08/28 The tiny house adventure of sociology professor Tracey Harris and family

Tracey with her daughter outside one of the tiny houses they stayed in as part of her research adventure.

Tracey with her daughter outside one of the tiny houses they stayed in as part of her research adventure.

My family and I embarked on a tiny house adventure that had us live in five of these houses across two US states over a period of four weeks.

The houses ranged in size from 220-500 square feet, and varied in terms of amenities and sleeping arrangements. Some were on concrete pads, one was on wheels, and one was floating on a river. What they had in common was that each qualified as a tiny house for three residents and gave us a glimpse of abbreviated living. During the trip I kept a journal and we documented what became affectionately known as our ‘big and tiny adventure’ with a video diary.

This opportunity allowed us to see first-hand what it might be like to reduce our housing footprint and it made very clear for us what we actually needed to be happy; tiny house living was an important reminder of simplified life…

Less stuff and space meant that focusing was much easier in a tiny house – whether it was my daughter doing her homework, us grown-ups reading, or me writing an article. I felt as though all of the cobwebs in my brain had been swept away and I was left with this additional space to fill with knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

Tiny house living also changed the way we communicate with each other. We talked more in one month than we probably do over three or four months in our non-tiny house. Improved communication is something I can thank our tiny house experience for.

We learned what we actually need in order to have meaningful lives. This might sound obvious but there are a lot of things that people in wealthy nations are socialised to believe they need. Surprisingly for us, most of these things became completely unnecessary to our wellbeing. I found myself wondering how different our lives might have been if we had taken this much care before buying our home and especially before buying all of the stuff we put in it.

Read more – https://www.positive.news/2016/perspective/22455/tiny-house-adventure/


Elaine Walker