The tiny house movement is a growing social movement where people are choosing to live in a smaller space. Tiny houses differ in shape, size and form but are all made smaller than an average house and with a space-saving design. People want to join mainly because of environmental and financial concerns and the desire for more time and freedom.
Average house size in the world
The typical American home is around 201 meter2 (2,164 ft2) in 2009 whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 9 and 37 meter2 (30 to 121 ft2). Worldwide Australia is on top with big houses of 214 meter2 (2,303 ft2) whereas Hong Kong has the smallest living spaces with 45 m2 (484 ft2).
The averages differ also whether people rent or buy a house or apartment. People who rent a house, are living in a smaller living space. In Flanders, the Flemish part of Belgium, the average space is 134 m2 (440 ft2) whereas renters live in a house of 122 m2. However this difference is very small for apartments in Flanders.
A trend for a need of smaller houses
Since the crisis of 2008 American people are living with less space. But also other trends make people want to live smaller such as more mono parental families, smaller families and more people who want to travel more and further.
Some experts suggest that your mortgage shouldn’t be bigger than 28% of your gross monthly income. For most Americans one third to half of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads. So you need over 15 years of your lifetime to just pay for it. That’s the reason that 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. These housing challenges make people want to live happier with less.
Buy as much and as big as possible
If we would ask people whether they would like to live bigger, most of the people would respond positive. There are many reasons why people “think” they need a bigger house: the house gets to small, we get a promotion at home, we want to impress others or think that a large house is the home of our dreams.
But the main reason I think is the one we hear all the time: buy as much and big as possible, just because you can - or think you can - afford it. Some people become aware they don’t want to live like this and go for a smaller house, more time and money to spend on other things that really matter.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like - Will Smith
Advisers take advantage of our unlimited emotional needs so that we keep on shopping: more clothes, new electronic devices, a bigger house, new furniture and toys to keep the children busy. This lifestyle not only consumes all our money and time (to work for the money), but it consumes also all natural resources, causes climate change and creates conflicts and even wars.
Being happy with a small house
We don't hear often enough that we can live better with less. A big house isn't necessarily going to make someone happy and the more space we have, the more we want to fill it with more thing we don't really need. Owning a small house is an example of what minimalism stands for. It's a kind of new kind of freedom of living with less worry, depression, feeling trapped, ashamed or overwhelmed. Being happy with less, so having less burden and stress.
There're many reasons why people can be happy with a small house: it's easier to maintain, less expensive, less debts and risks, more time to spend, eco friendly, more family bonding and less temptations to accumulate more. It's a real possibility to get out of a cycle of dept or simply being happy.