Many things are fueling the surging interest in downsizing and moving toward Tiny House Living in the USA.
It is more notable in the US because they have so many big, even giant houses in comparison to other countries around the world as we somehow got caught up in the Old Wive’s Tale that a bigger house will make for a happier family life. Assuming parents ever get to be home after we pay for the insurance, taxes, maintenance, and interest that it takes to have that American Dream Home, we might get to see the children. Add to that the dream cars to put in the two car garage, big screen etc. that keeps some entertained thus seldom talking with the family that is housed in the place we rarely get time to relax in before the kids are grown and it is too big to keep. For some, this has been a replay of their lives and they are not ready to give any of that up. Others may feel differently as they age. I predict that Tiny Houses and downsizing will grow in appeal to millions, not just a few hundred or thousand. I am offering a few recommendations as to the direction that should take in order to keep the massive coming movement sane, healthy, and thought out as to the resources we can use to help in this monumental transition ahead for America and the world at large.
We have tested this “American Dream” for a couple generations and it does not seem to be making us happy as the statistics show that nearly 25% of our population is on anti depressants over the stress it has created. It is no wonder that many shows have popped up on TV now about Tiny House living and more are coming, possibly even us in a series about how to build a Tiny House Town out of 95% Pure Salvage. I hope you are aware of the fascinating movement toward Tiny Houses, but if not, please consider the following facts and information.
For parents coming home and for children returning to help or share the costs of taking care of the elders in the family, tiny houses work great, even in the city. Will the trend and demand grow?
As 72,000,000 Baby Boomers hit the retirement wall and our savings turn into Not Enough when we run the numbers for sustaining our style of living we are accustomed to, downsizing will become the focus and mantra of people seeking to survive comfortably. The space we need to survive will be viewed differently as we give up the wasted and unused areas of the house that are heated, cooled, taxed, and insured, but produce no income to offset the cost of keeping them full of our collections or waiting for company that seldom comes to visit. If the natural progression occurs as we get older, we really don’t want anyone staying in the house for long anyway as we seem to like our privacy more as we age rather than listening to music we don’t like or tolerating people who fit in the same category.
Every one should have a creatively crafted house that fits them if they can, and if built from salvage, most will.
Still, whether in your still younger, though more effected later on, it is hard to give up the memories and what we are familiar with as our home. It seems like it would be hard to change, but it is not so hard to give up the big space as it is the Home part of that feeling. Rather it is better to see downsizing like taking all the jewelry off after a party, then the make-up, wig, or for a male perhaps, the suite, tie, and uncomfortable shoes. This allows you to savor the simplicity of living, reading, writing, drawing, painting, gardening, or any of the many other things we have wanted to do all of our lives and never had the time. We feel freed to relax and enjoy being our natural selves. To talk intimately, close up and share our world. Yes we all need some space, preferably our own space, so a tiny house gives you that, and you just share some of the larger spaces when you want to or perhaps want to have more friends come by than a tiny house and kitchen can handle. Intended communities solve those problems and make it possible for us to chart the course of our lives with more opportunity, especially if our house can travel when we choose to move on down the road for any reason.
The smaller the house we live in, the fewer people we will have in our private spaces and the guest house or the main kitchen and eating house would be more appropriate, thus giving us a master suite as a Tiny House in an ideal world. Why not create that ideal world? Instead of one big house, a cluster of tiny houses that function in the same way.
Intentional communities are on everyone’s mind as they deal with aging and where they want to settle down for the next phase of their lives. Tiny Houses that are portable can follow us as we go, allow us to move nearer to a new grand baby or further from an encroaching city when the time comes, or simply to move to a village where caregivers can help us through our transitional years. The house can then be moved on to our children or others we wish to share it with after we are gone. This is a view that is growing in popularity as more and more people realize they will not get that retirement home and all the trimmings based on the budget they have put away which the inflation has impacted to deplete the value of their savings.
