We received a great email from a reader this week speaking to the topic of square footage size, human scale and the tiny house movement so we thought this would be a great topic to bring into a larger conversation with all of you.
In the quest to achieve a simpler and more enjoyable life, we all need to be asking questions about space and how we inhabit a home. After all, home is not only where the heart is, but is also where we spend a lot of time, energy, and money in the quest to maintain it. Over the last few years we have been captivated by the process of questioning how we live in a home and if it that experience is bringing us joy or not. We believe that the question of ‘what brings me joy’ is a vital one. Its one that we ask ourselves in nearly every decision we make. Does so and so bring me joy? We have lived enough years under the impression that one must suffer in life to grow to the next level and to take life seriously. Fortunately, it only took 40 years to shift our viewpoints and to prioritize joy.
We are happiest when living simply in small housing. After all, small and tiny houses are easy to clean freeing up time, less expensive to build and maintain freeing up money to do things like travel and play. Also, its nearly impossible to keep a bunch of old crap one doesn’t need in a very small space. There just isn’t room for it. Living small in many ways demands attention to detail, presence of mind and open communication. After all, there is not really anywhere to retreat to when there is an upset. How do we know that living small is our favorite way to live? Because we have been able to test this concept again and again over the last few years while experiencing various living situations (from pop up tent trailer, to 2,000 sqft house, to extremely ‘fancy’ house on the larger size as well). At no time did we feel more at ease in life and able to tap into our joy and creativity than when we were living in the tiny pop up.
In living simply comes a sense of calm and contentment that most people didn’t realize they were missing until they scaled their lives back (belongings, expenses, living sizes). But what is not so clear, is just how FAR to scale back. Honestly, we think that the tiny, under 150 sqft houses are too small for long term living, even for just a single person. We would love to be proven wrong so if you feel strongly that we have this point wrong, share your tiny house living experience. We have not heard from anyone living in less than 200sqft say that they wish they had built smaller. However, we have heard from many that 500sqft was too big and they wished they had built smaller. In all of this speculation lets say that we are considering square footage requirements for one-two adults with no children living in the home.
We don’t think there is a magical square footage number that represents the housing needs of everyone on this planet in any way. Nor is that number even important to find because ultimately, all of these factors are extremely personal and each and every person that is building or choosing a space to live in should explore how they occupy space. It’s a fascinating process and what you find out about yourself may surprise you!
If you are not sure about where to begin in the process of learning about space, how you occupy it and ultimately what brings you the most joy when living in a home, let us know. We have some ideas, exercises and fun activities that we created and used ourselves that we would be happy to share with you.
We also want to clarify that it’s important to follow the guideposts towards joy, but not necessarily comfort. Making a change into simplification can sometimes actually be the opposite of comfortable. The process of thinning out can be new and disorienting. Going against the status quo can be unsettling and bring up doubt. Fortunately, there are so so many amazing people out there that are exploring the concept of home and space that one doesn’t need to look far to find ideas.
It’s all an interesting journey isn’t it?! And for us, every time we think we’ve got it figured out, there is another layer of depth even beyond that. And that’s a great thing. Nothing stays stagnant. 🙂