There are various theories on what it means to live simply, but for Americans, like Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, simplicity is creating a functional living space in less than 400-square-feet. Diedricksen is an author, blogger and architect with an enthusiasm for building tiny homes. The idea may seem impossible, but for Diedricksen, living small is not only doable, but an advantageous way of living that is not limited to a single definition.
“People tried to define it for a long time, but for me it doesn’t matter. The whole idea of it is downsizing, living a lighter life, living with less, and spending less,” said Diedricksen
Because of the small amount of space that they occupy, tiny homes make a much smaller impact on the environment than average sized homes. Other advantages include the shorter amount of time it takes to build, the money saved from spending less on energy costs, the ability to control the overall creative process and the satisfaction of home ownership. Unlike renting out a living space, building your own home is an investment that you can sell if you decide to move on. Tiny homes offer the same benefit, especially if you are already living small. There are different types of tiny homes that vary in size and space that can be optimized to feature storage space, some full sized appliances and can be built on trailers for travel.
“If the job market changes and you want to move to Butte, Montana, you can take your house with you instead of renting a truck. You can just batten down the hatches and drive your whole darn home from point A to point B,” he said.
Like owning a traditional home, the responsibility of owning a tiny home is just as large. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to owning a small home. With less space, tiny homes are not ideal for families, especially those with children. Having a limited amount of space forces you to condense the amount of belongings you have to those that you really need. Minimizing does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, but it is a lifestyle change.
Ross Beck, Customer Service Representative for Tumbleweed Tiny House Company said, “The biggest issue is that most building departments have great restrictions on where someone can place and live in a Tiny House on wheels.”
Those interested in building stationary homes must also factor in the zoning and construction codes in place in the community or state.
“We live in an age where people don’t work with their hands as much, everything is CNC routed and automated. People are losing touch with the old trades or hand eye coordination skills,” Diedricksen said.
The idea of building your own home can be daunting, but if you are looking to minimize, building a compact, tiny or micro home has its perks. The movement back into smaller living encourages a do-it-yourself attitude that not only results in personal satisfaction, but in economical, eco-friendly, sustainable living.