It seems every time a new builder hits the tiny house scene the ceiling price of a 300 or so square foot home sky rockets. Then comes the inevitable conversation about how much a tiny house is really worth and how they are becoming too “big business” or mainstream. The truth I try to bring to the table is tiny houses are one of the few commodities that operate off of absolute value (as defined by The Labour Theory of Value).
Labor, says the Labour Theory of Value, is the basis of value. The value of a commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor contained in it or by the amount of socially necessary labor-time spent in producing it from start to finish. Add to this a cost of materials (trailer foundation, framing lumber, nails, house wrap, etc) and you have the reason for increasing costs. All of this, of course, to say that a tiny house is an investment like any other. And depending on the size and style of house as well as a tool bag full of other things, it can be an expensive one. So to protect your investment and to be sure you are ready for the transition to tiny the following three exercises are ones that will help you test the tiny.
One of the best ways to test a tiny comes from Alek Lisefski of Tiny House Project who, back in 2013, found it advantageous to tape out the parameters of his tiny house. Would he bump his shoulder on a cabinet? Would his favorite seat find a home in his new tiny house? Would the walls seem to close in on him? After placing the tape Alek noted, “once I proportioned out all of the space to show where everything would go, it all seemed to come together quite perfectly, and didn’t feel as small as when I first started.”
Nothing beats being in the space. Just ask Goldilocks. She not only entered the house of Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear but she tried their porridge, sat in their chairs, and slept in their bed, all to find the maximum comfort in the dark, woods! While the startup Getaway is not supporting breaking and entering they are contributing to the trend of living tiny including smaller houses, a simpler life, being friendlier to the environment, gaining financial security, learning self-sufficiency, and experiencing lots of adventure! For $99/night Getaway – comprised of Harvard Graduate School of Design students – is helping build the tiny house movement with their tiny mobile cabins.
Nothing helps prepare to live in a house on wheels more than…well, a house on wheels. And while there are no tiny house trailers I am aware of that can be rented and towed there is a “next best option.” To get the feel for 10’ or less of cross-space as well as anywhere from 16’ – 32’ of length perhaps consider renting an RV. Through a company like Cruise America you have the option to rent a variety of Class C motorhomes from one of 116 rental centers. With prices based on season, location, and availability, the rental RV may just be the way to go to get a feel of actual footprint including cooking space, a small bathroom, transitional sleeping spaces, and more!
These are just 3 ways to test tiny. What was missed? What have you done to prepare for a tiny house lifestyle or just to see what all the hubbub has been about?