After being involved in the tiny house movement for a few years now and conversing with many tiny house enthusiasts who dream of living tiny, there seems to be a very black and white assumption of how long people live tiny. Either you're in it for the long haul, or you're just living tiny temporarily while you achieve a short term goal like paying your student loans.
But surely there has to be a gray area? Some sort of middle ground where you don't necessarily have to forever reject large spaces and you don't have to live in a solar-powered tiny house and only eat vegan. Or just simply figuring life out as you go.
We're here to remind you that there is no right way to live tiny, and surely no definite timeline that anyone has to follow to do it right. This will ultimately depend on your short-term and long-term goals, because although tiny living is the sh*t, for 99% of us, it is simply a means to an end.
For us, that is to have money and time to travel more. For others, that may be to pay down their debt and become financially independent.
For you? That is for you to decide! :)
I love this question! Tim and I constantly hear weird comments from friends and family such as “when you move into a real house…” or “you must just be doing this for a short time, right?” Well, having lived in our tiny for five years now, and having seen lots of people go tiny and then move out of tiny houses a short while later, we have realized that for us anyway, it doesn’t make sense to plan for things that may or may not happen.
We are trying to start a family (and everyone just assumes we’ll move out if we do), so it’s hard to say how long we’ll continue to live tiny. But I have learned that it doesn’t make sense to plan your life around something that may or may not happen. Why wouldn’t we try living in our tiny with a kid? If it didn’t work out, we could always move. Why should we assume that it won’t work? What if we can’t even have kids at all? What a waste it would be to move into a bigger house based on assumptions about the future...
We are so content with our current lifestyle (saving money, paying off debt, traveling freely, and living simply with more free time) that we don’t plan to change our housing situation until we find ourselves in a position where it just isn’t working anymore, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon.
So far, we can see ourselves living in our tiny house indefinitely. However, we did not design it with the intention of supporting a larger family when we eventually have children. Hopefully we can get at least 5 years out of our home before we grow our family and reassess our situation.
I think we will live tiny indefinitely. As of now we can't really think of another reason to switch back to a more traditional-sized home. The financial and mental freedom we get from tiny living far out ways the benefits of a traditional home size for us. We talked if we ever had a child what would we do, but I think if anything we would get a tiny house that can accommodate our child's needs. Originally, we thought tiny living was a solid stepping stone for our lives, but after two years it feels like a lifestyle that is made for who we are.
Another tricky question, since the framing misses one of the central aspects of tiny homes: there are a LOT of things you can do with tiny homes besides actually LIVING in them.
We lived in our tiny house for about a year and a half solid and loved it. During that time, we cut our cost of living, paid down our loans, and did a lot of work on the property. But living in it ourselves is just one approach. More recently, we’ve been spending a lot of time travelling and we list our tiny home as a vacation rental while we’re away. We live in it when we need or want to be in California and we rent it on Airbnb whenever we're away.
Within a couple of years, we'll likely purchase our own foundation home and relocate the tiny house as an accessory dwelling unit for guests and rentals.
So, we don't really think about "how long will we live in our tiny home." We think more about "how long will our tiny home be a useful investment." From that perspective, I think we'll get value from the house for at least another decade, probably more. Will we be living in it that entire time? Probably not -- but that's not because there are problems with living in a tiny house. It's just that tiny homes have a lot of different applications and the function of the home will transition as our lives continue to develop.
Who knows? Maybe one day Escher (our 3-year-old daughter) will be able to take the tiny home off with her to college, haha!
Great question! A lot of people view tiny houses as temporary dwellings, but this is a long-term abode for us! It was a positive life change to live in a home that aligns with our values (allowing for freedom, more time outdoors, and a smaller environmental footprint), and realistically, we’ll live here as long as it suits us.
We lived in a “normal” sized house for our 20s and most of our 30s. Todd is now 41 and I am 38 and we moved into our tiny home in 2018. We’re not having children so there is no time limit on how long we’ll live this small (this is not to say that people with kids can’t go tiny—as you see from this Dream Team, many can and do!). Our goal is to be more mobile/nomadic so we’ll likely go smaller for that (think sprinter van!). We see our tiny house as being our home base/summer home for many years to come.
