A recent post at Treehugger on the tiny house movement calls into question how genuine the intent of people living in tiny houses really is. This lack of consideration for people’s changing life circumstances is puzzling.
Actually, the piece feels more like a weak attempt to sensationalize the downsides of living tiny. When you add ‘big lie’ to the title it’s bound to capture people’s attention.
Yes, living in a tiny space is not for everyone. Just like living in a McMansion on a one-acre lot is not for everyone. There is no one, perfect solution to housing for every human.
There are definitely challenges to living in a tiny space, like managing cooking and bathroom odors. Integrating a home office work space is also a challenge (for some), but the ubiquity of powerful and compact laptops makes that easier.
And accommodating families is a particular bone of contention here. Kids need space — space for toys, sleepovers, running around, and a place of their own to escape to. That’s particularly challenging in a tiny house, especially in the winter months.
Getting permission to park and live in your tiny house is also an issue in much of the US. Similar to the mobile home parks of the past half century, there are now a few, permitted ’tiny house parks’ popping up here and there. But, for the most part living in a tiny house is illegal and kept as secretive as possible.
My question is this: If people built tiny houses and lived for their entire lives in them would this movement then not be a ‘lie’? I think it is unreasonable to assume that people’s whole lives are monolithic and unchanging.
Whether a tiny house serves as a residence for a few months or many years it often comes down to what works for this particular person/couple/family at this stage in their life. And just because they decide to move into something larger a little later in life should NOT be labeled a failure of the movement.
Anne Lupton is currently working on finishing the interior space of her tiny house on wheels in rural Wisconsin (without access to grid power).