is supposed to be a moron? If so, it is a grave mistake.

Most of the opposition to tiny houses will be ignorance of the hows and whys, but to call them stupid does a disservice to them and us. Many of the commenters are dismissive of his criticisms because of this attitude. We may not be able to so easily dismiss the well-intentioned questions and challenges posed by the general public or civil authorities; if you want us to be prepared, then present us with real challenges.

RLW - February 11, 2010 Reply

Hmmm… I live on a 34 foot boat (have for a bunch of years in fact) and all of the arguements I hear regarding small and tiny houses are kind of old hat as they are common currency in the you can’t live on a boat ting and somewhat boring. The point is they do make sense and the only person you have to please is yourself.

Written from anchor in St Croix

Brand - February 11, 2010 Reply

I must live in an unusual town, but I confess to not having researched all the relevant civil codes to truly tiny houses (200 sqft and less). I’m fairly sketchy on small houses, but they’ve obviously been built here before and are well considered (i.e. not stigmatized). We have a few dozen 100 year-old houses in the 350-500 sqft range, right in town. It’s not frowned upon, but Colorado is a little hippy, at least in the big towns. My city also has a Zero Energy District policy, where it’s trying to rely more on wind energy and have massively more efficient homes. It’s also getting big on fighting urban sprawl, which is straining our services like fire, police and ambulance. I imagine if you pitched them a 400 sqft green home as urban infill, you would get proper consideration. I’m assuming standard hookups for water, sewer, and electric, but it *would* be infill, after all. Now, I honestly doubt they’d consider a plan you developed by yourself, to be built by yourself, unless you were a licensed architect and/or construction expert.

Rambling aside, here’s my point. Small homes are embraced in certain cities, and even valued for their energy efficiency and as an infill solution to sprawl.

The responses to this thread do raise an interesting question, though. Many people pontificated about being non-conformist… so how many folks here want a small house specifically to *be* non-conformist? i.e. if we all lived in 500 sqft houses, would you be shooting for 50-75, just to hit that fringe on the bell curve again?

For me it’s about energy efficiency, short commute, being in the middle of city life and general minimalism.

Carol - February 11, 2010 Reply

Hi all.
He does bring up some good points. Where will you put your small house? Once it is built you need to put it somewhere. Around my town there is nowhere to put it that is legal. You are not allowed to live in an RV within town limits. With building codes you are not allowed to plunk it on just any piece of property and live in it. Even if it is your own piece of property it may not be legal. This is my problem. I would love to be able to build and live in one but where to live is the problem. I may have one option which is a mobile trailer park, but is it even legal there. They usually have limits on what they allow on their sites. SO i think is one of the things that has been holding me back, once I fugure this out I hope to move ahead and break free of societies norms and buck the trend and live small!!

Sue B - February 11, 2010 Reply

I am low-income disabled. If I could find a way to buy and build or have one built, I would FIND a place to put it, solar and wind power it and be happy and free with a small garden.
Fortunately, I live in a small hippie town with perfect climate. Yay Bisbee. there are more shanty’s here than anywhere and all other homes are mostly 100+ years old.

Sue B - February 11, 2010 Reply

PS I HATE RENTING, Landlords are mostly JERKS.

Michael - February 11, 2010 Reply

It’s amazing how sarcasm and controversy gets us all thinking. Thanks for posting here Kent. Nice job making us all think Ryan.

Stan - February 11, 2010 Reply

None of the arguments were valid, or at least not in every case. Also, I didn’t feel that the author really sees tiny homes as a disadvantage. He took the bonuses and tried to find negatives. It also is not researched very well. I was really looking forward to an argument to the tiny house I want to build this summer.

Kent, you need to research and find some real negatives.

Bob - February 11, 2010 Reply

Awesome, Get a Real BIG House, Breaking the law,building permits, lower taxes,low income. I belt this person lives in a TINY house.

Sue B - February 11, 2010 Reply

Here’s a reality check for the blogger:
I see Tiny Houses as a possible solution for many low-income/disabled and homeless people. Where I live, it would work. I am 8 miles from Mexico border.

here’s a breakdown: I get SSDI about $1200 a month which is a LOT compared to most. I am single, 53yrs, glad I made a lot of money when I could work.
I pay over HALF my income in rent and hundreds in utilities. I go hungry one week a month cuz I don’t qualify for any assistance such as food stamps.
JUST IMAGINE if I could save a FRACTION of my rent and utilities! Maybe could fix my car, maybe could eat what I need to stay well, and maybe could eat every day.
= Less dependance on Fed/State agencies, off grid, all of it.
I only dream of such an existance now.

    Mike Mac - February 12, 2010 Reply

    Maybe there is an alternative – What if like minded people got together One three day weekend a month and started building one every weekend? That’s 52 a year. Call it the “New Community Plan” Depending on the space and the number of people this could take less time. We lay out a plan, a empty building or lot and have a independence party.

Josh - February 11, 2010 Reply

I think some people are missing the fact that the writer was writing an opposing view on purpose. I think some of these points are certainly valid though. I see posters on here dismissing the points about societal norms as irrelevant, but I, for one, don’t see them as completely without merit. I don’t know what the typical demographic is for the small house community, and I probably fall outside of it. I enjoy the idea of small house living, but much of it seems impractical. Forget the building codes, insurance, and lack of space for a moment. I’m 30 years old and unmarried; I can appreciate the awkwardness of bringing a new girl home to you miniature house. And there certainly wouldn’t be enough room to live with any of the women I’ve ever known. Even if you could make that work, you’d have to rule out having children. Superbowl parties or barbeques could pretty much be ruled out as well. And you wouldn’t have room to put up a decent size TV without sitting a few feet from it. I’m also an accountant, and a law student. Who’s going to take me seriously professionally when they find out I live in a building smaller than a garage? I agree that it would lead people to believe you can’t manage your finances/life.

I may build a tiny house one day, for a weekend getaway/hunting cabin. But societal pressures, and the special needs of a “normal” lifestyle require something more. It seems like it would be a neat adventure, something to try for a little while, but too impractical to do long-term.

    Carol - February 15, 2010 Reply

    Okay a couple of things, How much space do you really need? Do you put on your resume what you live in? Do they ask at your interview?
    Does it really matter that your house is small but your bank account is huge? Is the girl that comes home with you that bad of a choice that she can’t understand and accept the way you live? And what says you can’t upgrade to a larger small house when you choose to grow your family. If you whole heartedly want to live small there is always a way, even if it is not as small as 130 square feet small.
    Just because everyone else does it does not mean you need to do it to. If that is the case then you need to gain a back bone and be strong enough to buck the trend.

Anna - February 11, 2010 Reply

When I bought my 58 acre farm, I didn’t have much money left for building, so my husband-to-be and I dragged a 40 year old trailer onto the property. We got the trailer for free, due to its age, and spent about $2,000 getting the driveway to a state where we could move the trailer in and then moving it in. Since then we’ve been living in our 500 square foot trailer quite happily!

It’s amazing how when you’re spending almost nothing on housing, you can do the things you really want to do — we only do paid work a day or two a week, and spend the rest of the time writing, photographing, and playing with our farm. Personally, I think that a tiny house is a great test for potential suitors — anyone who would have been scared off by our trailer isn’t someone I’d want to share my life with!

As for space — we’ve found that 500 square feet is loads of space to live in. Granted, I’m a certified treehugger, so I do my laundry with a wringer washer outside and dry it on the line, so no need to fit that inside. Our freezer, where we store all of our garden veggies (which feed us all year long), is also outside — we only go to the grocery store every week or two.

Once we started running a small business, though, we did need a bit more space. So now we’re building tiny house number two — a 160 square foot outbuilding that is nearly completed for under $1,500! Who says you need to spend a lot of money on a tiny house?

Kevin Lura - February 11, 2010 Reply

These are excellent points and something I think everyone here should consider.

Consider these points as goals. Something to try and eliminate so others can enjoy tiny houses.

Did you think that maybe these complaints are from people who are living in tiny houses and have found there are issues?

william - February 11, 2010 Reply

How hard would it be to go to the town hall and change the building code on a plot of land to make a tiny house legal?

    Gayle - September 18, 2010 Reply

    That depends on where you are. Some cities would do it fairly readily and some would never do it. Most might be talked into it depending on where the land is, what’s around it, and some other factors. But don’t get the idea that it would be easy. In almost any city big enough to have building or zoning codes, it would be time consuming even if you did finally get approval.

Mat - February 11, 2010 Reply

To tell you the truth, I’m almost positive that tiny houses–as full-time residences–won’t work for Western families. And I’d expect that more often than not, its people with families speaking out and legislating against tiny houses, shacks, etc. All of the points made have some credibility, though they are all very right-wing-alarmist sounding. It is ironic then, that the right-wing-alarmists are always posturing (pretending?) for less government involvement.
The fact of the matter is that McMansions were (are) always on one end of the housing spectrum and tiny houses are on the other. Both are impractical for exactly opposite reasons. The McMansion sucks. The tiny house sucks. But there’s a lot we can learn from each extreme–about how there’s got to be a happy medium.
Many of us here believe in more than just tiny houses. We believe in a medium of conservation. I’m no hybrid-driving tree-hugger, but I can appreciate a waste-not, want-not philosophy. It was good enough for my grandparents and it’s good enough for me and mine. There was a reason the 1920s were a tremendous build-up to a tremendous suck, and those who forget the past are determined to repeat it. But not me. And not a lot of you.

alice - February 11, 2010 Reply

Of course tiny houses don’t work for everybody, for a variety of reasons, but for those that find it satisfying and possible it’s a great option. Finding a place to build or keep your tiny house is likely the most difficult issue but one that you can solve by diligent research. There are plenty of people living in larger houses and apartments without washers and dryers so that’s kind of a non-issue. You can obviously install a decent, fully functional bathroom in a tiny house if that’s your choice because there are many examples in this very blog of people that have done it. Social concerns crop up for all kinds of situations but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to slot yourself into someone else’s idea of what you should be doing, how much money you should have etc. You either like what you’re doing or you don’t and it either works or it doesn’t. Tweak your life until you get the balance that works best for you and anybody you’re responsible for. Tiny houses don’t suck, being stuck in a life you don’t like sucks.

Biff Dyskolos - February 11, 2010 Reply

While I do not agree with some of the posts statements – about social norms in particular – I do have my own concerns about the small house movement in general.

There are a lot of sites that do stress the *cheap* aspect of small houses. I am not talking about downsizing and reducing your foot print. These are sound ideas. But building homes from pallets and emphasizing how cheaply you built your home doesn’t do any justice to the movement, IMHO.

