Sick of McMansions? Too much space on your hands? Time to join the revolution celebrating the antithesis of oversized dwellings: the micro home.
People downsize for loads of reasons. The most common:
- Getting overwhelmed by the upkeep of a larger home
- Significant unused or underused space, with no plans to use it productively
- Financial reasons: difficulty paying mortgage, rent, maintenance, and/or bills; desire to live in a pricey location; increasing market value of current home
Whether you want to live closer to your grandkids, move to your dream city, or purge your home of all unnecessary “stuff” that’s bogging you down, you may want to consider downsizing dramatically to a micro home.
While the so-called “tiny house movement” does not employ strict rules of what constitutes a tiny house, most micro homes are under 500 square feet (“small” houses are considered under 1000 square feet). They’re built with the same materials as average-sized homes and built to last just as long as traditional homes! Some micro homes are on wheels, like RVs but more solidly constructed, so you can move it freely around the country on a whim.
Micro homes are certainly not widely embraced, though their popularity is increasing due to many factors:
- Financial crises and rising home prices nationwide
- An overall mindset shift spurning materialism, embracing minimalism, and learning to live with less
- Smaller family sizes
- A desire to travel or live in high-cost areas where space is at a premium
- Energy efficiency
They’re also excellent starter homes for singles and couples – many micro home suppliers offer modular systems and you can add on as your space needs (and your disposable income) increase!
Thinking about it (or just interested in how someone could really live in what’s essentially the size of your garage)? Check these out:
Blogger Jenna chronicles her world travels in her tiny home, sharing the journey with other micro-home dwellers, tips for living in a micro home, and gorgeous pictures from around the world.
They may look like hobbit houses, but these modular, eco-friendly house pods – just $41/square foot – can be used in endless configurations anywhere in the world.
The high ceilings on these charming cottages – mobile or stable – give an illusion of space while providing a handy sleeping loft.
Pale colors and large windows have a similar effect, giving the home an open and airy feel.
These homes have to be cleverly designed to incorporate all of the features of a larger home into such a tiny space!
(Yes, that’s a staircase-slash-kitchen!)
The Minim house has everything you could need stashed away where you probably wouldn’t expect it. Check out their site to see their incognito ingenuity!
The Cocoon Cabin luxurious micro home is still tiny – just 480 square feet – but it sure doesn’t feel like it, with its expanses of glass, gorgeous modern bath and living spaces, and – as they put it – room to breathe. (Check out their site for interior pictures.)
Not sure if you’re ready to commit? Try downsizing to a smaller, but not tiny, home first, or build a tiny house on your existing property to test it out before making the move (if it doesn’t work out, you’ve got a bonus guest house!).
If you’re swept up in the movement, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my self-worth tied up in the “bigger is better” way of thinking? Will my self-esteem suffer if I move? (If this is a struggly for you, a drastic move may not be the right answer; take it slow!)
- What will I miss most about a more spacious home? Is it worth the trade-off? (If gardening is your passion, a mobile micro home is probably not the best choice for you.)
- Will my size and feature needs change significantly in the coming years? (College-aged kids may move back in? Maybe wait a few more years.)
- Will I actually be saving money? Draw up a realistic budget and talk to people who are living the micro home life; some expenses may surprise you.
If you’re ready, go for it – but be sure to come back and tell us all about it!