The size of the average American house has risen steadily over the past few decades while the size of families has decreased. Homes are over 2,600 square feet and are occupied by, on average, 2 and a half people. Why have houses continued to grow as fewer people live in them? This trend is caused by desires to own more, to have more impressive things, and to have more stuff. However, most people can’t afford these extraneous things and the average American sinks half of their income into their own home.
But as the number of “McMansions” increases, a new trend has emerged to combat their rise. Tiny Homes. These are generally any permanent residences under 400 square feet, though many are much smaller. There are many reasons people opt to live smaller, though there are four main reasons. People want a more sustainable way to live, to reduce their carbon footprint, and to consume less. Second, people want to have the financial freedom that a $30,000 house affords. People want to be able to travel more and to experience more of the world and not feel rooted to the foundation of an environmental blight. In fact, some are so determined to be free they build their tiny homes on trailers to be as mobile as possible. Lastly, tiny houses allow for “purposeful and determined living” which is, part of the art and beauty of minimalism. If you only have 150 square feet to live in, it forces you to question all of your possessions and what you really need. Why do you need 30 different t-shirts? Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes? Couldn’t you survive without a washing machine, dryer, oven, and dishwasher?
In fact, many people opt to build their own Tiny Houses from scratch, using their own designs and making their own choices about what is essential for their living situation. This generally includes solar panels, composting toilets, and campfire stoves, all of which encourage and are components of sustainable living. Because of the multifaceted benefits of tiny homes (financial independence, sustainable living, and freedom from stress and superfluous material possessions) I believe that this is an important movement pertinent to young adults.