Also, on this blog and others, there are an increasing number of post about small homes for sale. This makes it look like more people that have built small homes are looking to sell them rather than live in them.

I also have concerns about the lack of utilities, such as laundry, may add costs in time, money, and lifestyle changes that are not being considered.

Finally, those of use who would like a small home because they can not afford (or want) a conventional home probably can not afford the land on which to build it. This may result in externalizing some of the costs of small home ownership onto friends and family. parking on their land, using their water and their electricity. I prefer to be independent and not to impose myself on my friends and family.

Matt - February 11, 2010 Reply

…some people have Tiny Minds!

Jenn - February 11, 2010 Reply

I would be more amused by the guest post if it acknowledged that women build (and are interested in) small houses too.

I think living in a small house or boat (legally) would be awesome. But I think in my case it is more a “makes a good story” not “creepy”, and anyone who wants to assume I don’t have assets…well, clearly they are not my accountants, and that is on a need to know.

jenine alexander - February 11, 2010 Reply

“Forget about getting married, because her family will never approve, and her friends will call you cheap.”

thanks for making that lovely assumption, again, that builders are men.

Sue B - February 11, 2010 Reply

I am sooo disappointed in many of the commenters.
I mean, REALLY.
How many people would do just about ANYTHING for shelter and be PROUD to have any house, much less a cool, Tiny, off grid or solar supported house!

ME ME ME ME most disabled have lousy credit due to medical expenses. I can’t even buy my meds/supplements!

And you guys… sheesh, go ahead and date a material gyrl, see where it lands you. Shows just what yer about, the kind of girl you land. As a former Cover Girl model, I know what upkeep is all about.

SOME girls would think it’s really cool and none would expect you to stay there forever.
Leave it to the guys to worry about getting laid when in reality, many girls would give you points for being eco, and not cheap but RESOURCEFUL.

Sue B - February 11, 2010 Reply

Ya, I get that the blogger was playing Devil’s Advocate. I like it, I DO it too.

It the folks agreeing that hurts.

Disability/Illness/whatever, can happen to anyone, yet EVERYONE needs and deserves the basic essentials of life and too many right here in the uSA are NOT getting any of it.

Then, let’s talk about what it would do for emergency situations such as Haiti.

Then, lets talk about the average size of homes in China and elsewhere in Europe. Or Africa. Or Mexico.
Can you sayyyyyy Ugly Americans? I can see them. Right here. Go ahead, consume your childrens’ and grandchildrens’ futures.

    DM - October 17, 2010 Reply

    I love your thought…
    How many people would do just about ANYTHING for shelter and be PROUD to have any house, much less a cool, Tiny, off grid or solar supported house!”

    Excellent comment, Sue! Most of the world lives in what we would consider tiny houses. What is NORMAL for most of the world, we as Americans have to struggle to adjust to.

    Most [homeless or not] would enjoy more peace of mind in a well-planned Tiny Solar Home, without the stress that being a slave to debt or homelessness brings.

    If we as Americans don’t downsize, we’ll realize in future economic downturns that we’ve missed an opportunity to keep a roof over our heads, as more homes are foreclosed. There’s nothing wrong with downsizing to the point of being debt-free, building debt-free, then expanding on a debt-free basis. We don’t truly own any home that has debt… the BANK owns it!

    More power to you as you move toward tiny-homeownership… I’m praying opportunities open for both of us. 🙂

Jon - February 12, 2010 Reply

To be concise, “DO NOT SUCK!”

Kelly - February 12, 2010 Reply

Tis precisely this attitude that sends me searching for a tiny house. I don’t want room for this type person to visit!

JT - February 12, 2010 Reply

Although he did make some good points, I’ll say this.
When the bottom falls out of the ecomony and we enter a depression worse that the great depression all those who have made or purchased tini homes on wheels will still have a home to go to instead of having to live in tent city’s like they did during the great depression.
I’m disabled and my wife and I live in a small 1 level Ranch House ( 977 square feet ) with a small one car garage that is attached to our home, and it’s in a nice neighborhood ( It’s really all we need ). But I would love to have a Tini House just for a backup place to live should something happen to our house.
Since most Tini Houses are built very well we could also use them, register them and insure them as a home made camper and we could use it for camping on the mountain in the summer time. ( We live at the base of The Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming ) I love them Tini Log Homes on wheels. All my life I have wanted a Log cabin that I could sit on the back pourch and relax and do some shooting. But land has gotten so expensive I will never be able to live that dream, but if we had a Tini Log Home on wheels we could tow it up the mountain and I would be able to forfill my dream. ( You can camp on the mountain for free as long as your 1/4 mile off the main road and as long as you move your camper 5 miles every 2 weeks )
I don’t look down on anyone who is able to live in a tini house, in fact I envy them. I look around at my own home and see all the things I have and truth be told I don’t need most of them. If you look down on someone because of what they have or don’t have would say your the one with a mental problem. Judge Not Les Ye Be Judged.

Darrell Kreimeyer Springfield, MO - February 12, 2010 Reply

The real point here is that social norms suck! As stated in the movie “Risky Business”…once in awhile you have to say “what the ****!” Who really cares what anybody else thinks, anyway? And there is the responsibility we have to the future generations. Stuff; “bah, humbug”!!!

Skywalker - February 12, 2010 Reply

Like already posted this a clever webmaster trick for getting readers to post larger amounts of comments.

For the readers that doubt compare the larger amount of comments in this post to any other.

Clever & it works.

Can you say SEO?

Glen Aldridge - February 12, 2010 Reply

I don’t believe this is a legit post but I’ll offer my opinions. First off living within ones means whether it is a Tiny House or not should be your first priority. Just look at the Mortgage Fiascos of late with people getting deeper & deeper into mortgage debt, now that’s BROKE! There is no better freedom than being free of debt regardless of the size of your house or car. With this posters logic if we aren’t all living in a mansion & driving Hummers then we don’t stand a chance in hell of getting laid….. twice! If you truly want some contentment in life get rid of your STUFF. Who the Hell needs it anyway? Freedom’s where it’s at baby not having more & more stuff to take up more & more room. Living simply, using less energy & polluting as little as possible is the best thing we can do right now before Global Warming destroys all those Mansions & Toys. As for the Taxes I’m supposed to feel guilty for not helping the Politicians vote themselves raises & squander the cash? I don’t think so!

    di - August 13, 2010 Reply

    *Keep a list of priorities to purchase.
    *Spur your creativity and don’t borrow money.
    *Ask yourself: “Do I really need this to live?”
    *As time goes by, you’ll see that you can do without.

Brian - February 12, 2010 Reply

The vast majority of the comments from the post are simply not worth debating. However, the poster did bring up one real issue, that of institutional societal norms. Unless the small house is going to to be worth the loan made on it, banks generally will not loan. While there are places in the US (all I have experience with) that a small house can easily be worth 150k+, much of the country does not fit this market. Owning a house as a source of investment is, as the market has shown, risky at best. Yet the established real estate industry is set up to literally force people into larger homes and larger mortgages. Case in point: in my community a newcomer wanted to purchase a small bungalow to renovate and live in. The problem was that the neighborhood is depressed in value. The lenders would not lend, even saying that after the renovations the house would still not be worth the loan. The newcomer could buy a new, large home in suburbs for 3x the amount.

So much for people trying to bring life back to downtown and older neighborhoods.

Susan McReynolds - February 12, 2010 Reply

Well, I can’t tell if this was a joke or not. It certainly got a lot of response. He does bring up valid points in that the average girl coming to your tiny pad might be turned off, but then you’re not average if you live in one. I agree we should all try to get out of debt and have a good savings account, but it undoubtably doesn’t buy happiness. If this was not a joke, you can see that folks in the vanguard always disturb the balance of what “is”.

frank - February 12, 2010 Reply

this guy is only reflecting the thought process that we had in the past.remember? the things that worked so well for us in the past to were we have more home forclosures now then ever befor? every thing he stated is what we need to reverse.social stigmas are not things that need to be carried on for the future,only corected.like being cheep is a sin???? when given the facts about what americans have been doing with there lives for manny years i do not think this persons views would reflect a majiority of people ,event if manny of those polled decide not to live small. liveing in debt for your whole life is not real freedom .its not for every one ,it seems to bother him way too much.so i say to him.do not live small ,but do not threten my freedoms by trying to stop others from liveing small just becaus you dont’e like it. i think you might be jellous that some people in the world may have something you may never have ,and that something is called ENOUGH !

LB aka Cranky Cripple - February 12, 2010 Reply

Absurd. Either you love it or you don’t. I don’t go to concerts of artists if I don’t like their music & boo. Can we get back to our dealings that make sense please? I need to work, so could not read 50 posts, sorry if I squawk a repetitive noise, etc…

And as far as SueB: I feel your pain. At the mercy of Landlords, being handicapped, my chronic devastating illness & pain, you name it. People think that if you have bad credit you’re a jerk. Well some dude in a big SUV ran a red light, totaled his SUV and the car I was driving, OH: plus my legs and more: I’m never going to be the same again physically – and I just got told the BIG INSURANCE COMPANY that he has won’t pay the medical bills, no doctor/specialists would even see me because they aren’t getting anywhere near possible litigation…

So until the accident, I was super exercise freak, and I entered the recession with no debt- what do you think this is going to do to my credit and my situation when the dust settles? I mean beyond the blue parking placard, rest of my life medical burdens, pain like you’d not believe & credit damage:

People need to realize that there’s a whole lot they don’t know before they judge someone for being in debt or on disability, etc. Like you, SueB, my money is poured right down the toilet on rent and medical costs. Could I scrape every penny, wipe myself out & buy the Naked Galapagos? Sure. But I physically can’t sweat equity build it, I’m totally isolated and I’ve no buddies like Jay @ Tumbleweed (thanks Jay! love your houses!) has who a buddy that can let me park on their land -and so on.

That one Tortoise with the solar, the compost toilet, the water-cleaning intake system, gray water disposal -that is HEAVEN for people like us. Get all these utilities & greedy landlord people off our backs. HEAVEN= Off Grid, light footprint.

Hang in there SueB (and other folks!) And enough of this NONSENSE – I’m not going to ask the KKK if ‘…as a white woman I should marry a black man and have kids?’ Can we proceed henceforth in some semblance of sanity, as a community? Please?

As I said to Michael Janzen, sorry to post cranky, but my medical appt has been postponed a month: the one that makes it so I can walk without crying… and no more ‘barely works but needs ’em pain meds’ for 8 days because of other jerks who abuse them for fun.

