What does it Mean?
Challenge Yourself to Redefine Home & Rethink Housing
A tiny home is a multi-tool to meet personal goals, financial and lifestyle, and community needs from shelter to quality, affordable housing. What other kinds of housing can you say that about? It's a fill-in-the-gaps solution. Tiny houses come in many styles, and appeal to people of all walks of life.
And of course tiny living has been around since the beginning of time. In the modern day, housing options are very limited. More and more are bootstrapping their own housing solution by building or buying a tiny house. In the US, we have all seen the downsides of excess and the limits of the housing market. We can all benefit from living more simply and in smaller, more environmentally-friendly structures. Tiny living in not just for one particular socioeconomic class of people, and is not just about affordability. Frequently, tiny dwellers are motivated by a combination of many factors. Choosing to live tiny tends to emphasis experiences and relationships, over things. Though the choice to live this way is very personal.
The modern tiny house movement is centered on the concept of self-empowerment-- taking direct control of your life and your quality of life by re-prioritizing what's most important to you and crafting a lifestyle and home around that. Tiny houses aren't right for everyone. Yet it’s important to recognize that they can make a quality home for many. Would you welcome a tiny dweller in your community, or in your neighborhood?
An intro to tiny housing:
Tiny houses are typically recognized as dwellings 400 square feet and under, on wheels or on a foundation. The typical tiny house on wheels (THOW), aka movable tiny house is built into a trailer, using traditional housing materials and techniques. If desired, the wheels can be removed so that the house can be set on a foundation. It’s important to point out that a “tiny home” can really be anything, from traditional RVs, yurts, to converted fill-in-the-blanks—school bus, grain silo, train car, etc.
Did You Know?
Tiny houses on wheels originally came about as a means to get around restrictive codes. But they quickly became attractive to many as a mobile asset. Whatever life changes arise, you can take your tiny home investment with you. The majority of tiny house on wheels dwellers only move 1-3 times ever, for a new job or to be closer family, etc.
A Lil Bit of History
What Americans tend to forget is that living simply and in small structures is a way of life and size of housing that’s been around since the beginning of time, fom cave dwellings to pioneer cabins and beyond. In the 20th century, there are multiple examples of small structures popping up to meet housing demand or as an escape from traditional thinking, from early mobile homes addressing post-WWII housing needs to the embrace of simple living in the back-to-the-land movement of the late ‘60s and ’70s.
The merits of simple living have been explored in many great books in the last thirty years, with more and more being released from the excessive ’90s and into the 21st century. Jay Shafer built his first tiny house on wheels in 1999, not long after that, he co-founded the Small House Society. Then in 2006, he received national exposure on Oprah, top taste-maker of the time. Just in time to enter America’s consciousness before the Great Recession hit.
The housing crisis of 2008, elevated the tiny living concept tremendously. Downsizing out of necessity has slowly led to a powerful national paradigm shift around the meaning of home and success, set to the backdrop of the destructive culture of over-consumption, crippling stress, and economic inequality. For many, a new American dream emerged, one of reduced debt and greater freedom that can be achieved by tiny living. The tiny house movement has since been slowly simmering over the past ten years, and more recently exploded, thanks to the big exposure bump from the Netflix released documentary Tiny in 2013, followed by the cable debut of tiny house shows in 2014.
The Future of the Movement
The tiny house movement is worldwide. It has gone beyond trendy; it’s a lasting trend toward more economically and environmentally sustainable housing. Grassroots advocates are working to legitimize tiny housing through educational initiatives and call for zoning inclusion. Legal acceptance is critical for gaining access to financing, insurance and more secure placement of your tiny home. The biggest obstacles are restrictive zoning and building codes. These are being overcome in a growing number of cities and in model building codes. This precedent provides a how-to guide for other cities and states. To learn more, watch our docu-series, Living Tiny Legally.
The tiny house movement is a force for positivity. Empowering individuals and enabling communities to create more opportunities for home, from the physical structure to a sense of dignity.
What defines home for each of us is incredibly personal and more often than not comes from a place of love. Home represents a beautiful spectrum of meanings. Each meaning is valid. Nothing is more intimate than one's home—a place, a structure, a feeling, a state of mind. One of the most powerful things you can do is make someone feel welcome, at home.
For us, home is a sense of community. A feeling of belonging and security. A place of our own, where we can be our best selves. It's our cozy tiny home; it's simply being together.
There’s nothing like building or living in an unconventional house to make you reconsider the idea of what makes home, home. The meaning of home is very personal and goes beyond the physical structure. Home is a state of mind. Even those with no roof over their heads can have sense of home.
Keep scrolling to see our (tiny) Home Tour of America
After a serendipitous meeting with author, Susan Schaefer Bernardo, she was inspired to write a children's book based on our salvage-built tiny home on wheels and all our Tiny House Expedition adventures.
"An old farmhouse that gets recycled into something new: TINY, a little house with a big heart – and WHEELS! "