Minimalism & Tiny Homes

For few years, the concept of minimalism has become more and more popular. With the release of tiny house shows on YouTube (check out #livingbigtinyhouse), minimalism documentaries & declutter expert Marie Kondo, people are shedding their lives of things that don’t bring them joy, selling their homes and living life with as little as possible in the pursuit of freedom. This article explores tiny homes and the growing minimalist movement.

What is a tiny home?
A tiny home is exactly what it sounds like. It is a very tiny house, often packed tight with essentials. Like a luxury caravan that looks like a supersized doll house. These homes keep the same basic shape as a house and the insides are furnished typically in the same manner as a regular home. The houses are built with desired amenities such as a toilet, shower and kitchen with everything compacted and hidden wherever it can fit. The typical size of a tiny house would be no more than 4.3 metres from the ground and no wider than 2.5 metres; one of the most significant benefits about this is that the homes are usually built on wheels and therefore very mobile.

Why leave your current home for a smaller one?
Most people start their downsizing journey with the question, do I really need all the things I own? Whether this is in the form of belongings not used for years or extra bedrooms that have never been slept in. The benefit of a smaller house is that it saves you time, money and research also suggests, greater happiness!

A noteworthy point of moving into a smaller home is that it is a reflection of personality and can create an incredibly unique lifestyle aligned with an individual’s unique way of life. Everything you do with your home is something that describes you as a person, from the design and style of the home, to the furniture and finishings inside. Having a smaller home can also give you the option to move location without selling and buying a different home. You can set it down somewhere to settle in or you can take it with you for an adventurous journey.

What are the downsides to living small?
One of the most common difficulties with living in a tiny house is building codes & council issues. These rules vary between states and local councils around Australia. Some council’s don’t recognise tiny houses as anything more than a caravan, and so, caravan rules are applied to them (for more on this, check out this ABC News, August 2018

You also need to be careful about the weight of your tiny home. Because of how it is legally seen, you need to make sure it doesn’t weigh more than 4.5 tonnes. But the idea of these homes is to be minimalist, so the weight restriction shouldn’t be an issue, but definitely something to be mindful of.

Living small doesn’t mean living free. If you plan to buy land for your tiny home, it will likely have to be somewhere at least semi-rural. Keep this in mind when considering commutes to work, and if you plan to work from your tiny home you will need things like a phone line (if mobile reception is bad) and internet; having these things will cost you, so preparing a thorough budget that dives deep into your future lifestyle before you start this project is strongly encouraged.

What to do with your current property?
If the idea of minimalism or making the move to a tiny home appeals to you then you’re likely wondering what to do with your current property; just because you want to live a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to close the door on your old life completely. A home isn’t just a place to live, but also an investment. You might need to sell your house to pay for the construction of your tiny home, but the alternative of planning and saving up for this project could mean that you can keep the property you already have and rent it out. You’ll have the option of going back home after 6 months if living small is not all that was expected.

If your current property can get a good sale price it could be an opportunity to buy a smaller property to rent out and a small block of land for your tiny home. Taking all this into consideration, the smartest thing to do is to go to a realtor and talk to them about your options and potentially arrange to rent your property through them. Our suggestion is to budget a couple of scenarios before picking which suits you best.

The decision to go small isn’t an easy one. It takes a lot of thought, planning and research into laws and restrictions as with any new trend. Different councils might have different rules that will decide whether or not you can or can’t stay in certain places permanently and should plan for this.

Renting instead of selling your property could be the better option. It does mean saving for longer, but it also gives you something to fall back on, ‘a plan B’. As more & more stories from people who have made the move to tiny living tell us how it has improved the life dramatically we expect this trend to continue to grow in popularity.