The intrigue and wonder of Tiny Homes seems to have come out of nowhere over the past few years thanks to television shows including “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House, Big Living” among others. However, compared to television interest, Tiny Homes are still in their infantile stage. The concept lies outside the status quo of what people have been taught to need, and therefore it still has far more doubters than believers. But across America many towns have already amended or are currently in the process of amending their local codes to support Tiny Homes. Tiny Home living has much less to do with level of income than it does the priorities people of many different income levels are beginning to re-evaluate. “According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. 87% of their life is indoors, then another 6% of their life in automobiles. That’s only 7% of your entire life outdoors. That’s only only one half of one day per week outdoors. Ouch.” Studies show the average working homeowner aged 25-54 spends 10-11 hours a day in their “normal” sized homes with 6-8 hours of this time spent asleep. What this means is that as little as 2-3 hours of the average American’s waking life is spent in their home. Of course, this 2-3 hours may contain many different activities, however most of our home activities are fairly similar in nature. The most common include cooking, eating, watching television, surfing the web, or reading. All similar activities that could be done from the kitchen, couch, or bed of a Tiny Home.
Tiny Home living would be drastically different for many, there’s no debate there. It would not be a great fit for everyone. The perceived style of living seems like the opposite of the dream we’ve always been taught so important to strive for…”The American Dream.” However, with just a Tiny amount of imagination or foresight, this simplistic form of living can offer some larger benefits. We should compare “The American Dream” to a fingerprint, as many of ours are copies, but none are an exact match.
So the question is solely based upon our own personal preferences of what we’d each be most content experiencing during our short time upon this earth. Throughout our modern history, the vast majority of us choose to pump money into our ever increasing rents or significant mortgage payments and utility bills. But there’s always another choice. What if much of this income was put towards highly enriching our life experiences, including world travel to places which may seem like only a dream to many? What about enjoying that while also being able to place a higher percentage of income towards future retirement, thereby affording many people the opportunity to retire earlier than they may have been able to, if at all? Many people have made great efforts securing careers which provide compensation in retirement. However, even many of them will be left to work away more years of their lives than they may like or truly need to. And then some people may be similarly built as my grandmother was, working until the age of 80, forced to retire because her mind couldn’t keep up any longer. If her mind had stayed, no doubt she would have passed at her desk, and done so happily. So to that, I say to each their own towards their own level of content.
There is a great benefit which may be gained from Tiny Home living that seems to go unspoken. This is the possible boost to a person’s physical and/or mental health. Living in a Tiny Home would most likely change the way many think and interact. Due to the smaller space, it very well could push couples and families to take part in outdoor activities together more often. The more authentic experiences are together, the closer bond that’s formed. The activities which bring us closer to our intended human state, instead of allowing it to dissolve away to a robotic state.
While traveling abroad within the countries of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and other Scandinavian or European countries, one reality became immediately evident. In place of vehicles, many people, including professionals traveling to and from work, CHOOSE to utilize bicycles as their primary means of transportation. There are as many designated parking areas for bicycles as there are for vehicles. The point isn’t that these people live in Tiny Homes, although in comparison to Americans, they do tend to place less importance in the size of their homes. The point is that they have chosen to remain much more active outdoors than the average American. Whether they bike to work, walk around town, or spend a Saturday enjoying the parks, there seems to be a level of human connection to each other and nature around them that isn’t as often witnessed in our country. It’s thought to be a large reason why these countries are consistently ranked each year as the top 1-5 happiest in the entire world. An increase in outdoor activity alone would improve both the overall physical and mental health of the average American, let alone the depth and quality of human interaction which tends to come more easily to people separated by only a body of water.
These are my perceptions of Tiny Homes and a few of the benefits I feel they could add to our future society. Take a moment to consider how they could improve your life in any of the areas mentioned, and add in your own benefits as well. For many people the Tiny Home idea of living may never sound appealing or it doesn’t fit, and that’s quite ok. Different strokes for different folks is what makes this world spin. But people will be doing themselves a dis-service to completely dismiss the notion of Tiny Home living without giving it any true thought of the benefits it could bring.