My Newest Obsession: Tiny Houses

As I continue to research and learn more about the self-sufficiency and homesteading, I stumble across new concepts that capture my attention for longer than the usual two-seconds.  With some concepts, I become obsessed.

My latest obsession? Tiny Houses.

Harbinger from Tumbleweed Houses

The Tumbleweed Houses design that I’m in love with! It’s called “Harbinger” and is 404 sq ft. © Tumbleweed Houses shares more about the Tiny House Movement:

Simply put it is a social movement where people are downsizing the space that they live in. The typical American home is around 2600 square feet, while the typical small or tiny house is around 400 square feet. Tiny Houses come in all shapes, sizes and forms but they focus on smaller spaces, simplified living.

Before moving to NYC last August, I was a bit of a hoarder.  Not the kind that has her entire living space stuffed full from floor to ceiling with unworn clothes or newspapers from 1987, but the kind that has way too many goods for personal use and has no logical explanation as to why.

So before moving, I sold most of what I owned so that I could start over.  Though I was initially very emotional about parting with some of my belongings (it’s weird how we can get so attached to STUFF), I felt so liberated when I was able to board my flight to NYC with only a few pieces of luggage and a handful of boxes being shipped to me.  I started accumulating things once I moved to NYC and got my own apartment, but my “hoarding” feelings were no longer there.  I had less furniture and didn’t want an over-stuffed apartment.  I thought more before I bought things (and my bank account thanked me for it).

But apparently I wasn’t done learning my life lessons about “stuffitis” and the absurdity of emotional attachment to material goods because in May 2012 my Brooklyn apartment became infested with bed bugs.

I was a bit naive about the critters, so it wasn’t until I had 60 bites covering my body and a coworker gently told me they weren’t from mosquitoes, that I decided to see a doctor.  I didn’t even get my sweater sleeve all the way off during the exam before the doctor and nurse looked at each other and said, “Bed bugs.”  After going five-rounds with my landlord, exterminator, and NYC’s housing authority, my apartment was finally treated for the bed bugs (and army of cockroaches that used my apartment as a highway).

But by the time the exterminator made it to my apartment, I had thrown about 25 garbage bags of stuff away*** and decided it was time to head back to home Wisconsin.

So for the second time in less than a year, I had to get rid of the majority of my worldly possessions.  The second time around didn’t impact me as much.  I knew I could still be Chynna without all my stuff.  Yes, there were still some items I couldn’t part withs so I worked with the exterminator to figure out how to treat them.  But overall, I learned I could live with less.

The first time I saw a Tiny House was on a design show last fall.  I saw it and immediately thought, “I could NEVER live in one of those!”  It literally made my chest feel tight, as I started to feel anxious.  But experiencing moving cross-country and then a bedbug infestation, really makes me feel that I could downsize my life and live in a Tiny House.

I’m attracted to Tiny Houses for a variety of reasons– they’re more cost effective, so it would be more realistic/economical for me to purchase a Tiny House than a regular one (and the long-term mortgage that comes with it); they are more energy efficient, so they are cheaper to maintain; they are small(or smaller) than an apartment, but I could put it on some land allowing me to have more space to garden; and they’re just plain adorable!

More Reading About Tiny Houses:

What do you think about Tiny Houses?  If you’re obsessed share why in the comments below.  Do you live in one?  Share your experiences in the comments!

***Yes, I know that items should be donated instead of thrown away.  But I didn’t have the funds to treat every item I owned for bed bugs and didn’t want to risk infesting the recipients of my items.  Knowing I was sending my stuff to landfill bothered me more than getting rid of it.