That said, it is imperative that we consider making the last house we live in a healthy one that will give you plenty of options, not toxins, to ease your move into a tinier lifestyle. I believe that having less to anchor us down often frees us up to enjoy and savor our life hours doing the things we always dreamed of but did not have the time or money because we were supporting living the American Dream. This is air quality inside is more critical in a tiny house than in a larger house as there is much less air to distribute and dilute the poisons that outgas from most newly made building materials. This includes plastics, vinyl, sheetrock, latex paint, carpets, plywood, particle board, glues, and polyurethanes which all outgas chemicals that are listed as hazardous to your health for up to 2 or 3 years after they are installed to create your house.
I hope to create a living example of what we could do if we set our minds to it using the principles of Pure Salvage Living combined with Permaculture. I hope to gather the variety of people with knowledge in each of several critical areas and see if we can live together for a while at least and put this puzzle together in such a way as to be repeatable. Then we will see who stays on to grow it and let people fill in when they can, and how they might best contribute to something that will take more than any one of us can provide individually. It is a means to build the infrastructure and I would hope to leave it up to others to build the social network and rules for those that occupy the houses of these sorts of Pure Salvage Living Renaissance communities. The idea is to build the model that will be used to materialize other towns based on the lessons learned and method developed that will be proven to work.
It requires human energy, ingenuity, and community to succeed, but the resources, materials, information, and the manifestation of Pure Salvage Living Co-ops that provide the means, education, and access it will take to teach a couple of generations how to do this in a single generation’s lifetime. We should consider ourselves lucky to still have that much time or resources left so as to think this could make a difference, for few realize just how grand this treasure is that I use to build these houses, and hopefully a village, and then towns out of it as well. Once others see it is possible, I hope to watch this Renaissance of using salvaged building materials and techniques to sweep across the planet turning once trashed resources into the incomes and careers, the houses and solutions for several generations who now wonder what they have left to work with that is affordable and sustainable.
I envision landscaping our yards and towns to generate food, not just flowers which adds to the whole by providing animals, birds, and people various forms of food growing naturally year round if we plan it right. That is the principle of Permaculture that is so alluring and thankfully proven by many great people in this day. One of my favorite is Geoff Lawton and I highly recommend you view his works as an expert in permaculture and project development.
Many are suffering from a lifetime of abusing our immune systems and the consequences of that show up in such forms as Lupus, Fibro Myalgia, migraines, rheumatoid Arthritis, vertigo, and other mysterious problems that appear to stem from a cumulative effect due to our diet and lifestyle. As consumers figure out these issues are related and realize we can do better for our selves by living in a toxin free house, the value of organic living will become much more of a logical, economical, and smart solution for housing at the end of our lives. This should be our goal instead of a house full of immune system compromising materials that hits us at the most stressful time of our lives, when moving out of our dream home and facing innumerable changes at an incredibly fast pace. That final move out of our homestead is supposed to be one of the most traumatic moves of our lives. I plead with everyone not to aggravate the stress on our systems by moving into spaces that will make us sick when we have the least ability to resist the effects.
How to you avoid the problems created by modern low cost building techniques? Don’t live in a place that uses them to build with. Yes you will have to give up some living space as it is much more expensive to build with quality materials than with toxic cheap alternatives. The list of toxic issues that will be brought into the house range from hormone mimicking chemicals that make your body think you have taken estrogen come from the vinyl, latex paint fumes that cause major health issues with anyone allergic to latex, formaldehyde outgassing from wood, plywood, glues, carpet, and other materials, glues, plasticizers that leach out, and even lead that leaches out of the vinyl over the years in an oxidized powdery form that is easily inhale-able when the children bump against them in a few years. These are all considerations in a big home but most importantly in a tiny home as you have much less air per square foot of walls and floors than in larger house. Less air, plus more fumes means bad air, and if you do not have a good air exchanger, even a poor quality air based on oxygen content is a consideration in a super tiny house such as those on trailers.