This is my second cranky comment in all my years, and I’m sorry. Maybe I need to shut up for a while. But I love this community, this movement, and we’re gaining ground in Nevada, Oregon, NW areas as well as the Small Lot Ordinance in Los Angeles: let’s keep our eyes on the prize, and remember we are capable of our own constructive criticism without haters.

Thanks to all bloggers, builders, believers and dreamers. Much love.

Dan R. - February 12, 2010 Reply

you simply have to have which take up a lot of space: a washer and Dryer, a real toilet, regular fridge.

I go to a laundromat for my clothes and I only have a fridge that is 4′ high two’ wide and 2′ deep.

I find if I had a bigger place, the more useless junk I would have and more cleaning I would have to do. lol

Jay Shafer - February 12, 2010 Reply

Dear Miss Informed,

Like you, I enjoy good and fair debate. I appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there and say what others have not said or, possibly, even considered. Thanks for the feedback and this opportunity to rip you a new body part…

You ignorant slut! Anyone familiar with the term “napoleon complex” and its inverse connotation knows that men who live in tiny houses are particularly well-endowed and popular with the ladies. Our bank accounts and social networks are no less ample, as the money saved on inordinate mortgage payments goes straight into our pockets, and people love smart rich guys.

It’s like that old rap song says…

If ‘yr ‘lookin for trouble , well look to the mirror
‘Cause the trouble we’re in, it didn’t start here.
The problem is the house that you run.
It’s ‘emmitin lots of shit, like you don’t give one.

Bigger ‘aint better. It’s just more hassle.
So, if ‘ya think ‘yr king of ‘yr castle,
Well think once again, ‘cause it’s ‘rulin you.
You’re slave to a mortgage and a vacume cleaner too.

Now stop ‘bein sad, and don’t be whiny.
You’re just mad cause mines so tiny.
Yeah, my house is small, and it’s phat.
It’s green, and it’s lean. Chicks dig it like that.

Peace out, Madam. I said, good day!

    Tim M - February 15, 2010 Reply

    Jay – not certain that the article required the “ignorant slut” response. Several areas pointed out are key. Not exactly the best bachelor pad in the world. Also not convenient if you want to entertain friends on either a rainy or cold evening. If you have kids then more considerations and potential problems. I grew up in a small house without running water, an outside shower house and outhouse. (Many challenges) At the age of 14 I built my room
    at the house 7×5 from repurposed materials. The
    house has since been razed and replaced by a modern ranch by new owners. We lived on top of a hill with magestic views. We could see 30 miles out over a valley and the Kentucky River.

    I have read many articles on the tiny houses and there does appear to be some stigmatism. Several people are using electric or showers at friends or families houses. Many are just get aways – not full time living spaces. Far from a real home type of situation.

    Your Tumbleweed pre-built houses run about $400 per square foot. Not exactly cheap either. (* I realize that a person could build their own much cheaper. *)

    I really like small living and looking forward to being off the grid, generating my own power, on 100 acres near my childhood home. To really evolve the movement needs to show not just frugal living but luxurious and comfortable living in a much smaller and more eco friendly footprint. True downsizing and a path to a richer more full life with all of the comforts of home.

    Just my .02

      Jay Shafer - February 16, 2010 Reply

      Fair ‘nuf, Tim.

      It does seem clear that Ryan is not ignorant, and he isn’t a slu… well, he certainly isn’t ignorant. And I’m sorry for calling him “Miss Informed”, but I do have trouble taking this “debate” seriously, as his points are so ridiculous (for a smart guy) that I thought this was surely just a facetious invitation to more facetiousness and obscure SNL references about ad hoc fallacy.

      You do raise some good points yourself though.

      1. A lot of folks have somehow gotten the idea that living in a tiny house demands reading by candlelight and pooping in a bucket. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hot and cold running water, wifi and hot tub(s) are all available options.

      2. There’s no denying that, all else being equal, smaller houses do cost more per square foot. The most expensive Tumbleweed Houses cost about $400 p.s.f. if you pay someone else to build them for you (as you so aptly mention) and even the low end ones cost about half that (as should also be mentioned).

      At the core of most any dwelling you will generally find that the electrical system, plumbing, heating, appliances and structural components are similar in at least one key way. They are all expensive. This costly core is housed in the relatively cheap volume that surrounds it. Because the price of extending core components outward to accommodate any amount of additional space really isn’t all that high, and open space itself is priced at next to nothing, square footage is really the cheapest thing you can add onto a house.

      Then, of course, there are the long term costs.

      3. I don’t know where people get the idea that that anything is expressly precluded from smaller homes. If one wants room to entertain dozens, then there can be room to do so. If one feels more confident believing that extra square footage will impress their date, then extra square footage is clearly available. The only definition for a “tiny house” that I’m aware of is the one I and others in the Small House Movement have been using for over a decade. Tiny houses are houses in which all of the space is being used by the occupant(s), be it 400 or 4000 square feet. If something you require to be happy is missing from your tiny home, it ‘aint home.

      Stephen H - April 8, 2011 Reply

      actually the perfect bachelor pad….helps weed out the materialistic ones!

    Mara - February 25, 2010 Reply

    Best response EVAR!

Eric - February 12, 2010 Reply

The author pointed out some negative veiws that others may have. To me he understood all of those points can be overcome with planning. The only point that is absolute is there would be less space to deal with. The point he made is, know that it is a lifestlye change.

pre - February 12, 2010 Reply

Attempt at being didactic most likely. In a small-minded sort of way.

Small minds Suck!

MJ - February 12, 2010 Reply

I live with my partner, two dogs, and a cat in a 34′ fifth-wheel RV, less than 300 square feet. We have a washer/dryer, fridge/freezer, full bath, central heat/air, microwave, oven, high speed internet, cable, flat screen televisions, and room to sleep four people comfortably. We didn’t give up any real creature comforts; we just enjoy them in a significantly smaller space, a space we’ve adapted to nicely.

The choice to move into an RV was one that took a lot of planning and big hanges in our lifestyles. We got rid of most of the “stuff” and frankly don’t miss it. So the whole argument about having more “stuff” isn’t compelling for us. The departure from conspicuous consumption has been liberating.

Your argument about being looked down upon by peers, coworkers, and family doesn’t hold water, either. Sure, we have some friends and acquaintances who think we’re a little kooky, but most folks have voiced some envy about our decision. They understand that we have freedoms that they don’t, and we don’t have some of the worries (or liabilities) that regular homeowners do.

There is some hardship involved in living in an RV (mostly to do with maintenance, dealing with utilities, and being concerned about extreme weather conditions), but that hardship is outweighed by the pleasure we take in knowing that we can go where we like when we like and take our entire home with us when we go.

    Sorenn - February 13, 2010 Reply

    I would love to know more about how you moved into an RV.

    I am either doing the TGC or an RV.

    I’d love to know more and KUDOS!

Dr. Elma Ross - February 12, 2010 Reply

Small houses might surely help save the planet. That is the bottom line. The smallest one on this blog is just a tiny bit bigger than the apartment I had in Korea – which is usually shared by 2 or 3 people; many homes in the far east are indeed of this size. Of course, even small homes come in different sizes to choose from.

Rob55 - February 12, 2010 Reply

Only in America (the United States of) is it considered middle class to inhabit 3000 square feet of climate controlled vinyl and fiberglass. Tiny houses are not so tiny. Close to 2/3rds of the world raises families in one to five rooms from less than 120 square feet to maybe 1200 square feet, without air conditioning. Many of these families are well educated and wealthy by US standards. Many work from sunrise to sunset to gather enough calories to keep their families. from starving. All live in small houses without or with litte refridgeration. And they are very green. The small notebook computer in my lap leaves a much larger carbon foot print than almost any stone wood or masonary building built before the 20th century. To tiny can be a pain, but normal sized is having a tremendous impact on our currenty quality of life and the enviroment we leave our children.

    Personage - October 28, 2010 Reply

    I’m really glad you went this direction with this: there are people below the poverty line in this country who have more things, more space and more food than people well above it in others. It’s very much a matter of perspective and proportion. Since Tiny House people choose to live Tiny, it gives them a great deal more ownership over their lifestyle.

    I’m not really sure what the point of the “Just Say No” article was – it seems really strange to me that anyone would consider a Tiny House without having thought many of these things through and having clear values associated with them. For example, the thought process about not getting a girl seems ridiculous to me. 1) Some Tiny House people must be women. Sexist. 2) Having chosen to live in a tiny house, there must be a motivator – environment, economy, personal growth, etc. Would you want to hook up with someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t respect that?

    My only real reservation is safety. I live in Kansas and this here is tornado country. Also, a single woman in a Tiny House would seem susceptible to abuse to me. But I love the concept and idea of it, and I figured out a long time ago that I don’t need a lot of space. In my largest house, I used one room consistently, plus the kitchen and the bath. I could totally do a Tiny House if it wasn’t for the legitimate safety concerns I have.

      Audrey - April 24, 2011 Reply

      A woman in any circumstance is susceptible but we are also tool users (as long as she lives in a country/society that gives women equal rights to own herself). I certainly can afford the five pounds of pressure it takes to use my favorite tool. :o)

Anita Williams - February 13, 2010 Reply

This isn’t a debate as much as a clash of paradigms. Anyone who firmly believes bigger is better, money is the measure of success and the opinions of others count more than one’s internal compass is simply operating from a different set of values and standards for what constitutes the good life. It’s not worth the waste of time and energy to argue the point.

Grace Rinaldi - February 13, 2010 Reply

I’m still laughing at Jay Shafer’s reply…you ignorant slut. Remember that? I didn’t know he was such a funny guy. Yet she did have some good points. The legality of a tiny house here on Long Island, NY is definitly an issue. But we have overcome!!!

mike - February 13, 2010 Reply

yea that jay schaffer is a real card and i think he has it right i may be able to afford a big house but i just dont need it i would rather have my car,truck,bank account,freedom from debt,ability to travel,and very little worry everybody should try this ime giving it a go peace!!!!

mimi hallman - February 13, 2010 Reply

Who ever wrote this article is clearly indicative of a greed mongering capalist mindset that will no longer work in the coming years. People have a right to live anyway they want and should not be ostracized for it. It’s pointless to take more then you need (size of housing, stuff, etc.) and besides if they want to live small so they can live large in other areas of their life WHO ARE YOU TO CONDEMN and JUDGE? I see you don’t even have the balls to put out a name (real or not) to your post. My dear man your perspective and philosophy is a ancient relic and thank goodness – on death’s door.
Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open.

