By: Christina Hunt
According to HGTV, the tiny house trend is sweeping the nation. The show “Tiny House Hunters” debuted in November 2014 and follows people as they search for homes under 600 square feet. The houses are commonly based on typical foundations, skids, trees, flatbed trailers or even inside old school buses or shipping containers.
Why, you ask?
According to thetinylife.com, tiny living “is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.”
The most popular reasons for people to join this movement are environmental and financial concerns and the desire for more time and freedom to enjoy life.
In 2013, CBS News reported that many Americans spend one-third to one-half of their income on housing expenses. This number is up from 22.8 percent in 2008.
“The study by the Center for Housing Policy found median housing costs of working renters rose nearly 6 percent between 2008 and 2011, while their median incomes fell more than 3 percent,” according to CBS.
Because of the high cost of living, “fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to a survey of 1,000 adults,” CNN Money reported. “Meanwhile, 50 percent of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27 percent had no savings at all.”
An alternative to the skyrocketing cost of living that many are choosing is to live smaller. Literally. And thanks to improvements in technology, it is becoming easier to downsize without losing the modern conveniences of a larger home.
Say goodbye to the bulky 20th century “tube”. Televisions are now thin and able to be mounted on the wall.
In August 2015, LG revealed it’s latest invention: a flexible paper-thin television. According to LG, “the flexible panel has a high-definition class resolution of 1200 x 810 with almost 1 million megapixels. And the panel can be rolled up to a radius of 3 centimeters without affecting the function of the display.”
Computers are also distant cousins of their bulky predecessors, which required a large monitor, computer tower, speakers, mouse and a desk to set it all on. Innovation has made it practical to use a thin laptop or tablet as your everyday computer, which significantly cuts back on the space requirement to be connected to the world wide web.
And thanks to that computer or tablet, you can ditch the bulky book shelves. E-books are available on your Kindle, iPad, computer or smartphone for you to read for a low price.
Water heaters traditionally take up a small closet in a home. However, that small closet in a tiny house is a lot of valuable storage space. With tankless or demand-type water heaters, those who want to live the tiny life don’t have to sacrifice hot water.
According to Energy.gov, “tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money.”
The initial cost of a smaller water heater is greater, however, ENERGY STAR estimates that a typical family will save $100 per year or more with its qualified tankless water heater.
A standard washer and dryer takes up a lot of space in a 100 square foot home, so the logical answer is a stackable machine. However, stackable machines are tiny and may require you to do multiple loads of laundry. Now tiny home owners have the option to save space without losing the convenience of doing all of their laundry in one load. A combination washer and dryer takes up the the space of one machine but is able to clean and dry clothing.
Thanks to these innovations, tiny house dwellers can still enjoy the luxury modernity and convenience without losing valuable square footage.
And if you ever want to give the tiny life style a trial run before taking the plunge, test it out at Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a nature lodging experience with luxury tiny home cabins that you can rent by the night.