Update: Thanks to everyone who played along, but this was another one of my classic April Fool’s day pranks! Though I love the tiny house movement (especially looking at pictures of them), moving into one isn’t actually in the cards for me at this time. But aside from “actually moving into a tiny home” the following post was about 90% true… because that’s how a good April Fool’s prank works. 😉
I am so excited to finally be able to reveal the news to you, blog readers, and all of our friends and family, that we’re moving! And we’re not just moving to a new apartment (how boring) or finally throwing our money down the drain on a single-family home or townhouse. Nope, we’re thinking small and taking only a few things with us to a brand new tiny house!
If you haven’t heard of the Tiny House Movement yet, you’re in for a treat of “real estate porn” (SFW!) as there are tons of amazing photos, videos, and even televisions shows now available for your perusal, just a Google search away! I first heard of tiny homes and the movement in regards to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, which sells designs for adorable, functional, tiny houses, years ago – back when this blog was still in its infancy. (That means nearly 10 years ago, and we’ve all gotten 10 years older if you do the math, so just don’t.)
Living in a tiny house instantly became a dream of mine as soon as I saw photos of the Tumbleweed houses. Minimalism is something I’ve always aspired to, but fallen far, far short of. My tendencies to be a “mother hen,” take care of everything and everyone, have always led me to keep everything… just in case. I might need these garage sale stickers someday! And every shoe box ever, since we have so much stuff kept aside to put in them! And I’ll just keep this power cord long after the gadget dies, because it might power something else some day!
But now, I’m getting rid of all this extraneous stuff through force – there isn’t going to be anywhere to put it! Our new home will only fit the absolute essentials, and that’s part of the point. No longer weighed down by the piles and piles of stuff we keep in our home, we’ll be forced to focus on what matters – which will, incidentally, save us a ton of money! The total housing costs on the tiny house will be far less than the rent we pay for our current apartment (despite the fact that we’ll own the tiny house, outright, and have maintenance costs), utilities will be lower, and just not being able to buy new physical objects will seriously improve our bottom line. Not to mention all the furniture and stuff we’re selling on our way out!
How Did This Happen?
I’m going to do a series of blog posts about the whole process, but since this is the Big Announcement and all, I’ll stay out of the details for now and give you the backstory. You already know that I stumbled upon the idea of tiny homes from personal finance blogs back in the day, but how did I get from hearing about tiny homes, to packing up (some of) my stuff to move into one?
The real catalyst happened two summers ago, when my LadyBros and I (yes we call ourselves that, because we’re awesome) took a short trip into downtown Washington D.C. to visit Boneyard Studios, a tiny house community that does tours! It was the first time I ever got to see a real-live tiny house in person, and we also got a chance to talk with the owner/builders of three of the four houses. They gave really honest, frank information about the realities of building and living in a tiny house – instead of just the candy-coated blog posts I had seen before.
It was very refreshing to get the real story from real tiny house dwellers, but some of what I’d learned that day did scare me off from pursuing my tiny house dream for a while. There is a lot of reality to contend with when it comes to tiny homes – zoning laws being the biggest, but there’s also construction setbacks, weather and insulation issues, and of course, an adjustment period to living in a compact space. Facing some of the reality of a tiny home caused me to take some serious pause, and put the idea on a shelf for a few years.
Recently, however, the idea has crawled its way back into my noggin. Partly because my in-laws have started watching the TV show Tiny House Nation and discussing the idea with us whenever we visit, which has put the subject back on the table for discussion. The other reason I got back into thinking about buying a tiny house: apartment shopping. Spending some time online, looking at larger apartments with my husband (we’re in a 1-bedroom right now), we just felt so disappointed at the price of everything – even other 1-bedrooms. It was more disheartening to see the price of 2-bedroom apartments in northern Virginia than the disappointment I had felt considering the realities of a tiny house.
The hard part, of course, has been bringing my husband on board with the idea. Not that he’s stubborn, but he obviously had a lot of concerns about the idea. It may seem silly to some people, but our main hobby is playing video games (live on the internet and for charity, in my case, and for recreation in his case), and so his first question is always “where will my games and systems go?” The good news is that his favorite system, the New Nintendo 3DS handheld (yes, “New” is a part of the official name – it’s a dumb name), is about as tiny-home friendly as a video game system can be! With some culling, consolidation, and smart storage solutions in the new tiny house, the rest of his collection will be fine to come with us, so he’s pretty happy at this point.
The key? Mercilessly getting rid of anything else we don’t love to make room in the house for the things we do love. We’re preparing massive stacks of personal belongings for eBay, craigslist, and donating. (And if you’re a local friend of ours, you may have noticed some new pushiness out of us to come pick up anything you lent to us or left at our place!) I can’t wait to get it all out the door so that I can share a final tally of the money we get back from selling!
Much more information to come in the next few months! I’ll be documenting the whole process in a series of blog posts (this being the first!) that I’m calling The Tiny House Move. (Real creative, right? I’m a genius writer, I know.) Watch this space for new posts every other week or so as we make our move!
Have you considered moving to a tiny house to save money and achieve minimalist nirvana? Are you now totes jelly that I’m beating you to the punch? Or have you beaten ME to the punch and are reading from your adorable tiny house right now? Whatever your story, please leave it in the comments below!