Antibubba - February 13, 2010 Reply

Can I build a tiny house now, if I promise to add a three-car garage later?


Dave - February 14, 2010 Reply

My neighbors already resent me for not paying property taxes. My state’s laws exempt disabled veterans with a high enough rating from the VA. I’ve never been one to let societal norms bother me, anyway. Going smaller isn’t proving to be all that bad so far. 🙂

Mandy - February 15, 2010 Reply

After forty years of marriage and living in a variety of tiny stuff as small as 56 sq. ft. and never bigger than 600 sq ft., my only comment is that the very tiny does not serve the cycles of life very well. It is hard to deal with any health crisis with a loft and the toilet down stairs. Wheel chairs and caring for aging parents can also make a sudden need to change dwellings if you live in something to small to be flexible. Really… These are all problems that can be dwelt with especially if there is always someone that wants to move into that which one is vacating.

carol - February 17, 2010 Reply

youre nuts…not up for debate

Nordica - February 18, 2010 Reply

AHAHA Jane, you ignorant slut!!! Caught that because my mom taught me to love oldschool SNL. 😀

I love devil’s advocate…it really does help refine your viewpoint and give you depth of understanding in the debate.

When I was trying to write something last month for THB (sorry I am so slow Kent) it ended up going from “27 Reasons Why I Love My Tiny House” written by my inner optimist, to “270,000 Reasons Why I Probably Should Hate My Tiny House (But Don’t…Most Days…)” My inner pessimist straight up took over and I didn’t finish my story, because I thought it’s no good to be negative. But this makes me see it’s untrue!

Everything matters. all the negative reactions/ assumptions about tiny houses turned into humor is really healthy… (“…people think if you live in a tiny house you have to read by candlelight and poop in a bucket” LMFAO…)

Make a list of positive aspects and advantages of a tiny house/tiny lifestyle and it turns easily into a list of complaints about it… all the flaws and disadvantages, legal concerns… and then flips just as easily back. Right now I can think of at least 27 Reasons Why My Tiny House (Doesn’t Actually) Suck (All That Much…Most Days) 🙂 I will finish it Kent, I promise!

Betty B - February 19, 2010 Reply

I am dreaming of they day we finish and move into our ‘tiny home’ We went from an 800 ft bungalow (family of 4 with 2 dogs) to a 1600sf home .The latter, is the largest house i’ve ever lived in and we only use about 600 sf ft of it. With THAT being said, thats how big out tiny home with be. I agree with several of the previous posters that its seems to be about whats important to you. I LOVE having money to do things, which is why i’d rather spend the $1200 i’m saving on rent, on somethign a little more worth while.. P.S Yes, all my friends think i’m kooky and eccentric, but thats why they love me ;0)

Terry Pratt - February 25, 2010 Reply

I am an actual poor person who WANTS a tiny house, and who sought out this blog, so I am very happy to have found it.

To me, the points made in this post scream out for the need to reform our housing, zoning, and building codes, which currently pretty much preclude for the poor building wealth through home ownership. (The “poor” homeowners often cited by conservatives (as apparent evidence that the “poor” are actually quite well off) mostly did not buy their homes on the open market while poor – roughly one-third are retirees who bought their homes during their working years, and a substantial number inherited their homes or bought under preferential terms from relatives.)

One should ask whether there are valid reasons for the code provisions which hinder the development of tiny houses.

I once lived in a tiny guest house behind a larger single-family home. My guest house was legal, but when the property was sold, I was unable to buy the guest house (which I could have afforded had it been offered separately because both houses were on one lot and the lot could not legally be split.

Go ahead and try to defend this practice, but it’s not right and not the sort of practice on which our nation was founded.

    Sandy - March 14, 2010 Reply

    You hit a note that has left me flustrated. With my limited means,I asked the town to let me have a cargo Container home on my property,down the road from the main house I would live in this, and sale the main house with the understanding that I could live on the property in the container house until death when this would become the buyers, also. Building code would not let me help myself. So, now I have to sale my place and find another place, causing me extra expense. Maine use to be a free place to help ones self until the MASS people with their codes and regulations moved up here to get away from the mess they made in Mass, only to infect us with their miserable way of life- I have one appeal, but I know the writing is in the sand-I’ll have to move Anyone know where there is a sm plot of unregulated land in WV? thanks

Terry Pratt - February 25, 2010 Reply

p.s. to those concerned that people in tiny homes don’t pay property taxes:

One more good reason to make them legal! I would the THRILLED to own a tiny home and to pay property taxes on it!

I currently rent a room in a 3BR house, the property tax rate on the house is 4 times the rate on the owner-occupied house next door. (That’s right, rental prop here is taxed 4 times the rate on owner-occupied homes.) So I could save money on property taxes by owning a tiny house!

Brad Carlisle - February 26, 2010 Reply

100 sq ft is a bit too small for me ,but 600 sqft is very comfortable and affordable .
Has any one thought of putting a group together to finance And insure tiny homes ?

Jackie - March 14, 2010 Reply

I lived in a 3,000 SF home (for 4 years) my ex-husband built against my wishes. I always felt the house was too big and preferred a smaller one.
When we separated and on our way to divorce, he mentioned how he was going to fight hard to keep the house because he knew it was what his then 23 year old, much younger than him, “mistress” wanted.
He was puzzled when I laughed and said “why fight? You can have it along with all the crap in it” (in exchange of course for keeping all the debt).
My girlfriends/family were in shock that I wasn’t fighting for the house. But at 40 years of age, and much wiser, i knew what i was doing.
Since my name wasn’t on the note and since I knew how much of a hassle and costly it was to mantain such a large house, I had no problems letting it go.
We’ve been divorced now for 4 years. He has filed bankruptcy and his mistress (now live-in girlfriend) fights with him all the time. She refuses to pay any bills or clean up the house, stating that the upkeep is “too much work” and too “costly”. He can’t afford to do all the things she “fantasized” about such as trips to Europe and so forth.
As for me? I live with my two children and my fiancee in a very comfortable 1,500 SF home (which we bought for a little over 100K) located in a very nice neighborhood.
Could we have gone a little smaller? Sure. Although I know we wouldn’t be very comfortable in anything less than 1,200 sf. Before we moved into this house we lived in a 2 bedroom, 1000 s.f. apartment for 6 months with a 16 year old and a 6 year old. Due to age difference not a good idea to share rooms.

    Personage - October 28, 2010 Reply

    Good. On. You.

    No where does our cultural obsession with things, money and space to show them off become more obvious than in divorces. I’m always in support of the person who says “That’s just stuff, I need my Soul back, thanks.”

    Audrey - April 24, 2011 Reply

    Good for you. Your quality of life will be better for it. I’m proud to see other women not conforming to the consumerism that is supposed to make us “good americans”.

Sandy - March 14, 2010 Reply

The trouble I am having is finding land that has no restictions at a cheap price. My wants are well water and rural with NO restrictions. This is not easy, since my last buy, there are so many regulations put on people. Where are people living in these houses,or shipping containers? I ran the shipping container by the board in my town of rural Me of 700. It didn’t fly-

    Brook - October 24, 2010 Reply

    Sandy, a little research on (ISBU) Integrated Steel Building Unit and on Container Bay will give you enough links to show any building department that the engineering has been proven 100 times. A local engineer should be able to stamp simply drawn plans. There are some fantastic designs out there now.

Beth - March 14, 2010 Reply

Has anyone considered Alaska? I live up here and will be buying land outside of Anchorage. I’ve got family who owns property in the area that I’m looking to buy and they said they baught it because of little or no regulations when it came to building a cabin.

    Dano - February 11, 2011 Reply

    This seems like a well-informed and insightful group, most of whom seem to have a sense of humor. With that in mind, I’ll give you my standard line: “Come visit Alaska, but don’t move here. It’s really cold.” You must realize there are reasons us Alaskans live here; mostly I say that to keep our population low. However, it really is cold here.

    Two of us and two dogs live in a converted ATCO office trailer, while we build a 1500 sq. ft. house on land that we own. Yep, the land has very few restrictions. That part is the dream. The reality is that today it’s NEGATIVE 8 degrees Fahrenheit, a warm winter day for Fairbanks Alaska.

    We live off the grid, and finally have the basic utilities functioning: Electricity, oil drip stove for heat and cooking, outhouse, 5 gallon jugs for water, and showers at other locations. The self-imposed self-sufficiency requires us to live simply, but it takes a stunning amount of time to keep all this running in the winter – a reality that you who live off the grid already know. But I digress. My point is the cold.

    Our next house will have running water & an indoor potty, so now we have some challenges. You have to make sure it will all work reliably in the cold. You have to insulate A LOT (plan is for 10 inch R40 walls, more in the ceiling). Redundant heating is standard here. Everything in AK costs more than the lower 48, including building materials. All this this special effort against the cold cost a lot more than if we were down south where it may occasionally get below freezing.

    So regardless the land restrictions, if you are considering moving here, come VISIT in the winter first, just to see if you’re nutty enough to be one of us.

sarah - March 17, 2010 Reply

it seems like the tumbleweed house called new valecia with the extra bed room would be the perfect size house for all stages of some ones life. first stage you have the single stage, you could choose to live in the loft so you could make the extra bed into a sitting area. next, married stage, same arrangement would work. next stage, married with children, the extra room would turn into a childerns room, because you will be having less free time due to the kids you wont need the extra entertaining space. next stage, kids move out, by this time you will most likely be having a hard time getting into the loft so you would move into the extra room yourself and keep the loft full of all the stuff that empty nesters cant seem to get rid of. there you all stages of life. sorry if this is long winded

    di - August 13, 2010 Reply

    Rather than a couch, try a daybed – with underbed storage. This is great for the elderly or a child.

sarah - March 17, 2010 Reply

oh and if you do make $70,000 a year you could probably afford to pay cash for one of these houses if you worked it right.

jason - April 13, 2010 Reply

I live in a very large (by my towns standards) and i hate it.
I had allway been under the impression that I would allways be a slave to rent or mourgage, so like most people i work harder to pay for what i have and go without some of the things I want to the cost of this place that cost so much i cant afford to entertain. or even be intertained.
enter jay shafer. this uy is my new hero. I can now see a way out!
I did worry about some of the legal aspects.but I quickly found ways around them, I
i have been doing my research on all aspects of tiny living. it is for me!
as far as the narrow minded idiot that chose to write that artical, i hope his/her opinion doesnt change. they can live the life i currently but temperarrily live. that whould be punishment enuff! lol and as far as finding a mate to share like minded veiwpoints. hasnt been a problem here?
but i dont date shallow minded money grubbing plastic idiots. if that makes me kooky so be it.
yes $400 a.s.f is a bit much! but very little research will show that can be decreased alot! i’m curently at 87 sq.ft. but it took alot of planning. amd amazingly alot of help from friends. i.e roofers, framers,electrician. etc. wich all gave me left over materials do to my house being only 8’x20′

Johnny - May 7, 2010 Reply

Hey everyone,

Two thoughts for those anti or pro small housing.

