I recently discovered a new book about tiny houses that’s packed with photos and interesting information from people who live in tiny houses; some of them even built their own tiny houses.
Now, while I don’t think a tiny house is for me (we use our basement almost every day for our work and our hobbies), I can see how well the concept works for some people. In the new book Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building & Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet, author Ryan Mitchell shares the stories of a variety of tiny house residents.
My favorite is that of Kathy, a retiree whose son began building her a tiny house without her knowledge (“He knew if he told her ahead of time it would be a much harder sell, so he waited until it was almost done to show her.”) Kathy now lives in the tiny house with her husband, and has found that the tiny house has made some big positive changes in her life:
She can do all that she needs to do in her home, without a mortgage and with very low bills. Her power bill tops out at $25 a month and water is about $12—not because she uses that much, but because that’s the minimum charge to keep the service on….Since she is retired, it is very important to keep her living expenses low and it means that she can do much more, like visit her grandchildren more, go out to eat with her friends more, focus on her hobbies and simply not have to worry about the bills as much…..For the first time she has had the money and the time to visit her grandson for his birthday….
So many Baby Boomers don’t have big pensions waiting for them and were unable to save up much for retirement; a tiny house might be one answer to living successfully in retirement on only Social Security and some modest savings. If that sounds like you or someone you know, you should check out this book!
In the story about Kathy, she says that her friends with large houses are beginning to wish they had smaller homes to care for and more free time like Kathy does. But she says something holds them back:
“It’s because they don’t know what to do with all their stuff that they spent their whole lives trying to pay for. They are so inclined to having stuff that it’s scary for them to think of paring down.”
To Kathy’s friends, I say “Downsize, people, downsize! Lose the clutter and gain your freedom!”
One more thing: in most tiny houses, the sleeping area is always up in a loft. Who wants to risk falling down that tiny loft ladder in the middle of the night when they need a bathroom? But Kathy’s tiny house has a futon in the living area that turns into a bed, so she doesn’t climb up into a loft to sleep. Smart!