Why I am moving from a tiny house into a tinier house

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/02/why-i-am-moving-from-a-tiny-ho.html

Is it because you’re a rich person who has enough money to make a fetish out of being poor?


You have to go outside to change your mind. Indeed.


When is living in a tiny house the same as living in a trailer or camper?

Lots of people live in campers, trailers, and the like. I imagine most don’t think of it as glorious quite the same way, but it is nice to hear that this individual is happy where they live.


The hubby and I have been pricing and looking at nomadic living options for about a year. At first, I looked at tiny houses, but that will not fit the budget. Then I realized that there are some great old airstreams, casitas’, and RV options that were way more convenient.

Tiny houses look cool, but they are so totally unaccessible to a lot of folks trying to get out a more anchored lifestyle. Our solution will probably be an old van, as sleeping space with a queen sized bed inside. With a tiny trailer towed behind for our “living space”.

I haven’t really looked at tiny houses since my first set of research. I worry they won’t survive the miles I want put on them, for the cost, and I need something light and designed to tow.


It would seem the biggest difference here is that people who live in campers, RVs, or mobile homes tend to be in communal parks, whereas it seems at least some of the tiny house folks can afford to have their own lots. The author here has a tiny house, but a lot of space. In their minds, they’re like Thoreau living in his little shack by the pond.


Reminds me of this gem from King Crimson’s ‘Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream’:

I’ve got to get dressed to go out / Of my mind


I live in a small house with a large family. Small houses are overrated. I want a big house, that has enough room for two more bathrooms. Just once I’d like to be able to poop or take a shower without someone saying “are you done yet???”


I wouldn’t be so quick to write this off as a romanticizing of poverty.

A lot of people are craving simplicity in today’s convoluted modern world, especially those who live near its manic core. This desperation is literally visible in today’s zeitgeist, with much of graphic and industrial design focused on clean surfaces, thin lines, solid colors, and tonally-defined contours and boundaries. We see it in the obsession with small devices, minimalist living, and an adopted nostalgia for the mechanical simpler predecessors of today’s technology.

This woman clearly wanted to find a path back to sanity and reclaim a sense of simplicity in her everyday life. I can’t blame her, regardless of how much money she might have.


I’m not likely to ever live in a tiny house, though I do see the appeal. I lived in a smallish sailboat for 3 years and absolutely loved it. I could easily see doing that again, or possibly a float house.

Of course, the sailboat had the advantage of being a vehicle in its own right.


I am pretty sure I would be happy living in a small house, but it seems like a cruel fetish to force on the rest of my family.


I was coming to say that as well. If you have the money and can afford it, great. But don’t try to say it’s for everyone.


lol…I was thinking the same thing. People like that do things like this for no other reason than to tell others about it. It’s the same reason why people ‘vacation’ in Machu Picchu.

$5 says she carries pictures of her place with her no matter where she is.


Sure, it’s small, but it’s not tiny small. My place, on the other hand, is genuinely tiny. It’s got no room for running water, so it just sits there, forlorn, in its thimble. It is so compact that I brought home a muffin once and had to eat half before it would fit.

Next up, I’m moving in to a place so tiny that I don’t even fit inside it. Then, finally, I’ll be home.


I don’t see how that isn’t romanticizing. It may not be fetishizing, but it’s definitely making out that simpler time and place to be more than what it was. Especially when you can have a massive online personality built around the simple life.


Agreed. Some people simply prefer less “indoor” space, regardless of whether it’s a “tiny house” or not. For example, my parents spend as much time as possible outside. They don’t DO anything outside – they sit and talk, the same as other people do inside, or look at the birds, and so forth. My dad gets kind of down in the winter because he’s cooped up inside. His perfect housing situation, I feel, is common in California – separate structures for things that are “best” inside, but otherwise existing comfortably outside.

I’m the opposite, and my wife polarizingly so. My wife has no real desire to “be outside,” and although she likes getting out of the house and going on walks, going places, she greatly values interior space.

If we’re comparing “alternative housing” for western lifestyles, it’s like comparing a tiny house to a yurt. A tiny house has the bare basics for sleeping, eating, and cooking, maybe ablutions. A yurt is a big open space that is enclosed, and also includes those basics but in 1/4-1/3 of the space. The rest is just “open,” like loft-style spaces. People with tiny houses don’t really LIVE in their tiny house – they live outside.

For me, I’d have to live somewhere with no mosquitos or biting bugs. For some reason, they always chow down on me.


O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

-Hamlet, Act II, sc.2

Admittedly I’ve known nightmares to breed in houses of all sizes.


You usually can tell if you’re romanticizing something when implementing it correctly still doesn’t get you sufficiently close to your objective. As the fictional Tyler Durden said, “Sticking feathers up your butt doesn’t make you a chicken”. Adopting the apparatus of simple living doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily make the psychological transition to simple living. That’s an intrapersonal process and not everyone gets there—nor needs to.

What I do requires physical materials and lots of functional space, so my version of simplicity would have a much bigger footprint than this woman’s. Simplifying beyond this would be counterproductive for me.

But if this woman and her husband find greater contentment in reducing the footprint of their life and have become proficient at devising such solutions, I see no reason not to turn it into a business.


I can’t read the continued reduction in size to be much different from always seeking to be thinner no matter what weight you are. It’s probably the extremely small window to view this from, but the continual extreme change in the name of a lifestyle or ideal goes beyond what I would describe as rationality.

The use of whimsical language doesn’t help either, and to be fair Thoreau was a romantic in my eyes too.


There is no part of Thoreau’s face I wouldn’t want to slap. That guy is the epitome of The Uninformed Romanticist. (A phrase that may strike some as redundant.)