Although the trend has been around since the 1980s, the tiny house movement has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years.
With people migrating into cities that are already densely populated, housing prices are increasing astronomically across the United States. As a result, it almost seems like apartments are getting smaller and standard-sized homes more expensive by the day.
In a world where life is so complex and expensive, the shift toward tiny houses has become a real social movement. Tiny homes are about living with less to gain more. They are all about creating a living situation that is not only environmentally friendly but that also gives homeowners more freedom — both economically and geographically — to do the things they love.
Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Despite their many benefits, tiny houses also come with plenty of drawbacks, especially for people who are not ready to take on the challenges of tiny house living.
Becoming a minimalist is not for everyone, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of tiny living so you can make an informed decision before sealing the deal on that bohemian little hut.
1. Pro: Tiny Houses Are Affordable
It takes skill and time to construct a liveable tiny house, but if you have the ability to build one yourself, you can spend as little as $12,000 on your dream home. You’d only be paying for the materials you use and manpower for the things you can’t do by yourself.
Even if you choose to purchase a ready-built tiny home or to have one made for you based on your specifications, the price you would pay is still just a fraction of the price of a traditional house. Overall, tiny home prices can range from $20,000 or less to about $50,000 depending on size and finishes.
2. Pro: Tiny Homes Give You More Mobility
Tiny houses are either made on wheels or set on a foundation. However, for many people, wheels are the only way to go when it comes to owning a tiny home.
This is because many homeowners who build or buy tiny homes want to enjoy one of the biggest benefits of living in a tiny house: the ability to take it anywhere you want to go.
Whether you’re a traveler who constantly wants to experience something new or you’ve set eyes on a new spot of land, having a tiny home makes it easier to just get up and leave.
3. Pro: Smaller Homes Have Less Environmental Impact
Materials such as wood and insulation are essential in building any home. But the bigger the house, the more materials it requires. A lot of these materials come from nature and the ones that don’t are made through harmful processes that put a strain on the environment.
What’s great about tiny homes is that because of their small size, many of them are made of recycled, repurposed and salvaged materials. This saves a lot on the amount of new materials you would’ve typically used for a standard house.
Plus, it doesn’t stop here. Many tiny houses are also equipped with rainwater catch and filtration systems and composting toilets for a more ecological approach to sanitation.
4. Pro: Tiny Houses Are Energy Efficient
A tiny home’s energy needs are much smaller than the energy needs of a traditional building. You’d have smaller (and fewer) appliances and a smaller place to heat or to cool. So instead of relying on utility companies, tiny house owners can instead utilize off-grid power systems such as solar panels and wind generators. As such, a major advantage of a tiny house is that you can have it run completely on renewable power. Spending far less on utilities is one of the biggest benefits of these homes.
5. Pro: You Will Be Forced to Declutter
For many people, it’s hard to hang on to money when there are so many interesting, convenient or necessary products out there. Very often, we buy things we don’t need and end up finding it hard to organize our homes.
However, if you’re living in a tiny house, you don’t really have the option of overspending on things you won’t use. Plus, living in a tiny home gives you a chance to simplify your life by getting rid of the unnecessary possessions that you already have. Life becomes a bit easier when you only have meaningful and necessary things. Your wallet will thank you, too.
6. Con: Tiny House Laws Vary
Certain states are more friendly toward the idea of tiny houses than others. In some states, tiny homes aren’t considered legal because they fall into a zoning regulation and safety gray area. Because of their small size, these houses don’t typically meet the building codes and minimum square footage required to be considered a residence. Consequently, it may be difficult to register your tiny home or get permits.
7. Con: Storage Is a Challenge
One of the biggest tiny house problems is having less storage for things like food (and you can forget about buying in bulk), clothes, books and other items you need in your day-to-day life.
Plus, you’ll need to start paying attention to new factors you never had to consider before, like how much certain items weigh. This becomes an issue if you plan to move a lot with your tiny house, because there’s only so much a truck can haul, and heavier items means spending more on fuel overall.
You’ll also find yourself cleaning all the time because anything you leave lying around will make your home look many times more cluttered.
8. Con: Cooking Gets Tricky Fast
If you enjoy cooking meals for yourself and your family, you may be in for a bit of disappointment when you move into your tiny home. Imagine chopping vegetables on a tiny counter, preparing two-course meals on a tiny stovetop, and keeping your food products in a fridge and pantry so small, you’ll need to go shopping every couple of days.
In fact, everyday tasks can become a challenge when you’re living in a tiny home. Suddenly, you have to start planning out your schedule more carefully, especially if you’re sharing the space, since even hanging out in the living room can become a bit of an issue in a tiny home.
9. Con: You Must Deal With a Composting Toilet
Having a composting toilet sounds great when you think of the environmental benefits, but it also comes with some challenges.
Since there’s no plumbing, you’ll need to handle waste regularly, usually weekly. These toilets are also more prone to odors, which may get worse on hot summer days.