Whenever I tell someone I’m building a tiny house, the responses are pretty varied.
Anything from this:
And even some of this:
Who knew that such a simple statement could illicit the entire spectrum of human emotion?
Realizing that this is an out-of-the-ordinary decision, let me explain how this came about…
- This is not a Whim
I’ve seen Tiny Houses for several years now. They’ve always been on my radar as “cute” and “clever” but it wasn’t until about a year ago that the thought occurred to me that I could actually live in one. Since then, I’ve researched, prayed, waited, and prayed some more to see what the Lord would have me do. Last March was when I made the decision to move forward and started laying out the budget and gathering what resources I would need to actually build. Those of you who know me know I do not make big purchases quickly. A tiny house, while tiny, is still an investment. I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing.
2. I Want to Live Simply
I was sitting in my living room a few months back, looking around at this place that is decorated exactly as I’ve always wanted and I realized something: there isn’t one thing in the room that I couldn’t live without. Yet I insist on keeping all the things and toting them from place to place whenever I move. Do I need my college notes? Do I need that random book from that one garage sale that was such a good deal (but that I still haven’t read)? How about VHS tapes? I don’t even have a VCR… Some of you might say, “Ok, just pare down your stuff and take the rest to Goodwill.” Sure, I could do that. But I think this goes deeper. I have brothers and sisters around the world who live with a lot less. The point is not about seeing what I can get rid of, but evaluating what I really need to live.
When I worked in real estate, it was understood that your first house is a “starter.” A small but functional, if not barely standing structure in a crappy part of town. Every house after that is somehow bigger, fancier, and more expensive. As I’ve finally come to a place where I can afford to start looking at real estate, my question is about what I need. Do I really need extra space? Extra bedrooms? A big yard? Those things are nice to have for sure and I have nothing against them, I just think that as I get to the heart of what is important to me, those things don’t rate so high anymore.
3. I Want to be Light[er] on My Feet
I’m pretty light on my feet as it is. I’m not married. No kids. Only one animal to worry about. I can travel when I want (provided I have enough vacation time) and can be gone for any length of time…to a point.
There is still the issue of rent. Every month bills are due. By living “off grid,” if you will, it eliminates all those things. If the Lord called me to move overseas, I can go without worrying about disconnecting the utilities. It’s also an inexpensive way to live…as in $500 for everything. That includes insurance, cell phone, student loans, food, entertainment, gas for the car… If I were ever without a job again, I could live for years on savings as opposed to just a few months. AND it’s mobile! I can move my house anywhere…
4. There’s More to Give Away
My Saturday mornings are spent cleaning, mopping, laundering, dusting, rearranging….that’s the nature of stuff: it must be maintained. I’d rather use the time I have to spend with people, investing in them, caring for and encouraging them. By having less stuff to take care of, I’ll have more time freed up to do just that. Also, living in a tiny house would mean I’d have more financial resources to give to someone who needs it more than me.
5. Future Investment
What if you get all moved in and then you hate it? I’ve heard that question a lot. Well, what if? If I did decide that I just can’t abide having my bedroom above the kitchen, there is a market for tiny houses. I could resell it.
Someday when I get married, whether or not the Hubs wants to live in the tiny house is not a deal breaker. If we decided to buy a regular house as well as keep the tiny one, the tiny house could be easily parked in the backyard, thus creating a built-in rental property for all those who are curious about living in a tiny space. For as crazy as it seems, there is a lot of interest in that.
A tiny house is my effort to free myself up for more ministry. And at the end of the day, I want to make sure nothing has my heart more than Jesus….especially my “stuff.”