DO WE WANT TO GO TINY?

This year I turn 32 and my boyfriend and I are back to living with his parents, AGAIN. We've been trying to buy a home in the overheated Dutch housing market for the past year without success so now we are looking at other options.

The Tiny House Movement is all about living simply in small homes (on wheels) and promotes financial freedom, shared community experiences, the eco-conscious lifestyle and a shift in consumerism-mindset.

Tiny house pros and cons

WHERE THE IDEA CAME FROM

I always thought “when I’m 30, I will have everything sorted out: a stable job, a comfortable house, a cute pet dog or cat and maybe some kids.”

But as life happened and the big 3-0 came closer and closer, I came to the realisation that I do not even want to aim for that expected life road.

I want to work to live happily. Not live to work a stressful, time consuming job to be able to pay a high mortgage, rent, bills and other liabilities.

This is why I made the digital nomad lifestyle a personal life goal. And to full-fill it, Evert and I came to the idea of buying a house in Amsterdam where we could live in the Dutch summers to then fly towards the sun and rent it out in winter time.

For nine months straight we did not miss a single day looking at the housing marketplace, spending multiple hours browsing to find our dream home.

It soon became clear that city-centre living in something other then a broom cupboard would not be possible within our budget.

We increased our search to other parts of The Netherlands and anything within reasonable travel time to one of the bigger cities. There were loads of house visits, some serious offers and big disappointment in losing those.

Till we came to the point that I jokingly said:

Why can’t we just build a home ourselves and take it with us to travel the world?

Guess what, it’s a thing people actually do.

Either in the form of a camper, van, caravan, bus conversion or actual tiny house structure built on a trailer. Opting for a house on wheels is an option we hadn’t considered before.

And now that it’s planted in our minds, it’s becoming a real possibility.

caravan lifestyle

WHY LIVE IN A TINY HOUSE?

1. FREEDOM AND TRAVEL

Just the thought of bringing my office wherever I want to go, looking out the window to enjoy the view and switch it up from time to time to get inspired by my environment makes me super excited.

2. TO SAVE MONEY

A tiny house is in most forms considerably cheaper than the average home.

Even when we need to take out a loan to get it build, it will be paid off within a couple of years instead of 30. And after that it would give space for saving up for other important life costs.

Also, heating or cooling a tiny house will cost less. Same goes for general maintenance.

3. MINIMALISM

Evert won’t have any problem at all with this. I still remember him officially moving in with me and only arriving with a backpack full of stuff.

I myself will probably have a bit more adjustment to make. But since I already lived out of a suitcase for half a year without any problems, I am pretty confident I will also do fine.

At the moment most of our stuff is stored in a depot, because we temporarily live with our parents and to be honest I have no idea what I would find in that box when opening it again. Makes me think I do not need much to live comfortably.

Actually, I think it feels rather liberating to only keep what you really need.

4. SPEND MORE TIME IN NATURE

I would describe myself as a typical city girl. Amsterdam is the place I feel truly home since I love the bustling  streets with all it’s diverse people in it. But when travelling I tend to enjoy peaceful hikes through nature the most.

What would happen if my house is situated next to a beach, into the woods or somewhere near a beautiful lake or river?

I really do wonder if spending more time outdoors would make me a happier person.

tiny house view
tiny house movement

REASONS AGAINST GOING TINY

Of course choosing this lifestyle also has its downsides. And the true question here is: are we willing to settle with these?

1. BIG UPFRONT COSTS

In the end, life will be cheaper. But the initial investment is pretty high: around 40 to 60k euro to get it build, plus a car that is strong enough to pull the weight.

2. HOME DEPRECIATION

Most homes will add in value. Which is mostly because property is scarce. But if your house exists on wheels, there is no land connected to drive it’s price up.

The wear and tear of the construction will probably quickly bring down the tiny houses value.

3. HEAVY LOAD

Towing a full house is not nothing, even though it’s tiny. There are multiple risks involved in bringing your home onto the roads.

The stress of driving around with all your valuables in a clumsy large vehicle must be nerve wrecking.

I’m also not sure how this works with insurance but I foresee some difficulties here.

vanlife view by zilla
bus life

4. HOUSEHOLD

You step right into your living space with your dirty boots or feet, which means the floor will get dirty fast (although cleaning it will be much quicker than in a bigger home).

Moreover; making the bed must be pretty tiring while needing to bend over all the time, hiding your mess is much more difficult with little storage space and drying laundry would fill up the whole house.

Long hot showers are probably not included..

And.. not being able to just flush your poo (come to think of it, how nice is it actually to be able to do that?). The toilet needs to be emptied.

5. MINIMALISM

Yes, I also named this as a benefit. But even though I like the idea of intentionally choosing what to keep and what not – it also has it’s downsides.

Less space means rigorously discarding possessions.

I’m not sure how many clothing pieces fit in a tiny house, but I am afraid I would have to downsize my wardrobe from ‘small but functional’ to ‘tiny and almost always wearing the same outfit’.

Letting go of sentimental things with good memories attached is also not something to look forward to.

And without a shed or attic for the once-in-a-while stuff, I can imagine there will be some unforeseeable problems down the road.

6. NO ROOM FOR PRIVACY

While writing this I walked out of our current office room, because Evert is in a call and I cannot concentrate on writing while he is talking. Which makes me think how we would tackle this in a Tiny House. Only option would be stepping outside, but what if it is raining?

vanlife
vanlife by zilla

SO MANY QUESTIONS

Is this a lifestyle we would still want in a couple of years? If you sell a tiny house, how much of the initial investment do you get back? Would I be brave enough to drive such a heavyweight vehicle?

What if we cannot find nice spots to park the house?
What if it turns out to be very unpractical work-wise?
What if I need more space?

What if..

What if..

But hey, what if it all falls together?