Tiny houses are quaint and charming, but could you imagine ? A took on this question and asked residents to reveal what downsizing is really like. Although some tiny house dwellers complained about space, others praised the simplicity of their lifestyle.
1. A tiny house was totally fine to live in — as long as only one person was there.
"It was awesome when I was single," commented one user, who has lived in both a 240-square-foot home and a 576-square-foot home. "It kept me out of the house except to sleep. When the weather was bad or I had to stay home for some reason, it felt cozy. I didn't mind using an outhouse or cooking without a stove [and] oven or sleeping on a small mattress. The downside to both of my tiny houses was horrible insulation and air circulation. They were both hot in summer [and] cold in winter, no matter what I did. Also, when I got in a serious relationship, it was clear that two people couldn't live comfortably in my place and a family could not live there at all."
2. Downsizing never stops.
Although you can expect to throw away possessions before moving in to your tiny house, another commenter explained that this downsizing process will also continue for as long as you live there: "It's like putting something in a glass that's already full. Whenever you buy something, you have to get rid of something else."
3. A tiny house costs more than you might think.
"Everything is custom made or altered [to fit] in true tiny houses. Your fridge must be small, your hob tiny, the storage made to measure," said one commenter, explaining why building costs on a tiny house can be so high. Unless you're quite handy yourself, you'll have to pay someone else to install these custom features.
4. It's not that different from living in an apartment.
"My fiancé and I have lived in a 250-square-feet recycled shipping container home for the past five years. Overall, it's not much different than a small apartment, except we have to fix our own stuff, get to paint whatever we want, change up our decor a lot quicker ... Everything you get to do in, you know, a house. We clean more often as we have pets, and yeah, hair builds up quickly. So does dust since we're in the desert. We built our own place so we have a pretty big kitchen, a two-person bathroom and shower and a queen bed. Those all go a very long way to making it livable in the long run."
5. You're not limited to living on land.
Another commenter chimed in that he lives in a small narrowboat on the English Canal System: "Some aspects of life on the boat are harder — to do laundry we have to lug our laundry to the car, then head to a laundromat. Groceries have to be lugged back from where ever we are parked, and we don't tend to have access to a corner shop if we forget something. We have to go to a water point every week to refill our tanks (we can do a full week without resupplying with water, but we have to take very short showers and I do miss being able to take a long shower)."
6. Living in a tiny house is about changing your entire lifestyle.
"I've lived in a tiny home of 350 square feet for almost four years now and have lived here the past full year with my boyfriend and our two dogs. We love it. I'd consider myself not very minimalistic. I love to entertain. More than I love to cook, I love to throw dinner parties, decorate, fold the napkins just so and the like. We're fairly social as a couple and live right downtown very affordably, which works well for us. Some are commenting that each time you get something you have to get rid of something, but the thought process becomes more like not even seeing the need to acquire things in the first place. If I see a board game I like, I might buy it because I have a little room on my board game shelf. Then after a while I might find I never really play four of these board games anymore, so I'll purge them (they go to friends). The only time I do an 'in with the new, out with the old' kind of thing is when an item needs replacing. Obviously I have no room for two sofas, so when I purchased a new sofa last year, my old one went up on Craigslist first. I do have a separate storage unit, which holds our backpacking supplies, some Christmas decorations and tools that wouldn't make sense to keep at home. The unit is pretty empty."
This user also included a photo of her giant dog on her tiny sofa:
7. If you live with someone else, you'll have to learn how to get along really well.
"Since we both work from home and our place is so small, we are literally together all the time," explained one woman who lives in a 4,000-square-foot floating bungalow with her husband in Florida. "This could have gone the other way, but it has forced us both to really be considerate and mindful of one another, and we rarely get angry or annoyed with each other. Our place is really just too small to afford to have arguments."
8. You will run out of storage space.
"My friend lived illegally in a climate-controlled storage rental. He said his biggest problem was the lack of room for things. You get some new text books? Toaster goes on the floor now."
9. If you forget to put things away, it will pretty much look messy right away.
"Space-wise, the size is not an issue. We didn't really own much before we moved in and could actually fit a lot more into the boat. It does become messy-looking very quickly though, and the kitchen becomes very hard to use if the dishes are not done twice a day. I do miss having a shed, and my partner has dealt with the lack of garden space by putting planter boxes on the roof."
10. People will ask you why you didn't just choose to live in a RV or trailer.
This question came up multiple times throughout the Reddit thread. "For us it was build quality and weather concerns," one user responded. "We're in the Mojave desert and RVs just aren't built to be in this environment, comfortably, long term. Also, lack of ability to customize our living space, have cute furniture, etc. Third consideration was cost." A different user, who lives in a converted travel trailer, said they chose to go this route instead because RVs are accepted in more locations nationwide than tiny houses.
11. Only one person can cook at a time.
"Horrible. Only one person fits in the kitchen. Me and my girlfriend love to cook together."
12. It can get really hot in the summer.
"The novelty wears off really quick. I lived on a little tug boat (different than a tiny home, I know, but it had a bathroom with the shower built over the toilet and a tiny kitchen.) Honestly, it was harsh, [especially] during the summer because the tiny space got really sticky and kind of [felt] like... a coffin."
13. You most likely will save money in the long run.
"The cheapest of hotels is an upgrade every time, so you are quite happy and save a bunch on travel basically anywhere that you stay. Rent is quite low when you've got it parked on someone's property away from their home and they never really see you except when you owe them dues. While it is still possible to be 'left alone' or to 'do your own thing,' it's less likely. Your family unit gets a lot closer, especially if you have financial struggles at the same time. You have effectively learned to go without (for two years I didn't even have an Internet connection), so you really appreciate the times when you do something."
14. You don't have to spend that much time cleaning.
"I love that everything has a place, nothing gets lost, and it's easy to clean," said one tiny house resident who lives with one other person, two dogs and four cats. Additionally, he found living in a school bus the best option for him because it has more space and is mobile. "It's not for everyone, but given a chance and good design, can be a very comfortable space."
15. Families can make it work.
"My family and I recently moved into a tiny house. It's just under 300 square feet. We have a small but still full-sized fridge, a stove, washer and dryer. We put a bunk bed in the living room for the kids, and we built a frame that fits over it so we could curtain in each bed to give them each their own tiny room. Shelves and under-bed storage boxes are our friends. If it can't go up on a shelf, or be stored under something, we can live without it. We have a folding table and chairs that we use instead of a traditional dining table so we can put it away to give ourselves more space if we need it. We do have an attic to store some things in too, which helps. The biggest issue is that the smallest bit of clutter seems like a huge mess. Everything has a place and must be put back in its place immediately after we're done using it. No waiting and doing it later."