Last month, the Boston Globe published an article extolling the benefits of a very small house. Read it here. It’s the latest tinder on a growing fire of fascination with the tiny-house lifestyle… a fire I’m happy to stoke in my own little way.
Why all the attention? One reason is obvious: because they’re so cool. It’s a fine trick to shoehorn all the necessary bits of a house – which for many people includes a full kitchen, a bathroom with shower, and a bed – into something you can tow behind any pickup truck. And it’s even finer to make that portable pad actually look like a house you’d want to live in, unlike the cold efficiency of RVs and travel trailers. Many small houses evoke popular architectural styles in miniature; some get even more creative.
A more compelling reason for the attention is the financial freedom of living with no mortgage, no rent, and rock-bottom upkeep costs. When I lived in a medium condo in Boston and held a secure job, I paid $1200 a month on my mortgage. Two years’ worth of those payments would buy almost any of the houses described in the article, through and clear. Imagine what you could do with an extra $1200 a month. This is the sort of reasoning that draws people in, assuming they get over the “no way can I live like that!” hump.
Of course, there’s also something road-trip romantic about pulling up stakes whenever you like, your house moving with you. It’s a dream and it will stay that way, because the reality is pretty thorny, something the Globe piece largely ignores. I won’t get into the issues today, but if you’re interested you can read Dee Williams’s great article on travel restrictions… merely the tip of the iceberg.
The ideal of living in a little house on wheels isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Keep dreaming.