Could you live in your toolshed, even for a week? It might come as a surprise that quite a few people in North America and Europe are making their permanent homes in dwellings that are about the size of an average toolshed. And no, we’re not talking about freshman dorm rooms. We the Tiny House People, a 2012 documentary produced by Kirsten Dirksen, takes a close look at the various forms these miniature abodes take.
With Dirksen, we travel from California, where people reside in $11,000 travel trailers complete with basic plumbing, all the way to France and Spain, where citizens have converted old stables into homes. We even get to see a couple living in an enhanced toolshed in the European countryside and are offered a glimpse of France’s cave homes, which are much like regular homes except they’re located underground.
The main advantages of tiny alternative homes are that they’re inexpensive to create and maintain—even a 16-year-old California boy shown in the film has been building one in his backyard—and their use encourages people not to be wasteful or to accumulate clutter. When you’re living in a house that’s about one-tenth the size of the average American abode, you don’t have much space, which forces you to be a minimalist. At a time when people are scrambling to accumulate as many material goods as possible, “tiny house people” buy no more than their modest places can hold.
According to the film, building authorities in the United States are resistant to endorse tiny dwellings, but that’s likely going to have to change. After losing larger homes during the recent recession, many Americans want to start over with something smaller. Furthermore, young people just aren’t buying bigger houses like they used to due to the lack of well-paying jobs available to Generation Y. And many seniors, who make up an increasing percentage of the American population, are choosing to live their last years in homes that don’t require a great deal of upkeep. As is demonstrated throughout the video, while the tiny house movement isn’t something completely new, it’s something that’s recently experienced an immense surge in popularity among a variety of demographic groups.
Thinking of cutting back, or just want to educate yourself about simple living? Watch We the Tiny House People here:
By: Erica Roberts
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