In a nutshell, "tiny living" just means living in a far-smaller-than-average home (most of the tiny houses I've seen examples of are between 100 and 400 square feet, but there is no stringent definition that I'm aware of). People live this way for a lot of reasons: it is less expensive (smaller square footage to heat, cool, keep clean, etc.), it is "greener" (smaller space = smaller carbon footprint and fewer materials utilized in construction), it is a simpler way to live (less space for living means less space to store superfluous stuff).
While I wouldn't really categorize us as super environmentalists (I mean, we do drive a Prius, and we recycle, but that's about the extent of it), these reasons are really why it appeals to us as well!
As someone who is currently paying two mortgages every month, the prospect of living mortgage free is extremely appealing. And it's actually a realistic possibility as the cost of materials and land would be far less than the cost of your average, standard-sized home. I can understand how monthly expenses would be considerably less in a tiny house as well. Smaller space means smaller utility usage. Less square footage means less cleaning (a major bonus in my mind), and fewer things that can break and fewer elements to maintain.
Just stop for a minute and imagine what your personal budget would look like if you didn't have a monthly mortgage or rent payment. Conventional wisdom says that housing costs account for 30% of our monthly expenses. Even if your mortgage is only half of your housing expenses, what would it mean for your monthly expenses to be decreased by 15%? Just for the sake of argument, let's say that Joe and Sarah make $3,000/month. That means that, on average, $1,000 will be spent on their housing expenses. If, by transitioning to a "tiny living" situation, they are able to decrease their housing expenses by half, that is an additional $500 per month that they will no longer be spending on housing. And since living small means living with less superfluous stuff, that extra $500 won't be spent on things.
And this is a very conservative estimate. Many who live in tiny houses are able to use green, sustainable energy sources such as wind generators or solar panels to further decrease their cost of living and their environmental impact, which is another big win-win!
There is also a huge element of freedom associated with tiny living as many tiny houses are built on mobile platforms; however, even if your tiny house is stationary, the fiscal realities of tiny living give you a lot of options for traveling and adventures! I mean, not only will you have more liquid income, but your monthly expense needs will be decreased dramatically enough for you to leave the "rat race."
If you think about it, at some point along the line, society decided that "success" was defined or proven by how much stuff we own. People who make oodles and gobs of money will obviously live in bigger houses, drive bigger cars, or at least have more cars to choose from, wear more expensive clothing, and own lots of expensive toys.
But do all of these things add up to happier or more content living? You don't have to look very far before you realize that the answer to that question is a resounding, "No!" The ultra-rich of our societies are often the most obviously unhappy as evidenced by the myriad news stories about famous marriages crumbling, celebrities overdosing on drugs, and the list goes on and on. Of course, that's not necessarily a picture of average life; however, I think many of the problems found in the highest levels of society translate to the average middle-class family.
Most of the people I know would fall into the "average income" category. And what that most often looks like is both husband and wife working at least 40 hours per week, children involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities, and everyone thoroughly overcommitted and often exhausted. This is what "normal" looks like.
All of these practical reasons are great rationale for choosing the tiny lifestyle, but I think my favorite part reason is the amount of creativity that goes into building and living in a tiny house! Everything from storage to kitchen solutions has to be creative to work with considerably smaller than average space, and I love that! I love that every part of a tiny house is totally customized and fitted to our needs and the way that we like to live!
So, all that to say, I really love the idea of tiny living! I even have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the concept! And, since both of our houses are on the market and will, hopefully, sell very soon, I'm praying that some form of tiny living may be in our not-so-distant future!
Hope you have a great weekend!