1) Chill out folks, young and old designers alike are addressing these difficult problems of socio-economic abuse, the answers are near.

2) Patiently dream big, the internet will speed up our development, perfecting designs in minutes instead of months.

Sincerest hope,

Hortence Mcgreely - August 12, 2010 Reply

If you’re building because of what your neighbors think, you’re an idiot.

If you really believe that a bigger house means bigger bank account, how did the housing debacle begin. Idiots buying big houses they couldn’t afford.

di - August 13, 2010 Reply

*Luxury is a state of mind.
*My luxury is an extra day off from work to take better care of my health and family.
*My luxury is time to take better care of my things so that I never have to buy them again.
*My luxury is a clean home and thus a clear mind.
*My luxury is walking in the forest and lounging under a tree.
*My luxury is a packet of seeds.
*My luxury is a spool of crochet thread and having the time to create.
*My luxury is simplicity.

Live and let live…

    Angief - February 24, 2011 Reply

    I like that di said luxury is having an extra day off ora packet of seeds. Hear here I say 😉

di - August 13, 2010 Reply

To share expense, I suppose you could change a large home into a boarding house – with a communal kitchen and bathroom. This is very popular around a college. There are many ways to create areas of privacy. Living in one room of small expense is peace of mind.

    Carolyn MVaussies - August 13, 2010 Reply

    I JUST spent the last 6 weeks doing that!!!! I have a super insulated, tight designed Cape SPEC house, I haven’t been able to sell even at a losing $70K price. So finally just set it all up from craig’s list & Salvation Army, to rent furnished rooms, Cornell U. Now have some VERY neat & interesting people moved in! PHD’s From Canada, China, & Grad student grad Calif, a writer to finish a book later.

    Now to finally get back to working on my RV trailer to Tiny House Trailer project again.

di - August 13, 2010 Reply

For the sake of the environment, we need to change nation-wide zoning laws – perhaps at a federal level. Does such an organization already exist?

Safety and sanitation codes are needed, but size seems to be an unnecessary impingement to the environment.

Would citizens, with homes on wheels, be willing to pay a fair share of the taxes?

di - August 13, 2010 Reply

What are some “average” nationwide statistics – how big does a house have to be to acquire insurance?

Marie - August 23, 2010 Reply

I’d like to err on the side of tolerance here. Name calling is both unproductive and abusive. Unless of course Bill Murry does it…

The writer of this article, playing devil’s advocate or not, has made some valid points.

I’ve personally lived in palatial spaces (as a child), and in tiny spaces (as an adult) such as a tipi, a 16′ travel trailer, and a 9 X 14′ cabin in the florida rural countryside.

I’ve been demoted and then fired from a job as a secretary when my supervisor chanced to see my trailer. Priviously, I’d been given a good review and a raise, however I think it was assumed that I or my husband must have been a drug addict for us to be so poor. Either that or mentally ill. Obviously untrue, however there are social norms that can affect us whether we admit it or not.

I’ve been denegrated by peers in a spiritual group who saw the trailer as evidence of ‘an immature and chaotic lifestyle’.

The tipi was too wacky for most folks, but it was the best time of my life! However, as I was married at the time, I didn’t have the dating problems. I did, however, have to deal with food storage and hauling water, as we were on the side of a mountain and had no utilities to speak of. Not to mention laundry! Same with the cabin.

It’s true. It was all a serious pain.

The 34 foot fifth wheel is a very nice large space, and you can fit all those wonderful appliances into it. However smaller than this may not allow for all of it.

The point being, is that there are definitely hardships involved with the choice to go very small. They may or may not be worth it, based on your personal values.

However, tinier and tinier appliances and conveniences are becoming more common, allowing for more comfort on a small level. Solar pods are much more easily available, as are personal wind turbines for off grid energy.

How green do you want to be, and how patient are you? How honest are you willing to be with yourself about the pros and cons of your choice, as well as your own limits?

Just my thoughts…..

richard - October 19, 2010 Reply

I don’t think living in a tiny house is for everyone. Personally I think I’d be content in about 300-400 sq ft, but right now I’m living in 1400 and it’s way too big. I don’t even have furniture for most of it and don’t need to. I occupy very few square feet at a time and don’t have the need to move around to different sections of my house very often.

The author speaks of having bigger and better things, but those are just headaches. Why would I want a bigger ring that I had to finance? A bigger car payment, a bigger tax liability, insurance premiums, etc? I don’t work to own junk that needs to be stored/replaced/used. I work so that I can be self sufficient one day and not require full time employment..all I need is a place to sleep, a space to create, a few pieces of clothing and some food.

all of his arguments were completely full of holes. I don’t think he thought his blog post out very much and it seemed more like he was aiming to argue rather than to contribute to the debate.

Find me one person who can prove more is better…anyone?

    Brook - October 19, 2010 Reply

    I’ve got a tiny house and a tiny trailer house and a full size house.
    For me the point of a tiny house is to be outside as much as possible. But if you have to be indoors there are many many reasons that bigger can be better. My baby boy and I can play soccer in the kitchen then he can go to sleep in his room, while my wife laptops in the living room while I do work in the garage or the office or go take a private bath and stretch in the bedroom. We can have guests or another kid.
    I’ve lived in a backpack, motorcycle, tent, cave, van, pier, happily slept on the ground for years and love the lifestyle. I think”all good things in all good times”. I’ll be back in my luxury tiny shed in 6 feet of snow this winter loving it but I wouldn’t want to have to raise my kids in it in the winter….fair points?

KAITLYN - November 15, 2010 Reply

“The scale of your home should be derived from the real needs of your daily lives, not from vanity, insecurity, or a need for public display. Home should be the setting of your life, not the measure of it.” ~unknown~

KAITLYN - November 15, 2010 Reply

I lived in an eight man tent in Africa. My space was about 6 x 7 tops. That was if you could push your stuff completely to the tents platform edge.
I found that I had everything I needed. I had a great space. I snagged an old military bunk bed on a trade. Took out the bottom bunk and expanded my space. Thats were I fell in love with small living. It was sooooo much easier. Some thing in, something out method helps.
I found that I don’t NEED to have all the trimmings & the huge space to make OTHER people feel better. To be frankly honest with you, I don’t care to have those types of judgmental people around me. I have lived a life that was expected of me. I played the keeping up with the joness game and it is senseless! I have been through a lot and finally at 50 realize that the only person that matters is me and what I think.
and, further more if they would change the laws regarding smaller homes, people wouldn’t have to live under the radar. If they changed the laws we would gladly pay taxes as well. But, why should I be forced into living in a huge house that I don’t want or need?
I think we all know that if you were to date someone they would know you. The person you described seemed like one nighters so their opinions shouldn’t matter anyway. lol But, a person that knew you would know where and how you lived. Or, am I too old fashioned on this one?
I just think that this post was just from a person too afraid of living his life as his own man. He would rather be a lemming and follow the flock, not questioning or reasoning, just following blindly, because the lemming society will chastize him.

I am too old to care and too young to continue to follow the flock.

KAITLYN - November 15, 2010 Reply

Just one more question….

Everyone does realize that these houses were NOT intended for a family right? I think people are missing the point. This tiny homes are intended for single or a couple with out kids for full time living. AM I wrong on this?

Peter levy - January 2, 2011 Reply

I’m a full-time professional skydiver. I live at an airport in my 25 ft camper. I have a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend. I live as cheaply as possible, I support my son. I have plenty of friends, and most of them large beautiful homes, nice cars and are fairly well off. There is one thing wrong though…..they wish they were me. They envy my life and lifestyle. My point is….the person that wrote that article…..has a lot to learn. I’m almost embarrassed for him/her. My life contradicts just about every point that person made. I have a different vision of success, and most of my friends are now agreeing with me. Happiness is not material. Success is the ability to design your life the way you want to live it.

Erik - January 12, 2011 Reply

Just a couple of ??
If all the people who lost homes in LA because of the hurricane had a small home on wheel, would they be able to have kept their homes?
If I lived in LA, and an earthquake hit, would it damage my foundation, do you think?
What if I lived in FLA in a tiny home on wheels, and a hurricane was coming, would I be able to, lets just say, connect it to a vehicle and get out of town, fast, ANd, and, come back later?
What if I live in the midwest and decide I want to move to Vermont, and then Maine, and then CALifornia, but (heres the trick question), keep my house with me. Could I do that? (that was a stumper, I know).
OK, this will be simply based on theory, alright, no reason to consider…. What if all the homes in the rust belt (the abandoned ones, and there are tens of thousands) were tiny homes, could those people who migrated ? have taken them with them, and THUS, yes thus, not have left behind a carcus to rot and decay and for others to deal with? (thats just theory, I know). Yes, I have to agree, tiny homes suck, or whatever…

RamaB - January 16, 2011 Reply

I, as the father of five, am also concerned about safety and if I build a tumbleweed, I will equip it with these: http://www.Majestec.com

These high-security mesh screendoors and windows are super cool and would improve not only the safety of the occupants, but their comfort as well! Probably spendy though…

Elder Woman - January 21, 2011 Reply


I love the whole tiny house concept for all of the many reasons already so eloguently stated by so many other adherents. But, like so many other things in life, it is a matter of degree, and balance. For instance, after living in an 8×16 foot trailer for a couple of years, I feel that I need at least 7.5 x 24 interior feet to contain all that is necessary–a washing machine, wood stove solar powered frig and freezer, a wood cookstove (which heats water), and a bed on the MAIN floor. And, while I do intend to build a tiny house, I have some grave misgivings:

1. Insurance. I bought the book. I downloaded the pomomo plans. I then started calling insurance companies. No one will insure the tiny house trailer. Period. So! If I sink my meager monies into building and furnishing this thing where I am now (where I have electricity and tools and time and a place to live in during the process) my investment could be wiped out at any point during construction by anything from theft to a tornado, and I would have nothing to show for my efforts. Also, if I do manage to get it on the road, I have a 2700+ mile trip to make–towing a “recreational vehicle” which is, still, uninsured. A semi can total my tint house and I am totally skewered! Now, maybe Jay can afford to lose a $35,000.00 investment, but I cannot. Not at my age and on a fixed income. That would wipe me out!