So what does that mean for people who are looking to downsize or prepare for a more frugal and simple lifestyle? It means that you can do it with the best of materials if you use salvaged lumber and focus on quality instead of size. It does not have to fit on a tiny trailer to be a tiny house, but be able to be loaded on a trailer and moved when needed so as not to waste a good $5,000+ trailer so it is there every few years to service, replace the tires, brakes, and keep licensed. The trailer is a great idea if you can take your house off from it when you get to where you want to live for a while. Then you can use it to salvage and make a living before putting a house on it and moving down the road again. Just a thought for the roving minded.
Or, keep tiny houses in several places so that they make you money while you are traveling to other places where you have another tiny house to stay in during the right season too. That way, a normal house of 1,000 square foot for one person could become 4 Tiny Houses where three make you money while you live in the one of your choice when you want and have it managed, leased out to Tiny Texas House aficionados who will care and treat it like their own while there and truly appreciate the share.
Where do you find salvaged lumber to work with? Ouch. We are working on getting more people around the country into taking it down and making it available but there is still a great need for salvage miners and salvage builders to fill the demand. You could even start a new career leading others to do such things and create such dreams from what others consider trash. That is my dream, that more will join me to make this possible for the millions around the country who will be calling for such spaces as I have proven we can create from healthy building materials that do not take more from the planet but help sustain and preserve it while also creating work for generations to come.
As the new year rolls into full gear and we decide on how we are going to live the change that the planet needs to see happen, I sincerely hope you will consider sharing the principles of the Pure Salvage Living Renaissance with your friends, relatives, and others who may want to help preserve the past in a way that our great grandchildren will appreciate and benefit from as we prepare for a different world ahead without the easy credit, unlimited resources, and imports that we have all become accustomed to over the last few decades. As times are a changing, so should we too.
I have simplified and found a happiness I enjoy more than any after nearly 60 years alive, living in less than 300 square feet for my private space I call home. I have not needed the kitchen and shower there as I have them in the common areas, I have loved escaping electricity and most of the modern world at night when I sleep. As the creator of Tiny Texas Houses and owner of one that I live in, I can honestly say it is a spiritual experience living in a house made almost purely from cells that were grown for hundreds of years before being a house for another hundred or more years and being transformed then again into my own home. That and others have convinced me that the trees live on and will continue to share their protection to all who live under and within them for as long as they will exist. It appears that could be a few hundred more years at least.
Welcome to our year of great changes as we face the cold and other challenges few could have comprehended were possible 50 years ago. It is a wonderful world of challenge and opportunity. Lets make it a year to remember for its positives in the end, and not the negatives that will inspire the massive changes it will take for us to survive. May the path to world peace be lit by a candle and all of us light ours from it so as to light the darkness across the entire planet and leave no space for those behind the greed and destruction of our Mother Earth to hide.
Where ever you are in the world, tiny houses are meaningful for the same reasons. So is the Pure Salvage Living Renaissance in other countries except you have even more great asset in Architectural Antiquity worth saving that had a craftsmanship we seldom see in this country. I have lived in Germany and seen much of Europe. I have also lived in South America, Bolivia actually, thus knowing and appreciating that like most of the world, tiny spaces for housing have been part of their history that goes back for a millennium instead of a few centuries like ours.
I hope we can all join together to pass along some of the rich heritages and naturopathic secrets to keep the organic movement growing and alive. Hopefully this country will soon awake and quit supporting the companies that poison the world with GMO plants designed to live with an intolerable poison the giant food industry chooses to use in spite of the consequences to the indigenous people of the world.
Let us work together to create a World Union of Believers that We the People can come up with the solutions that governments and big corporations will never come up with, offer, or likely support until we prove the planets preservation and good health will be best choice for our future and our security as a planet and a species. Our dream is to live in a world without the war and greed, while instead living one of coming up with solutions that make a good and peaceful life available for all species that share stewardship of this planet. If enough of us join hands on these ideas of saving what we have rather than wasting it and saving the planet rather than destroying it, then governments and corporations will follow or be voted out of power. Such is history and in a year of change, the power of the Human Consciousness is about to surprise nearly all of us as it evolves to help the planet and all the lifeforms that share it to survive and help each other out where ever we can.
Thanks for following one path toward finding solutions that the masses can use to reach a common goal and provide a home for our families as part of the process.