December 08, 2017 3 Comments
We have a secret. It has never been about the tiny house.
It has always been about the life it affords.
For many of us, tiny homes are simply a means to an end. When you look behind the well manicured vale of tiny house TV shows and curated Instagram accounts, you'll begin to uncover the real driving force behind these alternative dwellings; they are tools to instigate and achieve a preferred way of life.
A tool that has the ability to substantially reduce ones cost of living and in return, avoid the increasing number of work hours it takes to keep our head above the financial water line.
You cannot buy more time, so the next best thing is to spend it in more meaningful ways; tiny houses encourage and enable this reallocation of time.
The dwellings vary in aesthetic and layout; Van, RV, Bus, tiny house, cabin, etc… but the end goal is rather similar. Opt out of the traditional cyclical grind and pursue something that matters to you.
Spend your time doing more important things with the people you love and earn a curated library of memories and experiences rather than an aging mortgage and more lost time.
I would argue that one of the main differences between those wanting a tiny house and those who have already committed to living an alternative life is the difference between those who covet the tiny house as a desired object and those who see it as a way to unlock opportunity.
One of those approaches involves a discussion about cost and style and whether it is ‘worth it’; the latter is priceless.
For many of us it is a less tangible desire that the physical tiny house provides a path to. We want to collect experiences over things, be a part of community, spend more time with our friends and family.
These are pretty universal goals and yet an increasing percentage of the population are going without.
Samantha and I were both 26 years old, had our newly earned masters degrees in hand and were sick of throwing away money at rent. We had just begun digging ourselves out from the 6 figure student loan hole that accompanied our education and had no interest in acquiring more debt in the form of a thirty year mortgage.
Our entire lives we heard people saying “I wish I had done this” or “I should have done that.”
There was a natural assumption that we would stay in our comfort zone and utilize our local connections. We would jockey for employment while becoming a (salary) number based on what we deemed fair for our given skill set and then buy a house, based not on how much money we had but on how much money we could (hopefully) acquire in the coming years.
Instead, we spent the last of our money on a going away party that we called a "wedding" followed by a six week adventure trekking through Patagonia to the end of the Americas.
We returned to the states and drove to the other side of the country, settling in Yakima, WA and borrowed $400.00 from my brother to cover the first months rent on an apartment.
We had made very intentional choices to put ourselves where we wanted to be, but there was still one more step necessary to free up time and money to fully explore and experience our new region.
What started as a joke became an eye opening moment when we began to realize that building and living in a tiny house could be the final piece to fully realizing the life we had been envisioning and designing.
Observers saw us building a house, but in our minds, we were building the life we desired. A life focused on people and experiences, enabled by new found financial freedom.
Our hyper customized design makes living in it effortless as we have everything we need and nothing that we don’t. Because we believe the tiny house lifestyle is about the ability to do more rather than simply owning less, we included a ‘gear room’ thus creating a dwelling that not only frees up time, but also contains the tools necessary to spend that time in incredible ways.
This project allowed me to utilize my architecture degree in a unique application in which we could experience the consequences of our design decisions first hand, positive and negative.
It taught us invaluable lessons about team work and required that we learn a plethora of new skills as we toiled away at it, weekend after weekend, paycheck to paycheck. It has made us more conscious than ever about our carbon footprint and consumption while allowing us to reduce the resources we use, and discard.
And most obviously, it has put us on a path to financial freedom at a critical moment in our life, as we start our young family.
Our tiny house has been and continues to be an incredible experience and crucial tool for this stage in our lives. It has allowed us to own our home outright while refinancing student loan debt to a very aggressive repayment plan and simultaneously building a 12 month financial safety net.
Most importantly we have been able to take extended parental leave to spend more time with our daughter for her first six months of life and I now have the ability to stay-at / work-from-[tiny]home to continue raising Aubrin. We have both reduced the number of hours and days that we work allowing us to be present and grow as a family.
To those who wonder if the tiny house is a ‘forever’ home we offer the following from a recent BLOG POST ON THE SUBJECT!
“We will utilize the tiny house as long as it works for us and then re-purpose it. The best part about this project is it has the ability to serve our family in a multitude of ways. Should we choose to design and build a small home on a foundation to raise a growing family, the tiny house can serve as a back yard studio, or guesthouse, or airBNB rental or even be turned into an off grid retreat in the mountains. A truly worthwhile tool that’s value and positive contribution to our lives will far out live its use as a full time residence.”
Our Blog: https://shedsistence.com/
Our E-book and free floor plans: https://shedsistence.com/resources/
Our Finished Photos: https://shedsistence.com/finished-photos/
Our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shed_tinyhouse/
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SHEDsistence/
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My name is Alan—founder at Dream Big Live Tiny Co! A few years ago, I quit my consulting job to pursue a life full of adventure. After traveling around the world for a year, I sold most of my stuff and moved into an 160-sqft tiny house. Now I spend most of my time showcasing incredible people living with less in pursuit of more freedom, as well as incredible tiny houses around the world!
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