2. A Border Crossing. I live in the States and the parcel I bought in the woods is in New Brunswick, Canada. I have heard tell that, at the border, the powers that be may decide that the tiny house is NOT an RV, but rather a mobile home, and thus can charge a HUGE DUTY to bring it into the country. Is this true?

3. Towing. If I built the Pomomo, wouldn’t I need a one ton truck to tow it? That would mean a U-haul, as I don’t happen to have any one ton trucks lying around. Wouldn’t that cost a young fortune to rent for such a long journey? And, again, at the border, wouldn’t that cause the authorities to assess a duty on one for (literally) moving house, as opposed to simply visiting with an RV behind a more standard pick-up?

Now, from what I understand, AFTER the thing is parked and skirted, you can get insurance. So, I guess that means I will have to build on-site. This is also scary, as the season for such a project is really short. I will have no electric at the site. I will not know a soul there to ask for help or advice. . . oh well, sounds like my life in general. I will just suck it up and let it be a(nother) challenge!

    Anne - January 21, 2011 Reply

    All valid points. You have hit on many of the true issues involved with a wooden house on a trailer, as opposed to the sales spiel. Tiny houses are not a way to make life simple, at least not yet… and never will be on a trailer. The extra weight compared to an RV, etc. means they will become unstable sooner… (see the sale blog about one hit by high winds somewhere on Kent’s site.)

    We all need to fight for zoning changes and build safe and insurable homes for the future, not 10-15 years.

jason roberts - January 29, 2011 Reply

my wanna be tiny house has been a fun building experience, and should eventually make a nice guest room and/or storage shed . as far as full residency in a tiny house…not for most people . yes it’s not practical in many senses , but the very atmosphere of this movement is helping people reassess morally the bankrupt gluttony in our societys . something…

sarah - February 6, 2011 Reply

Debate is pointless but..i think this person is an idiot..i really do and honestly as a single mom i dont have that much money or need to buy a huge house.. its just me and my young son..we dont have much and im obsessivly clean so how is a tiny house a bad match for me? i dont care what others think of me i really dont and honestly the less i have to pay in utilities the more i have to save..so who has a bigger bank account? the family who cant afford their 5 bedroom house and has declared bankruptcy or me? the “under achiever”?

Carol - February 7, 2011 Reply

Well if the girl doesn’t want you because of your house or how much money you have then I guess you would have done yourself a big favor. Love is not about the things you have or how much money you can make. That kind of love will be gone if something happens to your income anyway! Material girls aren’t for the kind of guy who could appreciate this kind of living. Your argument really seems like a moot point to me…

alice - February 12, 2011 Reply

Some people seem to get stuck on the idea that one size fits all or that if one person advocates a tiny, medium or huge house they mean that everybody should live in that size house. It is not physically possible or environmentally desirable for everybody to live in a tiny house on a plot of land surrounded by wilderness, though many people can and do or dream of doing it. Houses over a certain size, depending on how many people are living in it and how they are using the space, are wasteful and environmentally undesirable as well. What’s needed are a multitude of options in size, type of ‘ownership’, arrangements of public and private space, location, etc, and appropriate regulations to maintain reasonable health and safety standards. Co-housing and co-ops are good for people who can get along with a group, but may not work for loners or people with different priorities than that group. Nothing wrong with not being suited to any one type of housing, you just need to find what works for you and doesn’t make trouble for others. Some people also seem a little bitter about the fact that another person has found their bit of paradise and feel compelled to be snarky about it or give it a bad review based solely on their own preferences. It’s OK to say you prefer a different setup, but it isn’t necessary to say so by saying the other person’s choice is wrong. Mentioning shortcomings in a plan is not necessarily negative either, it often helps to get another point of view to show you something you might have missed, so no need for people to get all sensitive and feel attacked if all that’s being done is pointing out some issues.

Kaly - February 17, 2011 Reply

Oooh, yay! I love someone willing to play devil’s advocate, thank you for posting this. However…

1) Insurance. This is, I think, one of the weakest links of tiny home living. I’ve spoken to two different reps who both say that the tiny house qualifies as an RV and can be insured as such, but ‘won’t know until you try’ is the current atmosphere.

2) Not being able to get a loan for the build/purchase of a tiny house is, in my mind, a good thing. I don’t believe in debt, and a person willing to save up for something important to them has a level of integrity that is very respectable. You also won’t have to pay interest on that money you don’t have.

3) See above for rebuttal on size of house = size of penis/bank account/quality of relationship. The amount of freedom tiny houses offer is dead sexy, and any man who can walk outside one morning and say “Hm, I think I’d like to go to Colorado for a while” and actually DO it is a man I would like to spend some time with. Jus sayin’.

4) Building codes. These vary. However, buy your own land, pay taxes on that land, and then see what the government has to say. You’re a law-abiding citizen: the system works for you

4) You don’t “simply have to have” anything but a safe place to sleep and a few decent meals. This is something that gets to me a LOT, and is what originally got me interested in the tiny house movement. The misconception is that living in the modern age requires things like a full size fridge, washer/dryer, etc. This is completely untrue: wash your clothes for the day every evening in a bucket-crank and centrifuge them dry (a system that costs a total of $150 and takes about 5 min of your time) for a complete lack of “laundry day” chores. Learn to preserve your food instead of just throwing it lazily into the fridge. Learn to cook instead of relying on a microwave. Stop replacing skills (and again, a man who knows how to actually DO something is pretty sexy) with gadgets.

The things that argue against attempting tiny house living are usually the things that the movement is trying to fight in the first place: the “money and stuff first” attitude that takes away the integrity of a human life and replaces it with possessions or coin. Of course it’s not for everyone, nothing is, but it’s something that can at the very least be considered and used as a template to evaluate one’s own life.

Brett - March 17, 2011 Reply

“people can steal your whole house!”…ha ha ha ha…yeah, that would suck.

    Erik - March 24, 2011 Reply

    Lo-jack, security cameras, and trustworthy neighbors.
    Just like any other house or neighborhood.

      Platypus - May 25, 2011 Reply

      And since the house is mobile, add a GPS tracker too somewhere. That way if someone even manages to steal your your, you can go and retrieve it alongside with police. 🙂

Sheila Greenfield - March 17, 2011 Reply

What kind of “tiny house person” wants to meet someone who wants all of the things that “society” dictates? I think the relationship would already be off on the wrong foot.

Your tiny house doesn’t have to be a violation of code. It could be code compliant, particularly if it’s on wheels or it floats.

True about the ladder and a date, but I’m not sure 100 sq. ft. is optimal for more than one person. As for your boss or other folks…this is a growing movement, and has been featured on many magazine covers and television shows, so your boss or others should be informed, or they are the ones out of the loop. Besides, when you have a lot of cash to buy what others can’t ever seem to afford, that’s the time to explain, and they won’t forget that when their mortgage prevents them from going on that vacation to Bali.

Stephen H - April 8, 2011 Reply

ofcourse there are things to consider with any house (big or small, owned or rented). The main problem with Ryan’s arguement is that 99% is based on what other people might think of you (and appearantly some difficulty getting action). Freedom of any kind can never be acheived while maintaining such insecurities.

Inkysguy - April 11, 2011 Reply

Having lived in a variety of ‘tiny houses’: (Airstream trailers, converted school bus, slide-in truck camper, fullsize and minivan, airport hangar, rented 100 square foot offices, house-sitting, etc), I’ll grant you there’s a bit of inconvenience, but a huge amount of freedom. Not always 100% legal, but then, who in today’s world survives at 100% legal? I’ve enough in the bank to pay cash for several rust-belt houses, but why would I? My personal economy isn’t tied to any local economy, and I head for tropical beaches and hostels when the work gets slow and the weather gets stinky. And yeah, some chicks dig the guy who can think for himself, others don’t. You got a problem financing or insuring a tiny house? I paid $3 US for the slide-in camper, $500 for the school bus (sold it fifteen years later for $1500), $100 for the minivan … if you need financing or insurance on that, dude, you need to go buy a new suburban tract house, get a government job, lease a new SUV, and pray for the day when you get two weeks paid vacation and that the entire Realtor-inspired pyramid scheme doesn’t collapse and leave you underwater.

john b - April 24, 2011 Reply

I was going to say that all the things society believes you should have, are all shackles, or downright albatrosses. A spendy house compels you to spend time in a job you hate, making money to pay for a house that’s more house than you need. I myself lived very well in corporate Seattle, out of a 1980 Toyota Dolphin, a ‘house’ I could park almost anywhere. My boss actually loved the fact that I was invariably on-site in the off hours. It was an artificial freedom though, I still had enormous amounts of stuff in my parent’s house in Spokane. I expect the most free I ever was, was in late September of 1989 when I came home, and found that my house had burned down to the foundation due to a gas explosion. In hindsight I had been handed ultimate freedom. I could have taken my few possessions, climbed into my car, and went wherever I desired.

I instead opted to act like a victim of a great tragedy, gratefully accepted all donations of stuff. Now perched upon the precipice of my 50th year, I am surrounded by clutter. I’m laboring to de-clutter my life. One computer, all the others donated to good causes. My electronics pared down to what I can support. My firearms collection may be tricky. my tiny house might look a little lopsided if it housed a gun safe the size of a largish refrigerator. That too can be pared down, but it wont make me happy. I suppose I should attack that first as that is going to be the most unpleasant task!

    marie - August 12, 2011 Reply

    Loved reading your comments on living in a smaller house. I’m sure you’ll feel a lot better when you get rid of all your stuff being store at your parents’ home.
    I just came back to NJ after 4 years of living in CA, OR & AZ. I only took whatever fit in my 1989 Honda. I loved the freedom of not having so much stuff! Unfortunately now that I’m back, I have to now go through all that “stuff” I left behind and start donating & throwing out what I haven’t needed during my absence.

Laura - May 1, 2011 Reply

I too wanted a smaller home, so I bought a piece of land in the country. I, as a single woman built an 800 sq. ft. home. Latter I got married and had pleanty of space. Then his son moved in and took up the basement. I have had plenty of space and never looked back. Being tiny does not mean you have to cram yourself in 100 sq ft. I consider tiny to be under 1000 sq. ft., and it all depends on the size of the family. It means not weighing yourself down with all unnessary things that don’t make you happy. Relationships with those you love is much more important.

