I was all excited when I first joined a few Facebook groups to get some insights on living tiny and on the road, and I have gotten a ton of information…but it has also reminded me of all the things I don’t like about social media. The fulltimers group has been great, it’s really for RV living but I suspect there may be one or two other tiny house lurkers like me enjoying the stories, pics, and voices of experience when it comes to navigating RV parks, small spaces, and creative storage. The tiny house groups have been a little more frustrating. There is dissension in the ranks, mostly on everyone trying to qualify what is or isn’t a tiny house. I don’t feel comfortable posting much or asking questions, because faaaaarrr too many people throw out judgments of, “that’s not what living tiny is all about.” and getting all panties-in-a-wad over people not living tiny like they’re supposed to.
So, despite fitting the square feet criteria (eyeroll that they’re even nit picky about THAT) Brian and I are doing it wrong and here is why.
One: We are actually planning on using the wheels on our tiny house. Hence the money we have poured into our trailer to make triply sure it is capable of hauling our tiny home. We did not buy second hand, strip an abandoned RV, or otherwise find the cheapest set of wheels that might function in order to avoid housing tax. Many apparently do this, and while most make sure the trailer is sound for holding the house, few are worried as much about wear and tear on the road since they are going to park it on land somewhere. There are several who actually travel with their houses, but they apparently mostly host their own blogs and avoid facebook groups-which may be the route I take. Especially when I asked about travelling one actually said, “you should just get an RV.” …the reasons we didn’t go with an RV are a whole ‘nother post (and nothing against RVs since RV living is what started this adventure), but seriously, we are already BUILDING a tiny house, people who make stupid comments like this are the worst. You know the type, like you say, “We just adopted a dog, advice on….” and they’re all like, “You shouldn’t get a dog, they’re horrible, why would you ever do that?” HELLO, NOT HELPFUL, ALREADY MADE THE DECISION!
Two: They incorporate recycled/reclaimed/bargain finds to keep the cost of the house lower and to reduce their “footprint”. The “point of tiny housing” according to many comment-ers is essentially avoiding being saddled with a mortgage and being wasteful. Now I am all for this if this is the route you want to go! I AM happy that we will be spending less on utilities and living less wastefully, but that was not a big contributing factor to why we decided to go tiny, more like icing on the cake. And I love seeing the creativity and DIY projects! But again, we’ll be travelling to who knows how many different climate types, AND this is our forever home. Our dream of a forever home does not include reclaimed barn wood. Some things we had to get high end in order to prepare for any climate we might get stationed in (no neat stained glass windows for us, womp womp) and others we are getting because we WANT to-like cork flooring (which-besides being weird and looking neat- is also a really good insulator) ….sorry our dream house doesn’t look the same, it is still remarkably energy and water efficient-maybe more so in some ways. The tiny house version of “keeping up with the Joneses” is how much you’ve restored/recycled compared to your neighbor, and our build comes in dead last and neither of us cares, lol.
Three: a tiny house must be cheaper than a sticks and bricks house otherwise it is pointless. Well, due to reasons one and two, uh, nope. Now, it is not the cost of a really nice S&B house in a great location, being tiny DOES cut some cost on manufacture -but it’s not cheap because being tiny also raises other expenses. Our fridge is expensive because of it’s dimensions, as is our oven. Not because they are big, but because they are small. Normal sized appliances of the same caliber would cost us less. And what THIS argument does is undermine all the claims that living tiny is worthy in and of itself, that less is more and minimalism is freeing and all that other stuff tossed around. If my house passes a certain level of investment then all those “philosophies” are null and void? Now, Brian and I didn’t start our tiny house adventure to join a political or philosophical movement, we saw the practical applications of how living tiny would work for our family and his career and realized it seems a good fit, but this “has to be under a certain amount or it defeats the point” argument really chafes my grits because if you claim that you are “freeing yourself from materialistic thinking” and then demand a dollar amount be placed on your philosophy, well, you’re an idiot.
So, yeah, we’re doing it wrong. Brian has no desire to “rough” it, and because the structure IS small we are able to purchase really nice things that we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford in a larger house. For example-granite counter tops are a lot cheaper when you’ve only got two tiny counters. Now I wouldn’t mind reclaimed this and old that. I’ve realized I love ugly, broken, and imperfect things, and the adventure of “making things work” is appealing to my stimulation distracted brain (another entirely seperate blog post), but nine years married to a man who would make himself happily at home in the Taj Mahal (after some renovations to make it even better, I’m sure) and I’ve also realized that living with nice things doesn’t bother me as much as it sometimes bores me. But luxury is what he appreciates and enjoys, and I’m still just so thrilled that he agreed to doing this at all! So as long as he’s satisfied with the fancy stuff I can find plenty of other fun things to occupy myself- like insisting our house be painted purple. And the end result is a really cool house that we designed TOGETHER which simply makes it the best.
I don’t know how much longer I’ll be part of the tiny house groups. We apparently don’t fit the standard tiny house mold, and snobby people annoy me, especially snobby people who claim they are fighting back against snobbery -“it’s all about community and becoming better people!…as long as you fit these arbitrary criteria…”-the sad irony is too much for me to bear. Some of the members are kind and thoughtful, and I love learning from the other families, but the few judgmental ones are REALLY judgmental and I just don’t need that.