Tiny Tuesday: Doing the Math on Downsizing

“Time is a nonrenewable resource,” says Tammy Strobel. Tammy teaches e-courses in downsizing, writes an awesome self-help blog, and has spent most of the last ten years living in a 128-square-foot house on wheels she built with her partner, Logan Smith. Living with less enables the couple to work less, giving them ample free time to explore different interests.

The oft-repeated chorus that “Time is Money!” anchors this article in Fine Homebuilding about the appeal of tiny houses. In particular, how much time per month do you spend working to pay for your home? The article gives a sample calculation using a national-average monthly mortgage (or rent) of $1061, but you can think broader than that: utilities, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and property tax are all living expenses. Now add the time required for upkeep – cleaning, repairs, yardwork, and so on. (If you outsource those things, again add the time it takes you to earn the money you spend.) This exercise will demonstrate the full impact of your living situation on your life.

Maybe you love your career. Maybe you’re like me and you enjoy the process of home upkeep. If you find labor itself to be relaxing or otherwise rewarding, then by all means carry on; you’re in a lucky minority. But also consider the economics of downsizing, and how it can free up time in your life – time to pursue hobbies, time to volunteer, time to spend with friends and family.

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