    Sarah - May 2, 2012 Reply

    I may be a year late in this reply, but I have just began researching tiny homes. I totally agree with you. Tiny doesn’t have to mean under 100sq ft. But living in apartment that is 850 sq foot with just my husband and dog, this feels like too much for us. I find it best now to move into a 1 bedroom apartment that is only 500 sq feet, that would be better for us, and it will force us to simplify our lives. (though he is a technology guy, this is going to be tough).

Susan - May 2, 2011 Reply

I also wanted to live with land around me, so I purchased a small farmhouse on several acres. It’s a bit over 900 square feet. I have a second bedroom for a craft room/guest bedroom, since I live two states away from family and friends. When I was married, we raised five kids in an 1100 square foot house. It has been my experience that the more space you have, the more clutter you can accumulate. I never wanted a big house. With acres around me and a tiny barn, I have all the space I could want outside for exploring, for chickens, for fruit trees, and for a vegetable garden. And I have space for those I love who come visit. I don’t need more than that.

Fred Collins - May 25, 2011 Reply

I think I’d rather live in a tiny house with all those implied negatives than ask around publicly where the closest “laundry mat” is. I would definitely allot enough space for a washer and dryer..

RV Resorts in Florida - May 26, 2011 Reply

I don’t know. I’m torn on this one. I think having the right lifestyle, family or spouse, you could be very successful in a small house, but I do see your point in how it could be miserable for some. Still, a small house is better than no house!

robin yates - May 28, 2011 Reply

thank god I will never have the displeasure to meet such an opinionated bigot as the author of this piece.Small minded city dweller, more worried about what others think than their own happiness. Life is for living and not worrying about the guy next door. Get a life and learn to smile

    Anne - June 17, 2011 Reply

    I think you’ve missed the point, Robin. This author doesn’t embrace this viewpoint — he (she?) is arguing the other side of the tiny house debate in order to give people an opportunity to frankly discuss the difficulties of and social impediments to tiny living. It’s called being a devil’s advocate — you purposefully argue for a cause you don’t believe in, in order to better understand and forward your own cause.

      Dominick Bundy - July 11, 2014 Reply

      That maybe but I tend to fall more in line with what Robins response had to offer , than any other. Simply put I see what the validity had to offer on Robins comments..

Jaemy - May 29, 2011 Reply

I can see how this would affect the people in the most commonly referred to “tiny houses,” which are, as stated, on trailers and probably trying to occupy suburbs or other densely residential urban areas. I, however, have the benefit of living on almost 2 acres in front of 300 acres with pond, woods, and stream which is partially farmed every year. I am also in a township with 500 residents. All of this means that nobody really cares. My roommate/best friend owns the house/land outright as part of his inheritance. There are already 2 permanent structures on the property and plenty of space for me to have a concrete slab poured to build a sturdy, tiny house. I’d almost prefer to go cob/straw bale instead! I will not have any of the problems noted in the above article as 1) I don’t have a social life since I live in the middle of nowhere. If I want one, I will drive 2 hours to get one! 2) I am the girl in this dating situation and, therefore, do not have to worry about fictional idiot friends thinking my guy is poor, or being influenced by them and 3) if my cob/straw dreams come true, my house will be largely non-flammable.

It’s, obviously, not the lifestyle for everyone. I guess the most important thing this article shows is that you have to determine how much you care about what other people think of you.

Ellen - June 5, 2011 Reply

I liked this ‘devil’s advocate’ argument. All his points are valid, although many people don’t care about some of them, and the rest can be overcome. I have a plan to build a Vardo-like house to travel with. It needs to be very small to be economical to tow. It would not be illegal, since it is essentially a travel trailer. I’m pretty sure you can insure travel trailers, although it would be more like car insurance than house insurance. I don’t know if I could live in it full time or not. I am, middle aged, female, and not interested in dating, anyway. My job as a bus driver does not require me to have a big house to show off. I’ve known drivers who lived (temporarily) in the parking structure in a van, or outside on the street in an RV using the company’s shower facilities. Laundromats are not that bad, especially if you shop around for a good one. Yes, they cost money, but how much are you saving in other ways? I currently live in a four-bedroom house with tons of clutter. My youngest daughter is going to college soon, and I will be down-sizing by moving to the 1-bedroom apartment in my back alley, and using the patio there to begin construction on my little 5′ x 10′ trailer. By the time it is done I will be close to retirement, and I plan to take a long trip! I will probably keep the home base, though.

Joanne - June 8, 2011 Reply

You know what’s sexy? A foreword thinking man who doesn’t care what other people think and has a good debt to income ratio!

    Keith - July 14, 2011 Reply

    Thank you Joanne for saying this. I am detecting a trend in reading the comments. I see lots more women commenting and tracking the tiny home movement. There is something terribly attractive about having whatever simple dwelling you live in paid for. Its really about security. I think we all want security. With the uncertain job situation in our economy who really feels comfortable that you will be continuously employed long enough to pay off a 30 or even 15 year mortgage. Forward thinking, debt free, secure living is cool.

    Deirdre - July 17, 2011 Reply

    I have one of those guys and he sure is sexy. He lives in a tiny house in Missouri, off grid and I live in a small farm house in NH, 1200 sq. Ft. But, when he visits he hates the fact that we have to run up and down stairs to do anything…use the bathroom, do laundry, etc. Much of my living space is a big farmers porch where we spend most of our time anyway. In the early part of the century, small was intimate as families were closer and more energy efficient. My heating bill, even in the depth of the winter months was only $60 a month. A small house is great if everyone likes being around each other…no hang-ups allowed, that’s for sure.

John Green - July 26, 2011 Reply

This is hilarious.

JH - August 23, 2011 Reply

Tiny house living isn’t much different from apartment living, when it comes to space and social implications. If someone looks down their nose at you for living in an apartment, is that someone you want around? Just sayin’.

We have 4 people living in an 800 square foot apartment. not ideal, we could really use one more bedroom, but we make it work.

Eric S. - August 26, 2011 Reply

This is satire, right?

Penelope - September 10, 2011 Reply

After reading this post, I realized how important it is to question societal norms. When you make decisions based on what is in your heart, rather than basing your decisions on what others will think, you are truly free. Hasn’t anyone else noticed that the nay-sayers are really just defending their position to conform rather than admitting that they may have made the easy choice, instead of the best choice?

Choose not to live in fear. You can live outside the box… it’s so much roomier.

By the way, there are some great, space saving washing machines out there, and there is an upside to a laundromat – you can do all your laundry at once, rather than one load at a time.

Donatella - September 19, 2011 Reply

I’ve lived in a 1700 SF suburban house, a tepee, slightly under a dozen apartments, a 700 SF urban 100 yo house, a 1700 SF suburban (fancier neighborhood)house, a 1000 SF condo with vaulted ceilings bordering a stream, lovely place, an ‘intentional community housing apartment (not good, don’t get me started, attempt only if you’re an extrovert), a 500 SF wee cottage, a yurt, and now a 110 yo house in a very rural area of southern Oregon on 1.5 acres. I still dream of smaller, of portable, of rose-covered trellises, ancient peonies, brick pathways and window flower boxes dripping with blooms. I want paid off, tiny kitchen, and a man around only sometimes. With a beard and a Captain’s laugh.

Warm winters, cool summers and an arbor of blooming wisteria. Handmade quilts that smell of sunshine from drying on the clothesline, a small cat sunning herself in the wee window.

Is that too much to ask? Or too little?

    Anastasiya - November 18, 2011 Reply

    Too little!!! Dream bigger! We can have anything we want! We’re God’s children and everything is possible and up for grabs for us.

    I think this movement is awesome. I’m blessed to not be in too much debt at the moment (just 2 terms of student loans) and I would like to continue the trend without any mortgages or obscene utility charges. I just had to wash all the walls of my 2-bedroom apartment and after 2 days of slaving away, my shoulders still hurt a week later. Smaller is better. And the city rent is horrendous.

    The way the majority of our society thinks is illogical, irrational, and… really mean! lol We should all stop caring what others think about us and be true to our own light, our own heart. That is what will make us happy. Not stuff.

timgray - October 4, 2011 Reply

All of those reasons are exactly WHY I want a tiny house. If it drives away the vain and shallow people in life than that is great.

You also forget one more problem. People will get outright angry because you spend so little on your home you can afford to drive to work in your BMW 725i. so now you own a car that is nicer than the bosses and can dress nicer. You end up upsetting him because you are out of balance with your income to appearances and stepping outside your box you are supposed to be in. How dare you.

jpatti - October 12, 2011 Reply

The overall argument seems to be I should live the way other people approve of whether I want to or not.

Life is WAY too short to care what other people think.

Gigi - November 6, 2011 Reply

Hahaha..thanks Kent for sharing, this made me laugh. :)) But yeah, I wonder how my parents, sisters and friends will react when they see our tiny house on wheels in the near future. I can’t wait. LOL But to live debt-free, spend more quality time with my family, and being able to do what’s more important in life outweigh whatever social impediments we might encounter in the future.

I think men should learn the art of persuasion. Two years ago, when my husband first showed me a tiny house on wheels, I don’t like it one bit. I don’t like the wheels and the loft. I really thought I will break my neck climbing the stairs and its claustrophobic. But as time goes by I see the wisdom of tiny living. It makes so much sense. Whenever we discuss it, I am so hyped about it. We even search for tiny house on wheels and we exchange ideas. We wish we can have our tiny house tomorrow but we are still saving for it. It’s just funny how my husband talked me into it. LOL

Me'chelle - November 6, 2011 Reply

All of the sudden when my dad’s bad girlfriend moved in and wants me gone, I wanted a small house 250 sqft – 400 sqft some people think I’m crazy for wanting it that small.

Buy hey at least it would be mine, where I live at now isn’t a good place, I worry about my possessions which I hardly have any.

I can’t even bring my best friend over due to an incident with my dad’s girlfriend, so I’m going to get my little space built just for me.

No one should tell you how to live, just to make themselves feel better.

It may be a small house as the norm want bigger and better, but is it truly better?, to pay so much money for a house you’ll never be in as you’ll always be at work paying for a house you’re never at?!


I’ll never get some people you know.

My house may cost me $7,000 when finished and a little more for decore and homegoods but at least it will be mine and I will never lose it to a bank demanding money.

I won’t be like my dad and pay $800 a month for a 1,500 sqft double-wide mobile home or my neighbor $1,200 for his double wide that’s absurd!!!

Let Me Be Free!, and leave me alone!!!

