America is having a love affair with tiny homes. With the popularity of shows like “Tiny House Hunters,” “Tiny House Builders,” “Tiny House, Big Living” and “Tiny House Nation,” the tiny house movement is going mainstream. It might seem like just a novelty, but there are some serious financial advantages to living small.
From a lower cost of living to a smaller carbon footprint to less maintenance, many people find they save money living in a tiny home. If you’re considering joining this growing movement, here are 10 tiny home perks you should know before taking the plunge.
1. Lower Utility Bills
It typically costs significantly less to run electricity and water in a tiny house than in a traditional house. Susan and John Anderson* built their 283-square-foot tiny home in Washington state about three years ago and have been enjoying the significant savings.
“We anticipated some obvious benefits of having a tiny rather than larger home, like lower maintenance costs, but we were pleasantly surprised by our $12 utility bills,” said Susan.
The Andersons’ tiny home runs on standard electricity and gets its water from a well on the property, but a tiny home with solar power or a small wood-fired stove might be able to eliminate the electricity bill altogether. The cost of installing solar power in a tiny home doesn’t come cheap, the panels alone can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more — but over time, the savings are significant. However, if you have a setup like the Andersons, you might pay roughly $144 a year for water and power.
2. Easier to Clean
Owners of tiny homes rave about how quick and easy it is to clean their space. “It takes about 5 minutes to pick up around the house, and we can deep-clean the space in an hour,” said John. “We are kind of neat freaks, though, so we never let it go very long in between cleanings,” Susan added.
Living in a small house means there is less room for the dirt to go around, so many people say their tiny homes actually get messy and dirtier faster than traditional homes, according to tiny house company TumbleweedHouses.com. It can take a lot of discipline to keep your tiny home tidy, like putting away items right after you use them, keeping the laundry flowing and maintaining an impeccable system of organization.
3. Less Maintenance
When you live in a tiny home, there is simply less work to do to maintain your space. There is less to fix, less to store and less to prep for the seasons. For example, if you need to clear the roof of fall leaves, it will take a quarter of the time. If your deck needs repairs or wood floors need replacing, you’ll have minimal square feet to worry about. Decorating for holidays will be quicker and easier. Even painting your entire home could take just a can or two of paint and a half day’s work.
Now, if your home is situated on a large piece of land, like the Andersons’ is, you might spend more time maintaining the surrounding property.
“We spend a good amount of time cutting back the grass, clearing debris and prepping the house for the changing seasons,” said John. “But we love being outside, and we’ve always been avid gardeners. It feels good at the end of the day.”
4. More Time to Pursue Passions
When you spend less time cleaning and maintaining a house and dealing with all your “stuff,” you have more time to do what you love. For some tiny house owners, that means spending more time with family and friends. For others, it could mean learning a new skill or crafting a talent, or maybe a little bit of both.
“We have discovered artistic talents and interests we would not have known — now that time has been freed up from chores and maintenance,” John said.
“We are freed up from shopping. With such little space, we need so little,” Susan said. “Our buying interests have switched to finding recycled and salvaged materials for creative projects, which is much more interesting than going to the store.”