We haven’t set a timeline or a goal, like paying off our mortgage. We’ve always said as long as we’re happy and it works for our family. Our two girls are now 6 years and 9 months old and our Tiny Haus is working perfectly for our family—it is home.
What’s great about a small space with children, you can see them from just about anywhere. Our children love to be close to us; there is often a little person tugging on my leg.
People have told us as our girls get older their bedroom won’t work… I’m not so sure as we are able to change our home to suit our needs and I see this being the case as the girls needs change. An idea for the future could be changing the height of the girls’ beds and adding a desk to sit at the end of their beds. We are teaching our children not to place too much value in things or the size of things, life is best lived when you are exploring the world. Will they really need a huge bedroom or just a comfortable bed to rest after spending the day outdoors?
We will change, our lives will change and we don’t know what will be in store for us in the future. There is no date in the back of our minds as to when or if we will move out of our Tiny Haus – we will take it as it comes.
Great question! And we’re not sure to be honest!
When we built our tiny house, we designed it so that if we fell pregnant, we could easily turn the downstairs office into a nursery, and if we had two kids, we could fit bunk beds in there so the room is future proofed! We have just had our first child, a baby boy named Leo, so we’ve had fun converting the room into a really cute nursery space!
Our plan for living tiny changed since we built our home—we were originally going to park it at my mum’s house but we ended up purchasing our own section and moving it there. We parked our tiny house down the back of the section and are currently designing plans for a larger (but still small scale) family home to be built at the top of the section.
Depending on how we go living with Leo in the tiny house we will continue living in the tiny and perhaps rent out the top house as extra income! Or vice versa if we find we need the extra space.
Leo is 5 weeks old now and we are loving living tiny with him! We’ve had to learn how to manage all the baby things we accumulate, but he really doesn’t need much and we love not missing out on seeing anything new he does! My biggest piece of advice when designing your tiny house is to create a room or loft area that can be used for multiple things with limited built-in furniture. It makes things easier be able to accommodate changes in your future!
Such a good question! And wow, I am sure the answers will vary drastically because guess what, everyone is different :] Everyone is at a different stage in their life and everyone built their tiny house for their own reasons.
So, for us, one of the main reasons we built our home was to be able to save as much as we can since Michael is a full-time college student, which leads to us planning on living in our tiny house at least for the next 4 years. This gives us enough time for Michael to finish his undergrad at CAL and then 3 years for law school.
Beyond that we aren’t quite sure. We definitely know that one day we want a “normal” sized house, but that’s really because we want 4 or 5 kids lol. But who knows, maybe we can rearrange our house a bit to at least to fit one little one in here with us!
I love this question :)
The short answer is: until we don't feel like it any longer.
We went tiny for a laundry list of reasons: we wanted to achieve financial freedom and become debt free, we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably, we wanted to be more mobile with our living arrangement (I have issues with commitment, ha!), and most importantly, because we like it!
We don't plan on having children (although you can totally live tiny with kids!), and we're not on any specific timeline. The whole point of us living in this intentional way was to give us maximum flexibility to achieve our dreams. Basically, I imagine us living this way for at least a few more years. Afterwards, even if we're not in this same tiny home, I do envision us still living in a non-traditional way. Maybe on a sailboat…hmm….
This is such a hard question to answer. Two years ago, I couldn't fully envision living in a tiny house ever, but now that I'm in it, I can't see any reason I would ever leave it!
Realistically, life may lead me in a different direction in a few years. If I end up in a relationship with someone who values more space, I may decide to make a change, or if I have children, or if I get an amazing job offer abroad, or if I decide to adopt 10 dogs, or any number of things! You never know what opportunities life is going to throw at you. But I'm pretty good at listening to myself, and going with my gut.
I will live in my tiny house as long as it makes sense for me, so that might be 5 years, it might be forever. I can say with certainty, though, that you will never find me in a McMansion in the suburbs. Living in 160 square feet has made me very focused and intentional about curating my space and ensuring it is all used to its highest potential, and I don't see that translating well to a house with more than three bathrooms.
We hope this gives you some insight into how current tiny house dwellers are thinking about their tiny journeys and helps remind you that this is your journey. Not your friend's, not your family's, not society's. Only you can determine what is right for you.
It may be 1 year, 5 years, or you may realize that this is the way that you want to live indefinitely. The beauty is that you have the power to decide!