HOMEGROWN Life: The Pros and Cons of Living in a Tiny House
It was once thought that bigger was better. People were buying up these giant homes with at least 1,000 square feet per person. Since the housing bubble popped, the tables have turned. The tiny house has become the new McMansion. People are protesting the monstrosities of the 4,000 square foot home by living in 244 square foot apartments. The smaller the better. It’s all about living in a 78 square foot apartment: the size of a small closet in a McMansion.
We live in an almost tiny home—not as small as a closet but smaller than what most people live in and smaller than most two-bedroom, one-bath apartments. It was a conscious decision. When we started looking to buy a home, our specific requirements were “large property, small house.” That’s exactly what we got. At 750 square feet, it can be tight for two adults and a teenager. I get asked pretty regularly what it’s like to live in such a small home. Is it worth it? What would I change? So, here’s the lowdown on living in a small home.
TINY HOUSE PROS
- Cleaning the entire place, top to bottom, only takes about an hour.
- It limits the amount of junk you can accumulate. And keeps the chicken tchotchkes to a minimum. (Tom, I’m looking at you.)
- It takes no time at all to heat up the house in winter. The wall heater is more than enough. A few fans can cool it down pretty quickly, too.
- Which leads to less money spent on energy.
- You know the kids can hear you when you call them.
- Maintenance work and remodeling costs a lot less.
TINY HOUSE CONS
- No storage space and no pantry. Well, our garage serves as our primary storage and as our pantry.
- We had to get rid of a bunch of our furniture when we moved from our previous 970 square foot home. Amazingly, 220 square feet makes a huge difference when you’re living in relatively small homes.
- Our garage is so small neither of our vehicles fits in it. Mine is too tall to get through the garage door (and it’s not a four-wheel drive), and Tom’s vehicle is too long. This did help with our decision to turn the garage into our pantry/laundry room/storage space.
- No dining room = no entertaining in the winter.
- The small kitchen makes it a challenge to process a lot of food at once, so we’ve now set up a spot outside to do some of our processing. It’s a good thing most of it occurs in the summer. Plus, not having a dishwasher due to a lack of space means a dish rack takes up a good chunk of our precious counter space.
My ultimate feeling about living in a small house? I’d like a little more room—not much, just a bit—if only for a slightly larger kitchen and an actual dining room. A pantry would be nice as well. Would I go smaller? I can unequivocally say no.
Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!