Paula - November 26, 2011 Reply

You are so wrong. My husband and I went into the nightly cabin rental business, buying small cabins under 400 sq. ft., all designed by me and put in place on the side of our mountain. We moved into one. The house we lived in before this was 6000 sq. ft.. There were places in the house we had not seen in months. Now we have 400 sq. ft., with a bonus double loft to store all kinds of stuff. I have learned to love it. It cleans in about 20 minutes, top to bottom, We added a deck that we spend all of our time on in the summer, and in the winter, the cabin is absolutely cozy and darling. We intend to spend the rest of our time in this cabin running the other cabins in our nightly cabin business. And we don’t spend all of our time fixing, painting, you name it. Open up your mind and realize that this is the future. Like it or not. Think of all the time you have for recreation when you don’t have to waste time working for something you probably will never pay for.

    Monica Berbert - January 12, 2012 Reply

    What state do you live in that you can put down multiple dwellings? We have been looking for land that we can put multiple tiny houses on wheels and rent them out? Anyone out there that can point us in the right direction? I did enjoy the article, it was hilarious, but still insightful. Am looking forward to finding the land, since I have a great brother and nephew who are willing to build a tiny house for me.

eli curtis - December 15, 2011 Reply

all the negatives on the negative check list hold true to any structure!fires,floods, hurricanes all of it.basically if you are a careless and very negative person all these things will wipe out any of your earthly possessions.I find this negative stance very one sided from someone who possibly does not know how to live!the comment about banks not lending on them leads me to believe that this person just does not listen to anything and just runs there mouth! blah blah blah negativity blah blah!

Cat C. - January 7, 2012 Reply

I look forward to small home living some day…so long as it’s legal.

    Robert - January 7, 2012 Reply

    Put it on a trailer register it as a travel trailer or even a loaded cargo trailer. As long as you are under the max allowed dimensions for road travel without a permit you are legal.
    You can rent land,I am on 5 acres for $100 a month in my 130 sq ft Tiny Bungalow
    You can live on someones land in the family or your own land.You can live in someones backyard see Dee Williams 84sq ft house on youtube.
    Stop saying someday otherwise that day may never arrive.Just do it!!!
    “The Tiny Bungalow” on youtube
    Just do it.

Trish - January 16, 2012 Reply

We have decided to turn our outside building into a 120 sq foot tiny home as a experiment. we currently live in a 3000 sq foot house with our children. My husband and I are planning for the future. With trying to build this tiny home and spend time in it we are going to find if it works for us. If it works for us then we plan to build one on some land on the coast we bought for retirement. I think this is the perfect idea for a solid future that is affordable to us now. I dont want to rely on the stock market or 401 k’s that tanked to find out if I will have a home that I own when I choose to retire. I am sorry that this style of living didnt work for this author but kuddos to all of us who are trying to think outside the social”norms” and living the life we do to make ourselves happy.

And we bought a RV plot of land so it is perfectly legal to place a tiny home on a trailer on it with out breaking any laws or paying any special housing tax’s bc it is considered a RV not a stick built house.
Just a side note for those thinking about those things.

Donald B. Beams - February 7, 2012 Reply

Thank you for this thought-provoking article. It has provoked a ton of great comments for sure. As you point out, looking at things from different viewpoints can result in more intelligent design, and thus more successful outcomes. This method also highlights a certain amount of tunnel vision that naturally occurs in all of us. Here’s my tunnel…

I have a bit of an advantage. At 64 years, I have already undergone several bouts of “paring down” over the last ten years, AND am not going to get married again, and kids are out of the question. One discovers what’s important and not. Wants and needs become un-entangled. You stop giving a crap what other people think about most things. Sweet freedom!

Another advantage: I live in the wilds of southern New Mexico at 5,994′ elevation with mild winters, cool summers, outdoors very comfortable 8 months of the year, in an un-incorporated, un-restricted rural location.

From that standpoint it is an extremely easy place to avoid all of the irritating limitations of zoning, while being close enough to town to easily access city amenities in 14 minutes, so I have to remind myself that only 16% of our population lives in “rural” circumstances. I designed my not-so-tiny home on wheels, which gives me a free pass on 95% of the normal interactions with building codes and inspectors. The only thing they get to say about my home is “Nice place..”

Most of the tiny homes that have gotten attention from publications or internet exposure are, quite frankly, unnecessarily “radical” in their smallness. “Cuteness” too frequently substitutes for intelligent design and space planning. AND as an architectural, interior, and custom furnishings designer for my entire life, I place huge importance on aesthetics in perfect balance with functionality.

The question arises…Why in God’s name would you live in 100 sq.ft. when you could live in 200 sq.ft. for $700 more in materials and maybe 5 more days of labor??? Makes no sense.
WHY would you devote 16 sq.ft. of your frame or ground footprint to a cute porch that is too damn small for a chair to sit on??? Lots of idiosyncratic nonsense occurring in a movement that is all about sustainability, practicality and economics….

Designing my personal house on wheels (192 sq. ft.) morphed into a new business and a new design adding a sleeping loft for guests and a fold-out greenhouse/ solar collector room, which jacks up the livable space to 337 sq.ft. We will be manufacturing these units starting this summer and most likely offering a “Build it Yourself” package of construction drawings, materials specs and an online construction support service shortly thereafter. They will be plumbed and wired for an optional off-grid package of solar w/h, PV elec. panels, battery pack and freshwater tank and Sat TV and Internet.

If curious, look up “Eco~Smart Mobile Dwellings” on Facebook, for design drawing jpegs. The – is actually a ~~~~. For some reason that matters…

Abel Zimmerman Zyl - May 2, 2012 Reply

This made me snicker.

The worst thing that happened to me in regards to my tiny house was this:

I let a couple friends stay in it for the past few months on a beautiful farm in rural Washington. When I went to pick it up, there was 1/2 gal of maple syrup waiting there for me. It was a gorgeous day, and this made it perfect.

I carefully wedged the syrup bottle in my back seat and went about hitching up. In doing so, i switched out hitch bars and put the extra one on the back seat.

After the whole rig bounced down the driveway, i hopped out to check lights before hitting the road. When i got back in, i noticed something dripping out of my truck door. Yes, the hitch bar had fallen off the seat and broke open the whole jar of syrup.

Never has anything been so sweet … But so sad… As it relates to my tiny house.

Other than that, i have never looked back at building my tiny house (or any of the others) and regretted a thing!

Craig Rose - July 26, 2012 Reply

This the most ridiculous and absurd form of habitation. Yes,everyone can choose, but living like that as a first choice is not being honest with us and yourself. This is a way to obtain the amerrican dream. A home and a piece of property.but it is one step up from welfare living. You are not being thrifty, this is all you can afford. Don’t be ashamed, be honest with yourself.

    Dominick Bundy - July 11, 2014 Reply

    I think you are assuming a lot more than what really is, before getting all the facts.. I happen to know a guy. who is debt free, has at least half million in liquid assets. Moved out of his 2000 sq, foot house. (that was all paid for) and deliberately moved into a 200 sq. ft tiny house he had built. All by choice, Not because this is all he could afford.. And claims he’s never been happier, So there you have it.

Joe - October 6, 2012 Reply

Fine, waste your money and judge me as a hippie or whatever. You have a narrow view of life, but I know that you are far from being alone in that view. There are plenty of miserable people like you everywhere. Kind of sad..

Marissa - July 2, 2014 Reply

I dream of this and plan to someday build my very own tiny house with my son and put it on land that I own. My biggest fears are, I want things to be legal, and I absolutely do not want to loose my son for being illegal. I always wanted a house with a huge yard. The structure just needs to provide basic necessities and if I can build my one, why not?! I just don’t want anything to go wrong in the legal department.

hannah - July 23, 2015 Reply

This is hilarious!!

Laura Connealy - October 26, 2015 Reply

This devil’s advocate article is a good try but lacking in some details and concerns in my opinion. First off, one should know that there are loans, insurance and combination washer/driers as well as multiple ways to address space and safety issues. Legally, there is still much to be settled, including what is reasonable taxation for a tiny house. What should be recognized is that someone choosing to live in a small house is doing so mostly for different reasons–different priorities than someone choosing a conventional sized house or a large house. I like to think of it as a “strategy” . From the bigger city planning point of view, and good for society point of view, a tiny house takes less room, is easier to heat and cool, and provides more space for a big garden. It costs less to build, maintain and can be moved if necessary. In a community of tiny houses, it allows for people to have individual space while creating more man-power to take care of the garden and grounds. It is a resilient life-style, and in the event of an earthquake or a dangerous storm, there would be food still available, and probably water (either through rain collection or a well) and plenty of people to help with repairs. If you are a single tiny house in an urban environment, you still have the benefit of having a small place that takes less. What it takes more of on your part is imagination and discipline. Why should anyone pay for more house than they need? Why shouldn’t the city support these pioneers of housing that reduces the human footprint and allows for more land to be created into gardens so that we can be a more resilient society? In my own mind, I would like to be in a smaller house that is paid off and doesn’t take my whole lifetime to own. I would be willing to pay taxes, but the combined costs have to be cheap enough that I could start saving and be prepared for emergencies.

MapleHarp - February 17, 2016 Reply

There are so many thing wrong with this.

“Tiny Houses are completely impractical! ”
– For people who have or want a family, yes it is. For some people it’s not. What is impractical though, and gives the rest of us a bad image, are the hippies trying to live in cargo containers and tool sheds. Like this image on the random posts side panel for example. “Tim Cahill’s Log Cabin”. I’m sorry but that’s an ugly POS.

” What the hell is she going to think when your car is bigger then the house you live in?”
– I would think that SHE is a materialistic bitch and not worth my time. There is more to life than sex and impressing the opposite sex.

“your boss starts to wonder how well you can actually handle a budget”
– Why would your boss be monitoring your finances? WTF!!?? He should mind his own business. It’s none of his business what you spend your money on.

– ” If you can’t do all these things, your social and professional life will suffer.”
This is such BS. “You can’t conform to social norms so you’re a loser” Really? I live in a really nice Park Model and drive a very nice car. Both of them are paid off too. I don’t need a big house to prove myself to others.

Derrick - May 22, 2016 Reply

This whole argument is from the basis of cultural norms. You say you like to debate then you should know that position is basically a fallacy of argument from masses. Since most people think wits wrong it must be wrong. Is completly not analytical, your argument stems also alot on neighbors and their views. Would seem you have dealt a lot with homeowners associations, since it’s groups like that that would be the ones to ostracize tiny houses. This article would only sway shallow people, also down the line of comments. Don’t try and demonize and compare a tiny house to welfare when you’re using the internet. Invented in the public sector

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