A recent story was published on Today.com that told the story of a college student who plans to graduate from the University of Texas, Austin debt free, all because he built and now lives in a Tiny House instead of racking up debt from living in a dorm.
You can read more about his story and see some great pictures of what he was able to accomplish here: http://www.today.com/money/college-student-builds-tiny-home-graduate-debt-free-t28526
This is just one of the many inspiring stories popping up about Tiny Houses and I predict that we will be seeing more and more of them in the not too distant future. It seems that Tiny Houses are becoming “a thing” in the same vein as cloth diapers, gluten free and electric cars.
Trends like these speak to how many people feel a change in lifestyle is needed to keep up with the growing demands we place on the environment. While being more environmentally conscientious is clearly a good thing, I wonder if the Tiny House trend is socially sustainable. In other words, is it just trendy like skinny jeans or is it part of a permanent change in our culture?
Let me be the first to admit that I love the rationale, esthetic and efficiency of Tiny Houses and yes, after I watched the documentary “Tiny” on Netflix, I found myself saying “That’s it! I need to build a tiny house to live in!!” But, when the romance of it faded and I thought about having two young kids, storing clothes for the changing seasons, cooking meals, doing laundry (and having a working septic system!), I realized that the meaning behind downsizing is good but the extremeness of the movement would make modern life very narrow and limited.
For those of us who have tried making big changes in our lifestyle by experimenting with specialty diets like Gluten-free, Paleo or Vegan, most of us have found that we can’t keep them up flawlessly. The long lasting and sustainable changes we make are usually accomplished little by little. Granted, it’s not as sexy to say “I’ve downsized from my 4,000 sq ft house to a 1,900 sq ft house to practice sustainability.”[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”18″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]“But if our primary motivation is to impress others with our righteous environmentalism, then here again is a sign that this is just a shallow trend destined to fade as quickly as our newsfeed refreshes.”[/mks_pullquote]But if our primary motivation is to impress others with our righteous environmentalism, then here again is a sign that this is just a shallow trend destined to fade as quickly as our newsfeed refreshes. Often the most mature, and healthy changes come in small, steady and somewhat unimpressive increments that add up over time, rather than radical shifts.
Let’s hope the tenants of the Tiny House movement continues to permeate our culture but let’s also take a sober look at how to join these principals with the other meaningful spaces of our lives.